Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sailing the Adriatic - from Krk to Murter

Past two and a half weeks we were sailing, the rough plan was to sail South all the way to Pakleni otoci and Hvar and then back. I might have mentioned before that weather this summer was not very summery - it was way too rainy and cold. We were hoping that maybe August will be better and that it must be better further South. 

We sailed of on Tuesday, 29th of July. We sailed along the East coast of Krk towards South.

We chose bay Mala luka on Krk for the night.  Just when we sailed into the bay, the rain started again.

The night was rather calm, but in the early morning a storm came with lots of wind and even more rain. What a start of holiday!

Weather improved later that morning and we sailed further along island Rab and then further along Pag. In late afternoon there was another storm coming towards us. We were still several miles away from the next protected anchorage.

As it was coming closer the colours changed and it really looked menacing.

Soon the storm caught us and we were wet in seconds. We stowed the sails away in time and were motoring through the gusts of wind, that were reaching over 40 knots. I had the feeling the hurricane season has moved from Caribbean to Adria, only it was colder. We just hoped that if anyone was out on the water in that weather, they used the radar too, since the visibility was maybe 30 meters.

An hour later we anchored in a protected bay on island Pag and the storm passed us towards North. We were wet and cold and hungry, and I was starting to miss my couch in my dry and warm and cosy house. That night I added another blanket to two blankets I already had on my bed.

Next morning was sunny and windy, a perfect day for sailing. Not so perfect for swimming, because it was still rather cold. After the breakfast we sailed off towards South again and sailed the whole day until evening.

We made a lot of miles and we anchored in the bay South of town Pašman. That evening we had our first swim.

Next morning this pretty old boat sailed by.

After buying fresh bread in Pašman we sailed further to Murter. We met friends there in the afternoon, who were going to sail with us for a week. After loading them and huge amounts of food on board we anchored in Murter archipelago.

The weather was improving, it was sunny but still not very warm. Regardless I was eager to go  snorkelling, I wanted to see how under water world looked like. I was snorkelling in North Adria a lot as a child, but a lot has changed over all these years, there are less fish and shells now. But I came prepared - maybe you remember my great books I used in Caribbean to identify things on my underwater photos (I mentioned them here ). I was very lucky to find an equally great book for underwater world of Adria and Mediterranean, and it is in Slovene language! It is called Pod gladino Mediterana, written by Tom Turk, a Slovene biologist and diver, if you're interested, it is available here . I recommend it to anyone who ever snorkels or dives in Adria and Mediterranean, it has a lot of great information and photos of not just fish, but also corals, algae and sponges and other creatures. Beautiful!

The water around Murter is pretty shallow and ground sandy and muddy and I didn't expect to find much. And the light was not the best also, it was already getting late. But there were still some interesting things to see. This one is called a Golden anemone or Zlata vetrnica in Slovene. Pretty, isn't it?

There were not very many fish, but I found this one - it is one of the gobies, I assume it is Peščeni glavač in Slovene, couldn't find the English name. (I am using the site  for the name translation)

I couldn't resist another one of these.

This big shell is a Fan mussel or Noble pen shell or Leščur in Slovene. I was happy to see so many of them, there was time when you could barely see one, they were over harvested. But obviously they recovered in some degree since they were declared protected.

This beauty is a tube worm called Mediterranean fan worm or Spalancanijev cevkar in Slovene. It looks very elegant and delicate.

After such a promising start I couldn't wait to get in the water again. Although we were on a sailing trip, I was determined to find the time for snorkelling every day. Luckily our friends were happy with our plan to avoid marinas and crowded places, so we called our trip a people-hater trip. This would also mean better snorkelling places for me. After a calm night we awoke to a sunny morning and after breakfast we sailed further South.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The trophies

This summer is very rainy and not so hot as usual. It makes some creatures happy, like snails, and grass and everything is also very green, but the rest of us would like to see some proper summer with lots of weather for ice cream and gin&tonic. 

The mushroom season started early this year, also because of lots of rain. While I was visiting my parents last week, me and my mom went mushroom picking. I was not very hopeful to find much, I haven't been in the woods much in recent years, although we did a lot of mushroom searching and picking when I was a kid.

This was my first find, a pretty porcini mushroom (jurček).

And a bit later I found these two summer porcine...

... and this one was really big, 350g.

There were some pretty bluebells there.

We also find some chanterelles (lisičke) and mushroom of genus Russula (golobice). But these three are the real trophies.

They were delicious, most of them we ate in a frittata style dish with eggs and lots of fresh parsley, and some parts of the older porcine we dried and we will make a tasty soup or sauce with it.

 There are also many trophies in my garden. Everything is growing like crazy, and I even don't need to water anything. There are cucumber, zucchini, green pepper, green beans and lettuce in abundance, it may be a bit too wet and cold for tomatoes, water melon and honeydew. Of all the garden trophies this one was probably the prettiest - a dragonfly on the lemon tree.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sailing in North Adriatic

Warning!!! Lots of photos...

Beginning of June was very hot and we took advantage of nice summerly weather and spent the weekend on the boat. There was absolutely no wind, so we didn't go far - only to bay of  Petrina - again. The sea was not very warm yet, but some of us were brave enough to go swimming.

But mostly the whole weekend's motto was:

On our way back to Klimno we made a detour by pretty town of Vrbnik.

A week later, last week that is, we took a week off to do some sailing. Unfortunately the weather forecast was quite bad, a lot of burja, north-east wind with strong gusts, and lots of rain. So on Saturday we made a plan to sail to the North and around island of Krk to avoid Senj strait on the South of island, where the wind is the strongest, and then towards South to Rab. There was no wind and we motored under the Krk bridge.

First night we slept near the town of  Njivice and next day sailed to town Krk. Weather was still cloudy and wind strong with gusts, as forecast, and the sailing was a lot of work. We made a stop in front of the town of Krk...

... and after lunch and the tour of the town we sailed on a little further South and made a stop for the night in front of Punat bay.
 Next day we sailed to small island of Plavnik in hope to see vultures that nest there.

Maybe the vultures were hinding from the strong wind, we didn't see any. As soon as we sailed from behind the protection of island, burja hit us with full strength. With severely reefed sails we were banging into the waves. We knew the burja was strongest around the strait of Senj (in the photo),...

... but we were not sure what to expect. Wind gusts were up to 40 knots, luckily there was only 10 miles to island of Rab. We found shelter in bay of Supetrska draga. Bay looked calm and water inviting despite the clouds and the cold. This ladder was used to spot tunas.

Next morning we crossed the bay to an even prettier spot - couple of small islands surrounded by turquoise water, it's called Hawaii.

Towards noon even the clouds disappeared and we all went swimming.

In the afternoon we moved a bit further South and found this beautiful bay for the night. There are plenty of pretty anchorages in this area, all with beautiful clear water, surrounded by dense wood and not a hotel in sight. Quite unusual.

There were several small motor boats anchored further in the bay, but they all left in the evening.

We had a visitor on board.

Next day we had a good breakfast and a long lazy morning with lots of swimming. After all the wind and waves and clouds on the days before we deserved it. Later in the day we sailed South to town of Rab.

We found a pretty anchorage with our own private little island not far from town.

In the afternoon we dinghied to town and strolled through the old stone streets. There were flowers growing from stone walls.

One of the prettiest patios.

Looking over the roofs towards South to Heron's anchorage.

Along the peninsula where the town is, there is a nice promenade with plenty of places to rest or to sun bathe. The writing says: My bench.

Along the promenade there are many interesting rocks with strange patterns.

Here the writing says: My rocks.

Caper plant growing from the wall...

... with capers on it.

Town is really pretty, we were all impressed by it.

Heron at her anchorage.

That night we had a delicious dinner in Rab in restaurant Labirint. Fresh fish baked in oven with veggies and potatoes, yumm.

Next day we sailed further South along the Rab coast and saw many nice anchorages. This light house is at the southest point of the island, there are Velebit hills on the mainland in the background.

We turned towards North again...

... and anchored in bay of Mag. It is a total opposite of green and lush North part of island, here it looks like a Moon surface. It is because of the strong burja wind that blows from mainland and prevents plants from setting roots. Nevertheless, it was still very pretty.

Next day we sailed further North and stopped at Goli otok. There was a prison for political prisoners there in Jugoslavija. Even now, after 36 years, not a happy place.

And even in a barren, unhappy place like that, there is some beauty.

In the late afternoon we made a stop for dinner in this beautiful bay on island Grgur.

We spent the night in Vela luka bay on Krk. In the night the strong burja was back, although we had almost no wind in last three days. So the night was loud and rocky, just like we were on the ocean. Next day we sailed through Senj strait, luckily burja calmed down, and a little before noon we reached bay of Klimno. We went swimming one last time and then it was time to go ashore. After a nice lunch in a local restaurant we drove back home.