Log #22b Dubrovnik to Split

August 20, 2001 in Log Series 20 - 29, Logs by Series, Series 22 Croatia, The Logs

Log #22b Dubrovnik to Split

Written at Poreç, Croatia
Aug. 20, 2001
Covers the period July 28 to 31

We enjoyed Dubrovnik. As mentioned in my last log, the ancient walled town was fascinating. The Maritime Museum housed in the major port bastion was difficult to get to due to the winding alleys, construction, and poor signs. It was only OK, containing few artifacts, minimal sequential maritime historical development explanation or displays, and relied mostly on unexplained photographs of documents regarding Dubrovnik’s trading status, and pictures of miscellaneous ships, owners, and captains. We walked the outer walls of the town, about a kilometre in length, an interesting vantage point to see the overall layout of this rampart fortified piece of history.

Back in Gruz, a mega sailing yacht was parked beside us. It was at least 150 feet long, and a towering mast with six sets of spreaders and red aircraft warning lights. A side opening compartment on its port quarter held a couple of personal water craft, a half dozen windsurfers, and a wardrobe of life vests and wet suits. That one compartment had more volume than all of Veleda. We looked like a dwarfed shabby work-a-day tender to this gleaming monster.

We took Sprite down to the ACI Dubrovnik Marina a couple of times to pick up the chart booklets for the Croatian coast, inquire about repairs to Sprite (as she was leaking air and had to be pumped up daily), and to go down the road to refill a Camping Gaz bottle. In our short time there, we noted it was a luxurious marina with good facilities, bars, restaurants, grocery store, chandlery, tennis courts, boat repair yard, yacht charter agents, an adjacent “castle”, and landscaped ponds that were home to millions of mosquitoes. It would have cost about $45.00 a night Canadian for our 10 metre Veleda to stay there. At less than $15.00 a night, we were quite happy to stay at Gruz, closer to “real life” markets, stores, ordinary local people, and no mosquitoes.

We went to the Adriatic Hotel for a buffet and tango floor show. The tango was good, the buffet mediocre. There were many ads around for concerts, floor shows and “exotic” acts. Several of the squares in the old town were cluttered with staging and high tech lighting and acoustics for evening entertainment. With so little rain, outdoor performances are rarely cancelled  due to weather in the summer. The ancient squares, courtyards, and stone walled backgrounds make for good acoustics and very dramatic illuminated settings for theatrical extravaganzas.

We made good use of a 0800 to 2400 hour a day internet site just two buildings up  the street from the bus station  to send E-mail. The manager spoke English and was a great help to us, showing us how to download charts from our C-map disc and print them, thus providing us with a set of charts for the entrance and canals of Venice. We were also able to download and print our application forms for Kemer Marina in Turkey where we plan to spend the winter. Thank you very much DuNet Club (www.dunet.hr/engleski or E-mail dunet@dunet.hr). Next day a local hotel faxed the completed application to Turkey for me, free of charge.  Friendly, helpful people!

Stores and markets open early in Croatia, and many people speak some English. Shops and businesses may close for the afternoon, but are usually open from 1700 to 2000. There seems to be a strong work ethic in Croatia. July 29, we took on water, filled the jerry cans with diesel (about $1.20 per litre Canadian), and did some last minute marketing preparatory to leaving at 0915 for Otok Mljet.

In Croatian, Otok means island, Luka means harbour, and Uvala means bay. We had to motor the 33 miles up to Luka Polaçe (42 47.5N, 017 22.3E), part of a national park on Otok Mljet, experiencing light force 2 winds to start, but plowing into force 5 winds by the time we arrived at 1630. This wind pattern is very common along this coast with very light breezes in the morning and stronger north or north west land breezes in the afternoons. Going northwest as we are doing, we leave early mornings to maximize our distance before the afternoon winds start up.

While motoring we got a telephone call from Henry Lotin, Judy’s cousin, to arrange a rendezvous with us in Pula or Split in early August. I still find it strange to be taking telephone calls while under way in a boat. VHF radio, OK, but phones are still unexpected, not nautical. The scenery was most enjoyable, the islands drifting by with their barren hills, tree-covered rocky shores, the misty summits of the mainland mountains in the background, all reminding us of a few of the good sailing spots in Canada. The North Channel of Lake Huron, the north shore of Lake Superior, and the Gulf Islands and the straits around Vancouver Island and the B.C. coast have similar dramatic coastal scenery. We wended our way between several small islands to enter Luka Polaçe, a large enclosed bay reminiscent of “The Pool” at the end of the fiord-like Baie Fine in the North Channel of Lake Huron.

There were about 40 vessels at anchor, many of them with lines ashore. We eased through the gaggle of boats to the small bay at the north west corner to anchor in 20 feet of water in this relatively secluded section. It was a peaceful quiet anchorage with pine trees overhanging the rock strewn shore.

As it is national park, there was a fee charged for anchoring at 25 Kn for the vessel and 14 Kn per person for a total of 53 Kn for the night (about $10.00 Canadian). We had read of these charges in our pilot, and as a service to boats at anchor, they are supposed to pick up garbage from them. However, we have subsequently heard “horror” stories of, in some cases, such garbage collections just being taken out into mid channel and dumped overboard! We will dispose of our own garbage appropriately on shore.

We didn’t go ashore, but I snorkeled around the head of the small bay, noting some interesting small fish and enjoying the rock formations. After a quiet night’s rest, we left at 0550 (sunrise was at 0540) to make time before the afternoon winds came up. We wanted to make distances to rendezvous with friends from Vancouver in Venice, and then take more time enjoying the islands on our way back down to Dubrovnik in late August and early September. We were able to motor sail and to actually sail for a few periods in the wide open Mljetski Kanal until we made our way through the Peljeski Kanal north of Korcula. The town of Korcula is a place we want to stop on our way back down.

The afternoon winds caught up with us as we transited the open Korculanski Kanal, causing us to alter our planned destination on Hvar and retreating back along the Scedrovski Kanal to Uvala Manastir (Monastery Bay) on Otok Scedro (43 05.6N, 016 14.4E). This is the smaller of the two bays on the north shore of Scedro, and less popular, but well sheltered. As we entered the only other sailboat, on a mooring, waved us over to another nearby mooring available and free of charge, and tucked in from the entrance giving better shelter from the stronger force 5 winds blowing outside. This is an idyllic small bay with a couple of houses and a family type restaurant at the inner end where a couple of small concrete quays sheltered a half dozen open local fishing boats. On a low hill beside the houses are the ruins of a monastery (thus the name) dating back several hundred years.

I took off in Sprite to explore the monastery, and then dinghied out around to the adjacent larger bay where 15 or 20 boats were anchored, again many of them with lines ashore. The wind was still blowing a northwest afternoon force 4 to 5, but the bay was sheltered. However, while I was motoring around looking at the many boats, several of them started shifting their locations, especially the outer ones. Not very secure I thought. As I headed out of the bay, I noticed the wind had become more northerly, and stronger. By the time I reached the entrance the wind was at least a force 7, the waves a good metre in height, and I was having a heavy time going into it. Going outside and around into Monastery Bay where Veleda was moored was precarious. Sprite was soft because of its leaks, and water was splashing over the bow, making for a very wet ride back. The Kanal outside was covered with whitecaps. When I finally got back to Veleda, Judy had, with the help of a local boater, a line over to shore as well as the one on our mooring buoy. We were well sheltered. One of the motor boats had come over to moor astern of us to be in a more protected spot. The wind was howling by this time. On board I saw the wind speed indicator at a steady 30 to35 knots with gusts going to 55 knots. This was a BORA! It came up suddenly in 15 minutes while I was out in Sprite, and lasted for 12 hours, all night.

By midmorning next day it had eased off, and we had a nice visit with the Croatians on Darkrie, a small double ender pilothouse boat out of Split. They indicated that the Bora was over, and so we left at 1100 for Split, 16 miles west past Hvar then north 26 miles to the mainland.