Saturday, 20 October 2012

Photo Diary of Croatia Cruise Autumn 2012 (28 Sept to 28 Oct)

We left Montenegro on 29th September, literally the morning after our last charter of the 2012 season, overnighted in Cavtat then legged it up to Polace, the most perfect anchorage in the Croatian island (for shelter, dog walks, peace - at least out of season) - put our anchor down and stayed there until we wanted to move again, 4 days later. Bliss.
Cyclamen-strewn wooded paths in Mljet NP, morning, afternoon and teatime walks with the dogs

Mljet National Park, Polace is anchorage at far eastern edge of NP, sheltered from east/SE by islets and narrow channel

Next stop, Pupnatska Luka where we anchored in stunning cove, on south side of Korcula, incredible blue water, best snorkelling I've done in Croatia, Pupnatska Luka. Bit of katabatic wind at night as high cliffs bound the anchorage and completely exposed to south. But so so beautiful.

And there was us, worrying we were going to miss the best of the summer. Second week in October, still shade-seeking. Tim busy reading.........

Extremely blue water at Pupnatska Luka, visibility still perfect at 15 metres.

A northerly blow forecast so decided to set sail for Lastovo, and try Skrivena Luka in a bura (it was v gusty and we dragged!).

Sails up, feet up, en route to Lastovo

Skrivena Luka, SE tip of Lastovo, level with my water bottle is the entrance to this circular anchorage almost entirely protected from the sea. Great walking paths, this photo taken from lighthouse on a rocky headland which protects the cove from southerlies.

Mali and Veli Lago, NW tip of Lastovo, Mali Lago great sheltered anchorage, v quiet, we were only boat there (this isn't the case in season). Saw out big SE blow, absolutely fine.

Captain Tim comes to pick us up from the beach after yet another dog hike. Started doing a morning and afternoon hike; dogs not massively keen on the afternoon idea - lazy sods.

Louise less impressed by the sailing to Korcula idea and even less impressed on arriving in the anchorage which looked unremarkable due to thick cloud and miserable skies - and, goddammit, even a drop of rain.
Then we awoke to this..........
And sunsets like these
Next stop, after much dithering and deliberation - back to Lastovo, this time to Mali Lago. Here's Mollie aka The Ferret, convinced she'd seen a dolphin .......... she hadn't. We didn't see any dolphins for the entire cruise - why? Saw loads in the spring. Don't know anything about their habits - maybe this is normal.

Lastovo, my favourite Croatian island - looks like the Land that Time Forgot - awe-inspiring profile rising up from the distance as you approach. That particular day there was no wind, water like glass all the way from Korcula and just so beautiful it took your breath away.

Mollie finding shade on a hot deck in October

Saw out SE blow in Mali Lago then on to Korcula, to try Gradina, near Vela Luka, on western tip of Korcula. Grotty day but great sail.

Innovative mooring post

Me and my ferret

Early mornings on the water - a rare thing for a sleep hog like me - are worth getting up for. The total bonus of the night's drawing in when on anchor as early to bed, early to rise and you get to see the mist on the water, dew on the ground, heart-stoppingly lovely.

Our last stop - back to Polace for 5 days whilst doing another section of deck recaulking - the never ending job!

Veggie fish-finger feasting

Lots of hiking then chilling on deck - that's what it's all about

Morning dog walking, Monty B style

I turned around and there they were - the perfect vantage point for a view of Skrivena Luka

Scared of sunset, me??

The only hairy night; decided to try out Skrivena Luka (tied up to pontoon) during a hard-core scirocco as wanted to watch the waves (which were incredible). Lots of swell came in through the channel and it was only slightly protected from the wind but we were tied up safe, no sea-state, and one of the few places where we could tie up at that time of year and still be somewhere wild. We were the only boat there for several days and as darkness fell with these winds forecast (these are metres/second - you can almost double them for knots), I was feeling pretty anxious. But we were fine. 

Saying farewell to Mljet NP, for another year

Tied back in Polace, with self-walking dogs

Forest view from deck

There's us again - tied back in the corner, cunning dog-walking/dinghy mechanism set up. Easy life.

stupid ferret finds a way of tying herself up with my bikini top

Off on another adventure - though sadly this time, on return leg from Mljet to Sipan, where we hurriedly managed to finish off the deck section AND take off and stow all our sails.

Last day of sailing for 2012, and what a beautiful day for it.
And before you knew it, we were out the water.  Bemused dogs, bemused sad to say goodbye to Monty B............this is the first time in 5 years that we've been homeless.

"What the f**k is going on now?"

So, that's it.........for another year.  Monty B is awaiting her new paintjob, this winter's project - and she will be relaunched, in April 2013, for her 30th birthday, more beautiful than ever.  And we have decided, almost certainly, that we will be setting sail for Crete in October 2013 for a winter of living aboard in a (slightly) warmer and drier climate next year.
Dinghy rides to shore, best bit of the day they say