ZADAR, CROATIA, September 44.07.10n 15.13.70e
23.8: we left Venice for Umag, Croatia, and checked in at immigration, then tied up to a buoy, to await Gilbert and Pippa’s arrival by bus from Ljubljana on 25th. They arrived early, but luckily we were there to meet them. After a look around town, we retired to the boat for a swim, a catch up and a pleasant evening. As it was flat calm the next morning we motored 5 miles down the coast to Luka Dalja, anchored near a monastery and quiet beach for a swim. The next day we gave the young a good sail to Rovinj some 15 miles further down the coast. This is another picturesque walled village on an island, with a large harbour full of fishing boats and a huge church on the top of the hill with the sarcophagus of St Euphaemia, who had been tossed to the lions in the arena, but was not eaten. We had a great few days together, catching up on stories of their life in Hong Kong.
28.8: After a swim and lunch ashore at Rovinj, Pippa left by bus from Rovinj for Bled, to watch her twinsister Jo row in the World Champs. Gil stayed with us another 2 days, we sailed together south and he took a bus to Bled from Pula on 30.8. We later heard that Jo won a bronze at the champs, and in so doing qualified her 8 for the London Olympics.
30.8: Marie and Michael Hurley arrived just before Gil left, so they had a quick catch up. We took their bags aboard and they settled in, and then we walked around Pula’s 2,000 year old amphitheatre and the triumphal arches, and had pizzas ashore. The next day we sailed south to Medulin, and had another walk ashore. 1.9: Olivia was in NZ for 10 days, for her friend Jo’s wedding, stayed a couple of nights with Rory and Joanie, and then went to Singapore for 3 days. We sailed south with Marie and Michael to Artaturi, then Zapuntel, and Veli Rat, then anchored in Hramina, where we had a lovely Croatian fish meal, and Roland went to see 2 nearby boatyards, one of which was only 200 years old. The weather was hot, and we swam 2 or 3 times a day, stopping at Jezero, Primosten, and Rogoznica, ending up their visit with a stop in Trogir, our favourite walled city island, with huge open-air market.
Consie’s mother had 4 cardiac arrests and another long stay in hospital in Sydney, which made us somewhat distracted over the next month, wondering whether C should go to Sydney and help her sisters with the hospital visits. She is now making a slow recovery, so C will probably be visiting on her way back to NZ in early November.
9.9: Roland bussed to another boatyard near Trogir, for a look-see, and picked up Barbara and Budgie at the airport. They just had time to say goodbye to Marie and Michael, who left Trogir by ferry for Split. After checking the Budgies in at the Harbourmaster’s office we motored across the bay to a small cove for a swim and a peaceful night’s sleep. Next day we motored out to Solta island, where at Sesula, we had an RCC meet with 7 other boats and 23 people ashore for a lamb peka dinner. Our engine has been diagnosed as low on power and in need of an overhaul, so we have made use of the wind most days, with some gentle sails and some stronger. We have gradually moved north to Maslinica, Rogoznica, Primosten (where we were driven crazy by a night club 50 yards away until 3 am), Drvenik, and Sibenik.This city dates back to 1066, where it was first a fortress guarding the mouth of the Krka river. It has passed through Venetian and Turkish hands and has more than 20 churches to show for it. We had some wonderful meals ashore of squid, tuna and local dishes. Roland looked at a boatyard near Sibenik for winter storage, and we bought fresh mussels in the Krka river, before sailing north to Prvic and on to Murter island, where at Hramina we had an amazing dinner at the Tic Tac restaurant, with a dozen fish and seafood starters, including sea urchin! This restaurant was listed as one of the top 20 restaurants in Croatia’s Gourmet Guide. From Hramina we sailed further north, to Veli Luka, and Prolaz Mali Zdrelac, where we had a visit from Customs and Immigration. We had a sudden storm, but had to get to Zadar, where the Budgies were catching a bus to Trogir on 20.9.
Zadar is another interesting city, once a walled island, settled in 9th century BC, it has a huge Roman forum, and many Roman and Byzantine churches and ruins. We could see signs that the Byzantine church had ‘recycled’ columns from the Roman churches to reinforce their foundations.
Nowadays there is the most amazing Sea Organ on the waterfront of Zadar: a series of underwater pipes which come up through the waterfront promenade, making the most fantastic sounds from the motions of the waves, similar to the songs of Whales.
We are about to spend a few days taking it easy at a nearby bay before picking up our friends Annette and David on 23.9 and we will start working our way south again. We still have not confirmed where we are to leave Restless this winter, but are just waiting on advice on engine repair/ replacement options before we confirm one, and plan to slip for the season about 17 October, before we return to NZ for a few months.