Apropos our previous post on Venice, an American friend sent me an article from the Washington Post about “The age of the overtourist”. It included examples of how to ruin a perfectly beautiful city for everyone. She concluded: “These have to be some of the saddest photographs of Venice I’ve ever seen”. I second that Trena!
Unlike the lack of wind while crossing to Venice, the Scirocco from the south kicked in for our return journey to Umag in Hrvatska, as the Croatians call their country. We had an exciting 50 nm sail averaging 8-9 knots in a 20 knot wind, getting us to Umag in a record time, but salt encrusted.
Having checked in at customs and immigration and paying another AUD 300 for a 21 day cruising permit, we enjoyed relaxed sailing south to Rovinj and Pula. In Pula we collected a new anchor windlass for AUD 1,451 which the Quick agent had ordered for us, 10 days earlier from Italy..
Two days of good sailing in a following wind took us first to Losinj island where we anchored in Artatori bay with 23 other yachts and then to Iz island where we anchored in Soline Bay with a yacht from Austria. The summer charter fleets were out in force and we often saw up to 50 yachts on the water around us, mostly with crews from Germany and Italy.
Our next stop was Zut for two days. After Zut followed Kaprije island, and then we spent two days in the pleasant town of Primosten, waiting for the southerly Scirocco to abate.
When the wind turned to the northerly Bora, we had two days of excellent downwind sailing with the pole out, overnighting at Stari Star, a small cove off Hvar and Tri Luke on Korcula island.
A few more anchorages followed and on the 27th June we were back in beautiful Cavtat, where we first checked into Croatia on the 25th April. It was now much warmer and busier, but then the Bora from the north punished us for three days with winds of up to 45 knots, while at anchor in Cavtat – not pleasant. When the wind settled down, we stocked up with provisions and waited until Tuesday the 2nd of July for the forecasted 15 knot northerly to take us on the 105 nm overnight crossing to Bari in Italy.
In conclusion: Our cruise through the islands of Croatia (Hrvatska), which have been populated since the time of Ancient Greece (between 3500 BC and 2500 BC), has been a pleasant but expensive experience. According to Wikipedia, the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea, has 718 islands, 389 islets and 78 reefs, making the Croatian archipelago the largest in the Adriatic Sea. Sailing at night is not recommended, as not many of the islets and reefs are marked!
Of the 718 islands, only 47 are inhabited in the sense that at least one person resides on that island. Some sources indicate 67 inhabited islands, which is the number of islands that have a settlement on them, but 20 of these islands have lost all of their population as a result of the population decline occurring throughout the Croatian islands, due to insufficient economic activity. A number of young people working in restaurants have told us that the younger generation is leaving Croatia for economic or political reasons – a familiar story in today’s world.
The main industries on the islands are agriculture, fishing and tourism. The islands’ agriculture is primarily devoted to viticulture and olive growing. The local economy is relatively underdeveloped and that is possibly the reason why the island people jump at the opportunity to charge yachties for anchoring in their bays on top of the government cruising permit and other sailing levies.
We have found the people and officials very friendly, but I am afraid the cruising yachtsmen and women are now moving to Greece and Turkey, because Croatia has become too expensive.
Our next post will be from Italy.
Cheers for now.