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THE BORA–BRING IT ON!

October 14th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to 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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