Sunshine Cruise in Croatia in October with SailCork
- On 11 01 2015
We flew from Dublin to Zadar on Sat19 Sep - 28 degrees when we arrived - 45mins transfer to Vodice - a lovely port giving us instant access to the magical Dalmatian cruising grounds.
After checking out our boat - a 2005 Bavaria 46 in excellent nick - we checked out the town. After some nice aperitifs we headed to "Gustes" steakhouse for fantastic beef ... and really good wine. A fantastic introduction to Croatia! We got an early night as our planned departure time for Sunday was 07:00 - sleep was slow in coming as the strains of the local disco permiated our craft!
Next morning we got away on time ..... in a light Nor Easterly and a beam reach to start with but the wind died away and we had a long - enjoyable- motorsail to our lunchtime stop on the Island of Slota.
We had our first swim - a hell of a lot warmer than here! - about 22 degrees! Light winds again for the afternoon - our journey was taking us in a South Easterly direction and a distance for the day of 55M. After a quick look in a very crowded Hvar town we headed for peace and quiet on the south of the Pakleni Islands - a beautiful bay served by a few excellent restaurants- we chose "Totos" where we had beautiful local wine and excellent seafood before getting a good nights sleep peacefully at anchor in the bay!
Hvar is an amazing place - one of the most visited places in Croatia... and can only be reached by boat. It historically very significant with remains from Roman times onward. It's harbour is very unique with buildings used by the Venetians to winter their galleys and amazing Renaissance buildings mixed in with all styles of architecture stretching back for 2000 years.
Hvar buzzes from the first ferry arrival before seven until well after midnight. There is a maze of side streets with shops, bars, restaurants and ice cream parlours staffed by friendly, outgoing staff. We arrived at 11:00 but had to wait 50 minutes to get a berth at the town quay - we were than in the centre of the action! After exploring the town we headed for the fortress on the hill overlooking the harbour - it is some climb - but well worth it. We had a great meal aboard but unfortunately had to listen to a disco next door aboard an English Sunseeker until the police broke up the party at 05:00!!
Next morning we were on the move early having collected fresh bread and croissants at the quayside bakery. Light winds again- but 26 degrees! We headed in a northerly direction - todays trip would be 30 miles. We motored through the windless channel between the islands of Brac and Solta and explored the wonderful harbours on the north side of Solta stopping for a swim at a sheltered creek. Solta has been a holiday island since Roman times with the people of the city of Salona spending their summers on the island.
Our evening destination was the ancient city of Trogir (now a UNESCO protected city) and we managed to get alongside at the quay right opposite the Roman Gate- we were four minutes form the centre of the city!
Built on an island it is interwoven with laneways with historic buildings overlooking the myriads of visitors. The square at the centre has the beautiful cathedral with its amazing tower on one side and civic buildings on the other sides - there are tables and chairs and waiter service in the square - perfect to enjoy an expresso and leave the history sink in!
We visited the market in Trogir which had fresh produce - all at a good price. We had an amazing meal and finished the evening watching a band perform in the square enjoying a nightcap!
Wednesday was another great day - again the winds were a little light so we sailed- motored. sailed etc! We had plenty of time as our north westerly course would only be bringing us 20M. We stopped for a swim and arrived mid afternoon at Primosten - a beautiful town built on an island - now connected to the mainland with a small causeway. We moored stern to at the outer end of the pier - we almost had the place to ourselves - but only for a while as the quay was full to capacity within an hour and a half - you must get alongside before 16:00 - even in September if you want to get a place. Berthing is on the expensive side but the showers and toilets are pristine - and the berthing masters are always very helpful.
Off to the North West again for 15 miles - between the islands towards the city of Sibenik for a morning stopover- We entered through a narrow channel with the remains of German U boat pens on the eastern side. Nedless to say the sun was splitting the stones - 28 degrees! We got a spot at the Riva (quayside) in the city centre as we wanted to visit the famous cathedral of St. James - it was well worth it. I climbed the hill to see the view from the fort and again it was well worth it. The shops were excellent as was the coffee - I definitely want to overnight in Sibenik on my next visit!
The early afternoon journey of 10 miles up through gorges, under bridges to Skradin was most interesting. We got the prime slot again in Skradin moored alongside the town square right next door the an ancient winebar. We were hardly alongside when we had to rush to catch the ferry boat up the river into the National Park to see the Kraka falls,,,,,,,,,,
We walked some of the Park but realistically you need a full day to do it -we had a great swim in the waterfalls and returned to Skradin for a great meal . The next day was our last full day so we had a 15M journey down the river to Sibenik before exiting to the Adriatic and the islands. We had an easy morning but the wind came at last in the afternoon! 25 knots of it - it was great for the crew to show their skills of steering, tacking, gybing and of course navigation! On arrival at Murter where the boat is based we had to Q for fuel - after mooring and tidying up we headed for our las meal together - great food but I was knackered! Nearly fell asleep at the table! Slept like a log. What a fantastic week - cant wait to go again!!!!!!!!