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Archive for September, 2009

DANCING DOLPHINS

September 22nd, 2009 No comments

Yesterday we were enroute from the island of Pag—a rather desolate place with not much to recommend other than a cheese for which it is famous to the nearby island of Olib when we encountered a pod of dolphins that swam along side and under Destiny’s bow for 15-20 minutes entrancing us with their antics.

Dolphin Dance

Dolphins Play in Destiny's Bow Wake

We first saw them breaching in the water some distance ahead as we were sailing at about 4 kts. enjoying a relatively calm day with flat seas.  As we approached they seemed drawn by the movement of the boat and kept just ahead of the bow under the surface of the water.  Then they would dart off in all directions like fireworks exploding, only to return moments later and be ghosting along side. 

Race You!

Race You!

Carol was on the bow pulpit with the camera pointed down into the crystal clear water as the dolphins swam beneath the boat. 

Dolphin Duo

Dolphin Duo

Every so often they came out of the water in a synchronized acrobatic maneuver.

Sychronized Swimming

Sychronized Swimming

These dozen or more dolphins left smiles on our faces that will reappear every time we recall those magical few moments watching them play.

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STARRY, STARRY NIGHT

September 18th, 2009 No comments

Last night we had a magical experience at anchor in a small cove on the southeast coast of Cres.  The day had started in Rab with continuing thunderstorms and torrential rain that began overnight, but by noon we were sailing under sunny blue skies dotted with wispy clouds.

Clouds over Cove

Clouds over Cove

When darkness settled over our anchorage the water was like a mill pond and we were the only boat for miles around.

Calm as a Mill Pond at Dusk

Calm as a Mill Pond at Dusk

When we emerged from the cabin after dinner we were greeted with a light show the likes of which we have never experienced. 

We were so far removed from any ambient light that the sky was pitch black in a moonless sky and lit by literally millions of stars—and the ubiquitous space station which as followed our travels from a distance for thousands of miles.

The Milky Way was so dense it looked like a trail of smoke across the sky, and the constellations—at least the ones we recognized—popped out of the sky.

The most amazing thing though was intersection between the black sky and the equally black water surrounding us.  The stars twinkled not only in the sky, but the water was so calm and mirror like that they twinkled in the water all around the boat.

Our unforgettable starry, starry night couldn’t be captured in a picture but will live in our memories forever.

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September, 2009 FROM BORA TO SIROCCO—more Fall in Croatia

September 16th, 2009 No comments

 In Cres we were dealing with forecast bora winds which blow from the NE, and now barely a week later we are dealing with strong sirocco winds from the S or SE that blow from Africa carrying strong winds, and hot air.  Just when we were enjoying the seasonal change to cooler days, the sirocco kicks in with warmer temperatures and we are looking for sheltered anchorages that will keep us safe from that direction.

After leaving Cres we headed for Otok Krk and the town of the same name. After a 30 plus NM passage over the top of Otok Cres we arrived in Krk  (pronounced Kirk).

Romanesque Cathedral in Krk

Romanesque Cathedral in Krk

 Upon arriving there the mooring opportunities were limited so we continued a couple miles further to Punat, which is a large protected bay with an equally large marina—over 1,300 boats—which makes it even larger than Marina Dalmajcia where we will store this winter. 

Mega Marina Punat

Mega Marina Punat

The first night we anchored off the marina—after all we are now “retired” and on a fixed income.  The second night, the weather forecast was unsettled with possible high winds so we went to the dock at a cost of 45 euros per night, water an electric included.  Still not a bad deal.  Of course, as is often the case here the forecast strong winds never materialized.   However, they did have a laundry (wash & fold) and we were able to provision. 

Punat Sunset

Punat Sunset

On Sunday morning we took the dinghy to the Franciscan monastery on the island of Kosljn in the middle of the bay and attended yet another Croatian mass.  Not understanding a word that is said does not distract from the amazing art, architecture and music that we have enjoyed as we have attended primarily Catholic services since we have been in the Med.  After the service we walked the many paths across the island—a tranquil and very peaceful place dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi its name saint.  

Monks Arrive by Boat for service at Monastery on Kosljn

Monks Arrive by Boat for service at Monastery on Kosljn

 

Grounds at Monastery

Grounds at Monastery

 

Statue of St. Francis of Assisi on Kosljn

Statue of St. Francis of Assisi on Kosljn

The only thing we found odd about Kosljn were all the “no dog signs” on an island dedicated to the patron saint of animals.  Wonder what St. Francis would think of that?

Later that day we determined that for less than we spent on the cab from Punat to Krk we could have moored at the town quay in Krk for the night—live and learn. 

Krk Quay

Krk Quay

We did get to see the end of a bike race that was held in Krk that Sunday. 

Bike Race in Krk

Bike Race in Krk

Yes, both Red Bull and Coca Cola (in bottles, not cans) are big in Croatia.  Imagine bikes cruising at a high rate of speed through narrow streets that are mostly slick blocks of marble—scary.

 Getting a taxi back to Punat from Krk proved to be a challenge, but once again a friendly Croatian came to our rescue by telephoning a cab on his cell phone.  

We spent another night in Punat anchored off the monastery, and toured the town of Punat before leaving for Otok Rab, our next destintion. 

Enroute to Rab

Enroute to Rab

The ancient town of Rab is beautiful with many historic buildings, but is famous for its several medieval bell towers that dominate the horizon as you approach from the sea. 

Ancient Town of Rab

Ancient Town of Rab

Medieval Towers at Rab

Medieval Towers at Rab

The harbor is very protected from all directions except the SE which is the sirocco—forecast while we were there.  We entered the harbor at mid-day, stopped at the fuel dock to top off tanks and then proceeded to the town quay where we moored for a couple of hours to tour the town and have lunch.

Destiny at Quay in Rab

Destiny at Quay in Rab

Yes, those are palm trees you see in the foreground, and they do seem a little odd since this is still the northern Adriatic.  The winters are obviously more temperate here than in New England. 

The town has a wall that envelopes it on all sides and the requisite medieval bell towers (four to be exact) and a clock tower.  The streets are the ubiquitous marble slabs that threaten a broken ankle or worse. 

After a brief tour of the town and again considering our cruising budget we opted to move to a quiet little cove just across Fumija bay from the town and drop an anchor with line run to shore.  

Destiny Moored to Shore in Rab

Destiny Moored to Shore in Rab

 This method of mooring is quite prevalent and necessary in anchorages here that are either very crowded or too small to allow for adequate scope on the anchor and swing room.  After setting the anchor a line is run from the boat to shore and attached to a tree by chain.  We use the small winch to bring it taut, then put a fender on it so it is visible.

There is a small water taxi dock in the cove which is a great place to land Jolie for her walks, and so far we have had the cove to ourselves.

Cove on Penisula Frkanj, Rab

Cove on Penisula Frkanj, Rab

 Just down a path from the dock adjacent to our anchorage is a lovely little “beach” i.e. rock front restaurant called Frkanj on what they refer to as the “Love Island.” 

Restaurant Frkanj

Restaurant Frkanj

 The forecast sirocco wind was piling white caps up on the opposite side of the peninsula from our anchorage where we had lunch at Restaurant Frkanj, and we were glad to have decided to stay put for another day to let the wind and seas subside.  Waves were washing over the spot where people sunbathed yesterday and took a leisurely swim.

Waves Wash Up on South Shore of Rab

Waves Wash Up on South Shore of Rab

We have more than a month before we need to be back in Sukosan, and are in no hurry to leave a comfortable anchorage until the sirocco subsides.  Next stop is back to the southern tip of Otok Cres and then to Otok Pag, one of the few large islands we have yet to visit.  So many islands, so little time. 

Fall is a great time to be in Croatia despite the wind and some rain.  We have yet to have a day that is a wash out, despite weather forecasts that would seem to expect that.  The nights are overall cooler and we are seeing some seasonal changes in the vegetation. 

Fall is Showing in Foliage

Fall is Showing in Foliage

We fill our days with beautiful scenery, and are still swimming—not something we would be doing in Marblehead.  Oh yes, and Jolie gets lots of dinghy rides which she loves, and Kent is still trying to catch a fish.  Life is good. 

Carol Cools Off

Carol Cools Off

Speed Dog

Speed Dog

The Fish are Still Winning

The Fish are Still Winning

Carol, Kent & Jolie

S/V Destiny in Otok Rab, Croatia

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FALL HAS ARRIVED IN CROATIA

September 12th, 2009 No comments

Since we returned from Venice on September 1st after a long boring motor crossing with no wind, the bora with its strong NE winds has arrived and the days are not only shorter, but significantly cooler.

We have worked our way south from Rovinj stopping at several protected anchorages along the way providing shelter from the bora winds.

Approach to Medulin

Approach to Medulin

It is as though someone threw a switch and said “enough of the summer doldrums”  let’s liven things up with some wind. . .and some wind it is.  The bora blows down from the mountains of the mainland and funnels through the Croatian islands in the northern Adriatic like a freight train.  In the past few days we have sailed on a reefed main and jib making over 7 kts. in wind that was a steady 20-25 kts.  Depending on how far off shore we are the seas can build as well, making for a real Nantucket sleighride.

Fall Sailing in Croatia

Fall Sailing in Croatia

Reefed Main & Big Seas

Reefed Main & Big Seas

Hold On, Another one over the Bow

Hold On, Another one over the Bow

Kent loves the wind and it is tempting for him to push Destiny as fast as she will go, while Carol reminds him of the unnamed quote framed over the nav station–“Perhaps I cannot control the wind.  But I can adjust my sails.”  The rule now is adjust often and soon to avoid getting in trouble–with the wind or Carol.  Kent is finding that making the boat go slower is as challenging as making it go fast–Carol is happy.

28 Kts. on the Nose heading to Cres

28 Kts. on the Nose heading to Cres

The stronger wind has also caused Kent to call upon his “third” crew member, the trusty Milwaukee right angle drill fitted with a winch bit that allows him to make any winch and electric winch–what did we ever do without it!

Jolie & Winch Buddy

Jolie & Winch Buddy

We have also returned to some earlier anchorages at Artaturi on Losinj and Ustrine on Cres. In Artaturi we had a chance meeting with John and Cyndi on Glass Slipper.  They were stuck at Marina Dalmajcia in Sukosan with a mechanical and are now following our general route to Venice.  We had a nice dinner with them and shared info about visiting Venice.  We then returned to Ustrine on the island of Cres on our way to the town of Cres.  There we were attacked by bees that kept us in the cabin much of the time–another sign of the season?

There are noticeable changes in the sky as well.  The clear, sunny days of summer have given way to high thin, wispy clouds that afford some relief from sun.  The horizon looks milky, not crisp. 

Milky Horizon

Milky Horizon

We arrived in Cres from Ustrine after pounding into 28 kts. of breeze and anchored just off the town.  We later saw the sign that said “no anchoring” but since no one bothered us we stayed put.  Kent washed the boat using some precious tank water–and then it rained, poured actually.  At least the boat is clean.  By evening it was clear again and we went ashore for dinner.  Cres is like many other Croatian towns–primarily a vacation setting, with old Roman ruins and evidence of inhabitants long before that.

Cres Harbor

Cres Harbor

Cres Cafe

Cres Cafe

Destiny at Anchor in Cres

Destiny at Anchor in Cres

The water has started to cool as well having dropped from about 85 to 78 degrees.  Our swimming days are nearly over.

Oh yes, and the much needed rain has arrived.  This part of the world is very dry in the summer months, and the while the rain is welcome to wash salt off the boat it means the Patagonia becomes part of our sailing wardrobe again as it was in April.

Another Day, More Rain and Wind

Another Day, More Rain and Wind

Another day, another island.  We are heading north along the west coast of Cres enroute to Krk which is the largest island in the Adriatric in land mass–or so the pilot guide says.   The early morning rain has given way to sun, and the seas are still flat but the wind is on the nose and we are motoring for now. 

More wind and rain forecast tomorrow.

Ciao,

Carol, Kent & Jolie

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A BRISTOL DAY!

September 8th, 2009 1 comment

Imagine our surprise when we arrived in a bay south of Pula called Kanalic on Labor Day and saw another Bristol anchored there.  We seldom see US flag vessels, and US built boats are even rarer.  At first glance Kent thought it was a Little Harbor because it did not have the slanted salon windows that are common on a Bristol.

We cruised by to say “hello” to the owner and confirmed that she was indeed a Bristol.

Golden Argosy IV

Golden Argosy IV

Golden Argosy IV is a Bristol 51 custom built in 1990 for a European owner with 220V electric service and a cutter rig.  Her current owner, Mario, is Italian and has sailed her in Italy and Croatia for the past ten years.  We have seen only one other Bristol 51 during our travels, but that was in the Caribbean.

Kent and Mario spent time over beers in the afternoon discussing their boats and the many projects that keep them both very busy.  Mario gave us some great suggestions on places to visit since he knows the area so well.  Kent gave Mario Dieter Empacher’s name and contact information for future reference and shared stories about cutting Ted Hood’s lawn in Marblehead as a kid.

Later in the evening when we joined Mario and his companion, Catherine for drinks, we had yet another surprise.  Catherine , who is French, lives just outside Tulear on the island of Madagascar and owns a small hotel with bungalows on the beach.  She had owned two Coton de Tulear dogs and was very happy to meet Jolie.  Jolie quickly ingratiated herself to Catherine with kisses and was rewarded with hors d’oeuvres.

Bristol 51

Bristol 51

We were invited below to see the layout of their boat, which was much like ours only larger with a third cabin with upper and lower berths.  The extra six feet give a much roomier feel and a true center line queen.  On the other hand they did not have A/C, a bow thruster or a freezer, but Kent did envy the electric winches.

It was a delightful encounter and one of the things we cherish about this adventure is the number of wonderful and interesting people we have met.

Mario & Catherine Say Goodbye

Mario & Catherine Say Goodbye

Carol, Kent & Jolie

Aboard S/V Destiny in Uvala Kanalic

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