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We sailed along the Croatian coast for two weeks in September 2009. Our ship was a Bénéteau Oceanis 323 and the entire route can be found here

We sailed approximately 335 miles in total. Starting in Split via Brač, Korčula and Lastovo, then via the Elaphite Islands to Dubrovnik. Taking it easy, we sailed back via Mljet, Korčula, Hvar and Vis to Trogir, after which we returned to Split. Anchoring for 9 nights, and 4 harbours.

The weather was good, sunshine every day and temperatures up to 30 degrees Celsius and even higher. We had one day with rain and thunderstorms during this trip. The Bura winds gave us a great finale. Most days we had northerly (Bura) and northwesterly winds (Tramontana), and one day we had Jugo winds (southeasterly). Seawater temperature was 24 – 25 degrees Celsius – great for swimming.

Darkness came early (20:00) given that it was already late season. During the night, the temperature dropped to around 20 degrees Celsius. It was still pretty busy in the popular ports and bays.

Day 1 : Marina Kaštela (Split) – Lučice (Brač)

Marina Kaštela is busy, noisy and hot. No trace of an economic crisis here. Hundreds of charters are sailing again this Saturday. We check our ship and find that everything is in fine working order. With our luggage and provisions aboard we hurry to leave this busy harbour. Our plan is to sail along the northern coast of Brač in an easterly direction.

Upon leaving the harbour around 15:00 hours, we find an easterly wind outside the bay. Since we do not feel like motoring for 25 NM, we decide to head due south towards Splitska Vrata, the channel between Brač and Šolta. After passing this narrow strait we head due east towards Lučice bay, where we have spent the night more often. We do find that prices have more than doubled since 2007, so I think this will be our last stay here.

Around 18:30 we pick up a buoy and take a refreshing swim. The air temperature is well over 30 degrees Celsius, and the seawater temperature is 25 degrees Celsius. Some dinner after that, and around 20:30 the lights go out (except, of course, the mooring light). Because of the heat I spend this night in the cockpit.

Day 2 : Lučice (Brač) – Tri Luke (Korčula)

During the night the wind turns northeasterly (Bura), with nasty gusts over our cockpit. Around 04:00 I go inside, to wake up again around 07:00. That is a great time of the day for another refreshing swim.

While having breakfast, we discuss a number of possible plans for the day. We do not really have an objective, but plan to go where the wind will carry us. Will it be Jelsa, Sumartin, Vis or Komiža? We listen to the 07:45 weather forecast on Split Radio via VHF. Expectations are not very good for the morning, predicting local rain- and thundershowers. By that time we see dark threatening clouds on the northern horizon. Around 09:00 we drop our line and move south, our course is 210 towards Rt Pelegrin, the western tip of the island of Hvar. Our boat speed is 4.5 knots, in 12 knots of northerly wind. The rain shower follows us when we round Rt Pelegrin at 10:15 and when we sail through the Pakleni Kanal along Hvar-town towards the lighthouse on the island of Pokonji Dol. Things look busy as usual in Hvar town, so we do not even try to moor there.

Keeping Pokonji Dol to port, we change our course to 140 towards the western point of the island of Korčula. It is now 10:45 and we leave the rain showers behind, sailing towards the blue skies. We make good speed in 10 - 12 knots of wind, and around 15:00 we round Rt Velo Dance, the southwestern tip of Korčula. Half an hour later we drop anchor in Tri Luke bay. At that moment we are the only ship there, but later that afternoon two more ships arrive. The rest of the afternoon we take it easy, go swimming and read.

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Day 3 : Tri Luke (Korčula) – Skrivena Luka (Lastovo)

I wake up at 04:00 hours. Everything is quiet, but I do get up and check our anchor. Outside, there is no wind and the sky is clear. You can see the stars and the moon is almost full. Our ship is anchored rock solid. The temperature is nice, and I stay outside for a while to enjoy the peace and quiet. 

After a few more hours of sleep I do get up around 07:30, Time for a swim, and listening to the weather forecast via VHF. Breakfast after that, another swim, and some time for reading. We lift our anchor around 10:30. Immediately outside the cove we hoist our sails, the wind is northwesterly (Tramontana), 6 – 9 knots. The barometer rose 4 hPa to 1018 hPa since 08:00. Our course is 150 and boat speed is 4 knots while we sail towards the western coast of the island of Lastovo. Around 12:30 we pass the rock Plič Pod Mrčaru on the northern side of Lastovo. One hour later, we sail around the island of Bratin. Soon after that we see the lighthouse at Rt Skriževa and Rt Struga, and around 14:45 we drop our anchor in Skrivena Luka.

According to the pilot guides, Skrivena Luka is the finest anchorage around Lastovo. We are not 100% convinced, the protection against winds is not as good as we hoped for. There are some holiday homes around the bay, and on its western shore there is a restaurant with its own pier (which is rather busy). Together with four other ships we anchored in the northern section of the bay, in 5 meters of water.

That evening the winds turns towards north, and increases to 15 – 20 knots. Around 19:30 I notice that the other boats are coming closer. My reference points on the coast have moved as well. In other words: our anchor started dragging… At first we try to re-anchor close to our original anchoring spot, increase our scope from 1 in 4 (20 meters of chain) to 1 in 6 (30 meters of chain). But it does not work, within 30 minutes we are dragging again.

By now it is dark, and it is time for drastic measures. We switch on the navigation lights and lift our anchor again. We move towards the center of the bay, far from the other yachts. In 7 meters of water we drop 50 meters of chain, increasing our scope to 1 in 7. Using the engine in reverse, we help the anchor dig in. It seems to work.

Soon after that we are visited by a dinghy with some crew members from a German yacht, moored at the pier. They saw us drag and re-anchor, and wanted to ensure that we are alright. By then we have the situation under control, but I do appreciate their offer. It shows the true spirit of yachting! During the next hour, I check our position a number of times. We are anchored rock solid.

That night, I sleep in the cockpit again. Every two hours I get up and check the anchor. Around 02:00 the wind dies. From that moment on I sleep a bit more comfortable. However, I do feel rather exhausted when I get up at 07:00. This is vacation, remember…

I share my story about the dragging anchor in Skrivena Luka with a friend of mine, who is a local skipper, later that week. He explains the mystery to me. The northern section of Skrivena Luka has a rocky bottom with a thin layer of sand and mud. Your anchor will not dig in here. The central and southern sections of the bay do have a proper layer of sand and mud, which will hold your anchor well. Something to remember.

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Day 4 : Skrivena Luka (Lastovo) – Šipanska Luka (Šipanska)

A swim, breakfast, and at 08:20 the weather forecast via Dubrovnik Radio VHF (we are too far away for Split Radio by now). The great daily morning routine on our ship. The weather prognosis is the same as yesterday, and around this time the air temperature is 25 degrees Celsius. We decide to sail eastward along the southern coast of the island of Mljet. Our objective for the day is Uvala Saplunara, a bay on the southeastern tip of Mljet. We lift anchor around 09:00 and leave Skrivena Luka. Once outside, we change course to 090, eastwards. A number of other ships take a more northeasterly course, probably towards Korčula or the northern side of Mljet. We want to keep the Vrhovnjaci, the chain of rocks and small islets east of Lastovo, to our port side and pass south of them.

The southwesterly wind, which was promised by the forecast, is nowhere to be seen. Instead, we have an easterly wind, straight on our bow. Around 10:30 the wind turns to north-east, 7 knots. Time to hoist our sails. At 11:30 we have the lighthouse of Glavat, the most easterly of the Vrhovnjaci, due north at 000 degrees. Not much later, the wind dies down again and we have to switch to the engine. We pass Goli Rat, the western cape of Mljet, around 13:00 hours. The wind returns not much later, and now it is the promised westerly (6 knots). 

We hoist the sails again and continue along the southern shore of Mljet. There is just one other ship sailing on a westerly course, for the rest it is just us.

At 15:20 in the afternoon we listen to the afternoon weather forecast on Dubrovnik Radio. By that time we are 5 nautical miles west of Uvala Saplunara. For the evening and night a southwesterly wind is predicted. And Uvala Saplunara is completely open to the south-west. After last night’s experience in Skrivena Luka, we are looking for a quiet place to sleep. But if plan A fails, there is always the rest of the alphabet…

While passing Uvala Saplunara one hour later, we see a number of ships anchoring there. We continue eastwards and round Rt Gruj, the southeasterly tip of Mljet. Then it is course 055 towards the northeast, aiming for Prolaz Harpoti, the narrow channel between the islands of Šipan and Jakljan. These are part of the Elaphite Islands, a string of islands between Dubrovnik and the Pelješac peninsula. Prolaz Harpoti is a beautiful narrow channel, covered on both sides with strong-smelling pine trees.

After the passage through the channel, we go starboard out, sailing into the harbour of Šipanska Luka. By now it is 18:00 hours, and it turned into a long sailing day. We find a safe anchoring spot in the harbor and call it a day. Šipanska Luka looks nice and rather authentic when seen from our cockpit, but we do not have the energy anymore to launch the dinghy and go for some sightseeing. That night I sleep like a log, although I am afraid that the whole town heard my snoring…

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Day 5 : Šipanska Luka (Šipan) – Dubrovnik

Today will be an easy day. The forecast predicts southwesterly wind, turning to southeasterly (Jugo) later. We lift anchor around 10:30 and motor through Prolaz Harpoti towards open sea. We hoist our sails in 8 knots of wind. First we make a long run on course 210 towards open sea. We take continuous bearings on the island of Lopud (Rt Kuk), and as soon as we clear that cape, we tack and change course to 120. This takes us past Lopud and Koločep. Sailing between Rt Bezdanj and the islet of Grebeni we enter Velika Vrata, and past the island of Daksa we enter the Rijeka Dubrovačka, motoring under the Franjo Tudjman bridge. A few miles upstream we reach ACI Marina Dubrovnik, but we stop for fuel at the gas station first. Around 15:00 we moor our ship in the marina. The rest of the day is spent cleaning up both the ship and ourselves, and that evening we visit Dubrovnik. It seems to get busier every time we come here. With three large cruise ships in front of the Old City and in the harbour, the town is full of tourists.

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Day 6 : Dubrovnik – Šipanska Luka (Šipan)

The morning is spent finding provisions, drinking coffee in the harbour restaurant and preparing the boat for departure. The prognosis for today promises 6 – 12 knots of Jugo, wind from the south-east. This is perfect for us, given that we are on the most south-eastern point of our trip.

Around 10:30 we drop our mooring lines and leave ACI Marina Dubrovnik. We follow the Rijeka Dubrovačka downstream. Upon entering the bay of Gruž, we hoist our sails. There is 8 knots of wind from south to southeasterly directions. We sail out of the bay towards the open sea, and change our course to the west. The following hours we sail along the islands Koločep and Lopud. After passing Rt Kuk we sail a more northwesterly course along the island of Šipan. Around 14:00 we sail through Prolaz Harpoti and, after taking our sails down, moor in the harbour of Šipanska Luka. It is very quiet here, especially when the wind dies down later that afternoon. That evening we stay out in the cockpit until late, with some nice food and drinks.

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Day 7 : Šipanska Luka (Šipan) – Luka Polače (Mljet)

Early in the morning a south-easterly wind starts blowing, about 10 knots. After breakfast we listen to the weather forecast via Dubrovnik Radio. The general weather picture is not so good, as we already saw when checking the long-term weather forecasts in an internet café in Dubrovnik. Today we will have a southeasterly wind of up to 20 knots, and tomorrow will be cloudy with an increasing risk for rain- and thundershowers.

We lift anchor around 08:30 and leave the harbour. Both mainsail and genua go up immediately. By now the wind is 12 – 14 knots, with gusts of 18 knots. Our course is 305 along the islands of Jakljan, Kosmeč, Goleč and Crkvina, then sailing between Tajan and Jakljan via the channel Veli Vratnik along Olipa towards the open sea. Already in the Veli Vratnik channel we have to deal with worsening sea conditions, and waves up to 2 meters. We keep our course of 230 towards the coast of Mljet island, where the sea is more quiet. Then we change our course to 280 and follow the coast of Mljet in a northwesterly direction. The wind varies between 12 and 18 knots from a southeasterly direction, our boat speed is well over 5 knots.

During our trip, dark and threatening clouds drop down on us from the hills and mountains of Mljet. Fortunately we do not get any rain, but it looks impressive. We pass Prožura and Sobra during the next few hours, and around 11:30 we see Hr Kula, the rock with a light on top in front of the southern entrance to Luka Polače. We sail between the mainland of Mljet and the islet of Kobrava, and inside we take our sails down. The last mile is done on engine, and around 13:00 we drop our anchor in the northeastern corner of Uvala Rogač, the cove across from the small village of Polače.

That afternoon the clouds disappear, and we can still enjoy some sunshine. That evening the Parc rangers of Mljet National Parc come by to collect the entrance fee of 90 kuna per person. The evening is hot and humid.

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Day 8 : Luka Polače (Mljet)

The weather is different today. We found refuge in Luka Polače before, and this protected bay serves us well today. Around midnight a stromg esterly wind appears. Fortunately, we do not run into problems. Some other yachts, however, have to re-anchor during the night.

Things get quiet during the morning, and a number of ships lift anchor and leave. After the 08.20 weather forecast on Dubrovnik Radio we go ahsore for fresh bread, some small groceries and a strong coffee. Polače did not change much: a few restaurants, a small supermarket and a bakery. No Internet-shop anymore: there was an internet connection in one shop in 2007, but the nearest connection is now 2 kilometers away. The weather forecast predicts rain, thundershowers en fierce gusts of wind for later in the day. And the weather forecast is right. Around noon we get a huge rainshower, and during the afternoon a thundershower passes our anchorage The water dripping from our bimini fills a whole bucket in less than 45 minutes, and we use it to clean our cockpit.

We keep quiet for the rest of the day, some reading and between thundershowers also a swim. During the afternoon we stop by a British ship that anchored next to us. Its homebase has been Dubrovnik for the last four years. The heat has gone with the rain, and the weather is lovely.

Early evening, our neighbor comes by to warn that 50 knots squalls are predicted for the night and morning. We make sure our deck is empty and set out some extra anchor chain for security, we now have over 50 meters of chain in the water.

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Day 9 : Luka Polače (Mljet) – Korčula

An intense day today. From 00:00 hours I have anchor watch. During the night I see a large motoryacht and a sailboat drifting and anchoring again. Our 50 meters pf chain in the keep us happily fixed. But I get precious little sleep this night. Quiet periods are interspersed with gusts of 30 to 35 knots. The moon is almost full (it is 1 day after full moon) and the light adds to the spooky weather.

At 08:20 we listen to the weather forecast. Bura in the morning, with gusts to 35 knots. Nevertheless at 09:00 hours we attempt to leave Luka Polače. Halfway through the outward channel we turn around again. Gusts of 30 knots, and the sight of a more than choppy sea full of crests. After anchoring again I go and sleep for a few hours, to make up for last night.

Around noon we make a second attempt. The sky has been wiped clean by the Bura, all the clouds disappeared and have been replaced by a clear blue sky. This remains one of the special features that make this wind so impressive. Visibility has improved considerably. The wind has diminished somewhat, but there are still gusts of up to 25 knots. Yet we try. Near the shore there is a pretty steep swell, which seems logical on a lee shore. Once we are through this, it becomes easier. With a double reefed mainsail and 2/3jib we set a course of 315 towards Korčula. It only takes a few hours to cover the distance between Mljet and Korčula, and just after 15:00 we moor in the marina. Time for the second shower of the week. At night we walk around Korčula, it remains a beautiful town.

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Day 10 : Korčula – Tri Luke (Korčula)

A good night of sleep in Korčula marina. We get up at 07:30, shower, shop and have breakfast. Then we visit an internet cafe for weather and wind forecasts for the remaining days of our trip. Most mornings they predict Bura (north / northeast) 3 to 5 Beaufort. During the afternoon Maestral Tramontana (north west). The temperature will be fine again.

This morning we first have a strong northerly wind (Bura), 20 to 25 knots. In those conditions, ACI Korčula is always an exciting port to leave, because it is a bit cramped. You see many people use a spring line. We are lucky that our neighbors on both sides depart fairly early, so that we have more room to maneuver. Without problems we drop our lines and at 10:15 we leave the harbor. Right outside the harbor we hoist the sails, there is now a 15 knots wind from the north. We do not sail east towards Mljet, nor westward via the Peleški Kanal between Korcula and Pelješac. We sail southward, navigating between the islands and along the rocks and shallows on the east side of Korčula, round Rt Rašjnić, the eastern tip of Korčula.

Then we follow the southern coast of Korčula in a westerly direction. Here. we do not suffer the worst bouts of Bura, and the sea is much calmer and friendlier than at the north side of the island. The south side is almost empty, apart from the village of Brna there is little evidence of civilization. Over our port bow we see the island of Lastovo, and the rest is emptiness and silence.

The wind remains favorable for most of the day, although it decreases during the afternoon. All in all it takes us just over 6 hours to cover 30 nautical miles, and at 4:45 p.m. our ship anchors in Tri Luke. Soon we are in the water, cooling off again after a hot day. During the evening there are five other ships at anchor in the bay, and is very quiet. We crawl away as deep as possible inside the bay. Meanwhile, there is virtually no wind.... And from the cockpit, we have a beautiful view of the isllet of Trstenik, in front of Tri Luke.

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Day 11 : Tri Luke (Korčula) – Luka Tiha (Hvar)

We start the day slowly, these are our holidays. At 10:00 we lift anchor. Between Korčula and Trstenik there is already 8 knots of wind from the northeast. So we hoist the sails immediately. We hardly used the engine since Dubrovnik, the batteries are getting low by now.

After passing Trstenik island and upon reaching the open sea, we sail west towards Rt Velo Dance, the southwestern tip of the island Korčula. The wind is north-northwesterly, so we do not manage to sail our desired heading in a northwesterly direction toward Pakleni Otoci, the islands off the southern coast of Hvar. For the time being we follow a more westerly course toward Vis.

During the morning the wind turns gradually to a northeasterly direction, which gradually brings our course to a more northwesterly direction. Early afternoon we sail just off the island of Sveti Klement. It is lovely sailing weather, in winds of around 15 knots. By 14:00, when we come near Sveti Klement, the wind turns back to the northwest.

Sveti Klement is rather frightening. In recent years the vicinity of Hvar became increasingly crowded, one of the reasons why we prefer to avoid that spot. But never before did we find all the bays on the south side of Sveti Klement already overcrowded with ships on anchor by 15:00 in the afternoon. Uvala Tarsće and Uvala Vinogradisče feel like Spanish Costa campsites in the August high season... We take a look at Luka Soline, but did not anchor there. It is too deep (more than 20 meters) and we find the bay not well protected. There are only some buoys at a restaurant, but all were taken already.

After some discussion we decide to sail to Tiha Luka to the north of the island of Hvar in Starogradski Zaljev, the bay of Stari Grad. The wind by now turned directly west and increased to 17 - 18 knots. We motor west along the south coast of Sveti Klement, which solves the problem of drained batteries as well. Near 16 ° 20 'E we sail straight north between the islands Paržanj and Borovac through. After this we hoist the sails. We pass Rt Pelegrin and sail in an easterly direction. At 17:00 we reach the entrance of Luka Tiha and take our sails down. Half an hour later we anchor in one of the smaller bays on the west side of Tiha Luka.

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Day 12 : Luka Tiha (Hvar) – Vis

Vis, that beautiful island about 30 miles south of Split. Last year we spent a night in a bay here, but we did not visit the town of Vis for years. Today we go to visit an old friend. He is a sailing instructor at Ultra Sailing, and is currently training with a group in this area.

We stay in bed until after 09:00 am, too late for the weather forecast. Around 10:30 we lift anchor and sail out of the bay. There is enough wind to hoist the sails immediately. There is a light wind from northwest, 6 knots. We make a number of tacks that bring us slowly toward Rt Pelegrin. During one of these tacks we see a group of dolphins about 100 meters from the boat, but they decide not to come close to our ship.

When rounding Rt Pelegrin around 13:15, it is very crowded with sailboats, motorboats and a ferry. We quickly leave the crowds behind us and slip between the islands Paržanj and Borovac, heading south this time. We see the island of Vis on our bow already. The wind gradually increases to 11 - 12 knots and turns slightly west. Perfect for our course. We do not drop our sails until deep in the bay Viška Luka. The whole day we've seen people going around on engine, even though the sailing conditions are excellent.

At 16:00 hours, the quay of Vis is already very crowded. It seems to be operated as a marina, with rates to match. For 300 kuna (about EUR 40) we can moor our 32-footer overnight, and use of the (not very clean) showers will take another 30 kuna. Anyway, a bit later we sit behind huge mugs of beer to catch up and share the latest news and local sailing gossip.

That evening we eat at Bufet Vis on the quay. The restaurant does not look like anything, but the food is delicious. A wonderful lukewarm salata od hobotnica (octopus salad) and a red risotto, complemented by an excellent grilled fresh fish with garlic and fresh parsley. After this we board the Ultra training vessel for some fine wine. At 22:30 (late for our standards) we are in our bunks. And that while we have early plans for tomorrow morning.

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Day 13 : Vis – Trogir

05:15 am. It is still dark and the port of Vis is vast asleep. But our alarm beeps. We get dressed and go on deck. I take in the power cable and store the ramp. At 05:30 hours, coinciding with the Jadrolinija ferry, we start the engine. We drop the lines and slip out of our mooring. Everything goes smooth and in the wake of the ferry we sail out of Viška Luka. Outside, there is no wind. We change our course to 355, towards the western tip of Šolta island.

Not much later we see a beautiful sunrise over Hvar. At 06:30 a northerly wind (Bura) rises, rapidly increasing to 8 knots. We hoist the sails, switch off our engine, and keep our course of 355.

A large cargo ship passes us about a mile to port. For the rest the sea is empty. It remains empty during the next hours, while we steadily cover the miles between Vis and Šolta. Around ten o'clock we pass Šolta, and half an hour later we drop our anchor in the western arm of Uvala Solinska, a bay on the southside of the island Veli Drvenik. This is a beautiful bay, not too big, and very suitable for swimming. You can anchor deep in the bay. The water is crystal clear, you see the bottom, and there are lots of fish swimming around. We swim and snorkel around the bay and take a nap after our early start this morning. Then we have a big lunch. As usual during the last week, the winds dies down around noon. Since there is not much to do in the open, the conditions are excellent for a long break.

At 13:00 hours the wind rises again, now from a northwesterly direction (10 knots). This is our 'anchor up' signal. Outside Uvala Solinska we hoist the sails. With the wind 120 degrees to port we sail along the coast and along Krknjaš Veli and Drvenik Veli. Then we sail straight north towards the rocks and islets in front of Trogirski Zaljev, the bay of Trogir. The wind rose sharply once we left the shelter of Drvenik Veli. A northwesterly wind of 17 - 19 knots is blowing from Venički Kanal. We sail between the rocks Mali Pišćena and Galera (with beacon). Once we pass Rt Okruk we turn to starboard and with wind from behind, we set the mainsail to port and jib to starboard. Course 45, and with a speed of 5.5 knots we soon pass Rt Čubrijan; Trogir is in sight. Way too soon it is time to lower the sails. Since we have to hand over the ship again tomorrow, we fill up the fuel tank at the petrol station in Trogir. Only 19 liters, and that for the entire stretch from Dubrovnik to Trogir.

While refueling, threatening clouds appear over the mountains north of us. An ominous thunder strikes. Luckily refueling does not take long, and at 15:00 hours we moor in ACI Marina Trogir. We did not visit Trogir since 2004, but nothing has changed. Like ACI Marina Korčula it is a somewhat outdated and very cramped port, with the added disadvantage that it is directly under the flightpath of Split airport. But the view of the old town of Trogir compensates that! That evening we eat pizza on the promenade of Trogir.

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Day 14 : Trogir – Marina Kaštela (Split)

What a day! We start normal with breakfast and other necessities. But the wind is blowing in Trogir, and we see a number of ships with problematic departures. Our departure takes some effort as well.. The marina is cramped, and a current runs through it (from Kaštelanski Zaljev to Trogirski Zaljev). We make the turn too slow and hit the mooring of a ship opposite us. With some maneuvering we manage to get out. When inspecting the underwater hull later I fortunately find no damage (except a small dent in my sailors' ego...).

When leaving the port of Trogir at 09:15 this is quickly forgotten. The sailing conditions are perfect. A north-easterly wind of 12 - 15 knots, and the weather forecast says it will blow all day. With the wind behind and the sails spread we fly out of the bay. Then heading toward Šolta, course 140. Unfortunately the fun ends after two hours, and with varying slight wind we barely manage to anchor in Uvala Nečujam by 13:00. Time for lunch and a round of swimming, including an inspection of the underwater ship after this morning's experience in Trogir.

By 14:00 hours the wind seems to stabilise from a northeasterly direction, 5 to 7 knots. We lift our anchor, hoist the sails and leave the bay. In calm conditions we sail (course 30) towards Split and the entrance to Kaštelanski Zaljev. But then it happens ...

Over our starboard bow, towards Split, I see the sea change in a boiling mass of water with high waves and crests. And that is rapidly approaching our ship. The Bura shows once again why it is a notorious wind that you always have to reckon with.

In less than one minute, the wind increases to 30 knots (Force 7), with gusts up to Force 8 to 9 (40 knots). The sea turns into a boiling mass of water. Just in time I manage to steer the bow into the wind. With heavily flapping sails, on a ship that is tossed around on the waves, we reef the sails. We put the second reef in the mainsail and bring back the jib to 1/3 of its normal size. Thus we have the boat back under our control.

The rest of the afternoon the Bura shows its teeth. Most ships plough back to Marina Kaštela on their engines, but I enjoy a little bit of sailing. And we have no pictures of course: we were just too busy with the ship ... In sight of the harbor we lower our sails and join the queue at the Marina. By 18:30 our ship is back in its place. The whole evening and night the Bura sweeps the harbour, still over 30 knots. We don't feel anything of that, since we are vast asleep.

  • 2009DAY14-001
  • 2009DAY14-002

Epilogue: the other side of Croatia

Croatia: a great holiday destination. But the past is never far away, and you also find extreme poverty here. The average income is now over EUR 600 per month. That's still not much when you consider that prices in the supermarket do no differ much from the prices in Western Europe. And remember: it is an average. If you are unemployed, or have a pension of EUR 150 per month, life seems no fun to me.

Every year there is a direct confrontation with this. And that is upon returning to the port of Kaštela. Most charters (and that often includes us) have leftover supplies. You buy some extra, you eat out more often than planned, et cetera. Because many crews leave by plane, that excess inventory gets thrown into the dustbin.

Usually it does not stay there for long. Each container is 'managed' by one or a few (usually older) Croats. The container park at the main entrance to the Marina even has an entire group with a strict hierarchy. The leader checks the bags and determines who gets what share of each bag. If this would not be so tragic, it would almost make me smile.

At the end of Saturday morning, as old crews have left and new crews trickle in, the collectors leave the port with their share. If your monthly income is EUR 150, then EUR 10 or EUR 20 extra per week is a welcome addition.

  • 2009DAY15-001