Sailing in Croatia 2010 – 2011

Arek and myself were dreaming about something bigger: open sea sailing.

In order to try this out, we took part in an organized charter, where a professional skipper led a crew of inexperienced and randomly put together people. Thus, we appeared on board of an Elan 431 as a part of a crew of land rats in summer 2010. Our Captain Mariusz has organized the cruise in a way that pleased everybody.

We didn’t do too many miles, nor we lived through dramatic adventures. But we saw various landscapes in the area between Šibenik, Zadar and Kornati, we spent nights in lone bays and in city marinas, and drunk and sung songs with crews of the neighboring yachts. The end approached much too early and we promised t return to Croatian sailing grounds – with our families. And we wanted to sail with Captain Mariusz again.

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During the Pentecost Holiday, we drove our car with two our boys Jeremi (14) and Mieszko (13) down to Croatia. These gentle hills, this gray-green vegetation and the salty sea air carry the feeling of vacation. And then: seasight! We look upon Kaštelanski Zaliv from the hills we drive on – soon we will be on that water. In the harbor of Kaštela we meet Captain Mariusz and also Arek with I his wife Monika and daughter Olivia (13).

The same evening we set sail towards a close target: Milna. We arrive there and make a quick tour on foot through the town.

The sailing next day is quite easy. For the night, we drop the anchor in the bay of Laštovo, where we also bring out a mooring from the stern to the rocks on shore. The bay is protected from almost every direction – not from the north however. So when we sleep, tired after the evening party, deep in the night, a string wind (Bora) comes directly from the north. Mariusz is the first one on the deck, we do not have the time to dress up, we cannot even gather the mooring – we weight the anchor and flee from the place where the rising waves start slashing against the rocky shore. Full ahead against the waves, into the free water!

When the sun rises, the wind gets back to a normal strength and we sail easily towards Korčula. We reach this town by the beginning of the day and thus we have quite some time for the sight-seeing of Marco Polo’s birthplace.

On the next day, we want to sail to the lonely island of Pelagruža. This will be the longest daily sailing in our career that far! For the first time, we don’t see any land. Then we see the Apulia coast on another side of the Adriatic sea. At Pelagruža, we make a break for bathing and shooting hundreds of photos of thousands of birds. Then, we decide to return towards the Croatian coast – we will sail in the night for this. Our target: the island Biševo and its blue cave. We expect a place on the anchorage there only if we arrive early enough – this is the reason for the night sailing. We arrive yet in the dark, drop the anchor, put the rear moorings to the rocks, and go to berths.

We get up with the sun and see yet other three yachts that arrived during the night. Nevertheless, we take the opportunity to visit the cave before the other yachts‘ crews do this.

The entrance to the Blue Cave is very low, we could just enter it in our dinghi. There is another, bigger entrance showing to the east – but it is under water. Thus in the morning, a beautiful spectacle of sunshine colors, filtered through the water, on the red walls of the cave can be seen.
After breakfast we pay a short visit to the town of Komiža on the close-by island Viš. It is worth seeing, but we don’t really stay there, instead, we make a longer leg to the city of Hvar. This one is really a must-see! It is located between hills, on top of which fortresses from various epochs are located.

We spend the night on an anchorage in a small bay opposite to the town of Hvar. Then we returned to the charter base in Kaštela, in order to spend the last night on the boat there and to give back the yacht the next day early on. It was quite a god decision given the weather: the calm of the morning, that forced us to motor all the way from Hvar, gave way to a gale-force Bora in the evening. In the night, the wind sensor measured 53 knots of wind in the harbor! Boats returning to the base in the morning had to fight against very difficult waves in the harbor entrance. The base crew had to go out in their powerful rubber boat to pull the yachts in. This delayed our handover, but still we return home happy and full of impressions.

The next saison, we went on a combined land-sail trip in Turkey.