Sunday, August 31, 2014

Again headed south

After visiting Trogir and remaining at anchor there for several days we were ready for a different scenic view.  Wind was picking up from the SE and expected to turn more easterly.  The anchorage at Trogir is completely exposed to the E so it was time to move on.

We motored -- and even sailed a bit -- around the island of Ciovo to another beautiful anchorage.  Around 17:00 we again checked weather and found that yet again the forecast had changed.  That anchorage would not provide adequate shelter in heavy NE winds.  Where to go?  Why...right back to Stari Trogir once again.  Cannot seem to tear ourselves away from what turned out to be the perfect anchorage for us.  On the western side are holiday homes galore, along with a bakery kiosk on the beach, small supermarket a block away, and public trash bins a block past there.  Everything a cruiser might need.  And beautiful too.  Each previous time we had anchored on the western side.  And usually were the only boat there.

There are interesting old stone ruins at Stari Trogir.
Never figured out why they built all these double
walled paths.  They were all over the hillsides.
Like an entire city with double walled streets.
No idea who built these or when.
This time we opted to anchor on the NE side of Stari Trogir bay since the wind was predicted to be from the NE.  The small area recommended by both our sailing guides as the best place to anchor was too small for our 16-meter boat.  The small bay tucked into the NE corner of the larger bay is only .1NM wide and that is not sufficient space for us to put down proper 7:1 scope of anchor chain.  We would never have rested comfortably being anchored in such a tight space.  Not with the way winds change direction here in Croatia.  So we moved and anchored just outside the recommended anchorage.  And stayed there.  And stayed there.  And stayed there.  Why move?  We could take the dinghy a mile across to the western side for provisions and trash disposal.   It was relaxing to stay put in a beautiful place.  Each day boats would come and go so there was always some form of entertainment.

Maltese Falcon...again

One day the Maltese Falcon arrived and anchored right next to us.  We swear this mega-yacht is following us.  Have almost lost track of how many times we have shared anchorages with the Falcon.  But never quite so close as this time.  They only stayed one night and motored away the following afternoon.  Early the following morning we also weighed anchor and motored off in a southeasterly direction, covering 68 NM and ending up in Kneza anchorage on island of Korcula.

Very steep farming fields on southern side Hvar.
One can probably tend these steep fields while
standing up.  No need to bend over.

Along the way we check out Stari Grad town on the island of Hvar.  Way too crowded and busy for us!!  Why would anyone willing get into that crowded mess!  BTW, it costs 585 Kuna per day to dock stern-to on the town quay.  Not a place for us.  We also motored around a bit and checked out several possible anchorages.  Nothing to our liking.  Hvar and the nearby Pakleni islands did not appeal to us one bit.  

We saw nothing desirable to stopping in that area, so onward to Kneza on Korcula at 42.58.5N  017.02.7E.  This anchorage provides excellent shelter from all but easterly winds.  If it starts to blow from due E then it is time to move!  The sailing guide states that shelter from the E is excellent if one can anchor behind the tiny island in the northwestern tip of the bay, but that area is now filled with tiny local boat moorings and off-limits to yachts.  Just not enough space to fit in there anymore.

We enjoyed Kneza.  There was a nice little restaurant on the water's edge which serves the same food that is on the menu at every restaurant in Croatia.  (Don't these folks ever want any variety!)  A bus runs several times daily to Korcula Town and we had hoped to do this one day, but unexpectedly the wind began to pipe up from the E one morning so we pulled anchor and moved on.  We have electronic chart tracks from a few sailing friends who had visited this area years ago.  Both of those boats had stopped in a few anchorages on Korcula, so we motored into a few of those and motored right back out.  Again, those are now filled with moorings for tiny local boats and leave no room for yachts to anchor.  So...where to go?  Back to the basilica anchorage on the far NE tip of Korcula beneath the small island of Badija.  This is likely the most beautiful anchorage in all of Croatia.  At least, in our opinions.  And it provides pretty good all-round protection.

Basilica on Badija at Korcula.  Gorgeous!
We had intentions of taking a water taxi over to Korcula Town but never made it.  Guess we were not meant to visit the birthplace of Marco Polo.  Because one day wind kicked up from the NE and was predicted to become very strong overnight.  Our anchor was well dug in and BeBe would have been fine even in the stronger NE winds.  But out stern was too close to a tiny rocky islet for our comfort.  We would have worried all night.  We upped anchor and slowly motored out past Lumbarda, being careful not to exceed the 4kt speed limit that covers all marine traffic from Korcula Town to Lumbarda because the previous day the marine police had been stopping boats and issuing  100 Euro fines to all boats going over 4kts. 

Main chapel of St. Mary's

Enjoyed a lovely sail 15NM south to the ultra-securely-sheltered bays of Polace on the island of Mljet.  Winding our way in here through the very narrow pass with twists and turns reminded me very much of Great Barrier Island in New Zealand.  I have no idea how Mljet is supposed to be pronounced but bet it is not the way we say it. Words and proper names without an adequate number of appropriately placed vowels are beyond our ken.  

Arriving at the same time as us were 2 other American boats!  Oh, goody!  Maybe we can talk with people who have something in common!  It has been a long time since we had met up with any other Americans.  Bill dinghied over and invited them to BeBe for sundowners.  We enjoyed visiting with Rick & Barbara on S/V Way Out and Dennis & Virginia on S/V Libertad.  Libertad is an Amel Maramu and Bill had previous email correspondence with them.  We knew they were in the general area and had hoped to meet up.  Still, it was surprise to see Libertad motor past us as we were setting anchor. 

Think this little boat was slightly overloaded!
We opted to wait for the larger ferry.  It is a big lake!
Lighting a candle for brother John
at St. Mary's
Rick and Barbara have been cruising since 1976.  This truly is a lifestyle for them!  Their catamaran Far Out is their fifth cruising boat.  They wintered in Marina di Ragusa last season and provided us with welcome info.  

'Window' at St. Mary's.
Built to fight off invaders.
The following day Bill had to work on our outboard engine yet again.  I will let him write a blog posting about that.  It was a full day's work and that evening Dennis and Virginia invited us to sundowners aboard Libertad.  This was the first time we had been aboard a Maramu.  I like their saloon layout better than our Super Maramu design.  It is more comfortable for watching movies or having visitors even though it is a somewhat smaller boat overall.  The next day they moved onward toward Venice.  

12th century St. Mary's and Benedictine Monastery
on the tiny island in the big saltwater lake

The entire northern section of Mljet is a national park.  Anchoring here requires purchasing a park ticket for 80 Kuna each.  The guide books state that the ticket is good for the calendar year but the park ranger said that the ticket is valid for only 7 days.  If we stay longer than 7 days then we must go talk to the ranger in the ticket kiosk.  Maybe we will have to pay again; maybe not.   The park ticket includes bus transportation across the island to a couple of saltwater lakes.  At the largest lake one can purchase another ticket to take a ferry to a tiny island to visit the Benedictine Svete Marije (St. Mary's church) and a 12th century monastery.

One of several alcoves in St. Mary's.
Must have been very colorful when new.
Another blurry photo
of a brightly colored
alcove at St. Mary's
It was a pleasant day.  Scenery was gorgeous.  Two things about the large saltwater lake were interesting to me.  One if that it is filled with Sea Bell jellyfish.  They live in the depths during daylight and come to the surface during the night.  These are harmless to people.  The other thing is that it is home to a heavy population of Sea Fan Pilgrim scallops.  Oh, how I wish these could be harvested!  I love sea scallops.  But any harvesting is prohibited because this is a national park.

Bell tower at St. Mary's behind interior
garden area.  

There was very little information provided about the structures and ruins on Mljet.  According to our sailing guidebook, Mljet is the location where Calypso held Odysseus for 7 years.  It has been inhabited since the time of the Illyrians.  The islanders foolishly brought themselves to the attention of the Roman Empire by their raids on Roman shipping.  They were finally brought under the imperial heel by Octavian (Emperor Augustus  Caesar).  The island became a Roman possession and the Roman ruins supposedly date from this time period.  A Roman shipwreck has been discovered just off the coast, as well as a WWII torpedo boat nearby.  That would make an interesting dive.

Highlight of our trip to St. Mary's was watching this
mom teach her baby how to roll over.

Proud mama!  She nudged the baby to lay down and
then she also laid down.  Rolled over and nudged
the baby to do the same.  Very cute!

Looking back toward lake at St. Mary's

After the collapse of the Roman Empire, Mljet changed hands several times, first coming under Byzantium rule and then under the Slavs.  In 1151 the island was presented to Benedictine monks from the Promontorio del Gargano in Italy (where we should be within 2 weeks!).  The monks established a monastery on Veliko Jezero, the larger saltwater lake.  We walked the paths where the 'Roman remains' were located (according to the signs, although we saw no dead people).  

Roman 'castle' or 'palace' in Polace.
Christian basilica is behind it.

Signs in Polace refer to the ruins there of a large Roman palace.  We had never heard of a Roman palace.  Our guidebook refers to these ruins as a castle built in the 3rd or 4th century A.D.  One source states that the castle belonged to Agesilaus who was exiled here by Roman Emperor Septimus Severus.  Next to the ruins of the castle are the ruins of an early 5th-century Christian basilica.  As everyone must know, the Romans were Christian by that time; so both sites are Roman ruins, IMHO.

And this is a rendering of what that Roman castle (villa)
looked like during its day.

Nasty weather is forecast for tomorrow.  We came here for best shelter and we are staying put.

1 comment:

  1. Hi There. I have not followed your blog in long time and I am glad to see you have passed through Croatia (I live near Trogir).

    The double walls you mention in one of your photographs, as far as I can tell, were built around farming lands as a means of protection from animals (goats, sheep, donkeys...) and probably as a border around land, so everyone knows who owns what.

    Here is a description:


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