Croatia: Trogier to Zadar

Esprit’s route in the Adriatic.

After saying goodbye to Reini and Lynne, we spent another two days at Trogier Marina before setting sail to go northwest up the Croatian coast. The weather continued to be wet and cold, proving that at 44 degree latitude north in the Adriatic Sea, summer comes later than our friends who were sailing in Greece and Turkey, were experiencing at 37 degrees north.

Leaving Trogier old town.

Anchored in Vinisce.

Vinisce waterfront.

The first three days provided little in the way of wind, which meant a lot of motoring with fairly average scenery on land of new developments. We stopped at Vinisce, Rogoznica and Razanj. Once we headed up the Luka canal, the scenery improved as we reached Sibenik.

Sailing past Sibenik.

We were now in a massive inland waterway that took us about 10 nm inland to Skradin, which is as far as Esprit could go before a low road bridge. Tickets from the National Parks allowed us to take a ferry another 3 nm into the Krka National Park to the Skradinski Buk waterfalls.

Esprit’s route on the vast waterway of the Luka canal.

Going under the road bridge to Skradin.

Skradin town.

One of the many swans that welcomed us.

With the rains we had over the previous two days, the waterfalls were in full flood and quite beautiful – it reminded us of a mini version of the Iguazu falls between Brazil and Argentina. Back  on Esprit, the wind picked up to 40 knots from the northeast and we spent an anxious night anchored off Skradin town on the Krka river.

Entrance into the Krka Park.

The travertine falls.

More falls.

More falls as we climb higher.

Water everywhere.

Walkways so close, you can touch the water.

At first light the following morning, we ducked downstream to Vrulje to get into the lee of the land. Charlie, a local fisherman came over to suggest we re-anchor further into the cove, as there was an even stronger westerly coming through that evening. The following day, we motored to Zaton village where the anchorage was too narrow for us, so we carried on to Sibenik, and found shelter in a bay south of the town.

Zaton village.

This was a good choice, as we were near a ships chandler where we bought a discharge pipe for the toilet to the holding tank, to replace a blocked pipe. Four hours later and a new passage cut through two bulkheads with a 55mm hole saw, the job was done. We settled down with celebratory drinks, as it was the 15th May, our third anniversary since sailing out of Sydney.

Back in Sibenik, the barrel vaulted cathedral.

We enjoyed Sibenik before motoring to Vodice, seven miles to the northwest. The sun came out at last and we explored the town to buy fruit and veg at the market and groceries, wine and beer at the Tommy hypermarket. The sunny period was short lived as it clouded over the next day, but with a nice 25 knot south easterly to take us 20 nm north to Hramina where we found shelter.

Leaving Sibenik – WW2 shelters for submarines.

The Venetian fortification at the entrance of the Luka canal.

Opposite it, the lighthouse.

What’s wrong with this picture? The new hotel next to the town of Vodice.

Hramina, like most of the towns further north, has a marina for the exclusive use of a charter company. The company at this marina for example, had more than 80 vessels, of which about half were Jeanneau SO 439 monohulls like Esprit, with also smaller and bigger Jeanneau’s. These were in the company of about 20 American Lagoon catamarans.

Lagoon of course, wins the prize for building floating camper vans that least resemble sailing vessels, often challenged by Leopard catamarans. However, the Hummer military combat vehicle aesthetic of Lagoon cats, tip the scales in their favour. Different strokes for different folks.

Hramina peninsula – the sunken Roman town of Colentum at top left.

Colentum partially visible.

Walking up Gradina hill – the church and cemetery below.

View from Gradina to Hramina marina.

View up to the islands.

Fresh calamari paella from the market.

After some good walks around Hramina, a strong south easterly took us swiftly to Zadar, a large city, 22 nm to the northwest. We will spend a few days here to get prices for a new anchor windlass, as the original one sounds as though it will kark it at any minute. So, rather than wait for that surprise and pull up the anchor and chain by hand, let’s be ready with a replacement.

We will keep you posted on developments.

Cheers for now.

Croatia: Dubrovnik to Split.

Due to very little wind, it was a 31 nm motor cruise from Montenegro to Cavtat in Croatia where we checked in with the friendly female harbour master and the police. This necessitated a quick trip to an ATM to draw cash to pay the 663 Kuna ($144) “Safety of Navigation” fees for 2019 and the 1,400 Kuna ($304) “Sojourn Tax Vignette” valid for 30 days. It therefore costs $10/day to sail in Croatia, before any other expenses.

Cavtat from the cemetery on the hill above the town.

Cavtat is a small and attractive town, 12 km southeast of Dubrovnik, built on the ruins of the ancient Greek settlement of Epidaurus. Two days later Reini and Lynne Adelbert from Cape Town flew in from Berlin to join us for a bit of R & R. The 28th April marked my 72nd birthday and we spent a pleasant day starting with coffees at the harbour, exploring Cavtat and finishing off with a BBQ on the boat.

Lynne & Reini on the Cavtat waterfront.

Kids playing on the statue of an old Cavtat luminary.

A local Mini – I owned a number of these beauties in SA!

The following day we caught a bus into Dubrovnik to explore the Old Town, which was bustling with people. The town has been restored since it was devastated in the 1991-2 war and is really worth a visit. With its breathtakingly beautiful streets, squares and buildings, the only downside are the exorbitant prices which take your breath away. After a pleasant walk about, we took the bus back to Cavtat.

The bridge into Dubrovnik old town.

Dubrovnik street scene.

A tragic war reminder on a Dubrovnik house.

A map of the old town – the black dots show the mortar and bomb hits.

Dubrovnik side alley.

Annie, Lynne and Reini on the Dubrovnik town square.

Visits to Zaton Bay, Ston and Kobas followed, before we anchored in Lumbarda for two nights, to bus into Korcula for a visit. Again, we were struck by the well maintained old town and were pleasantly surprised to find the local Asparagus festival happening on the town square. At the festival, young students offered savoury and sweet snacks free of charge, in exchange for a donation to the school.

Broce village on the way to Ston.

Lumbarda church and cemetery.

Lumbarda. The forgotten communist dream: A worker with the obligatory machine gun on his back.

At the entrance to Korcula old town.

Korcula town gate.

Kids following their teacher on a rope.

Marko Polo came from Korcula.

Walking around the town.

Interesting architecture.

The asparagus festival lunch.

Sailing out of Korcula.

A fast 34 nm sail to Vela Luka followed, ending in a robust rain storm which must have worried our guests, before we tied up to a town mooring. Two quiet nights at Duboka Vela followed before we wrapped up Reini and Lynne’s visit at Trogier Marina, 25 km west of Split. They kindly helped us clean the boat and do the laundry, before they flew back to Berlin on the 8th May. The weather could have been better during their visit, but they confirmed that they enjoyed Croatia and their sailing experience.

We now continue our sail north through the Croatian islands and will report again in due course.

Cheers for now.