The Southern Islands 2011 Route

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.

Luka Polače (Mljet) – Korčula

Today is a quiet day. In the morning we take the dinghy ashore for fresh bread and strong coffee. Then a slow breakfast and at 10:45 we lift our anchor. In the wake of the large yacht ‘Never Say Never’ we sail through the most western entrance Luka Polače to the open sea.

Once outside, it appears that we are actually too early, there is no wind. We have to wait until around noon before we catch a breeze from the south, 4 knots, and we can hoist the sails. In the next hour, the wind turns slightly to the SW and increases to 5-7 knots. We head towards Korčula, course 315. At 14:00 we are 1 NM east of the island Bisače, at the entrance of the Peljeski Kanal. We sail between the islands and quickly see Korcula appear. At 15:30 we are moored in the ACI Marina. Again, nothing has changed except the prices. For a night for a vessel of 10 meters we pay 420 kuna, more than EUR 55.

We use this stop to replenish the stocks and do the laundry. In the evening we go out for dinner at Adio Mare in the Old Town. We notice that the marina is much emptier than before.

Jurjeva Luka (Lastovo) – Luka Polače (Mljet)

When I wake up at 07:30, the bay is quiet. We have breakfast inside because of a swarm of wasps, and after a refreshing swim, we hoist our anchor around 08:30. We get the weather report now via the smartphone in via Mobile internet does not have the charm of a crackling VHF radio, but we can at least see the weather now (provided we have mobile reception). The prediction is good, wind from N to NW. We want to continue eastward to Mljet.

Right outside the bay we hoist the sails. With a NW wind of 12 knots, we first sail a southerly course. Once we are free of the island we sail directly east, heading 90. A little after 09:30 we pass the lighthouse on Rt Struga, the southernmost point of Lastovo. Behind this is Skrivena Luka, which we visited already. Then we turn our course to 80. Thus we remain south of the Sestrice and Otoci Vrhvnjaci, the group of rocks and small islands between Lastovo and Mljet.

In the next hour, we still have a small race with a catamaran. Eventually we “win”…

Just after noon we pass the lighthouse on Glavat, the easternmost of the Otoci Vrhvnjaci. The wind varies between 8 and 15 knots, and rises a bit as we near Mljet. We have to jibe a few times, but just after 15:00 we take the sails down and motor into Luka Polače, one of our favorite bays on the southern coast. It is relatively quiet, and at 15:45 our ship is at anchor and we are in the water.

Via Lastovo to Dubrovnik 2009 Route

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 below.

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.

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 2/3 jib 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.

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.

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.

To the Pakleni Otoci 2007 Route

This year we went sailing for two weeks in September. Our ship this year was the same Bénéteau Oceanis 311 (Tamara) we used in 2005 and our route can be found below. The trip was a combination of days covering relatively large distances, and days spent in bays for necessary rest & relaxation. We visited quite a few new places.

The weather was good. Again, a lot of northerly winds (Bura, Tramontana and Maestral). Usually between 10 – 15 knots, sometimes a bit more, but never more than 25 knots. We started with some beautiful summer weather, followed by a few days of cloudy, cool and rainy weather. Near the end of the first week temperatures were back at 26 – 28 degrees Celsius and the clouds were gone, and we kept that type of weather until the end of the trip. Because of the cold weather in the first week, seawater temperatures did drop from 23 – 24 degrees Celsius to 20 – 21 degrees Celsius.

We did notice that we were sailing later in the season. Darkness came early (no later than 20:00) and occasionally the nights became very cold. Furthermore, most harbours and bays were busier than we were used during our ‘normal’ sailing period late May.

Luka Polace (Mljet) – Korčula

Better weather today! In the morning, the sun peeks above the mountains. Around 08:30 we lift anchor and motor through the labyrinth entrance of Luka Polace. With a NE wind of 10 – 12 knots our course is 320 degrees towards Korčula. Unfortunately, after about one hour the wind is gone. We have to start the engine.

Around noon we are approaching Korčula town. Because we know that the best cookies in Croatia are produced in this town, we face a dilemma: cookies or no cookies? Cukarin cookies, thus! We moor in an almost empty ACI Marina and go shopping for cookies. But then some other thoughts enter our heads: Laundry! Showers! Therefore we call it a day and remain in ACI Marina Korčula. That night, we have an excellent dinner at Konoba Mareta.

We had some wealthy neighbours that evening. Outside the breakwater, some rather expensive yachts are moored. This includes the m/y ‘Kauhale Kai’. It seems that they have a nice trip as well. But so do we, and we are not paying USD 15.000 per day…

Luka Polace (Mljet)

Not much news about today. Several heavy rain showers pass our bay, and via the radio we follow the news on the storm ‘outside’. Via the telephone we talk to the charter-base, they report several ships with problems. Two boats even asked for a skipper for the remainder of the week. In heavy weather, a sailing holiday can be tougher than some people expect.

In the afternoon we go ashore for a cup of coffee and some small shopping (fresh bread). We have just returned to our ship when the next rain shower hits us. Also during the evening we have showers with rain and even a hailstorm. But Luka Polace remains the quiet and safe haven that we know.