Saturday, August 12, 2017

Visitors and Friends in Croatia

After my visit back to the UK at the end of June Caroline and Richard flew back with me to spend 3 weeks on Nimrod. As usual it was all go go go and a lot of fun.

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Rich & Caroline on Board Fiery Skies in Punat

We spent a few days chilling, planning hikes and sightseeing trips and we also sat out a horrendous thunderstorm. Unfortunately the boat in front of us lost their anchor and ended up across our bows. So we have some damge to repair over the winter, Chris says its all cosmetic and it could have been a lot worse!! They incurred a lot more damage than us. We then made our way down to Krk, let the hiking commence!! Thunderstorms are quite common in Croatia so we are getting a bit more used to them now, this was the 4th or 5th of the season. They are still something to be wary about and this storm gave us 40knt winds and driving rain that felt like hailstones, as usual it happened in the dark just to add to the excitment. At least they are normally shortlived and this one lasted for less than an hour.

We made our way around the bottom of the Istrian Peninsula and after a couple of days we arrived in the large sheltered anchorage at Punat on the Island of Krk. A gentle walk from the anchorage took us to the main town of Krk where we explored the old town, found the Tourist Office to get a walking map and a cafe for refreshments. The walk back along the coast and through the woodland was very nice.

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Krk Town Krk Harbour

This year we decided to join the men on their “Boys Hikes” and the first one we did was listed as a black hike. The hardest one to do!! Think they may have been trying to put us off!! The hike started from the Vela Luka anchorage and climbed steeply up to about 350m. It was 12km over some dificult terrain that led us down to some nudist beaches then back up through a gorge. We even encountered a couple of nude hikers!! You wouldn’t have wanted to trip on those rocks, Ouch!! We also came across a beach for dogs, they didn’t have any clothes on either!! By the time we got back the water had all run out and it was now very hot so a pit stop at the beach bar was needed before going back to Nimrod for a swim.

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Krk River Canyon Vela Luka Anchorage, Krk, From the Top

From Vela Luka we headed South to Rab and another nice sheltered anchorage adjacent to the main town. The old town of Rab is very pretty with many churches, plazas and cobbled streets and well worth a visit. Near the anchorage we also found a restaurant that did amazing steaks served by lovely friendly staff.

The wooded peninsula on the West side of the anchorage has many walking trails so we had a pleasant 10km walk through the woods and past the small beaches and coves on the seaward side, all pretty flat so much easier than Krk!!

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Woodland Path, Rab Anchored in Uvala Fumija, Rab

From Rab we headed to Molat for a night before going up the river to Krka waterfalls. It is about 10nm up the river and once past the main town of Sibenik near the entrance it is a very tranquil trip. You could easily spend a week or more just exploring the river. The town of Skradin is as far as we can take Nimrod so we anchored opposite the town in picturesque surroundings with swans and cygnets coming to be fed.

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Krka River Falls Krka Valley

The whole area is a National Park so you have to pay to get in, about £25 each but that did include the boat ride from Skradin up to the main Falls and back again. The scenery around here and the power of the falls is just stunning, it is all so beautiful, the pictures don’t do them justice.

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The Upper River Krka Upper Falls

The main Falls are all near where the boat dropped us off but you can take another boat that goes even further up the river, half way there is a small Island with a Monastery that we stopped at before continuing to the Upper Falls area. Most people stay at the Lower Falls so it is not quite as busy further up. There is also a nice walk around The Cascades section of the River and a steep stairway climb up to some caves with spectacular views over the whole River Valley

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Krka River Valley Swimming in the Falls

After a long hot day trekking around this awesome place it was time for a nice cool swim. Best time to visit here is to catch the first ferry at 8am and head straight to the next ferry for the upper falls.Before all the crowds arrive. Then on return to the main Falls have a leisurely lunch before attempting to walk around the rest of the park and have a swim. Swimming under the Falls is great and although they don’t let you get under the Falls themselves there are still some strong currents to contend with in some places.

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Messing About Boardwalks Through the Park

Ostrica was a lovely quiet anchorage and on another of our hikes ashore we came across these wild Deer. Someone had just been to put food out for them.

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Ostrica Walls Wild Deer, Ostrica

All too soon the 3 weeks had come to an end, more happy memories created and of course many bottles of bubbly consumed!! Looking forward to my sisters next visit in September, time to retire Rich then you can join her!!

After Rich and Caroline left us we headed back North again to meet up with some of our cruising friends. We headed to Hrbonsjak on the SE of Murter where we met Purr and Dakini as well as a Canadian couple on Water Hobo. Purrr, Charlie and Susannah (alias My Demon Twin) also had some friends on board and of course we had to have a little party to celebrate our reunion!!

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Party Time WIth Purr Dancing Girls

After a couple of days we all headed to Muntana Anchorage on Pas to get near a large town for supply shopping and also to hide from another impending thunderstorm.

We parted company with Dakini and Water Hobo as Nimrod and Purr headed to the very small Islet of Skala Vela, very peaceful with hardly any boats around even in late July. This also gave us a chance to go spinnaker sailing on Purrr since Charlie had not yet used his kite, 10-15knts of wind and flat seas meant we had some great sailing with boat speeds nealy up to 10knts.

Further N we stopped at Muline on Uglian for a couple of days, clear waters and white sand but fairly busy with other yachts as we are now well into the main holiday season.

More supply requirements saw us heading to Vir at the very SW of Pag and into the various bays that form a sheltered cruising area between the mainland and the S of Pag Island. It is off the route for most yachts so we almost had the area to ourselves with only a handful of others around. Jasenovo was also a great place to watch another sunset!!

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The Sue’s at Sunset Uvala Jasenovo, Pag

From the S of Pag we headed under the bridge and up the Vellebit Canal, this is a very windy place when the Bora is blowing with katabatic winds of 50-60knts being fairly common. Luckily it was near calm as we motored up to a stunning place called Uvala Svetojani Vela on the NE tip of Pag. The anchorage is surrounded by windswept rocks with hardly any vegetation in sight, it looked like you were anchored in a lake on the moon. Very different and stunning. A busy place in the day with small dayboats and RIB’s but in the evenings you have the place to yourselves.

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Approaching Pag Bridge

Uvala Svetojanj Vela, Pag

From Pag we paid another visit to Rab and then headed for Atatori on Mali Losinj for another thunderstorm. The forecast was for up to 40knts with gusts to 50knts and thunderstorms. We arrived early and anchored in about 10m with 55m of chain out, checked the anchor and all seemed well, apart from the fact that the wind was currently from the South and the strong winds were due from the North. It was already fairly busy but we expected many boats would leave after their lunch stop, swim and siesta, at which point we planned to re-anchor, hopefully in more space and to make sure the anchor was set in the right direction.
As the afternoon wore on it seemed that no-one was leaving and even more yachts were arriving to hide from the bad weather, also by now the wind was fairly light and variable making it very difficult to know where other boats anchors were lying in relation to ours and how close we may get once the wind picked up. So early evening I had a swim around and reckoned we would be very close to a small Italian Yacht, explained to the skipper and he agreed and said he would move as soon as his crew returned from shore. When the wind turned to the N and boats started swinging to their anchors I motored back on our anchor to make sure it rotated and set properly for the new direction, now we were very close to another Italian yacht, another quick chat and they agreed to move, all very civilised so far.
By dark the wind had picked up to around 20knts and was from the NW, we now had a yacht about 5m behind our stern with a skipper who did not seem to have a clue, I told him he needed to let much more chain out to give us both a bit of room but it seemed he did not have any more chain to deploy, further it was pretty obvious that he had absolutely no intention of moving even though he had arrived much later than us.
The wind calmed for a while and said skipper had dissapeared below and was not going to be persuaded that he should move while it was calm. So we decided we would have to move to give us some more room, our normally reliable Rocna Type anchor decided it did not want to set the first two times we tried and by the time we lined up for our third attempt the wind had picked up again to around 20knts!!! Trying to anchor a 42ft cat in a busy anchorage in the dark in 20knts is a bit of a challenge but fortunately the anchor set this time and we were firmly secured, a little bit close to another Italian yacht but not worryingly close and by now most people were on deck.
A 34ft motor boat was having all sorts of trouble with his anchor dragging and seemed unable to get it to re-set, at one point he was snagged alongside the yacht that had caused us to move in the first place, not that I would wish such things on anyone it did seem like a bit of karma coming home to roost!!
Now a large charter cat that had been anchored near the shore was dragging, they nearly wiped out the Italian next to us before just managing to avoid a collision, they proceeded to drift through the anchorage with seemingly minimal control and even less idea what they were doing, they also narrowly missed colliding with our original problem yacht!!
By now the wind had picked up and many yachts were motoring around the southern part of the bay after their anchors had dragged. This included one 84ft Azimut and an even larger motor yacht that also could not rely on their anchors in the conditions.
By about midnight the wind had picked up to 35 gusting 45 and the thunderstorm was approacing from the NW, we were firmly anchored and fairly happy with our spacing, our two neighbouring monohulls were both veering through 50 or 60 degrees but were holding firm and skippers were on deck so we were all fairly safe.
By now I reckon at least 15 boats had dragged, but at least the ones now left seemed secure. Initially there were about 6 or 8 boats tied back to the shore in anticipation of the forecast NE winds, when the wind came from the NW they were all in trouble with the wind on the beam and all had to let go shore lines and clear out, tying back to shore with thunderstorms around is a pretty risky tactic since the wind can come from pretty much any direction.
Finally to end the carnage there was a Mayday call from an Italian crewed charter boat that had dragged their anchor and then had their engine fail so they were rapidly drifting out of the bay. The situation must have been quite frightening since the Italian lady on the VHF was clearly very panicked and the Coastguard and Police had a very difficult time resolving the situation and actually locating them. When they did find them the skipper had managed to restart the engine, however the Coastguard towed them into the bay and made sure they were re-anchored.
By 0200 the wind had eased to about 15knts and we decided it was safe to go to bed, all in all a very eventful night.

So you can see it is not all sunshine and roses out here in the Med!!

We are now in Medulin, near Pula with Sue’s daughter and Granddaughter arriving soon for 4 days so that is all going to be a bit hectic.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Croatia and Venice

We left Vieste as planned and had great conditions to sail across to Croatia, nearly flat seas and around 12-15knts of wind on the beam meant we covered the 60nm in about 9hrs and nearly all under sail. We tied up to the Customs Quay at Ubli on Lastovo to find the place like a ghost town, Harbourmaster and Police Post all deserted, apparently they might open at around 5pm!!

By 6pm still no sign of any officials so we spoke to the Park Ranger who rang the Harbourmaster, he appeared about 15mins later and could not have been more friendly and helpful. Completed the check-in and relieved us of about €250 for our Cruising Permit and Navigation Taxes, this covers us for the rest of the year. The Policeman arrived 1/2 hr later to check our passports and crew list, again very friendly and efficient.

Now all legal it was back to the boat for dinner and welcome to Croatia drinks. We stayed on the Town Quay for the night, apparently they can’t charge you here even though the whole Island is a Nature Park that you have to pay to enter.

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Approaching Ubli, Lastovo

Vela Luka, Korcula

So the plan now was to head North through the Islands of Croatia and up to the Istrian Peninsula before crossing to Venice. Although we did not have too much time to explore and the hiking has been abandoned for a while, we only had to travel fairly short distances between lovely anchorages and Islands. We headed into Split for supplies and found Lidl only 10mins walk away from the anchorage so stocks were properly replenished with our shopping trolley, rucksacks and bags well loaded. Prices overall seemed a bit cheaper than Greece, especially booze.

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Marinkovac, Pakleni Islands

Sunset at Banovi

We headed towards Murter with more quiet, calm anchorages on the way. Murter is joined to the mainland by a lifting bridge that opens twice a day and saves a good few miles compared to going around the West side of the Island. However the approach is quite shallow with only 2m of water meaning we had around 0.5m of clearance underneath us, the bridge is only about 10-12m wide so we had a couple of metres each side as we squeezed through, fortunately it was a lovely calm morning so it was not too scary.

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Approach to Murter Bridge

We Just Squeezed Through!

In Murter Harbour or Hramina we met up with Nick and Dave on Imagine, old friends from Holyhead that we have not seen for a good few years. BBQ and Beers to catch up with all the gossip from back home, great fun.

Northwards again with a few more stops before getting to Porec about half way up the Istrian peninsula, our jump-off point for Venice. Along the way we had a bit of an argument with a mooring buoy fee collector in Susak harbour, he insisted we could not anchor in the Bay even though we were over 150m from his buoys. His reason was that it was now illegal to anchor because the mussels in the Bay were protected, after pointing out that Google Earth showed at least 20 boats anchored last summer and refusing to move he got a bit upset and said he would bring the Police. We told him if the Police asked us to move we would do so, otherwise we were staying. When Police or Harbourmaster showed no interest in the problem it was clear he was just making up rules to try and force us to pay around 360 kuna (€45) to use his buoys!! Have to say that everyone we have met in Croatia has been friendly and helpful but these fee collectors have a bit of a reputation for “trying it on”.

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Burano Square and Leaning Tower

Main Street, Burano!

We checked out of Porec and crossed to Venice, didn’t attempt fishing as there was so much rubbish floating around. A pretty good trip over, we had about 15knts of wind and managed to sail over half the way over before the wind died away. Anchored off Burano which is a really beautiful and quirky place. All the houses are painted different colours and apparantly you have to obtain permission to change their colour. They still ring the bells everday in the leaning tower, It looks as if it is going to topple over soon!!

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Sue’s New Friend

Lovely Gardens on Burano

So our first day we spent exploring Burano, first along the canals in the dinghy then on foot. In the park there were a lot of sculptures on display, really unusual and so nice to see them displayed out in the open. I could just see this happening in the UK, NOT!! Everyone here seems to be really into looking after their gardens, some stunning arrays of flowers.

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Rialto Bridge

Nearly Empty St Mark’s Square

We then caught the 7am Vapareto into Venice to try and do some exploring before all the crowds arrived. It was worth the early start to stand on the Rialto bridge on our own and see St Marks Square deserted!! By mid morning it was heaving with people.

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St Mark’s Cathedral

Grand Canal Monument

The Cathedral didn’t open until 9.45 but the queue started at 8.30!! Their were lots of armed guards patrolling up and down. No photos were allowed in the Cathedral which is a shame but totally understandable.Very beautiful and ornate, i always wonder how many people it took to create those amazing mosaics. We wandered around Venice for the day criss crossing over its many canals. Watchng the Vaparetos zooming up and down made us think they are like the tube trains in London only on water!! So many people hopping on and off. Then in amongst them are the many Gondolas and delivery boats, even the odd ambulance.

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Venice Rowing Regatta

Venice Rowing Regatta

Trust us to pick one of the busiest times to visit Venice and Burano, turns out it was a huge Rowing Regata weekend with Sunday being the big day. Hundreds of boats and people turned out for it, from big Gondolas to Paddle Boards!! It was just like watching the London Marathon only on water with a paddle!! They had to paddle 12 miles from Venice out around the islands and back to Venice.

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Thunderstorm Heading Our Way

An Hour Later

The return trip from Venice to Porec was a bit windy and rough, we left Venice in calm conditions with the wind forecast to increase to 15-20knts. We ended up with 25-30knts and horrible mixed up lumpy sea state so it was a bumpy trip, at times we had two reefs in the main and only a scrap of headsail out. The only good thing was that it meant we sailed over 2/3rds of the trip so didn’t use much diesel. Needed a couple of attempts to get secured alongside the Customs Quay in Porec because of the wind but then had a very friendly Policeman check us back into Croatia.

Then the next day we went down to a lovely anchorage near Vrsar where we experienced our first Croatian thunderstorm. Luckily we only caught the tail end of it and the rain washed the boat off nicely. The pictures above show individual lightning strikes with the white being very recent and the red being older, as it shows it was a pretty intense storm but we were lucky enough to be in the narrow gap between the two systems so we missed the worst of it. You can also see that the storm moved over 30 miles South in less than an hour!!

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Moonrise, Uvala Soline, Pula

Calm Evening, Soline, Pula

We are now anchored in Soline having a few relaxing days before going into Pula to top up on internet and of course the mandatory stock up in Lidls!!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

From Greece to Italy

The weather conspired to keep us in Serifos for a few more days after we said goodbye to friends Kenny, Liz and Lucy on Princess Lucy so we had to fit in a couple more hikes around the Island.

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Ambeli Beach, Serifos

Cute Kids !!

First we walked to Ambeli Beach to the South of the Island, a fairly easy 10km hike on decent paths and tracks with some great views of the interior of the Island as well as some local wildlife. This time of year is great for hiking with pleasant temperatures and the stunning sights and smells of the Spring flowers and herbs everywhere you go.

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Livadhi Bay, Serifos

In Need of Repair

A couple of days later we had another easy walk around Livadhi Bay to Tsilipaka Beach, a sedate 6km stroll on easy tracks with only about 150m height difference. Not as pretty as some of our other hikes but interesting nontheless.

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Downwind to Milos

Kleftiko Rocks, Milos

So after nearly two weeks in Serifos we finally got a favourable weather forecast to head round the bottom of the Peloponese. First was a 34 mile trip to the SW corner of Milos, we managed to sail almost all the way, mainly with our two headsails set wing and wing. This is nice easy sailing for us if we are going dead down wind or very close to it, at around 8knts we are travelling at about the same speed as the waves so it is very comfortable. We anchored under the cliffs at Kleftiko for the night before heading off again next day.

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Monastery, Cape Maleas

Elafanisos Beach

Next day was a long 70nm passage to the Island of Elafanisos on the South East of the Peloponese, just past Cape Maleas that is the south eastern tip of mainland Greece.

It Turned out to be an Eventful Day!!! 0620 Departure to spend the first 3 hrs trying to sail but mainly motorsailing as the wind simply would not behave, forecast was for about 12-15knts NE but we had 2-8 from SE and E with occasional gusts to 20 just to keep you interested. Eventually the wind settled down to 15-20 from E to SE and we managed to sail for the next 4 1/2 hrs at good speeds. Approaching Cape Maleas the wind dropped and we motorsailed for an hour with just the main while keeping an eye on all the traffic passing around us. Then the sky went black, lightning flashed and thunder roared, wind up to 25-30 so main was quickly dropped and we motored into building seas and 20+ knts of wind. Earlier the turning block for the jib furling line had failed so I needed to jury rig a replacement so we could use the jib to motorsail into the wind and seas. Next there is a clattering noise at the back of the cockpit - a check round showed the screw shackle between the main halyard and the head of the sail had come undone and bounced down the boat, luckily it landed in the dinghy but now the main halyard was swirling around in 25 knts of wind - no chance of doing anything in those conditions so it eventually got wrapped around the topping lift and lazy jacks where it was easy to recover it from when we stopped.  2 hrs later we are approaching the anchorage at Elafanisos as the winds calmed and the sun came out, next the oil pressure alarm goes off on the port engine!!! Quickly stop the engine and change to the stbd engine, a quick look in the engine bay revealed lots of oil on the outside of the engine instead of the inside - not good. Anchored in a lovely sandy bay  in bright sunshine and 6knts of breeze, 70nm and 11 hrs after we left. The engine oil leak was found to be a faulty sealing ring on the oil filter so a new filter and 6ltrs of oil solved the problem apart from 6ltrs of oil in the engine bay to be pumped out and cleaned up.

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Porto Kayio Anchorage

Cemetry Above Porto Kayio

The anchorage in Elafanisos was a bit rolly so we were away early for a short 25nm trip to Porto Kayio. This time the wind was a bit more favourable than the forecast and we sailed about 2/3 of the way. We hooked our first fish of the season but it managed to get away about 30m from the boat – shame!!

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Stunning Spring Flowers

Found on the Trail

A couple of days break in Porto Kayio gave us time for another hike down to the S of the peninsula. We found a trail from a website but both the tracks out of Porto Kayio were completely overgrown so we had to use the road and a bit of improvisation. Once again the spring flowers were everywhere and the countryside around the area was lovely.

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Vathy Beach, Near Porto Kayio

Porto Kayio Waterfront

We walked down a well cleared path to get to Vathy Beach but the track out on the other end of the beach had not had any tender loving care at all and it was barely visible in the undergrowth with an occasional blue paint mark to give us a clue. We did eventually find our way back to the road to continue on our merry way (although Sue was not too merry after scrambling through the undergrowth)

Sue here, just got to add that my version of a path is totally different from Chris!! Every hike we go on we seem to end up at some stage fighting our way through the undergrowth and all I can here is Chris up in front shouting keep going I’m sure we are still on the right track!!! Its like where’s Wally, he is a little figure in the distance!!

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Entrance to Navarino Bay and Pilos

Fairy Castle, near Agrilos

Now the weather decided we would not have any wind for about a week and since the normal wind direction for this area is from the N and that is where we were going, we decided we had better do some motoring to make some miles in the right direction. From Porto Kayio we headed West and North to Pilos where we tied up in the unfinished marina for the night, we did manage some sailing on this passage but it was to be the last for a while. Next day was further North to Kipparissia, followed by a trip up to the ferry port of Kyllini. No time for any hiking or shore side visits as we still had little or no wind forecast so we carried on to One House Bay on the small Island of Atokos and then onward to Vlikho Bay on Levkas. So from Pylos to Vlikho Bay we motored about 130nm, but at least the sea was flat and calm.

A few days stopover gave us a chance to meet up with some old friends, Ian & Bobby on Carlina and Frank & Agetha on La Bassine. This meant a visit to Vlikho Bay Yacht club for Sunday Dinner and a few little drinkies!!

Sue here, normality at last!! So nice to stop for a few days and socialise. It was really lovely to catch up with these friends again and share some happy memories.

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Trail to Nydri Waterfalls

Some Nice Views to be Found!!

Now this is my kind of hike, proper paths and a impressive waterfall at the end, for once I thought we had done an easy hike but oh no there was more to come!!

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We Made It!!!

Place to Ourselves

Lets go back a different route he says as it would be boring to go back the same way. We set off in search of some elusive springs but sadly we did not find them. We did see a lot of the countryside though and picked a lot of lemons, which my freezer is now full of. Ready for all the summer sundowners!!

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Interior of Levkada

Oranges and Lemons Going to Waste

In Lakka we met up with friends Vic & Chrissy and spent a couple of evenings with them eating and drinking Aperol Spritzers and of course the obligatory hike around the island.

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Lakka Bay Anchorage

Lakka Lighthouse

This is a really beautiful island with a lot of really plush properties. We also came across an abandoned Monastery which must have been very grand in its day. So of course we picked a few more lemons

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Rugged South Coast of Paxos

Old and New

After 2 days here it was time to move on to Corfu Town but only for one night as we had to keep going. We then sailed to the island of Othoni where we stayed for one night. Onwards

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Beautiful Hiking Trail

Wild Flowers in Greece!!

Italy was our next stop. So we headed off bright and early for Bridissi. On the way Chris decided maybe we should take advantage of the southerly winds and keep going overnight to Vieste. It had been a bit of a roly sail so far but I wasnt feeling too bad so I agreed. Then it all changed!! I will say no more as I’m sure Chris will explain it better but I didn’t like it!!! In my defence I will point out that I hadn’t been well for a couple of days with a urine infection so wasnt feeling 100%!!!.

As Sue says we had an “interesting” trip from Orthoni!! The wind was forecast to be from the SE, great as we were heading NW, wind speed was predicted as 10-12knts early morning building to 20-25knts through the day. For once the forecast was pretty good and the wind was good with occasional gusts into the low 30knts, all very nice and comfortable with boat speed around 8knts so making good progress, sea state was not too bad as the wind had not really had time to build up any waves. So as we got nearer to Brindisi late afternoon further studies of the weather forecast showed that our 20-25knts wind should continue overnight and from mainly the same direction. Since we need to make some miles N when we can we decided to keep going overnight another 120nm to Vieste. Seemed like a good plan until we were about 2hrs past Brindisi when the wind chaged direction more to the SW (still OK) progress with just the headsail was now a bit slow so we had to raise the mainsail with two reefs, everything now OK with a bit more speed for another hour or so, as it was going dark the wind decided it had not listened to the same forecast and so it increased to 30-35knts with gusts up to 45knts. It was now impossible to turn back to Brindisi because the winds and seas would have been on the nose and it would have taken about 4hrs in horrible conditions to get there. No option but to keep going, so the mainsail was reefed down to the third reef and the headsail rolled away to a fraction of normal size and we kept going, we have never sailed Nimrod in conditions that need 3 reefs in the sails but she handled it all very easily and we carried on in the right direction at 7.5 knts. After 2 or 3 hrs (it felt longer) the wind eased, the sea flattened out a bit and more sail was needed to keep the speed up so once again it seemed like the right decision to keep going!!. Overnight and next morning was all fairly pleasant with much lighter winds and slower speeds, we arrived in Vieste around midday after 195nm and 30hrs at sea for an average speed of just under 6.5knts.

So sitting at anchor outside the harbour at Vieste we study the weather forecast again to see when we can head North up the coast towards Venice that is still around 290nm away. The Italian Adriatic coast is not blessed with many yacht friendly harbours, with long distances between the ones there are and even less decent anchorages – nearly none in fact – and the weather forecast was for mainly NW winds for the next 5 or 6 days, not looking good!! All of a sudden sailing to Croatia and going NW up there with a multitude of safe anchorages and short distances between the Islands seemed a much better idea than the inhospitable Italian coast. Strangely from Vieste to Venice via Croatia is only about 30nm further than going up the Italian coast and we can make progress much more easily. Chances are by going to Croatia will be about 100nm nearer to Venice by the end of the week than if we stay in Vieste.

So tomorrow (Monday) we head to Ubli on the Island of Lastovo to check-in to Croatia. The plan now is to head up the Croatian coast as weather permits then cross to Venice for a week or so before heading back to Croatia for the rest of the summer. We hope to visit Montenegro later in the year before heading back to Greece and then on to Sicily for our winter stop. However you should remember that cruising plans are written in the sand at low tide so our next blog could have a completely different cunning plan!!