Velo Luka and Gradina Bay Korcula

Rob and Jacky Black
Sun 1 Sep 2013 12:28
42 57.7 N 16 42.9 E
Vela Luka – Korcula, 29th – 31st August
Gradina Bay 3i/08 – 2/09
We left Vis after a fairly disturbed night having had rain and a thunder storm. However the skies were clear and there was little or no wind. We headed out of the long bay and turned SE for our passage to Korcula; there were very few boats around – it certainly seems that the end of August sees a dramatic drop in the number of visiting boats! Around 1000 we were shaken out of our complaisance when the engine stopped with no warning alarm! Fuel problems again! It took 2 hours to get it re-started having had the whole system apart because after changing the primary filter (which was filthy with bits and slime) it still would not go. So all the pipes had to be disconnected and blown through the secondary filter changed and then there was much hand pumping of fuel to lift it back through the system which worked and we had the engine on again at 12.15. In the meantime the genoa half unfurled, the auto helm– and the new fuel cell to power the electrics did a sterling job in keeping the boat heading in the right direction at about 2 knots with either one or other of us popping a head up to check for other vessels in between working on the engine! Needless to say we were very concerned about the fuel pollution and hope that we don’t have another case of fuel bug - the last time was in 2006 and we had to have the whole fuel system cleaned out!
As we closed the coast of Korkula the wind picked up and by the time we entered Vela Luka it was blowing a steady 15 knots from the west. We had decided to go for fuel and having managed to get onto the fuel berth, which was totally exposed to the wind, we found out that the mooring fees on the quay were most reasonable and added to that one of our sailing friends from the winter in Crete was also there so we decided to move around the corner and take a berth on the quay. The fees here were 180K – just 15K per metre plus another 100K for water, electricity and garbage We stayed for two nights and enjoyed looking around the town and even managed to get a laundry contact – the lady came and collected the bedding and towels on the following morning at 1000 and delivered them back at 1800 washed dried and folded! In the evening we went to a local Fish Festival which is held most Fridays during the tourist season – Jacky had found out about it from the tourist office. It was a low key event with stalls where BBQ squid, Octopus salad and delicious hot sugared dumplings were served at a very cheap price – 30K. In addition there was local wine to sample and a band playing Klapa style music. We took seats at a bar opposite the quay where this was all going on and enjoyed a most pleasant evening. We were joined by some German folk who were on a boat moored next to us Sonia and Ernst and they were able to give us some interesting information about bays to visit – they have been chartering in the area for several years!
Before leaving we washed the boat down and picked up some essential supplies as the next few days we would be anchoring. The last thing to check was the primary fuel filter again just to be certain that the 2 hours of motoring we had done before getting to Vela Luka had not incurred more sludge in the filter. This done we left to move to a bay just a couple of miles to the north – Gradina.
Unfortunately we soon had another nasty shock as yet again the engine stopped! This time we were in very restricted waters so we hurriedly unfurled some genoa and while Robert steered the boat jacky went to try and find out why! The plan was to get to a shallow bay just a couple of 110meters away and drop the anchor to investigate the problem. However jacky soon found out what was wrong! On checking that the fuel filter was tightened enough she realised her mistake – she had forgotten to turn the fuel supplies back on when doing her earlier check!! What an idiot eh?! Any way once she had pumped yet more fuel by hand through the system the engine started and we made it to Gradin where we eventually found a suitable place to drop the anchor and relax! We choose a spot at the eastern end of the bay just outside where a number of restaurant buoys are placed. We were joined by 2 other yachts later – (there were two already there on our arrival). Later 5 boats took mooring buoys and obviously ate at the restaurant. There were quite a few wasps around so we deployed our massive net over the whole of the cockpit to keep them at bay! This is certainly a pleasant anchorage although when the afternoon breeze gets up from the west it is a bit exposed. The sunsets were absolutely stunning!