Southward Bound and Croatian Goodbyes

Sun 13 Sep 2015 05:56
Rob and Liliane arrived aboard finding us in the vast complex of the
Dalmacija Marina and bringing with them as usual boxes of delicious Belgian
chocolates. It was good to catch up over supper in one of the marina's
Next morning we woke to sunny skies but a dead calm so after topping up our
fuel tanks we motored south t0 the tiny island town of Tribunj. We had
visited Tribunj earlier in the season but we wanted to show Rob and Liliane
this charming little place. Our welcome back in the marina there was
somewhat dampened by a downpour of biblical proportions. We escaped to
explore the town and dine ashore but the rain continued for most of the
night, at least Pamarzi got a good fresh water wash down.
High winds and another rain storm as we woke next morning but the forecast
was for quiet conditions and sure enough by the time breakfast was over the
winds had eased and we set off for the short trip to Sibenik . The sky
remained overcast and the breeze became lighter as we motor sailed past the
massive fort of Sv Nikola dominating the entrance to the narrow channel
known as Kanal Sv Ante that leads to the lagoon where the town is situated.
We again headed past the town and up to Marina Mandalina where we were
allocated the exact same side on berth we had moored to on our previous
visit. No fewer than three marineros taking our lines and with great
efficiency set our forward, aft and spring lines for us! The town of Sibenik
was celebrating its one thousand year history and when we arrived by water
taxi that evening the place was abuzz with folk dressed in costumes of old,
some bearing arms for there were to be displays and Sealed Knot style
re-enactments throughout the city f0r the next three days. Sibenik one of
the few Croatian cities that was built in a uniquely Croatian style, where
most of the other towns and cities have considerable Greek, Roman, Venetian
and even Austro-Hungarian influences. We watched some of the displays in the
ancient square bordered on one side by the magnificent barrel roofed
cathedral of Sv Jakova, from whose walls the faces of the seventy one
citizens who would not contribute towards the cost of the building (started
in 1433) stare down on us. I was collared by a television film crew for a
short interview to give a visitors take of the events. Not able to get a
table at our favourite restaurant, Pelegrini we settled for pizzas which
were actually rather good, in a quay side establishment before taking the
water taxi back to Pamarzi. The boatman now our friend takes us directly
back to our berth before taking any remaining passengers to the water taxi
quay. Lynn and Liliane went into town the following day to explore and shop
whilst Rob and I washed the boat down and took to our Kindles in the
sunshine on the afterdeck. On checking my emails later in the afternoon I
found one from Alan and Shirley Cook of Oyster 46 Solway Mist saying that
they had seen Pamarzi and that they were moored a few pontoons down from us
and inviting us over for a chat. I had a pleasant hour with them exchanging
sailing plans and continuing our email discussions regarding the
specification for their new boat which like Pamarzi is an Oyster 575. Very
nice people and I do hope we see them again so that Lynn can meet them as
well. Pelegrini that evening was as good as ever and Rob and Liliane were as
delighted with the food, the service, the setting and the ambiance as we
are. None of us could resist having one of their signature dishes, slow
cooked (six hours plus) beef cheek for our main course and it was delicious
but so to were the mussels in a rich creamy sauce that preceded it or the
lemon tart that followed it. It was four mildly, pleasantly; inebriated
sailors with sated appetites that were water taxied back to their yacht that
evening to sleep soundly.
The slightly cooler night air that makes sleeping so comfortable gives us
the first hint that even here where the days are still in the high twenties
that autumn approaches. There is heavy dew on deck next morning as we sail
from Sibenik and head for Vinišće. A pleasant sail in light airs and we drop
the hook in the bay around 15.30 in pretty much the same spot as our first
visit here two months ago. The young restaurant owner is across to see us
almost as soon as the anchor is down to welcome us and let us know that he
has two freshly caught dentrex, a really delicious fish with superb white
flesh that lives primarily on squid, that he will grill for our supper. We
take the tender ashore around 19.30 where mine host greets us at the
quayside, helping the ladies ashore and showing us to our waterside table
where the pretty, ever smiling waitress we met on our earlier visit beams
her welcome. The magnificent fish are brought to the table grilled, crisply
golden skin, gaping jaws displaying razor like teeth accompanied by mangold
(a type of spinach) and potatoes. I take the fish apart and we eat the
delicious white meat with goodly quantities of the delicate local red well
chilled. More goodbyes as we clamber back in the tender wondering if and
when we will revisit this little haven.
Southwards again next day as we sail the forty miles or so to Uvala Luka on
Otok Brač where we will dine at Pipo's secret little restaurant nestling at
the far end of a complex group of bays and inlets. We take a mooring buoy
here and swim in the gin clear water. Pipo's restaurant built of the same
Brač white stone as the White House, although in a somewhat more rustic
style, surrounded by his garden growing tomatoes, herbs and peppers, the
terrace where we eat roofed with a gigantic grape vine. All the cooking here
done over logs on the huge stone oven, whilst we wait for our steaks we
learn that amongst others of their ilk Roman Abramovitch and Bernie
Ecclestone are clients. Needless to say the steaks are delicious.
We wake to gusty conditions, Pamarzi swinging around her mooring buoy like
an exotic dancer around her pole but we set off expecting some good sailing.
However once out into open water someone switches the fan off and it is in a
dead calm that we round the southern tip of Brač and head northward and
across the Havarski Kanal to Otok Hvar and the town of Hvar on the island's
east coast. Hvar, known as the St Tropez of the Dalmatian coast, is buzzing
with activity as usual. The small harbour a melee of yachts, motor boats,
day tripper boats, water taxis and fishing smacks all trying to find a place
to moor and adding to the confusion in comes a ferry causing all and sundry
to bounce an bob even more aggressively. This time we are unlucky for there
are no place on the town quay so we motor across to the island of St
Klements and take a berth at the ACI Marina in Palmizana. Liliane has not
been to Hvar before so once boat jobs are done she and Lynn take a taxi boat
across the two mile stretch of water between the islands for an evening of
exploring and shopping in Hvar. Rob and I relax on board, later walking the
half mile to the west side of the island to dine in comfort at restaurant
Zoli on sea bass as the sun sets casting a pink light across the whole bay.
Boats start leaving the marina around eight next morning; we breakfast and
cast off an hour or so later into a fresh north easterly breeze and with
main and genoa set we quickly catch up with all the early leavers before
rounding the top of the island chain and heading further west to the island
of Vis. Once round the 'corner' it's a gentle downwind sail to the
delightful unspoilt town of Vis where we med moor to the town quay.
This most westerly of the Dalmatian islands has been occupied for thousands
of years and until 1989 it was off limits to visitors because of its
military importance to the Yugoslavian government. The island people
continued their viniculture and fishing undisturbed by the rest of the
world. The ornate cream stone buildings that make up the town of Vis are
stunning despite the fact that many are gently crumbling away which seems to
only add to their charm.
We slip our lines next morning for the forty six mile sail to Otok Korčula.
We had a pleasant downwind sail and arrived at the marina adjacent to
Korčula old town around 16.00 and after the usual mooring tasks were
completed we sat in the cockpit enjoying a beer and watching other sailors
mooring in the cross wind. This is one of yachtings quirky pleasures. I mean
can you imagine suggesting to your wife that you drive to the supermarket
carpark with a couple of deck chairs some beers and a bottle of champagne
and sit for a couple of hours watching others park their cars! An elderly
Amel yacht came in on our starboard side crewed by half a dozen obese
German chaps, their tanned bellies hiding the belts that held up their
shorts, after a bit of a tussle with ropes and mooring lines they got their
boat settled just in time for the arrival on their starboard side of a
rather flashy motor boat that with a lot of noise from its bow and stern
thrusters managed to position itself almost correctly but unfortunately a
gust of wind brought it in to close contact with the German boat. On the
motor boat's foredeck a girl with sunglasses larger than the skimpy bikini
she wore paraded up and down with a boat hook, occasionally thrusting it
ineffectually at the German boat as if trying to shoo it away. The six heavy
weight Germans lined their side deck gazing up at this Aphrodite attempting
to suck in and flex their excessive flesh whilst pushing off their neighbour
with not a word of complaint as she stabbed and jabbed at their boat. We
delighted in showing Rob and Liliane around this truly stunning old town. We
dined that evening at Filippi another favourite restaurant and walked back
to Pamarzi through the town square pausing to listen to a wonderful piano
recital and beyond the main gate stopping again to listen to a talented
guitar trio.
A road trip next day our hired Smart car taking us around this heavily
wooded island with stops to sample local wines in the valleys between the
ancient terraced slopes. Back to Korčula town surrounded by vineyards and
towering cypress trees and another wonderful evening in this ancient citadel
of stone and creativity. We wander the narrow streets bordered by bijou
stores of Croatian originality in the soft night air, chancing upon squares
and logia where superbly talented musicians thrill us with their music that
reverberates amongst the soft carved stone of this magical city whose
battlements have held back the elements and the enemies for a thousand
years. A fitting end to our season cruising Croatia for tomorrow we sail for
Puligia, Italy.