We have just booked Lyra into the ACI Marina outside Dubrovnik for 2015/6. This will give us the opportunity to explore the southern half of Croatia this spring/summer and Montenegro this autumn. We are also keen to explore Bosnia (by car) and Dubrovnik will be a good central place to do this from. It's also a little easier to fly into Dubrovnik off-season than Zadar , where flights stop entirely for the winter.
Any recommendations of 'must see' places in southern Croatia warmly welcomed..
And so, all too soon, the boat is winterised, we are back in England and the sun still shines brightly on Croatia. Winterising the boat took a good three days of sorting and packing and detailing and despite the best efforts of Ryanair we were home before we knew it.
Our second trip was a great success and we are both sad that the time passed so quickly and of course the weather in October has been perfect in Croatia....
For the last five days we have been sailing around the islands with UK friends Debbie and Quentin and have experienced all types if weather; rain, glorious sunshine, massive thunderstorms, overnight gales of serious intensity. None of that got in the way of a good time however and it had been good to share some of our favorite spots with friends. Daughter Harriet and boyfriend Will form the replacement crew later today.
The area between the salt lake and the sea at the very southern end of Dugi Otok is made up of limestone cliffs and a limestone pavement. In an unusual display of 'public' art, visitors have built hundreds of cairns out of the limestone and sometimes decorated them with bits of driftwood and junk. There must be at least 500 and even though it doesn't photograph well its seriously impressive to see. Yes, of course, we (re) built one too.
For the last several days we have been cruising the Kornati Islands, one of the most remote spots in Europe. Fifty something islands, no ferries and no resident populations, just visiting yachts and occasional tripper boats. The islands themselves are Karst limestone, often frost-shattered and barren. A few wild sheep are all that remain of the agriculture that successfully destroyed the environment through over grazing.
Luckily there are several good restaurants to serve the yacht market and we have been working our way through some of them and enjoying some good seafood. Even though it’s September, there are lots of charter boats here and some of the anchorages are quite crowded. 90% of the charterers are German, with the occasional Scandinavian and the very occasional British charter. We’ve witnessed quite a few Bavarian singing nights, mostly after the two Brits have retired to their boat! There are a few privately owned boats (mostly Austrian and German) and a fair number of super-yachts cruising through here too although nowhere for them to stop even if they wanted to.
The sailing has been exceptional and we have been working the boat hard to successfully prove she is the fastest cruising boat in the Kornatis (despite the huge amount of extra baggage we are carrying around with us). The weather is now changing however and sunshine has given way to rain and electrical storms all around us.
Approaching Luka Telescicia National Park to moor for the night we were caught in the most violent rain storm we have ever seen. Despite full waterproofs we were soaked through by the time we moored up and escaped below and the rain was so intense that from the steering position at the stern of the boat I couldn’t identify Jan at the bow, all I could see was a vague shape in a red waterproof through a driving fog of rain. Needless to say two hours later the rain had stopped and we spent the next day exploring the salt lake and the cliffs of the park whilst our gear dried out in the sun. Settled weather has now returned.
After ten days of isolated cruising we have been driven into a marina on the island of Murter as we have run out of water (and the food situation is looking a bit scary too). So we now know we can go ten days without civilisation (or more if we cut down on the number of showers). Photos to follow when we get decent wifi connection.
Just back from four days of DIY and boat sorting (interspersed it's fair to say with some swimming and eating out). Like everywhere in Europe, Croatia is very hot at the moment and working below during the day was a big effort. At least the sea has warmed up dramatically since our last visit. We will be back at the end of August for some serious exploring.
The boat has now been decommissioned for a while and we have returned to the UK. The last week we sailed around Dugi Otok (the Long Island) with our daughters and then returned the boat to Ugljan. We are now back in the UK.
Croatia has been a delight (despite some dodgy weather). The people are welcoming and speak good English, the food is quite varied and well prepared and the landscapes are just stunning with beautifully clear seas. Liveaboard sailors complain about the cost of the keeping a boat in Croatia, and whilst its not cheap with overnight moorings costing about €20-24, the cost of living is generally much lower than the UK and the markets especially good value if you want to eat lots of really fresh and local vegetables. Marinas typically worked out at about €50 per night. German and Austrian sailors dominate the sailing scene, along with lots of charter boats from the major marinas along the mainland coast. We experienced lots of flat calms and gentle breezes and 30 knot days where we were well reefed down. We are lucky in having a fast boat that sails in 6-8 knots of breeze but we were surprised by the number of boats who just stick their engine on when speed drops anything below 5 knots.
Fo r the last five days we have been deep into the Croatian islands chain and out of all contact with the interweb. We have sailed from island to island, picking up mooring buoys in deserted bays and occasionally finding an open restaurant. Apart from a few German charterers we have been mostly alone; its still early season here and most of the yacht business is squeezed into July and August. We've had a few requests for more pictures so here's a selection.
Rab town is one of the great gems of the Northern Adriatic and we've enjoyed a couple of days exploring the medieval centre of this turreted town. Istrian, Turkish, Venetian and Croat buildings jostle together and the four towers of the town dominate the skyline, especially when approaching from the sea. Photos to follow.