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A Five-Week Sailing Holiday in Croatia

By Sue Richards last modified Jul 18, 2008 05:03 PM

Published: 2008-07-18 17:03:42
Countries: Croatia

April 2008
By the Sparkes Family
SY “Paulina” – Hanse 40’

City of Dubrovnik
Visited en-route to picking up charter boat in northern Croatia.

Dubrovnik is a classic, beautiful example of a Medieval walled city for pedestrians only, cars are not allowed. We walked down to the harbour and checked out the local fisherman who had just returned with their morning’s catch. We continued to wander around the old city and on the marble pavers that abound throughout the main parts of the town. We found our way back out through the city walls and into other areas which afforded us brilliant views. The views from the wall are just stunning and walking around the wall gives you a great appreciation of the layout of the city. Don’t miss Café Buza, perched high on a cliff face overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Simply stunning.

I think it is fair to say that every minute you spend in Dubrovnik is memorable and it is incredibly relaxing just wandering around taking in the sights and the lifestyle. Even though we are here at the absolute beginning of the ‘tourist’ season there are lots of people around and you could only imagine how crowded the place would be in the peak of summer, I think we made the right decision to come when we did (April).

The St. Savior Church, which was built in the 16th century, has a classical music concert every Monday. The concert was performed by the Sorkocevic Quartet and comprised 4 performers, one each on the flute, piano, violin and cello. They performed pieces by Handel, Mozart, Beethoven and Rossini. Although it only went for about 55 minutes it was absolutely brilliant and was the perfect way to end the day.

Locrum - just off the coast of Dubrovnik.

Advertised as having lots of nice beaches and hiking tracks, an old fort, an equally old monastery and lots of places to take in the nature and the views. Caught a ferry from Dubrovnik. You can walk from one end to the other in about an hour and a half, dodging the huge numbers of peacocks and peahens. We found one area they call the ‘dead sea’, a small lake that is fed through a sea cave. A perfect place to swim, sunbake and just relax away from the crowds of Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik to Sukosan
Caught bus from Dubrovnik to Sukosan, about 400 km to the north.

We got dropped off at the front of the marina around 7.15pm, about 8 hours after our departure. The Yacht Charter Company had very kindly allowed us to stay on board the night before our charter and not only did it save us the hassle of trying to find somewhere to stay, it saved us a couple of hundred on accommodation. The marina where the yacht was berthed is the biggest in Croatia and it was about a kilometre walk around to the boat, dragging our bags behind us. I guess the anticipation of seeing the boat reduced the angst of the long haul and we climbed on board our new home for the next 5 weeks.

Having done so much research on the Hanse Yachts, I more or less thought I knew the boat inside and out, but being on board and actually being able to absorb all the features of the yacht was fantastic (40’ long, 3 cabins, 2 heads - shower cubicle in one, a good galley and a well laid out saloon). The cockpit is very spacious and she is the perfect size boat for a family of four on an extended charter. We were very happy with our choice. We had a look over a Hanse 430 which is also in charter with the same company and it is amazing what an extra three feet means in a boat. The 430 seemed a lot bigger, especially as far as the outside of the boat was concerned. I had been communicating with a lot of different owners for some time with regards to the difference between the two boats and the general consensus was that the 40, whilst a bit smaller was by far, the better and easier boat to sail and handle, something we were to appreciate very much as our trip progressed.

The following morning, the charter company were very helpful and drove us into and back from town with our supplies and really could not do enough for us. We loaded up the boat, including a bottle of Croatian wine - having never tried Croatian wine before, I took the option of paying a quite a bit, hoping that price equalled quality.

Heading West to Isolation

We decided first to head west to isolation rather than south to civilisation. The reason we chose this course was from what we had been advised through charter recommendations, travel research and the winds were in our favour. We had a beautiful afternoon sail before we anchored in a bay called Sutomiscica - a very good anchorage. We had a couple of beers in the cockpit watching the sun going down and illuminating the vast range of snow capped mountains off to the east.

The next day we got up to a brilliant sunny morning and motored north to a beautiful little island and found a nice calm bay where we anchored up for brekkie. We had a bit of relax and then headed off for a bit more sailing.

Iz Island - Komoseva

We had a bit of a hassle finding a suitable berth for the night, trying one anchorage but deciding against it after we got the weather forecast. We ended up berthing next to a sea wall at a little village called Komoseva on the island of Iz. Komoseva. Not much here as far as facilities are concerned but it did have a little shop with hot fresh bread delivered about 7.20am, which alone was worth the stay. The wind really started to blow here about 4.00am and we added more lines as the sun came up and the morning ferry horns woke us from our slumber.

We decided it was going to be too rough to try and leave the harbour and a day wandering the island was in order. A lot of the islands seem to have little concrete paths that join the villages along the shore line and it makes getting around very easy indeed.

Kornati Island Group

We decided to head off the next morning as there was going to be a small window in the weather. We headed further west toward the island of Dugi Otok and the Kornati Island Group and had intended on sailing to a village called Sali where we believed a fresh fish market would afford us an opportunity of buying a bucket load of fresh scampi to feast on for my birthday.

Our passage across to Sali was the hardest sail we had experienced on the trip with winds gusting to about 35 knots from the south. We sailed with just the headsail up and were making very good boat speed, even though most of the time we were to windward. The boat is an incredibly kindly sea boat and she tends to slice through the water rather than pound on the chop and overall it was quite a comfortable trip, albeit a bit cold.

Have to say the Croatia Cruising Companion, courtesy of the Newell’s and the Hurst’s has been a godsend. The book has been used constantly each day and is a “cruising bible” for us. That book combined with the 777 Chart Book has meant we are able to head off with absolute confidence about where we hope to stop for the night. Life would have been very different without them.

We ended up hooking up to another sea wall in a very small village just north of Sali. An “interesting berthing” might be an apt way of describing it. We headed off and walked the coast path into Sali; not realising there was a path over the hill that cut about 20 minutes off the walk!! It didn’t matter, the walk was appreciated. Sad to say, no fresh fish markets and only one restaurant was open that night. Walked for ages to find it and when I did was told that whilst they were open, there was one dish and one dish alone on the menu – calamari. That was it!!

We headed off the next morning quite early, intending to sail around to an area called Telascica Bay, which all the guide books say is a place not to be missed. We headed down the bottom of Dugi Otok and through a very narrow and shallow channel called Malo Proversa and headed up into the bay. The area is very remote and has little or no human habitation, except of course during the summer season when I imagine the area would be very busy with charter boats and yachts coming over from Italy.

After brekkie we sailed off out of the bay and out into the Adriatic to do a bit of offshore sailing. We sailed down the outside of the Kornati Island group, reaching in about 14 knots of wind. Even though the wind was constant, the sea was very confused and quite bumpy. After a few hours the wind eased and as it was becoming quite uncomfortable we decided to head back inshore and try and pick up some breeze through the channels.

Island of Piskera

We eventually made it around to the ACI Marina on the Island of Piskera. ACI have quite a number of marinas throughout Croatia and are government sponsored. It costs about 4 Euros per metre per night to stay, which includes electricity and water. As we were getting very low on water we decided to have a night at the marina, have a nice hot shower courtesy of the marina facilities and generally recharge the boat and ourselves. It was our first time of hooking up to lazy lines.

Due to the remoteness of the area, power is supplied by generators and is only available at certain times of the day and night. The water tanks were filled and we waited patiently for 6.00pm when we were told there would be hot water available at the onshore facilities. Well I don’t know what the Croatian word for hot is but it sure does not equate to what we know it as. The simple pleasure of soaking under a steaming hot shower just did not eventuate, but at least it was warm enough to give some relief.

That night the wind picked right up. A wind from the south, south east is called a Sirocco and when they start they tend to strengthen over the next 24 – 48 hours. When we woke up in the morning the wind was howling down the channel and we wanted to head out of the Kornati’s and back toward the mainland and closer islands. We needed to re-provision and also wanted to start taking in a few of the more inhabited islands and villages. The marina staff told us the forecast was for even stronger winds over the next 24 hours and we had had enough of marina life at ACI Piskera. The facilities did not warrant the fees charged and the Island was so barren, there was nothing of interest to keep us there.

Getting out of the marina was not what you would call easy and one of the lazy lines ended up being wrapped around the prop. I was able to cut away the rope and free the prop but was literally freezing when I got out of the water. It turned out, we needed all the help from about 7 of the marina guys to get out of the marina with the amount of wind on the nose, the shallow water, all the lazy lines and the windage of the boat. We eventually managed to get out but I think the adrenaline rush we had experienced over the past couple of hours was at an all time high!!! We headed out through the channel into more wind and took refuge for a while in a small bay called Lavsa. There were a couple of houses and one or two restaurants which would have been brilliant to pull up to had they been open!!

Heading Back to the Mainland

We took stock of what had happened over the past few hours and worked out if we had the time to make it back toward the mainland. Thanks to the Cruising Guide and chart book we had a number of options open to us and so we opted to head out and make the our way south into the wind and then hope that the wind direction would hold so we could sail close reached to our intended port for the night. As time was getting on, we motored to the south of Kornati Island and we had gusts of 35 knots of true on the nose. We turned at the bottom of the island and were able to sail from there under a partly furled head sail as we still had 35 knot gusts and between 25 to 30 knots of constant.

We got to our first Island option but the temptation of being so close to more facilities won out and we decided to sail on to the Island of Zlarin. We had been sailing for some hours and the sight of a nice big sea wall and a number of other yachts safely tucked up was very welcomed. Our guide books told us that one side of the sea wall was used by a car ferry and the other was able to be used 24/7.

Island of Zlarin

Of course, Murphy’s law came into being and we tied up, all nice and tight on the western side and no sooner had we done so than the car ferry arrived and the ship’s master telling us in no uncertain terms we had too move. So back around to the other side of the sea wall and we tied up near a couple of other yachts crewed by a group of young guys from the Czech Republic who were very kind in helping us secure our lines and avoid the lazy lines that represented such a terrifying image of fouled props and freezing water!!

We had high expectations that our berth, including electricity and water, was F.O.C courtesy of the local council, as a means of attracting boat loads of free spending tourists. So we thought we would splurge out and had dinner that night in a restaurant in the village. Debs woke quite early to look out over the stern and see the bow of another quite large ferry boat that used this side of the sea wall. At the same time the fee collector arrived to dash our hopes of a free berth and swiftly removed nearly 300 Kuna (about $75) from the travel kitty. As they say, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

We spent the morning walking around the village and were about to leave when the Sibenik Search and Rescue Boat, a.k.a harbourmaster vessel pulled alongside and requested our ships papers, crew list, licences and passports. All was in order and the Captain of the ship filed a report and had a bit of a chat about life in Australia.

Skradin and the Krka Falls

We headed off from the island and headed over to the mainland with the intention of making it up the river from Sibenik to Skradin and the Krka Waterfalls and National Park. We sailed across to the mainland and then motored up the river for quite a few miles before we berthed in this incredibly beautiful little village called Skradin and another ACI Marina. The marina has wonderful hot showers as well as having WiFi, so we ended up having two nights in the Marina. Skradin is downstream from the waterfalls and the water is essentially fresh so quite a few boats, especially wooden boats, tend to moor up there during the off season to save on maintenance costs. The village, in various forms, has been in existence for almost 2000 years and has had a very colourful history of ownership with many different countries seeking to claim their right to the little piece of paradise: Turks; Romans; Venetians; Austrians…

Apart from the waterfront, the village is built on a bit of a headland with the obligatory old fort on top of the ridge and the clock / bell tower and beautiful old church in the middle of the village. Of course all the houses are made of cut stone, some painted, some not and the streets are paved either with old cobble stones or new modern pavers, depending on the area of the village. The streets are incredibly narrow with barely room for three or four people to pass each other.

It’s about a 5 km walk along the river to the Falls with spectacular scenery (or you can take a shuttle boat). The Krka water falls are an extensive series of falls that are part of the national park. There is an extensive boardwalk all through the falls and you simply meander you way around, taking in the sites and sounds of the falls and having a look at the old mills they still use for display purposes.

Next Stop Primosten

Again we berthed up on the sea wall right next to the village, another one of those very old villages built on a small hill right on the seashore. As soon as we berthed up and handed over our ships papers to the harbourmaster, we headed off to grab a slaba bijela kava (weak white coffee) and then went for a walk around the foreshores.

We walked around to a indoor swimming pool which was attached to a very large hotel complex and the 26’C water temperature shown on the gauge looked very appealing indeed. That night the wind dropped right off and there was no swell coming into the harbour.

Rogoznica

We head a great reach south (from Primosten to Rogoznica) with the winds from the north west. We tied up to the sea wall with the assistance of the harbour master. This was the first time we had the opportunity to see if we could just tie up for an hour or so and not pay any mooring fees so we could do a bit of sightseeing and have a coffee, or both. Like all of the harbour masters we had encountered so far, this one was incredibly helpful and friendly and there was no problems whatsoever about our intentions. The village is undergoing some major pipe laying at the moment and the road around the foreshore is very cut up and I would say would be keeping a few boats out of the place.

After having lunch it was time to set sail for Trogir and the harbourmaster helped us off as the wind was causing a bit of havoc.

Trogir (mainland just N of Split) It was about a four hour sail to Trogir and again we were broad reaching and running before the wind almost all the way down. We made our way into the ACI Marina and berthed up in some pretty strong winds, dodging the shallow water and a very large car ferry coming up alongside us. Boat settled, crew settled, ships papers handed over and time to walk over the bridge into this incredibly beautiful town. Trogir takes the cake as far as narrow streets are concerned and it is strictly pedestrian only inside the town walls - a really nice place and one we are really glad we made the passage to.

Island of Vis

From Trogir this was a 30+ nautical mile passage and not one of our most pleasant by any means. We encountered really messy confused sea conditions for most of the way across. The wind was certainly not in our favour and we didn’t arrive in Vis town until quite late in the afternoon. We had originally planned to head to Komiza on the west coast of the Island and then head over to the Island of Bisevo, but the sea, wind and weather conditions did not favour that plan at all. Bisevo has a sea cave, naturally called the Blue Grotto, which is meant to be pretty good between the hours of 11.00am and 1.00pm with the floor of the cave illuminated by the overhead sunlight.

As we arrived in Vis town, the weather improved and the sun was shining. We hooked up to the town wharf (with electricity and water) - quite a lot cheaper than the ACI Marina type facilities. We had a walk around the village and made some inquiries about facilities and decided to rename the village ‘two days’ because everything we asked for was going to be available in two days time, obviously when the villagers hoped that more tourists were going to arrive.

The south east wind, called the Jugo by the locals (pronounced ‘Yugo’) blew up in the night and made our town berth quite an uncomfortable spot to be. It is a bit like our southerlies back home, ugly wind which brings with it ugly sea conditions, cold weather and tends to make one feel a bit p*#@ off with things after a couple of days of it. We thought we might make a run for Komiza hoping to see what is supposed to be a very nice fishing village and then make a dash for Bisevo. We motor sailed back to Komiza hoping the Jugo had not created too much swell in the harbour, but after about a two and a half hour passage we were very disappointed to find that the harbour had a pretty ordinary swell coming into it and one that was not going to suit an overnight stay. So we sailed and motor sailed back to Vis and to a more protected part of the town quay for the night.

Island of Korcula

The next morning we made plans to make a passage over to Vela Luka, a town on the western side of Korcula Island, again another 30 + nautical mile passage. After about 2 miles the wind dropped right off and we ended up motor sailing all the way to Vela Luka.

For our next stop we decided to wait until we left the harbour in the morning and see which way the winds blew. Lastavo was off to the south east and Korcula old town was off to the north east.

Island of Lastavo

We woke to a beautiful sunny morning and with the wind favouring a passage to Lastavo, our course was altered to the south east and off we headed. With much regret, we had to drop our sails and motor in through the reasonably narrow passage into the anchorage where we, mistakenly, thought we would find a berth along a sea wall. The passage narrows to just a few metres and full navigation through the passage is blocked by both shallow water and a bridge joining two sections of the island. We dropped the anchor and went ashore in our inflatable, the first time we had actually used it all trip.

There was nothing but houses on the north side where we were but there was an incredibly strong and very irresistible smell of meat being cooked on a rotisserie coming from near the bridge. We literally followed our noses and came upon Hotel Solitudo, a quite large hotel and in-house Kanoba that was undergoing some major renovations.

Apart from the hotel and a few houses near the sea, there was nothing in the way of markets / shops which turned out to be some distance around the bay. We spoke to the resident manageress and to our misfortune we were told that the suckling pig that was being tendered to very lovingly was only for the workmen who were hard at it at the time; obviously a bit of a reward for the hard work on a Sunday. We were able to be compensated however with the offer of fresh seafood and fresh meat should we care to dine at their fine establishment later in the evening. I thought if there food was half as good as the suckling pig smelt it was going to be worth the additional work of taking the boat around the other side of the island and coming back into the hotel berths on the sea wall.

So back into the little inflatable, up anchor and away we went around to the other side of the island. Lastavo is very heavily vegetated as compared to a lot of the other islands we had been to and it was just one of those places that had a really good feel to it.

That night we were awoken to the sound of wind starting to pick up through the rigging. Even though we were in no hurry to leave the island, we should have paid more attention to the manner the dreaded Jugo starts to build up. In the morning we headed off early to the nearest village to buy some provisions from the market that opened between 8 and 11.00. The wind wasn’t too bad but the direction it was coming from should have sounded some alarm bells. By the time we got back to the boat, the wind had really started to build. We had literally left it too late and it was too risky to try and move the boat in the prevailing conditions. Fortunately the boat was very secure but was getting tossed around in the wind and chop that was being created.

The hotel told us that we could stay the night for free, we didn’t have much choice really as we were not, at that stage in any position to go anywhere at all but their generosity was really appreciated. We spent most of the morning and early afternoon just keeping an eye on the boat and adjusting fenders as the tide fell as the day progressed. There was little else to do except hope that the forecast of the wind to shift to the south west was a valid one and wait it out.

Sure enough the wind changed and the clouds started to disperse and the sun started to shine again.

Island of Mjlet (plans aborted)

We got away early, for what we thought was going to be a very pleasant reach over to our next choice of islands. We ended up aborting the passage after a couple of miles as the wind went from 15 knots to 20 knots to 30 knots in an incredibly short space of time and looked like blowing out much harder which in fact it did, gusting to 40 knots. The swell was building just as rapidly and it was going to be a very ugly passage indeed if we had continued.

We made it into a very sheltered bay just outside an old WW2 gun boat bunker. We tied up to a very safe, secure and calm berth and after a while went over and did a bit more shopping and came back and made a huge batch of delicious pancakes. We spent the rest of the day taking it easy, exploring the old WW2 tunnels.

The next day we listened to the marine radio reports and pretty smooth and favourable sailing conditions were forecast for our passage back to Korcula Island and up to Korcula old town.

Back to Korcula Island

We motored out of the bay and the conditions favoured a full main and headsail so the crew set about getting the sails up and getting the boat moving along under very pleasant conditions. As fate would have it the wind went from about 10 knots down to 2 knots so the old iron spinnaker came out once again and we motor sailed the whole way to Korcula some 30 odd miles away.

At least the sea conditions were favourable and it was a very easy and laid back passage.At least with the motor running we are able to use the autopilot without sacrificing any battery charge and it is pretty easy sitting back keeping watch (which you have to do as there is so much rubbish in the water). Fish trap and fish net buoys tend to be around headlands and reefs but there are plenty of other little ‘traps’ to keep one on one’s toes as you make way: trees; tree branches; plastic bags; old mooring buoys; logs and timber all add up to a bit of an obstacle course at times.

We motored up to the ACI Marina at Korcula and were looking forward to what the marina guide book described as “on-shore laundry facilities”. To say we needed to do a serious clothes wash was an understatement but after making inquiries with the reception our hopes were a bit dashed when we were told it was 250 Kuna, about $63.00, per bag of washing and if there was a mixture of clothes then each bag would be charged individually!!. So off to the local shops for another plastic bucket and some washing powder.

We did a little tour of the town following groups of tourists who had offloaded from the quite large ferry boat that arrives every Thursday from Dubrovnik. We found an incredible Museum in the heart of the town that was the Old Bishops Palace and a whole range of antiquities had been collected and donated by a Bishop some years ago. Sketches by Leonardo Da Vinci were just some of the incredible items on display. The town is quite small so it does not take all that long to see the sights on offer.

Scedro Island

During our passage from Korcula to Hvar the wind increased to 25 knots on the nose, and we calculated that we would have at least another five hours of windward sailing if we wanted to make Hvar. As it was already about 5.00pm we decided to head for a little island called Scedro where we knew was a nice safe and calm little anchorage away from the north westerlies. We got into the bay and ended up picking up one of five moorings that had been laid by the little restaurant come local fishing base. The bay is protected from basically all wind directions and it just a picture perfect little setting.

Hvar Island

Hvar is a major destination from the charter bases in Split and we had been warned that Hvar Harbour was pretty popular and pretty busy. We were fortunate enough to find a space to drop the pick away from all the old moorings that litter the seabed in the inner harbour. It is a complete trap for young players as yacht after yacht got hooked up on the old concrete blocks and spent about half an hour each getting free. It is total chaos in the inner harbour and I am sure that a lot of boats come off second best in the hustle and bustle of boat madness.

We went ashore and headed over the hill to the next little bay where we found a couple of restaurants / bars overlooking the bay and had a couple of beers watching the sun go down. We ended up having a bite to eat at the restaurant which was a really cool place. It is a brilliant little anchorage for visiting yachts and the food was really fresh, dining on a type of fresh artichoke stew for want of a better word, I can assure you it tasted far better than my description of it. The table next to us was a group of Germans and they were treated to a wide array of the freshest seafood you could ask for. The restaurateur went down to the little fishing boat that just pulled in and came back with a tub of fish, lobsters and crabs that were still kicking.

We planned to go around the Island of Hvar and take up an anchorage in a nice little bay with options of stopping at Stari Grad, Vbroska and Jelsa along the way depending on the weather.

Stari Grad

We berthed up to the town wall, had a walk around and decided that we wouldn’t stay the night and would keep pushing around to the other side of the island.

Vbroska

On the north side of Havar, here we found a nice and secure berth against the town wharf. Vbroska is called ‘Little Venice’ as there are a number of small stone bridges criss-crossing the harbour. The next day we inquired about hiring some bikes from our mate the Harbourmaster (who the cruising guide advised was the friendliest and most helpful harbourmaster in all of Croatia) - the guide wasn’t wrong! Nothing was a problem to him and shortly after, the bike shop owner arrived at the boat and 4 high quality mountain bikes were ours from 12 noon to 8.00pm for 40 Kuna each (about $10.00).

The mainly single lane road follows the coastline from Vbroska to Jelsa and beyond. The wind was still blowing quite hard and on the way to Jelsa it was in our face but of course we took the benefit of a tail wind on our return trip. The trip around was really nice as the coastline, like in all Croatia, is really stunning.

The village was very busy that day with a lot of tourists making the trip over from Hvar town to have a wander around. Jelsa has a quite large and open harbour compared to Vbroska and whilst it would be a very nice place to berth up to for a night or two, we were happy with our choice of the place they call ‘Little Venice’ and it’s effervescent harbourmaster.

Island of Brac

We more or less headed due north up to the town of Bol and its very famous ‘beach’ Dugi Rat’ which is plastered over most of the tourist guide book covers and posters for Croatia.

We decided not to anchor off the beach, partly as the wind was starting to pick up but also because we are really so spoilt with beautiful beaches in our part of the world. Had it been warm enough to jump off the back of the boat and swim ashore we might have decided differently. Our afternoon passage plans then became our focus.

We continued up along the south coast of Brac, hoping to be able to anchor in a small bay and take the hour long walk up to a place called the Hermitage, an old stone complex that used to afford protection to the locals from the ravages of the invading pirates who used to frequent the area.

Unfortunately the strong winds blowing into the bay did not make for a safe anchorage and we sailed past and headed for our night’s destination, a place called Uvala Lucice. We had varying winds, going from full main, to one reef, then to two reefs, back to one reef and then back to full main and then just to the motor and main. It certainly kept the crew busy!!

Uvala Lucice

We picked up a mooring in the bay and settled back for the afternoon. The bay was very protected from the winds although a bit rolly with the north west swell bouncing off the headlands.

Woke up to an old mate from the shoreline knocking on the boat asking for his 100 Kuna mooring fee, which we did not realise we had to pay until we checked in the cruising guide. It appeared there are no shoreline facilities but we did not object to paying the fee as a whole lot of work has to go into placing and maintaining the moorings. He also took your rubbish away and he would deliver fresh bread and newspapers in the morning.

The next morning, with a strong north-easterly blowing, we head to Milna, on the west coast of Brac.

Milna

Now as a little side issue, Brac is supposed to have the most days of sunshine of any of the Croatian Islands and Milna is supposed to have the most days of sunshine of any of the towns & villages of Brac. Well, having complete faith in the Croatian Cruising Guide (thank you again Newells and Hursts) we headed around toward Milna.

It is a really beautiful town harbour and has a number of tables and chairs right next to the sea wall and we literally tied the boat up, jumped over the side into sunbathed chairs for coffees and hot choccies. We ended up meeting people from all parts of the world in Milna, spending the afternoon talking about our current cruising trip, previous and intended travels and all the good aspects of life.

Just as we were settling in for the afternoon the assistant harbourmaster told us we’d had our boats berthed along the town wall for far too long and had to move. He needed to take a leaf out of the Vbroska harbourmaster’s book didn’t he? Well our afternoon was not going to be spoilt so we jumped on board our boats and moved down the town wall about 80 metres and berthed up side by side with our sterns to the sea wall and our bows secured by anchors at the front.

We hadn’t planned on going to Split but after talking to the crews on the other boats they convinced us that we had to go there. So we packed up and headed off, firstly into very light winds and then the wind dropped away completely. We motor sailed for a little while and then the wind picked up to a very comfortable 12 knots and we reached all the way to Split.

Split

We hooked up in the Marina at Split and then we headed off into the old town. Whilst there are some beautiful aspects to the city, especially the roman ruins and the Diocletian palace, it just seemed so much bigger and busier than the other places we had been to.

The marina is very big and very busy with a lot of charter boat companies operating out of here. We did a huge amount of clothes washing here as it was cheaper than anywhere else we had found. Nice clear plastic wrapped packages of sparkling fresh and clean clothes were picked up from the laundrette and I’ve got to say, they looked and smelled fantastic!!!.

Trogir Harbour for a night with friends

As luck would have it, another yacht was leaving just as we arrived (we heard later they didn’t want to pay the fee to stay there) and we tucked in amongst all the other boats, getting a bit of a helping hand from those ashore. The quay was ‘chockers’ and there was just enough room for us to fit in between another yacht and a very large stink boat.

After dinner we grabbed the younger crew members and went inside the old walls, bought some ice creams and went for a bit of a wander around the narrow maze of streets that make up this incredibly intriguing and beautiful U.N.E.S.C.O. listed town.

Heading North from Trogir

We sailed north for about 4 or 5 hours, under absolutely brilliant conditions. Around 5.30pm we decided it would be a good idea to think about pulling up for the night and as Primosten was on our starboard beam and we had really enjoyed our stay there before, we opted to tack over and stay there the night.

Next day we headed for Prvic and arrived about 2.00pm. We spent another great afternoon wandering about the village, having a coffee or two and making plans for dinner.

The next night we anchored in Kosirina on the island of Murtar. We rafted up with friends’ boats together in the bay and spent the afternoon chatting away, having a few drinks and putting together a meal from whatever food each boat had left on board.

Our final afternoon was one of the best sails of the trip getting back to Sukosan marina about 7.00pm. We fuelled up and berthed and went to the restaurant at the marina for dinner, feeling very sad that our charter holiday would soon be over.

I have to say, this has been the best experience I have ever had with my family. It has been a real adventure and we have all grown so much closer. Debs and the kids have taken to the boat like you would not believe and I can only wonder how amazing it would be to take on a cruising life that so many families opt to do. Who knows!

Footnote about company through which we booked this charter.

In all honesty, I could not recommend Eldin, the owner of A2A Yachting highly enough. It was in some ways, a bit of a punt booking with a company in Europe who we knew nothing about and sending him a deposit of over 5,000 AUD but he was fantastic and he even came to Croatia from the UK to make sure he met us and everything was ok. He has now become a friend of ours and we communicate quite regularly.

Allan Sparkes
Coffs Harbour, Australia
sparkes2450@gmail.com

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