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Archive for October, 2009

WINTER IN CROATIA: DESTINY ON THE HARD

October 28th, 2009 No comments
Destiny came out of the water at Marina Dalmajcia in Sukosan first thing in the morning on October 26th, but our preparations for the haul started before.  Thankfully the high winds and heavy rain passed through two days before the haul date, giving us time to dry out the boat, inside and out.  The boat and all the canvas was washed clean from the rain—a plus for putting the boat up for the winter.  Preparations to haul started while still on anchor. 
Mainsail comes down at anchor

Mainsail comes down at anchor

Kent Removes Main

Kent Removes Main

Now the Jib

Now the Jib

Then we moved into the marina the afternoon before the haul where preparations continued. 

Into the marina

Into the marina

Drying the gennaker

Drying the gennaker

Cleaning and stowing dinghy

Cleaning and stowing dinghy

While we were preparing to haul, the charter fleets in the marina were going about their fall routine of cleaning and drying sails–but to us it looked like “dock sailing”.
Charter boats as far as you can see

Charter boats as far as you can see

 

Dock sailing

Dock sailing

 

Our last Sukosan Sunset before haul

Our last Sukosan Sunset before haul

Finally, haul date has arrived.  We are ready!
Next morning. . .We're ready to go!

Next morning. . .We're ready to go!

Dalmacjia is expensive but professional

Dalmajcia is expensive but professional

Releasing Backstay

Releasing Backstay

Slow but sure

Slow but sure

Finally, Destiny is on land.

Easy does it

Easy does it

Destiny will winter next to Glass Slipper

Destiny will winter next to Glass Slipper

Kent supervises final adjustments

Kent supervises final adjustments

Now to reattach the backstay

Now to reattach the backstay

Destiny on the hard

Destiny on the hard

Now Kent goes to work covering Destiny.

Destiny ready for winter

Destiny ready for winter

 

Snug Cockpit

Snug Cockpit

Kent's Masterpiece

Kent's Masterpiece

Destiny is ready for winter and we are ready to head home.  Tonight we travel by overnight ferry from Zadar to Ancona, Italy.  From there we rent a car and spend several days touring in Italy enroute to Venice and our flight home on November 2nd.

 

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OCTOBER IN CROATIA: A MIXED BAG

October 28th, 2009 No comments

October started out sunny and cooler with the sea and air temperature dropping by about 5 degrees a week.   We first noticed the change in weather enroute back to Sukosan from Stari Grad on the island of Hvar, although we didn’t appreciate the significance of this “sighting” at the time.

Yes, it's a refrigerator. . .an omen of things to come.

Yes, it's a refrigerator. . .an omen of things to come.

Colder weather means a new wardrobe too.
Another sign of the season--Kent in a wet suit to dive on the anchor

Another sign of the season--Kent in a wet suit to dive on the anchor

October Sailing Gear

October Sailing Gear

We overnighted in an anchorage on the mainland called Stari Trogir and watched a storm system pass north of us.  Our friends in Sukosan had high winds and torrential rain, none of which reached us–just lucky this time.

Stari Trogir as Storm Approaches

Stari Trogir as Storm Approaches

 

Same View Next Morning

Same View Next Morning

After the front the weather was calm for a few days–calm meaning no wind–but still pretty nice.

Another day Drifting around in flat seas

Another day Drifting around in flat seas

Fall days are as often as clear as the water

Fall days are as often as clear as the water

We have seen so much of Croatia that we are experiencing “island overload.”  We have visited every major island, and many that most people have never heard of (like Otok Prvic near Sibenik) and still have time to kill before we haul the end of the month.

Jadrolinia Ferry in Prvic

Jadrolinia Ferry in Prvic

Kent introduces Jolie to a Finnish crew in Prvic

Kent introduces Jolie to a Finnish crew in Prvic

Moon Rise over Prvic

Moon Rise over Prvic

We feel like gypsies at this point, just wandering around.  After visiting with our Caribbean 1500 friends on Rava we decided to return to Losinj, one of our favorite islands about 60 NM north, making a couple stops along the way.

Our first stop was Bozava, a small harbor on the NE side of Otok Dugi.  There was no wind and we motored the entire way, stopping earlier than planned in the hope that there would be wind the next day.  Bozava is a bustling harbor in the season with many hotels and restaurants, but in October things are ghostly quiet. 

Destiny in Bozava--alone at the quay

Destiny in Bozava--alone at the quay

When the ferry arrives its passengers are locals, not tourists as is apparent from their luggage.

Bozava Ferry arrives

Bozava Ferry arrives

No tourists here

No tourists here

Bozava, like many Croatian towns has a public park  along the sea and a well maintained walking trail. 

Bozava shore

Bozava shore

View from Walking Trail

View from Walking Trail

After spending the equivalent of $60 to moor stern to at the quay in Bozava (no bargains in off season mooring rates most places) we stopped at the island of Silba.  We had passed by this island before, but the large sheltered bay at Luka SV Ante looked very inviting and free—or so we thought.  There were numerous moorings in the bay but Destiny was the only boat so we were particularly surprised when a small power boat showed up at dusk to collect a mooring fee—another 150 kuna—too late to move so we were stuck.  Croatia has many “designated anchorages” where you are charged a fee whether you use a mooring or your own anchor, but this late in the season and at such a remote location, we never expected to pay.    All in all, sailing in Croatia has proved to be much more expensive than we anticipated–more expensive than France or Italy.

From Silba it was under 20 NM to the island of Losinj and the anchorage at Artaturi where we had stayed twice before—no charge to anchor, but with weather coming in we moved to the dock at Mali Losinj to ride out a the bora described in a previous post. 

Leaving the island of Losinj, we had about 60 NM to cover on the way back south to Sukosan and nearly three weeks before our haul date of October 29th–so more island hopping.

Premuda is a small island to the west of Silba and after leaving Mali Losinj we headed there, not wanting to incur a fee at a designated anchorage.  Premuda, like Silba, is a small island and while it has ferry service there is very little there.  There was a small cove off a large bay on the west side of Premuda that provided good protection.  While motoring most of the way we observed snow on the high peaks of mountains on the mainland—a real reminder that the weather was changing fast.

Premuda Sunset

Premuda Sunset

 While anchored in Premuda a thunderstorm passed nearby about 2 a.m. but the night was otherwise uneventful and the morning dawned cool but partly sunny.  The water temperature is now down in the low 70’s from a high of 86 degrees F just a week or so ago.

After two more stops at Lucica on Otok Dugi and Muline on Otok Uglian (both repeats) we arrived in Suksosan on October 16th intending to ride out yet another forecast bora in the marina.  Being in the marina proved to be more uncomfortable than being on anchor.  The constant movement of the boat against the lines made it difficult to sleep and the wind, while moderate never reached the forecast velocity.

So, back out to the harbor we went after two days.  Fortunately, Sukosan has a large bay that is protected from all directions but west and is not a designated anchorage i.e. free.  The weather forecasts are now for rain and wind—SE one day and NE the next.   We are waterlogged and tired, and ready to get off the boat.  Amazingly, even after a day of torrential rain we have a sunset. 

Oct. 22nd Sukosan Sunset

Oct. 22nd Sukosan Sunset

For the past two days we have been at anchor in Sukosan just outside the marina where we are scheduled to haul Destiny on October 26th a few days earlier than planned.  The wind blew SE at 20-25 kts. (with one gust recorded at 33 kts.) for one day then went NE and is blew 22-25 kts., then 27-29 kts.with gusts over 30.  Anytime the wind has abated, it has poured rain.

Rainy Day in Sukosan

Rainy Day in Sukosan

Destiny and its crew are getting pretty waterlogged at this point.  We have heat in the cabin which makes it comfy, but the temperature difference and humidity create condensation that coats every exterior surface.  We have water dripping everywhere, most of it coming from inside the boat.

Carol kept her sanity by blogging on rainy days

Carol kept her sanity by blogging on rainy days

We estimate that we have overstayed our time in Croatia by about two weeks, during which the weather has gotten significantly worse.  Our haul date has been moved up to Monday, October 26th and we will leave Croatia on October 28th by overnight ferry from Zadar to Ancona, Italy.  After a few days of touring we will be on a plane back to Boston on November 2nd.

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THE BORA–BRING IT ON!

October 14th, 2009 No comments

Fall weather is particularly unpredictable in Croatia, but one thing can be counted on—if the forecast is for a bora you need to be prepared.  Several days ago with a bora (strong NE winds that sweep down from the mountains) forecast we put into one of our favorite anchorages, Artaturi on the island of Losinj.  Artaturi is a large bay with exposure only to the south and is the perfect place to ride out the potentially high winds of a bora. 

Anchored in Artaturi

Anchored in Artaturi

When we retired for the evening the bay was virtually flat and any prospect of wind disturbing us was remote.  The bora was forecast for the following day—“forecast” means a window of 12 hours either way in our experience.  We felt that we were in a good spot with lots of anchor rode down and lots of swing room with no other boats nearby. 

Artaturi before the Blow

Artaturi before the Blow

By 4 a.m. we were awakened by wind beginning to rock the boat.  Instead of the forecast bora, the wind had shifted south and had gathered velocity overnight producing large waves that were rolling into our anchorage—the one that was perfect for the bora but not south winds.  The one other boat in the anchorage had already moved further inside for protection, but we decided to wait until daylight to make any move. 

Leaving Artaturi 12 hours later

Leaving Artaturi 12 hours later

At dawn it became apparent that we needed protection from all directions, so up came the anchor and off we went to the marina at Mali Losinj just a few miles away.  The town of Mali Losinj sits at the southeast end of a long bay and the marina affords good all around protection. 

Storm approaching Mali Losinj

Storm approaching Mali Losinj

 The forecast was still for bora winds from the NE of up to 30 kts. so being tied to a dock was preferable to any anchorage under the circumstances.  We were moored stern to at the dock at Mal Losinj by 9:00 a.m. with the sky darkening and the wind picking up shortly thereafter. 

Getting Ready to Dock

Getting Ready to Dock

We had just enough time to make a quick trip ashore for provisions before the bora arrived at 12:30 p.m.  The wind had gone NE and was accompanied by torrential rain. From our vantage point near the quay we could see the water level rising as the wind was driven up the bay.  

Here comes the Rain

Here comes the Rain

By 1:30 p.m. the high winds and rain were accompanied by thunder and lightning and even tied to the dock we were heeling slightly in the wind and rocking back and forth.  The wind and rain intensified over the next two hours and by 2:30 p.m. we were recording wind gusts of 35 kt.  As the afternoon wore on, the rain would subside then become heavy again and there was periodic thunder and lightning and the wind was never below 25 kts.

 

Wind Abates, Rain Continues

Wind Abates, Rain Continues

Then almost as quickly as it had started, the rain abated and the sky brightened and by 6:15 p.m. the front had passed.  The sky was glowing orange with the setting sun and bathing the town in pink light.  It was an OMG moment. 

Mali Losinj 6 hours later

Mali Losinj 6 hours later

Quay at Dusk

Quay at Dusk

The air was fresh and clean and we hung out all the wet clothing that the day produced and opened hatches to dry out the cabin which had been full of condensation.  The boat had a nice rain water bath.

No more salt

No more salt

The wind continued to blow all night between 12-18 kts. but the next morning dawned clear and bright, although much colder.  We saw snow on the mainland mountains for the first time.  Fall has its foothold, but winter isn’t far behind.

 This was not our first bora experience and probably won’t be our last.  In fact, there is another one forecast for this coming weekend with forecast winds of up to 37 kts.  We will be tucked in a marina safe and sound, and hoping for a good soaking rain to wash the boat and a beautiful sunset to follow.

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Clouds Mean Wind

October 14th, 2009 No comments

As  fall  has settled over Croatia, our focus has changed from the state of the sea to the state of the sky, since summer doldrums have given way to the Bora and strong winds from the northeast that are heralded by massive cloud formations

Cloud Hodge Podge

Cloud Hodge Podge

Fishing Boat at Dusk

Fishing Boat at Dusk

Fall Cloud Scape

Fall Cloudscape

There are still times that the seas are fairly flat, but the sky always has billowy clouds on the horizon.  Morning and night we watch the clouds track through the sky hoping for a hint of the weather to come.

Daytime Doldrums

Daytime Doldrums

Evening Clouds Sometimes Forecast Rain

Evening Clouds Sometimes Forecast Rain

The fall clouds signal wind and changing conditions.  They are dramatic and majestic and a strong contrast to the mellow, hazy summer skies.

Big Sky Clouds

Big Sky Clouds

Clouds Reflect in Sea

Clouds Reflect in Sea

It also heralds full sails and smooth sailing. . .

Full Sails Finally

Full Sails Finally

Clouds Mean Wind

Clouds Mean Wind

Fabulous Fall Sailing!

Fabulous Fall Sailing!

. . .and one very happy Captain.

Fall sailing brings gloves and Greek fisherman's hat

Fall sailing brings gloves and Greek fisherman's hat

With the clouds and wind, the temperatures have also dropped dramatically.  Over night the temperature is in the mid-40’s and during the day 60’s although it feels colder with the wind chill.  The days are as crystal clear as the water has been all summer with crisp horizons, and snow starting to cover the mainland mountain tops.

Clouds over Snow dusted Mainland Coast

Clouds over Snow dusted Mainland Coast

Sunset Clouds

Sunset Clouds

We have oftened wondered at the climate differences between Croatia and our home in New England.  In many ways the seasons are similar, but our October days here are more like early September in New England.  Most of Croatia is actually further north than Boston, but we have yet to see a palm tree survive a Boston winter–they flourish here.  The Adriatic can be a fearsome sea, but no match for the Northern Atlantic.  The climate is relative temperate–the water temperature for example is still 70-75 degrees F. in mid-October and most boat yards don’t “winterize” engines.

All in all, October has been a wonderful month to sail in Croatia–thanks to the wind.

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Caribbean 1500 Reunion in Rava, Croatia

October 9th, 2009 No comments

On Easter Sunday in St. Thomas, Destiny along with Excalibur and Glass Slipper, two other boats from the 2008 Caribbean 1500 Rally, were strapped on the deck of a Yacht Path ship bound for Genoa, Italy.  On a cold, rainy April day we began our Mediterranean adventure, with our friends Jorge and Isabel Zlatar on Excalibur and John and Cyndi Martin on Glass Slipper.

Glass Slipper Goes First

Glass Slipper Goes First

Next off Excalibur

Next off Excalibur

Finally it was Destiny's turn

Finally it was Destiny's turn

Although we cruised independently, our paths crossed from time to time in Italy and when they did we dined and laughed together and shared stories of our travels, as well as information about everything from boat maintenance to special ports and anchorages. 

Destiny, Excalibur & Glass Slipper in Santa Maria de Leuca

Destiny, Excalibur & Glass Slipper in Santa Maria de Leuca

Rafted in Otranto

Rafted in Otranto

We made the passage from Otranto, Italy to Dubrovnik, Croatia in mid-July and have stayed in touch since then.

Destiny & Excalibur at Dawn Enroute Dubrovnik

Destiny & Excalibur at Dawn Enroute Dubrovnik

As October arrived, we all made arrangements to store our respective boats for the winter at Marina Dalmajcia in Sukosan just south of Zadar in central Dalmatia.

As we all converged on Sukosan with some time to kill we spent a couple days anchored together in a quiet bay discovered by Glass Slipper called Paladinia on the island of Rava.

Excalibur, Destiny & Glass Slipper in Rava, Croatia

Excalibur, Destiny & Glass Slipper in Rava, Croatia

 

Sunset at Rava

Sunset at Rava

 

Destiny & Glass Slipper from Jorge's bosun chair

Destiny & Glass Slipper from Jorge's bosun chair

It happened that Jorge had just had a mid-September birthday and Kent’s was on October 8th, so Cyndi and John hosted a birthday celebration on Glass Slipper complete with Cyndi’s home made lasagna and chocolate cake.

The Birthday Boys

The Birthday Boys

Get out the Fire Extinguisher

Get out the Fire Extinguisher

Birthday Cake ala Cyndi

Birthday Cake ala Cyndi

Where's My Cake

Where's My Cake

Our Hostess with the Mostest

Our Hostess with the Mostest

It happened that our “Caribbean 1500 Reunion” on Rava took place on the same day that 235 people gathered in Annapolis for a reunion of former rally participants.  We all donned our Caribbean 1500 shirts and sent off greetings to this year’s rally participants care of Steve Black the rally organizer.

 

Carol (with Jolie), Kent, Isabel, Jorge, Cyndi & John

Carol (with Jolie), Kent, Isabel, Jorge, Cyndi & John

Spending time with Jorge, Isabel, John and Cyndi has been one of the many joys of our travels to date.

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