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ON TO GREECE—CORFU HERE WE COME

April 19th, 2010 No comments

We made a final visit to the walled City of Dubrovnik yesterday to people watch in a café and then have dinner.

Dubrovnik Cafe Scene

Dubrovnik Cafe Scene

Dubrovnik, like every other town we have visited in Croatia this spring, is very laid back in the off season.  But it gave Carol a chance to wear her gold ballet slippers–no boat fraus on Destiny. 

OK, so they are Dr.l Scholls

OK, so they are Dr. Scholls

The weather was sunny during the day, but overcast by late afternoon and threatening rain as we made our way back to the boat.  We were feeling a little less waterlogged until we awoke to heavy rain clouds—and fog this morning.  Jolie had to wear her pink slicker to go ashore for her morning walk.

Jolie walking in the rain

Jolie walking in the rain

By this time tomorrow we hope to be on our way to Corfu which is an overnight passage of just over 200 NM.  The forecast is for NW winds in the 10-15 kt. range which should be favorable for this passage which takes us south on a heading of about 161 true past the coasts of Montenegro and Albania to the island of Corfu off the northern Greek coast.  At our average speed of 6 kts. (which we hope will be mostly under sail) we should arrive at our destination by late afternoon on Wednesday.  We are docked next to our friends on Glass Slipper and Excalibur who will be heading for Corfu at the same time–and it is still raining.

Destiny, Glass Slipper & Excalibur prepare for passage to Corfu

Destiny, Glass Slipper & Excalibur prepare for passage to Corfu

We have had great internet connections in both Italy and Croatia and will be “off line” for a few days while we check our alternatives in Greece.  Corfu here we come!

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WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS. . .AND POURS!

April 16th, 2010 1 comment

Enough already.  It has been raining—no wrong word—pouring rain for the past four days.  It is very much like our first week on Destiny in Marblehead Harbor when Carol refused to leave the boat until the weather improved—but it didn’t for four days until she couldn’t take it anymore and left long enough for a Cosmopolitan for lunch at the Dolphin Yacht Club and a movie matinee of “Sex in the City”.  By the time we returned to Destiny that evening the weather had cleared.

Unfortunately, in Croatia is there are no decent Cosmos or theaters to escape to when anchored off a little town that is blessed with two churches but not much else as was recently the case in Lumbarda on the island of Korcula.

Another rainy day--Lumbarda

Another rainy day--Lumbarda

Our predicament was made all the worse when the Acer computer upon which we rely for weather, as well as staying in touch with the world, stopped working—just would not start.  Inexplicably, when plugged in on shore it came to life.  The tech who turned it on said “magic dust”—that works for us.  It did make us more conscious of how important it is to keep it dry and secure on board.   And there will be regular backups from now on.  Carol can’t bear the thought of losing any of her thousands of pictures.

We had a miserable day of 30 kt. winds on the nose on our way between the islands of  Hvar to Korcula several days ago.  After making it to the lee of Korcula we debated whether to stop in a protected anchorage or continue around the end of the island to the town of Korcula.  We made it as far as Lumbarda, a small town just south of Korcula.

Slogging our way to Korcula

Slogging our way to Korcula

Korcula is a very sleepy town this time of year.  The many outdoor restaurants that line the town wall overlooking the channel that separates Korcula from the mainland are just beginning to stir—lots of cleaning but no cooking.  Carol has decided that Korcula is to mainland Croatia what Martha’s Vineyard is to Cape Cod—a short ferry ride away.  While Hvar, on the other hand, is like Nantucket—just far enough from the mainland to be a challenge, and very special as a result.

Korcula in the Rain

Korcula in the Rain

The last day we have been at the ACI Marina in Dubrovnik where we received a delivery of parts from the US to repair our generator which has been periodically giving us trouble.  It seems that when we fix one thing, something else breaks—did we mention that “when it rains, it pours” both literally and figuratively?  The good news is that our shipment arrived in five days rather than two weeks as was the case last July when we needed to replace part of the transmission shortly after we arrived in Croatia.  Kent has had his head in the engine compartment for two days, and with any luck we’ll be ready to head for Greece when the weather window arrives for that passage.  Repairs are a part of life on board, and in this case it included sail repairs to the genoa, which should be done later today.

Kent and his generator

Kent and his generator

The thing about spring weather in Croatia is that the patterns are large and move VERY slowly.  In the fall, the weather came through with a vengeance but was gone in a flash.  Spring is a different story—day after day of torrential rain, with not a glimpse of sun.  We and everything on the boat seems waterlogged at this point—even Jolie, who good trooper that she is slogs through the water puddles with abandon thinking how lucky she is to be a dog—even in Croatia.

Jolie enjoys a rare sunny day in Solta

Jolie enjoys a rare sunny day in Solta

Jolie gets a Trim

Jolie gets a Trim

Just when you think you can’t stand one more day of rain, there is a brief break in the weather and a glorious sunset like the one last night that turned the river outside the marina pink and gold.

Twilight ACI Marina Dubrovnik

Twilight ACI Marina Dubrovnik

River Sunset

River Sunset

Of course, today it is raining again.  A universal truth:  April showers bring May flowers in Marblehead and Paris, but in Croatia the flowers also come in April. 

Wisteria in Bloom

Wisteria in Bloom

Hopefully, Greece will be dry and sunny and the flowers will already be in bloom when we arrive in Corfu in a few days.

Categories: Croatia, Europe Tags:

TROGIR, CROATIA

April 7th, 2010 No comments

Heading south to Dubrovnik where we will depart for Corfu, there is a tendency to want to revisit places that we have already been.  It is comforting to know where the best restaurant is, or the post office, or the local Konzum (Croatian’s largest supermarket chain). 

After leaving Primosten, we headed south and east in the general direction of Split where Excalibur and Glass Slipper had headed, but decided that it would be fun to visit the town of Trogir just west of Split. 

Approaching Trogir

Approaching Trogir

Trogir is located on the mainland coast, although the town is officially on an island connected by small bridges.  We traveled around the Old Town by dinghy passing under bridges so low that we had to duck our heads.

When I say "low" I mean low

When I say "low" I mean low

In many respects it is a mini-version of Split with a palm tree lined quay dotted with trendy cafes and restaurants.  What is doesn’t have is the commercial traffic, especially ferries that cause Split Harbor to be less than tranquil.

View of Quay from Castle Rampart

View of Quay from Castle Rampart

Instead of tying up at the quay (for a mere 30 kuna per meter—about $60 US) we opted for the cheaper and less busy option of anchoring just off the town and traveling by dinghy to visit the sites which include an impressive castle.

Castle at Trogir

Castle at Trogir

View of Destiny at Anchor from Castle

View of Destiny at Anchor from Castle

Trogir is connected to a larger island, Otok Ciovo by a bridge as well.  The bridge doesn’t open for boat traffic and you have to approach the town by either west or east.

Carol & Jolie in Trogir

Carol & Jolie by Trogir bridge

The area is densely populated, as is prevalent in this area of the coastline—Split is the largest city in Croatia located on the Adriatic.

After touring the town, we sat under an umbrella along the quay for a late afternoon drink while Jolie snoozed in her bag. 

Jolie nap time

Jolie nap time

Seeing new places never gets old.  We will have fond memories of Destiny anchored off this lovely Croatian town.

Destiny at Trogir

Destiny at Trogir

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THE THREE AMIGOS

April 6th, 2010 No comments

After wintering at Marina Dalmacija in Sukosan and launching within days of one another, the three Caribbean 1500 veteran boats, Excalibur, Glass Slipper and Destiny rendezvoused once again in Primosten, Croatia.

Excalibur, Destiny & Glass Slipper

Excalibur, Destiny & Glass Slipper

We are all heading to Greece and Turkey this season, although John and Cinde on Glass Slipper anticipate returning to the Caribbean this fall with the Atlantic Crossing Rally.  Jorge and Isabel on Excalibur are likely to stay another year or more in the Med and Destiny—well who knows.

Gangs all Here

Gangs all Here

Its great to spend time with friends along the way and make new ones as well.

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EASTER SUNDAY IN DALMACIJA

April 4th, 2010 1 comment

After a day long sail from Sukosan on Saturday we arrived at Primosten about 4:30 p.m. without a main engine.  It is a long story and not one we want to dwell on.  Suffice it to say we managed to get docked with some assistance from the local dock attendant and hunkered down for the expected high winds that were forecast overnight.

Sukosan Sunset

Primosten Sunset

Easter Sunday started out sunny with winds at 20+kts. early morning and increasing to a steady 28 kts. gusting to over thirty by mid-day.  The harbor had white caps and a lone wind surfer was whizzing back and forth in an area where during the season moorings are filled with boats.  It is still very early in the boating season and Primosten is very quiet.  Many of the restaurants aren’t yet open, but the ones that are have Carol’s favorite octopus salad, so the season has officially begun for her.

Windsurfing in Primosten

Windsurfing in Primosten

We went to the local church which sits on a hill overlooking the city for Easter Mass.  Croatia is reportedly one of the most devout Catholic countries in the Med and from the numbers of people at church, we can believe.  We were happy we arrived early as it was standing room only and at least 75 people were gathered outside listening to the service on speakers.  Although we understood little of the service, “alleluia”, “hosanna” and “amen” are the same in English and Croatian and the music which included a choir made us feel right at home despite the language difference.

Primosten Church and Bell Tower

Primosten Church and Bell Tower

Mid-afternoon with the skies dark and the wind howling several of the boats that were docked near us took off to sail the 30 kt. plus winds to their next destination.  The hearty Slovenian sailors making up the crew were happy with the strong winds even after being up singing in their cockpit at 4 a.m. until Kent asked them to kindly “knock it off.”

Slovenians are Off

Slovenians are Off

Easter is one of the biggest holidays on the Croatian calendar and everything will be closed for both Sunday and Monday. We’ll be having a traditional Easter dinner of baked ham, scalloped potatoes and salad aboard Destiny.  Life is good. 
We are very grateful.

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