HRAMINA, CROATIA, October 2011 43.90.58n 15.35.40e
As advised in our last webdiary, our friends Annette and David arrived in Zadar, another Croatian walled city, settled in 900BC. As well as the usual ruins, Zadar has a Sea Organ, built into the sea-wall in 2005. A series of underwater pipes allow the sea to produce an eerie sound through the waterfront promenade. After they arrived, we headed west through the islands, stopping at many bays and islands to swim and snorkel. To our surprise, on entering a secluded bay called Magrovica, we came across some Canadian friends on a Halberg Rassey called ‘Tao’ that we had last seen in Scotland. Needless to say, it was a convivial get-together. We then worked our way south through the Kornati islands, where at the main settlement we walked to the top of one of the rock-covered hills, then back down to the tiny village of Vrulje for a delightful fresh fish lunch. We also stopped at Opat, Stupica at Zirje island, Primosten, Rogoznica, Drvenik Veli, Krknjas, Necujam, places we had been to before, and ending in Trogir a day before planned, as another low-pressure system arrived, bringing ominous tones of a change in the weather system. Annette and David departed back to England after a great 2 weeks on board, although our sails during their visit had been rather tame, we all had a great time together and were sorry to see them leave. We then had 4 days to ourselves, which allowed us to do some maintenance and winter preparation before Roland’s brother arrived.
Oliver and his wife Jane arrived in Trogir after taking a train down from Zagreb. They were our last visitors on board for the summer, and we had a couple of lovely sunny days together and swam a few times, but suddenly the weather changed from summer to winter, from mid-30s to mid-20s and down to 5’C at night. We were booked to haul-out in Hramina on Murter island on 17 October, so headed north, stopping at our favourite anchorages at Rogoznica, and Primosten. We left Primosten after lunch one day, and headed into a strong breeze, which turned into a Bora, with 20 to 38 kts in bullets on the nose all the way to Hramina. We had planned to anchor in a luka (bay) nearby, but with the wind predicted to continue for the next 48 hours, we decided to continue, and were greatly relieved to tie up in the shelter of the marina. This strong wind continued for the next two days, and we were lucky that it died as we headed towards the travelhoist to be lifted out. We then had a short break of only a matter of an hour, which allowed us to get our sails down and fold them. The wind then returned from the opposite direction at a force which would definitely not have allowed any lowering of sails, and had not abated when we left the boat for the winter 2 days later. We were exceptionally lucky.
We knew our Perkins engine was losing compression on one cylinder, but over the last couple of months it had been getting worse, and the diagnosis from all engineers was that it had to come out and the cylinders re-bored. The cost of doing that against the cost of a new one, made us decide it was time to replace it, as it has done 6,500 hours over the past 11 years. We have decided to have a new Yanmar installed over the next few months, whilst we are away, but are very apprehensive as we would like to be there to supervise.
We flew from Zadar to London on 19th October, had a quick visit with Pip’s parents in London, who dropped us off at the airport to catch our flight to Hong Kong. In Hong Kong we stayed with Pippa and Gilbert, spent time with Olivia and James, and caught up with many friends and family. Roland spent some time helping James with the restoration of ‘Trident’ helped him to take off the old cabintop and to fibreglass down a new one. Gilbert and Pippa are going to England for Christmas, and we will be in the Bay of Islands.
We are due to leave Hong Kong for New Zealand on 8 November, and Consie will fly on to Sydney to see her mother, sisters, and family. Grandmama Blaauw has at last recovered enough from openheart surgery she had some months ago, to be able to go home to her own apartment. She must know more about Sydney hospitals than most people want to know.
We are looking forward to a warm dry summer in New Zealand, which by all accounts is becoming more positive after the Rugby World Cup success. Our current plan is to return to the boat before the end of April to resume Croatian waters, before heading down to Greece and through to Turkey by the end of next summer.