Tag Archives: Croatia

Update #1: Adriatica 2011 – Mission accomplished, returning home

Some five weeks ago I departed from Murter, Croatia, to sail south to the inland sea of Levkada in Greece…

My sailing yacht Helena, a Beneteau Cyclades 39, is very easy to handle and performs well, including the Genaker, one of my trip gadgetsthe ultimate toy. Top speed we reached was 8.7 knots sailing downwind surfing from the waves, faster then the 7.8 knots we reached with the Genaker. I am speeding I think as she was never pushed to before.

The other gadgets are my BBQ – used well – and a Go Pro high definition wide angle video camera. Only my MacBook is not speeding as I wished due to the installation of a Croatian Internet Stick. So I do feel crippled this sailing trip and I cannot upload any of the video’s made.

After 5 weeks one of the lessons I have learned is that I am now an internet addict officially. So my the gadget for my next sailing trip will be  a high-speed satellite internet connection mounted to the boat :-)

Trip Summary

Since last Tuesday I am heading home, after having thrown my anchor at Ithaca, home of King Odysseus, the ultimate destination of my Odyssean Trail, so time for an update.

The Castle of Odysseus on Ithaka

The Castle of Odysseus on Ithaka

From tomorrow I will be heading back to Croatia. But I have learned from the classics and know never to rush things and unplease the Gods like Odysseus did. So I will sail via Puglia in Italy, enjoy the Italian food and maybe sacrifice some of it to the Gods before returning Helena to Croatia.

Croatia

Of the first 2 weeks in Croatia worth mentioning are the waterfalls of Skradin, Ancient Split with its palace of Diocletianus, Hvar still the Ibiza of the Adriatic and Stari Grad, the BBQ in a bay in Lastovo, brutely disturbed by a thunderstorm  (Lastovo was forbidden to enter until the end of the 1990’sand we anchored left to departed submarine bunkers and VHF monitor buildings), Sipan (I will retire there once), and Dubrovnik and Cavtat (Port of Entry) in Croatia.

Weather conditions where light the first week and brilliant the second week where we had 28 knots of wind between Hvar and Vis. Fantastic to sail so much wind just in your shorts. Of the 2,5 weeks in Croatia, only one day was with rain. We did get some anchor showers though

Montenegro

In Montenegro I have visited Kotor with it’s immense city walls from around 1500 and also Tivat, where a superyacht marina is being build currently. Nice to be provided with a personal naval assistant.

Perast and the islands “Gospa od Skrpjela” are impressive. Perast was in ancient times the maritime center of the Venetian Empire and the church on one of the islands served as votive center for seafarers.

I see Sveti Stefan as the highlight of the country. Similar to what celebreties of the 1950’s like Sophia Lorenz thought. It attractiveness declined after the death of Tito and the civil war of yugoslavia but now it is being restored to it’s previous glamour. The visit to Montenegro ended in Bar, where we left the country.

The weather was not in favour of us in Montengro, although always sunny and around 28 degrees, we had no wind for almost 1,5 weeks.

Greece

Corfu Town was the first city we touched in Greece. It was good to be in Greece but the bureaucratic system is something you don’t want to have to deal with. It took me 4 hours of waiting and formalities to enter the country with my Croatian ship. Later it took me about 2 hours to pay 88 eurocents of taxes in some obscure tax office.

After Corfu town, our destination was Ay Stefanou. A very tranquille bay to anchor and come to strength after the crossing from Montenegro (circa 175 nautical Miles, about 50% of the time 15 – 20 knots of wind from the back). Via Gaios on Paxoi (or Paxos) we arrived at Levkada itself.

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Last week it was my intention to have a more holiday oriented week with low profile sailing, just to digest the almost 800 nautical miles already sailed in the first 4 weeks. Finally time to do some decent snorkeling and firing up the BBQ. But also reached my destination: Ithaca.

After Ithaca and having visited the ruins of the castle of King Odysseus (one of the 3 possible locations on the island, not to mention other islands) we went to the Bay of Pandelimon where a Dolphin family was entertaining us during the evening and the next morning. It was the first time I have swum with dolphins.

Weather conditions in the last week was top, no wind in the mornings and around 14:00 the Gods switched on the wind and we got 20 knots of wind almost every day.

Sailing from Molat to Iz Veli

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Todays Daily Picture was taken when sailing from the tranquille Molat to Iz Veli in the fourth week of my trip in Croatia.

The sailing was wonderfull. We were heading south and had between 15 – 20 knots wind from the south. We were sailing between islands and could make nice tacks. Because we had no water in the tanks anymore, it was sailing with Speed with the capital S switched on.

We left Molat totally relaxed, however we had to expect bad compay in Iz Veli.

We got Austrian neighboors there, ai, about 2 boats with 8 people each. They kept us awake up to 03:30 hours by drinking, stupid jokes and loud laughing, despite being asked to silence up frequently. I never go to Austria again! But maybe that has more to do on some stupidity on my side when driving back to the Netherlands. I didn’t by a vignette (of ca. EUR 10,=) at the border for the Austrian highways and I was checked before buying one. They fined me with EUR 120,=, how inappropriate ; – )

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Days at the Office in Amsterdam

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First week in back in the Netherlands was not so hard as I would have expected.

Nothing has really changed. I have coffees and a sandwich at Café Thijssen (my Amsterdam office) instead of a lunch with fresh fish, I am reading the latest financial news in the FD instead of information about harbours and bays in sailing pilots. Work is like working in my Murter office as in the picture above. It is just all the same! Lucky me.

Next days / weeks / months will keep me busy with making a coherent and consistent story – the moments of truth – of my travelling.

You will find the results here through a picture, map or a story  published on this website periodically and I will be  improving the website.

Something I would like to start using is some cool extra functionality I found in the software I use for displaying the maps and pictures (XML Google Maps and NGG Galleries). It basically reads the GPS data from my geotagged pictures managed by NGG and displays it in Google Maps automatically, as you can see to the right.

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Scoop: Adriatic Dolphin Family

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Scoop of the day is the visit of three generations of dolphins to our boat.

It was very close to the island Hvar on the line of the village Jagodni Bd and the islands Hridi Lukavei and they were with about 10-15 of them. I clearly recognized the grandparents and the youngers. The first because of their grace, the last because their playing with the boat, closely guarded by their parents.

Never saw so many dolphins together in the Adriatic Sea. Really hope this will only become more normal with the current efforts for the environment.

Daily Picture: Dancing Clouds

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Clouds can be very happy too!

Picture was taken between Split and Hvar just before going between the islands Brac and Solta.

Before this crossing there was almost no wind to sail. After the crossing it rose to 15 – 20 knots. So the only scientific explanation for this kind of weather phenomenon is off course: happy sailing to be expected because We (the wind Gods) will turn on the wind up to 15 – 20 knots.

To be included in the next edition of the Ancient Coasts Adriatic Sailing Almanac (although I am not sure yet if I should limit it to the Adriatic alone)

Dubrovnik Marina Skyline

After another week of sailing arrived in the ACI Marina in Dubrovnik yesterday.

This marina is one of the most luxorious I have seen until now in Croatia. In any case the first with a swimming pool and a very cool old mansion integrated in the marina.

Next pictures uploaded and ready to be published, herewith the first…

Daily Picture

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Sailing from Murter to Split

Yesterday arrived in Split after a week of happy sailing from Murter to Split.

Google Earth Mania

Below you will find the route we took.

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Download the Google Earth File (unzip and then open in Google Earth)

Off course I had to go to the Kornati Archipel again. This time no nice little Kornatian village but took a mooring at Uvala Kruscevica this time. This very nice bay is located in Telascica on the island Dugi Otok.

The next day we cruised through the Kornati, enjoying every single moment of it. Taking enough pictures to create a bible on though I think I will start with a tripartite.

We ended up that day in Prvic. A very relaxed cosy village on the island… Prvic. The next day was my best sailing day ever. Wind of about 18 knots, sunny and tacking to Primosten, for a good dive into the water. Circa 20 miles sailing and around 10 miles distance over ground. After the cooling down on to Rogoznica using the engine. Next days to Stomorska (excellent relaxed town on Otok Solta), Trogir (you will have to visit the cathedral) and finally Split (with the palace of the Roman emperor Diocletianus).

Daily Picture

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From the upperleft corner clockwise:

Uvala Kruscevica, Sailing to Primosten, Kornati Archipel (again), Rogoznica, an Italian sailing yacht close to Primosten and finally St. John in the west wing chapel of the Cathedral in Trogir.

Sneak Preview: Sailing to Venice in Google Earth

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See above the first sneak preview of the GPS data converted to Google Earth. Once I finalized the above, I realized so much more to be done.

I would like to add the waypoints for the different cities we have sailed, further  add the anchorings, the places we have spotted dolphins and the turtle. I have to find out how Google Earth could present speed and heading. Well and why not add photos into Google Earth? And polar diagrams with speed versus direction. Ai, I need a holiday badly.

For the ones interested, the following color coding for the weeks have been used:

Color Week   
From To
Yellow 1 Murter (Croatia) Pula (Croatia)
Orange 2 Pula (Croatia) Trieste (Italy)
Red 3 Trieste (Italy) Venice (Italy)
Blue 4 Venice (Italy) Pula (Croatia)
Magenta 5 Pula (Croatia) Murter (Croatia)

I tried to add a download to this post, somehow WordPress – the content management system I use – just does not cooperate. Meanwhile you can use the zoom and make a guesstimate what happened there. All guesstimates are welcome in the comments and I will try to reply to them.

Next week I will be going to Split, via the Kornati Archipel again (off course) and some places advised to people I have met.

A Day at the Office #6: Planning the future in Murter

Back in Murter again for some days after a long weekend sailing the neighborhood with 4 friends.

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Provides me therefore with some time to do some office work again. The usual analysing of the GPS data and the geocoding of my pictures. Further I will try to make some plans for next week.  Crew yet to be found unfortunately, although almost found last minute someone. Looks like I have to exercise my single handed sailing skills. Would love to go more to the Kornati and the Island Vis. In between so many beautifull cities.

Another part of my office routines today was having coffee with a Dutch couple two boats further amongst the quay. They are sailing around Croatia for over 20 years now and learned the sweet spots from a friend of theirs sailing the 30 years before. Almost half a century experience. They lend me their pilots with all their annotations but they will be leaving tomorrow. Looks like I have to study until late today.

To finalize one Daily Picture, a picture of the Kornati Archipel again.

Daily Picture

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A daily picture of the Kornati again because lucky enough we (the 5 of us) went there again and ended up in Lavsa, the bay you see in the picture above. The original plan was to go to Striznja but the dark skies with the  thunder and lightning heading to us (no worry, I get rather used to it) made me decide to find an anchoring a little bit earlier.

After the Lavsa went to Vodice and the Contrast between Kornati and Vodice couldn’t be bigger. The last being a full fledged disco village with bars, bars and… bars.

Being together with my friends made me think of Cafe Thijssen in Amsterdam again. Being asked what I would do first when back in Amsterdam, I could only think about a double espresso at Café Thijssen while reading “Het Financieele Dagblad”.

The Future

What will it be next week? Will I be sailing single handed or will I find someone to join the last minute? How will the weather develop? Will the Croatians call this the worst sailing summer officially? I know I have been lucky having lost only one day to the weather (although fled to Budapest because of it). Will I be sailing to the Island Vis next week? I will keep you posted.