In September 2011, we sailed for two weeks along the Croatian coast. The ship was a Bénéteau Oceanis 323 and the entire route can be found below.
We logged approximately 240 nautical miles. From Split to Vis via Brac, Hvar and Korcula then through to Lastovo, then to Mljet. Then leisurely via Korcula and Hvar back to Split. We visited some new places again, and had 8 nights on our anchor (or buoy) and only two nights in a harbour.
The weather was very good, plenty of sunshine every day and temperatures up to 30 degrees Celsius and above. We had good sailing winds, especially from the NW, and the sea temperature was 24-25 degrees Celsius.
In early September the dark comes early (before 20:00). The temperature dropped overnight to around 20 degrees Celsius.
After a night like yesterday, waking up is slow today. Around 9:00 pm I fetch some fresh bread at the bakery (very convenient, most bakeries and other shops that are open on Sunday morning). Moments later, we take a hearty breakfast with fried eggs. After breakfast we talk for an hour with our neighbors, who also sail in Croatia for several years. They are also under the impression that it is quieter this year than other years. We suspect that the sharp rise in prices could be a cause for this.
Just after 10:00 we leave Brna. On our engine we leave the bay and once out we hoist the sails immediately. There is a SE wind (Jugo) of about 8 knots. We sail westward, past the small islands off the south coast of Korcula. At 12:45 we drop our anchor in Tri Luke for lunch and a refreshing swim. The SE wind brings more swell here than we expected, an uncomfortable sea rolls deep into the bay. Something to remember.
Shortly after 14:00 we pick up our anchor again and hoist the sails immediately. The wind has increased to 10-12 knots. Around 14:45 we pass Rt Velo Dance, the southwestern tip of Korcula. We change course to NE and sail into Zaljev Vela Luka. We pass Gubeša, which we visited earlier. It looks very busy today. Just before Vela Luka on our port side we find Uvala Plitvine. There is a hotel, but nothing else. It’s pretty deep in the bay, so the anchoring opportunities for small vessels are limited. We settle on the western side, close to the hotel. Around 16:30 we anchor in 10 feet of water. There is already a ship on the east side, with stern lines to shore. Shortly before dark another ship arrives, which also anchors on the east side.
With our small boat rather encapsulated lie between larger ships, we wait until our neighbors leave. There is hardly any wind, so we are not in a hurry. At 10:30 we leave the harbour, and at 11:00 we hoist the sails. There is a very light breeze, so it’s almost floating.
Between the islands we pass a small fishing boat that just took in its net. We follow it with interest. According to the news, the catches along the Croatian coast have plummeted this year. It is not yet certain if this is due to the extremely hot summer, with the sea temperature therefore higher than normal, or whether it is because of overfishing. These small fishermen catch very little. But one fish pleases him. It is a Lica (Lichia amia), according to his cries at least four pounds (dva Kila!). While shouting ‘Lica! Lica! Lica’ he dances on his boat. I understand his joy. First quality fish sells for 350-400 kuna per kilogram in the restaurants. Assuming he gets half of it, he certainly has reason for rejoice. 400 Kuna is more than EUR 50, which is still a lot of money here.
Around 11:30 pm we reach Rt Ražnjić. A little after noon, the wind increase slightly, 4 to 5 knots from SW (Jugo). The next few hours we sail with a speed of about 2.5 knots along the always quiet south side of the island of Korcula. Sadly the wind completely dies down at 16.00 and we have to continue on engine.
At 17:00 we sail into the port of Brna. This is a small town in a bay in the central southern coast of Korcula. Not really a popular destination for sailors. There is a small quay which is occupied in part by a local fishing boat. Electricity and water are available. We put out our anchor with 35 meters of chain, and moor the boat stern to the quay. A little later we are joined by another ship, a Sun Odyssey 32. When the harbormaster pops up, the port turns out not to be cheap, it is charging the same rate as Vela Luka. I pay 220 Kuna (EUR 30) for our boat of 33 feet. That is excluding water and electricity, for which 50 Kuna to be paid extra. The tidal difference is rather larger for Croatian standards, nearly half a meter. Because the quay is quite high this ensures some thrilling scenes when boarding that evening after a hearty dinner with some nice wine…