Traveling to Dubrovnik

Dick and Irene Craig
Sat 6 Jun 2009 16:16

The cove at Vodenjak turned out not to be quite the paradise it first appeared. The water was clear and blue and became very shallow near to the reef but when we arrived, the wind felt cold so we deferred a swim until the morrow. This invariably is a recipe for disaster.

Once again, in the early hours of the morning, the wind increased in strength and also in direction. Normally, this would not cause a problem but this morning, with the wind already blowing 13knots at 4am, we were bobbing at the extreme end of the chain which we had put out the previous evening. The depth gauge displayed that the water level had dropped from 7.7 metres to 3.5 metres. There was still plenty of water beneath the boat but with stronger wind forecast for later, I was anxious to move.

Dick was content to stay in bed so I sat up reading a book and watching the depth gauge and monitoring the wind speed.

We eventually left the anchorage at 7.45, by which time, it had started to rain. We raised the sails and by tacking a few times, managed to sail all of the 35 miles to Potkucina, off the island of Kakan. The rain, which was following us, stayed with us for the duration of the passage, for the rest of the day and throughout the night.

Although we had a great sail, wrapped up in our foul weather clothes, the weather was more reminiscent of the Solent than Croatia so, as a mid morning snack, we comforted ourselves with some chocolate treats, that I had baked yesterday. Then, because it was so cold and wet, I made some pizza dough en-route and we ate freshly cooked, hot pizza for lunch, on arrival.

As we approached Kakan, we saw an incredible number of sailing boats making the most of the wind. Invariably, we see very few pleasure boats while we are making passage but being only just north-west of Split, this area is probably frequented by a good many charter boats.

The next morning we set off again in the rain, towards Rogoznica and it rained all the way to the next anchorage. However, the wind was with us and we also sailed all the way to our destination with the true wind registering up to 22knots on a close haul.

The rain stopped just long enough for us to barbecue some steaks for supper and then it continued falling torrentially, all through the night. It was still raining when I got up next morning and didn’t stop before late morning.

 The wind increased to 30 knots during the evening and it wasn’t until 3.30am, when it had finally dropped to around 15 knots, that the captain eventually went to bed.

The work-surface was very wet when I went into the galley next morning and water was dripping from the corner of one of the ceiling panels. On investigation, it looks as if there is a leak on the fly-bridge, in the vicinity of the compass. When things dry out a little, we can investigate further.

The pretty village of Rogoznica, dating back to the early 16th century, is built on a small island, connected to the mainland, by a causeway, during the last century.

After lunch we made passage to Drvenik, an island 3miles by 2miles, populated by farmers and fisherman. The sky was still full of cloud and although not prolonged, it did rain several times during the 13 mile journey. On arrival, we anchored inside the breakwater, not far from the ferry berth. The ferry to Split calls here twice a day, about 7.30 each evening returning later to berth overnight.

The wind didn’t reach 15knots overnight, though it was close. We were relieved, because the scope was a bit tight but mainly because after the strong night-time winds of late, we had suffered a bit from sleep deprivation.

The sun was shining when we left the picturesque, un-spoilt harbour next morning and sailed, with the parasailor, achieving 12 knots on a broad reach, with the wind blowing force 5 and 6, to the Pakleni islands, very popular with naturists, some 24miles from Drvenik.

We dropped our anchor about 10metres from the beach at Vinogradisce, on the island of Sveti Klement. This spot is enchanting, blue, transparent sea with a sand bottom, surrounded on 3 sides by small, green, wooded slopes. The down side is the number of other boats here, though it is probably much worse later in the summer, when there would be a need to take lines ashore, to stop the boat swinging. Of the 23 boats in this bay, only two of us have raised an anchor ball.

A fishing boat arrived soon after lunch and commenced cleaning the catch, throwing overboard the rubbish, which was soon demolished by the gulls. It seemed so incongruous in such a pretty spot, populated by bathers.

Surprisingly, as most of the boats at anchor were charter boats, only a few departed for the night. Having four restaurants ashore obviously helped to encourage visitors to stay. At least they could eat all of their meals in the restaurants and didn’t have to cater on board, if this was their preference.

Next morning, as I was about to take a swim before breakfast, a couple of boats that were at anchor nearby, left their anchorage. I postponed my swim while we moved to a better position and re-anchored.

As the wind was quite strong and we would be traveling windward, along with a dozen other boats, we spent a second night at Vinogradisce, planning to download new GRIB files, to check the weather, in the morning.

A ferry boat was at anchor in the bay next morning, with a line ashore. How it had managed to weave its way around all the boats at anchor, in this part of the bay, was to be commended.

Gradually, during the morning all of the boats departed, with the exception of 3 sailing boats and the ferry. A small day boat arrived, collected all the refuse and left. Two large fly-bridge motor cruisers arrived. One dropped an anchor and took a line ashore, the other parked about 20 metres away from us.

No sooner had I returned from a swim when the captain told me that the wind had changed 45 degrees and we were off to a new bay on another island, some 30 plus miles away.

We lifted the anchor and made way out of the bay. The wind hadn’t changed direction sufficiently for us to sail so we motored, wind over tide. With the wind blowing at around 20º to starboard, we changed the plan and traveled just 14 miles to Lovisce, an inlet on the north coast of the small island of Scedro.

As we made passage, with the large island of Hvar on our portside, we were impressed by the endeavours which would have been necessary, for the local farmers to cultivate the almost vertical fields

We are making passage south east towards Dubrovnik, which we anticipate will take 2 days, traveling around 35 miles per day. However, the outlook is poor until Monday, with a depression from the west bringing strong winds, which are forecast to blow from the south east, bringing rain and thunder storms.

That night we ate a sumptuous meal at Porat Grill, a bistro located on the south east corner, at the end of the inlet. A three course meal with wine cost half the price of something similar, at any of the restaurants at the last harbour of Vinogradisce. The proprietor also tended his olive grove of 150 trees, producing high quality olive oil, also available for purchase.

We spent a very peaceful night at Lovisce, well protected from the wind and the swell. The next morning was cloudy and from the comfort of the boat, we could see the white horses outside the bay.

Below: Fishing boat nearby, cleaning fish...Near vertical fields on the slopes of Hvar