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.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A "fight" over an islet, Mrduja

Posted via SSB email.  So no photos.

A "fight" over an islet

Mrduja - to whom does it belong?

At least for this year.

For years two Croatian islands have been "fighting" over a third one - a small islet located between them. For six years in a row, inhabitants of Southern Dalmatian Islands of Brac and Solta have competed against each other for the right to claim ownership of the tiny islet of Mrduja.

And they fight in a unique way - by pulling ropes. There is not another place in the world where two parties try to get possession of an island by pulling it with ropes. Yep; that is what they do. Ropes are tied to rocks ashore on each respective side of Mrduja and the tug-of-war is on!

Legend claims that either the ropes will be stretched or Mrduja will be pulled in the direction of the strongest team.
Last week the teams arrived and attached their ropes. Organizers of the event claim that Mrduja was pulled using 300-meter long ropes from both sides by 400 different boats. Participating boats ranged in both size and power from large fishing boats and yachts to dinghies.

After twenty minutes of tugging and pulling on both sides, the High Court deliberated and decided that the winner this year was the island of Solta. This year's win by Solta thus ties the score with Brac as now both parties have three victories each. Whether Mrduja moved even the slightest towards Solta as the result of their efforts, the High Court could not say. The legend remains unconfirmed and the annual tug-of-war will repeat again next summer.

Nevertheless, the people of Solta were awarded the Title Deed confirming that they have a right to fly their flag on the islet until the next tug-of-war.

They celebrated their victory by shouting "Mrduja is ours!" - jumping into the sea from their boats and singing, accompanied by brass music beats at all times.

"We came here with our strongest resources and won. I would also like to congratulate our opponents, of course. Mrduja actually connects us instead of separating us," said the joyful Mayor of Municipality Nikola Cecic Karuzic.
The first man to congratulate him was the Mayor of the Municipality from the opposing island of Brac, who also said:
"We did everything we could. We fought to the last drop of wine."

While this festivity was going on, another island held a very different kind of regatta. The island of Krapanj, a small island in the Sibenik waters of Croatia, an annual event is held to honor grandmothers and mothers of yesteryear. Women wear traditional dresses and costumes and in teams of two they row the routes rowed by their grandmothers and great-great-grandmothers. This year 7 gajeta vessels and 16 female rowers. The oldest gajeta in the regatta this year was the Konoba Dalmatia, built in 1876.

Krapanj is an island famous for diving, with an emphasis on diving sea sponges. For centuries the women on this island lived very demanding and hard lives. Women got up at 2 a.m., rowed their boats to fields in Jadrtovac, Grebastica and Donje Polje, where they worked fields. Then rowed back home where they had to take care of children, housework, personal gardens, etc.

The usual custom in Krapanj was for women to row and men to stand on the boat's prow or stern. The men would go sea sponge diving from rowboats from Brijuni to Mljet, normally with the women rowing. This sea sponge diving was incredibly dangerous and, unfortunately, many of the husbands, fathers and brothers did not make it back home. This resulted in these hardy women undertaking even more strenuous tasks to support their families.

These women must have had calloused hands beyond imagination.

And some people think they have hard working lives today. When your day seems a little tough, remember the lives led by these women.

On another note, recently we were trailing a fishing line with a brand new lure. Something cleanly snapped the titanium leader, escaping with our new lure. We could not be sure if something bit it or if the leader simply broke, except that metal for the rest of the remaining leader seemed strong as ever. Then I read a local newspaper in Split and we decided that it could indeed have been a big fish that stole our lure. During a fishing tournament a couple of weeks ago the winning catch was a 763 kilo tuna. Think of that - that is a 1,678.6 pound tuna. Wow! Second place was an 84.6 kilo tuna. Third place was 59.1 kilo and fourth place was 51.5 kilo. This was a catch-and-release tournament.

But I can danged well guarantee you that the first place catch was not released. There was a photo of this fish and it was about 2-feet longer than the height of the man who caught it. That was worth a lot of money!

Guess there are fish in this part of the Med after all! Think we will continue dragging that fishing line. Hope springs eternal.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Split, Trogir and a visit with new friends

One of hundreds of places to eat
inside Diocletian Palace walls.

 Several days after my last posting one morning Bill started to go ashore for freshly baked breakfast pastries when he discovered that the dinghy outboard engine was no longer "temporarily not in need of repair" -- it was totally dead.  

Beyond his miracles of repair.  

Drat!  Just...drat, drat, drat!!!

Crappy phone photo showing lighting of Split harbor side 

We upped anchor and sailed (yes! actually sailed!) the 20 miles over to Split and entered the ACI Marina a couple of days earlier than planned.  The marina has a contract with Maduro Services to handle all repairs on boats docked there, so the outboard mechanic who had been recommended to us could not do the work.  We found Maduro Services and lucked out because everyone was already gone for the day except a bookkeeper.  The bookkeeper told us that they usually do not work on outboard engines and she referred us to Boltano Services just a block or so distant.  That was fortuitous for us.  Had the staff still been working that day at Madura Services then I am certain they would have taken our engine and then just turned it over to Boltano, making a commission or profit for themselves.  This way we paid Boltano direct and probably saved a few bucks.  Twenty-four hours later the outboard engine was returned to our boat, running better than it has in years.  What a relief!  We really, really did not want to have to buy a 4-stroke outboard.   The defective part was something electrical beneath the flywheel.  The invoice is all in Croatian, so that is all I know.  They also replaced some hoses and the inline fuel filter and rebuilt the carburetor and a few other things.  I gulped when they told me the cost of repair -- 1,787.60 Kuna.  Then I did the conversion and realized that this was only $313.  Very reasonable cost of repair.  We would recommend Boltano Services in Split.  The chandlery is also very well stocked; by far the best chandlery we have seen since leaving Turkey.
As always, click on any image for larger view.
Tower of 1700 yr old Diocletian's Palace.
Towered over us as we ate dinner.
That night we celebrated by taking the water taxi over to Split old town and enjoyed dinner at a restaurant inside the walls of the old Diocletian's Palace.  It was wonderful.  And the setting was beautiful.  This is a fabulous city built within and around the fortified Roman palace which was built for Emperor Diocletian about 300 A.D.  Much of the palace still stands today.  I won't relate the history of this palace; readers can do their own research if so inclined.   Of course, everyone must know that the Venetians controlled this area for about 350 years, so there also is quite an Italian or Venetian influence in the architecture both inside and outside the old palace walls. Suffice it to say that we thought it was beautiful, especially at night with all the lighting.  This was a special evening and I regretted not bringing a camera.  Although it might have been impossible to get any photos with the thousands of tourists in the way.  A very popular place.

One of many plazas inside old Split

The next day Bill pressure washed the top of the boat while I cleaned inside.  I had pretty much let the interior of the boat go untouched while the grandkids were with us for the past couple of months, so there were lots of hand prints to remove and dust to vacuum.  As well as sheets and towels to launder -- guests were to arrive the following day.

Leo and Margaret from Austria.
Soon-to-be new Amel owners.

Judy at dinner with Leo & Margaret
Leo and Margaret drove down from Austria to visit us for the weekend.  They are in the process of purchasing a Super Maramu and wanted to pick our brains for any info we might wish to share about this model boat.  We had not previously met but had email contact during the past few months as they shopped for an Amel.  Since Bill and I have lived aboard this boat for over 8 years we know this model boat quite thoroughly.  

I called this Red Square.  The building at
end was all red.  Bldg on left had lots of
red trim.  All lit up at night it looked
like a Red Square.

That first evening we again took the water taxi over to Split old town.  Leo and Margaret treated us to dinner, this time at a different restaurant farther deep inside the old town walls.  Again, a fun evening.  Enjoyed with thousands of tourists.  Note: the city of Split discharges raw sewage into the harbor during the evening.  This happened while we were in the water taxi going to the old town dock and the smell was horrendous.  Surely this will be stopped soon now that Croatia is a member of the EU.  Surely...surely...the EU does not allow raw sewage to be discharged into the sea.  Get with the program, guys; Split might be an ancient city but this practice has been outlawed by civilized countries for quite some time now.  Croatia must be making a ton of money from tourism; install a sewage system and sewage treatment plants.

One of many narrow streets inside palace.
Note banner sign above about museum
View above the narrow street with
banner sign about museum

Statue of a famous poet.
Never heard of him.

The next morning we motored out to find an anchorage for a couple of nights where we could sit quietly and talk about Amel yachts.  They took hundreds of photos.  Bill shared the MOAS (Master Of All Spreadsheets) with Leo, as well as our compilation of all types of product information related to the Amel Super Maramu 2000.  Hopefully, Leo will be able to modify this spreadsheet for his engine and generator and other items that are different on his boat from ours.  I think all their questions got answered.  If not, there is always email.

One of many plazas inside palace walls at Split

On Monday we upped anchor very early and were at the fuel dock in Split by 08:30.  Leo and Margaret departed while we filled up (yet again -- this has been a very expensive summer for fuel since we have had to motor so often).  It was a fun weekend and we enjoyed meeting Leo and Margaret.  Hope they enjoy their new boat, S/V YinYang, as much as we have enjoyed life aboard BeBe.

We had no plans after leaving the fuel dock, so I decided that we should take the opportunity to go over to Trogir.  We did not want to go into the marina on the western side, so we went to the eastern side.  Both our guide books state to anchor on the northern side of the channel on the eastern side of Trogir, but when we got here it was obvious that one should anchor on the southern side of the channel.  And that is still where we sit 3 days later.  With no plans to leave anytime soon.

Trogir is situated on a tiny island, between a larger island and the mainland with bridges to both.   The waterway between the north side of Trogir and the mainland is nothing more than a wide ditch of seawater.  The 'channel' beneath the southern bridge is less than 10-feet deep and that bridge no longer opens, so there is no passage anymore.  Boats can either anchor in the very shallow area on the eastern side, south of the channel markers, or go to a marina on the western side.  The 'anchorage' on the western side is in only 1 meter depth which means no sailboats can anchor there.  There also is a town quay for Trogir where boats supposedly can dock side-to.  But I think in reality that town quay is for mega-yachts and not for regular boats like ours.
Trogir -- sitting on its own tiny island.  Note the palace is on far left
in background, on far western tip of island.
Nope, we did not eat at Marijana.

We walked the tiny, narrow alleyways and streets of old town Trogir one evening searching for the perfect place for dinner while soaking up the ambiance.  We walked for a very long time, twisting first this way and then that.  It is very easy to get lost in there.   And we eventually did find the perfect place for us to eat.  It was a warm evening and Bill asked the waiter to seat us inside and to turn on the air-conditioning.  That was much more to our liking than sitting beneath the stars and sweating.  

Lovely hot peppers.  Needed
that vodka to cool mouth
Ever seen peppers grow straight up?
The cost of this meal was a surprise to both of us.  We enjoyed an octopus salad to share while relaxing with a total of 5 cocktails (Smirnoff and club soda with lemon) between us; plus each a main course and sharing 3 sides of various vegetables and potatoes; and a large bottle of water.  Total cost (including the non-obligatory tip to the nice waiter) was only $69.  That struck both of us as being extremely reasonable pricing.  Doubt we could dine and drink like that for $69 back home.  So...Croatia is not expensive at all for some things.  BTW, diesel at the fuel dock in Split cost $6.93 per gallon -- so that also was much less than what we paid for diesel in Turkey or in Greece.
Yours truly at dinner.
Think it is time to visit the
hair dresser again.

Cathedral at Trogir.  A bar served
people in all those chairs.
The old town of Trogir on the tiny island stands on the foundations of a Greek colony called Tragurion, although there is evidence that this area was inhabited during the Stone Age.  Under the Romans Trogir was an important port, but its importance declined with the growth of another community called Salona on the mainland maybe 10 miles away on the eastern side of the large bay Kastelanski Zaljev.  When Salona was destroyed by the Slavs and the Avars in 614 A.D., some of the inhabitants fled back to Trogir.

One very tall woman!  She tried to get us to visit a
restaurant that she represented.  Bill is 6-ft tall and
she towered over him.  She was wearing flat sandals.

One of several small medieval churches

This kind of yacht can dock on Trogir town quay.
Don't think they would welcome little yachts like ours.

Trogir was almost completely destroyed by the Saracens in 1123.  Despite this, the town was rebuilt and reached its greatest prosperity during the following two centuries.  In 1420, after a siege lasting four days, Trogir was captured by Venetian forces and remained under Venetian rule until 1797.  There are many medieval houses and several medieval churches in the town, and one cathedral.  The carved doorway of the cathedral is spectacular example of medieval sculpture.  It was carved in 1420.  The castle is situated on the farthest western tip of the tiny island.  We did not walk up there because it was crowded and really too hot the evening we visited.

Yet another alleyway leading
to dozens more restaurants,
winding every which way.
Hundreds of restaurants throughout
Trogir in narrow alleyways

The abnormal coolness this summer has finally ended.  Yesterday it was 93F and 68% humidity.  And no breeze whatsoever.  It is hot.  Don't feel like doing much in this heat.

Trogir castle.  People walking on top of left turret.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Lighthouses of Croatia

I was surprised to read that tourists can do tours that let you sleep in different lighthouses on the islands and coastline of Croatia.  And the lighthouses we have seen so far are really that -- actual little houses that have lights built on top.  So cute!

This is just one of the several websites that allow one to book accommodation in a Croatian lighthouse:

Now...wouldn't that be a totally different vacation!

Here are a few of the lighthouses we have noticed thus far.  Have seen more but were too far away to photograph.

Dramatic background of the mainland.  This one is situated on the
easternmost tip of the island of Hvar.

On some island seen on our way north to Split.

This one is just outside Stari Trogir where we are anchored this week.

This one is on a tiny island west of island of Lopud.

Cannot imagine how one would get to this one!
It is just northwest of Dubrovnik.

Summer with grandkids over

Time has flown!  Our time with Elisabeth and Zachary this summer is over.  Both are now back home in Houston and our boat is back to being very quiet.  We made a small fake birthday celebration for Elisabeth on the day before she left since she would not be aboard BeBe on her actual birthday 2 weeks later.  So...early Happy 13th Birthday to BeBe!  She is growing up so fast!  Hard to recognize her when compared to her first birthday celebration aboard her namesake on her 5th birthday.
Bonaire, 12 Aug 2007

Croatia, 27 July 2014

She had quite the experience flying back to Texas.  Her flight was canceled due to mechanical problems and the airline put her into a hotel for the night.  The next morning the re-scheduled flight was delayed 3 hours for more mechanical problems.  Over Canada the engines cut out momentarily.  After that, the remainder of the flight was uneventful.  Elisabeth's comment in an email to us:  "I suggest not taking United Airlines from Frankfurt to Houston unless you can donate duct tape to United!"  She was flying unaccompanied and handled all the problems like a real trouper.  Yep...she really is growing up fast.
Loved the old homes on Sipan island.
Built by sea captains in the 1600s.
And many still lived in today.

Part of one of the old sea captain homes

She left very early on a Monday morning and Zachary left on the following Friday morning.  His flights home were totally uneventful -- always a very good thing when flying.  It rained most of the time after Elisabeth left so we did not move the boat again before Zach departed.  By the way, the taxi driver when we went to the airport told me that the weather this summer is the coolest and wettest in his memory of over 30 years.  We had been wondering why none of the sailors we know who have visited Croatia before us had not told us about this weather.  Turns out that they did not tell us because they did not experience what we are experiencing.  We have had numerous storms and lots and lots of rain ever since arriving in Montenegro.  The southern and central Adriatic has been unusually cool and wet for months.  

Zachary learning how to get a siphon going by
blowing rather than sucking.

The weekend before the kids left we experienced our first of the notorious bora.  It was a calm afternoon when out of the blue the wind suddenly increased to a solid 50+ knots.  We had gone ashore earlier for groceries and the dinghy was left tied behind our anchored boat.  Seas inside the anchorage whipped up and were crashing over the deck.  Never had that inside an anchorage before!  Boats were dragging all over the place.  It finally reached the point that we decided to raise the anchor and move out of that anchorage before we got hit by another boat.  But a strange thing happened.  When we got the anchor up and I started to power up and get out of there, Bill discovered that the dinghy painter had somehow become wrapped around the prop of the outboard engine.  The dinghy was being towed in reverse and filled with water!  The gas tank was already out of the dinghy and floating upside down in the sea by the time Bill got to it.  Thought for sure we were going to lose that gas tank.  We had another gas tank but do not have another gas line to connect to the outboard engine.  

Zachary went to the stern of the boat and helped Bill get everything sorted out.  Glad Zachary was there because he remained very calm and talked Bill out of doing some panicky things during the heat of the moment.  Soon they had the gas tank up on deck and a secondary line to secure the dinghy.  Seas were tossing it about roughly.  We motored out behind a tiny island and waited for everything to calm down.  Then we returned to the exact same spot and anchored again.

He did the siphoning.  She is just holding the hose.
And we all were happy that the outboard still worked!

Since the dinghy gas tank had been floating upside down Bill was concerned that the gasoline might be contaminated with sea water.  So he wanted to siphon the gas into our spare gas tank through clear hose so he could see if there was any water.  He placed the full (fouled) tank up on the mizzen deck and the empty tank down on the main deck.  Placed a clear hose between the 2 and wrapped a rag tightly around the hose entry point into the upper full tank.  He had Zachary blow into the tank while holding the rag close to Zach's lips; creating a suction that caused the gasoline to flow down to the lower tank.  This works beautifully and no one has to get gasoline in their mouth.  This was a new experience for Zachary.  He learned something.  

Do not know what this fruit is called, but I like it.
A very old woman at the fruit market motioned to me
that I should buy some of these, so I tried a couple.
It feels like a firm nectarine to exterior touch and
the flesh is white and tastes like a combination
of plum and apple.  What is it?

Thankfully, the gasoline was not contaminated with any water.  Bill then cleaned the inside of the outboard engine and coated every surface with CorrosionX.  Also changed the spark plugs. Hope all remains well with that engine.  All summer long he has been working on it.  We know it is reaching the end of life but do not want to buy a 4-stroke.  He worked his miracles and it is still working fine.  As we taught both grandkids this summer, we never say that the outboard engine is fixed.  That would be tempting luck.  We just say when it is running okay that "it is temporarily not in need of repair."

As soon as I got back to the boat from taking Zach to the airport for his flight home, we upped anchor and headed north (really more northwest).  We are meeting some people in Split this Friday and wanted to use the calm to cover distance without the usual NW wind on our nose.  Forecast was for southerly winds to help us along; but, of course, that did not happen.  We motored almost all day to Korcula, being able to sail for a glorious 45 minutes.  About typical for us this summer.

Steeple of the church at Basillica Island on northeastern
tip of Korcula.

We anchored and then checked weather once again and learned that the forecast now called for 10-15 kts from NE overnight.  That would not work for the first anchorage.  So we upped anchor and moved a short distance to anchor behind what is called Basillica Island, so named for the monastery and church situated there.  It was a flat calm night; never saw a hint of breeze from any direction.

Korcula Town main gate, birthplace of Marco Polo

Next morning we motored past the lovely old town of Korcula, supposedly the birthplace of Marco Polo.  We did not stop and will save that for our trip back down the coast later.  Again we motored all day, never even set a sail this calm day.  Around the eastern tip of the island of Hvar and up to the southeastern area of the island of Brac.  The first anchorage turned out to have a new 'designated bathing area' which means there now can be no anchoring there.  We would call these swimming areas but both sailing guides refer to these as designated bathing areas.  Anchoring supposedly is not allowed within 150 meters of any designated bathing area.  

Korcula Town viewed from the eastern side.
Another old walled city.

Next we checked out what the sailing guide author states is his favorite anchorage in all of Croatia.  Nope; already had one boat in there and no room for another.  Moving on because daylight would only last a few more hours, we next arrived at the very protected Luka anchorage on the northeastern side of  Brac island.  And it was filled, most boats with stern lines ashore.  

By this time we were getting very tired of Croatia.  Honestly, neither of us sees what the attraction of sailing here is all about.  We have had almost no sailing whatsoever and the anchorages are much too crowded.  And dealing with stern lines ashore is a royal pain we try to avoid.

St. Nikolas Church as seen from sea.  Very pretty.
on northern side of island of Brac near Split. 

We moved over to the center bay just southeast of the Luka anchorage and decided to anchor there.  This is not a designated anchorage in any of the guide books or on any of our charts.  But the weather forecast was for total calm so we decided to chance it for the one night.  It was totally exposed to the north so if any wind built up then we would have to get out quick.  It was a lovely night.

Next day we again motored another 40 NM attempting to find a suitable anchorage, checking first one and then another, only to find them filled with boats with stern lines ashore.  And it was not even noon yet!!!  

We gave up on any anchorage remotely near Split on any island or on the mainland and headed for a spot called Stari Trogir.  When we arrived there the anchorage area was filled.  And we thought that the anchorage area was on the wrong side of the little bay considering the prevailing wind direction.  Why anchor on a lee shore!  We headed over to the western side of the bay and anchored off the beaches filled with vacationers.  We also had the electronic track of a friend's boat and knew that he had anchored on the western side of the bay -- regardless of what the sailing guide and the charts indicated.  Winds are predicted to continue to be from west and northwest for the rest of this week.  This blows us away from the western shore of this bay.  And we are the only boat here!  Could it get any better!

The guide book states that there are no facilities of any kind ashore here.  That seemed improbable to us as there are hundreds of apartments and guest houses ashore.  All those people on vacation must buy food somewhere.  This morning we went ashore and found baked items sold at a kiosk right on the beach and a small supermarket about a block away as well as a man on the street selling veggies from the trunk of his car.  Found freshly baked bread and several delights so we are set for fresh foods until we will arrive at the marina in Split at Friday noon.  Then I can re-stock.  Surely there will be a decent supermarket near that big marina.

Today we are liking Croatia much better than we have in the past 10 days or so.

This has not been a very pleasurable sailing season this year, except for having the grandchildren for a couple of months.  We had to rush through Greece because of Schengen limits and did not get to enjoy much of anything there except a side trip to Santorini.  Did not get to enjoy the Ionian islands at all.  We did enjoy Montenegro very much but could have the boat there only 30 days.  Croatia has not been special in any way.  This summer has turned us both off from cruising.  This is not what it is supposed to be like.  Yesterday we decided that we need to seek out more of the cruising community that we are missing this year.  We had booked a berth in a marina near Rome for the winter.  Someone we know also had planned to berth there so there would have been at least one other couple to hang out with sometimes over the winter.  They changed plans and are not berthing at Nettuno near Rome after all.  They are going to Sicily instead.   So, guess what!  We also are going to winter in Sicily.

Finalizing the booking contract today with the marina at di Ragusa for October 2014 through April 2015.  Our kids and grandkids had planned to visit us in Rome during Spring Breaks next year.  Very sorry that we will not be able to do that.  It would have been fun to see Rome with them.  But we are going to di Ragusa instead.