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Deep Blue
Living The Dream
Trogir & Split

Trogir has been a popular spot for us recently as it is only 10 minutes from Split International Airport and therefore an ideal pick-up and drop-off location for visitors. The town itself is well worth a visit too. The old town, built on a small island between the mainland and Otok Ciovo, stands on the foundations of a Greek colony. Under the Romans, it was an important port. It was almost completely destroyed by the Saracens in 1123 but managed to survive and later came under Venetian rule. There are many medieval houses and churches and the cobblestone streets are like ice from centuries of feet trampling over them. The carved doorway of the cathedral is a fabulous example of medieval sculputre, carved in 1240. The town quay is a great place to people watch with lots of restaurants and cafes and music in the summer.

On the last day of Audra & Gavin's stay with us, we decided to take a bus trip into Split rather than go there with Deep Blue. After a 45 minute trip, we quickly made our way to Diocletians Palace, the fortified palace which was constructed for the Roman Emperor Diocletian and in which the city of Split was built. The Palace itself was begun around 298AD, a combination between a Roman country villa and a garrison, complete with an aqueduct which is still in use. It is typically Roman, rectangular in shape, 705' x 590' and has two main streets that run N-S and E-W creating four quarters. Each quarter has its own main gate, located in the centre of each outside wall. We spent the afternoon wandering around the streets and taking in the sights. Our visit was only short but well worth it and made a fine end to Audra and Gavin's trip.

Trogir - anchor in bay just outside town. Good holding mud. (150kn p/n 14m boat Aug '09). Or go on town quay if there is space (400kn pn) or in ACI Marina which has a great view of town. Dinghy down canal between Trogir and mainland to Konzum supermarket, market, bus station. DIY washing machine & dryer in ACI Marina. 14 euros for both. Buy token from reception. Water from fuel quay, 5 kn pieces are needed to operate & your own hosepipe. Lidl supermarket just opened 3km from town, behind airport.
Airport - take 37 bus, every 20 mins for 10 min ride to airport. At bus stop on way back, you may be hassled by local guy who will tell you that the bus will not arrive for another hour and he will do a special price to take you into town. Ignore him. Bus tickets work on duration not destination. Each driver seems to have his own ideas on how long a journey will take so don't be surprised if you are given different zone tickes for the same journey!
Gaz refill - take 37 bus to Kastela Marina (about 30mins). Walk towards marina and take a right. You will come across a private house with an unused engine shop on the ground floor and a bar on the first floor. Inside the bar, there is a small chandlers that does gaz exchange for 80kns. We were also advised to speak to fuel quay in Trogir, though we didn't need to.
Split - didn't take boat but were told that there is a coin-operated launderette there and that anchoring off town can be rolly due to ferry traffic.

Visit to Krka Falls

A visit to Croatia would not be complete without a trip up the Krka River to visit the magnificent Krka Falls. With family visitors, Audra and Gavin, together with our friends from Sangaris, Katherine and Craig, who were also enjoying a visit from their daughter Jennifer, we entered the Krka River and made our way up to the town of Skradin, with a brief stop in Sibenik, where we unfortunately didn't have time to visit the cathedral on this occasion but we did manage a cup of tea and filled up with water! Another stop on the way at one of several mussel farms, enabled us to buy some fresh mussels for dinner. Chris jumped in the dinghy and scooted ashore to what looked like a shanty shack where he was greeted with a friendly welcome and came away with several kilos of mussels that we all shared that evening as we anchored off outside Skradin with a beautiful view of the town, complete with swans gliding across the fresh water.

Next day, we went on an organised boat trip, which was a little strange for us as we are used to being in our own boats, but only authorised vessels are allowed up to the Krka Falls, a national park. Travertine is the basic natural element that forms the Krka National Park. Travertine, limestone deposited from water that accumulates on living elements (moss, algae etc) forms the varied shapes that produces the cascades. We took the woodland walk at Skradinski But which took us through the woods to fantastic viewpoints of the falls. Over 860 plant species and sub-species are to be found in the park, as well as many types of amphibians, reptiles and fish. We also visited the water mills where traditional crafts, such as weaving, grain milling, washing and treading of cloth, were displayed.

Then, it was onto another boat for the second part of our trip to the island of Visovac. Since 1445, it has been the site of the Franciscan Monestery of Our Lady of Mercy. It is also called Our Lady's Island because of the centuries of worship on the Virgin Mary, by chance, we happened to be visiting on a public holiday - St. Mary's Day! A guide showed us around the museum but 30 minutes was not enough time to take it all in. I asked why the visit was so short and he explained that novice monks spend time on the island whilst they are training and it is therefore not appropriate that the island is constantly inundated by visitors. He had a point. However, he also told us that after hundreds of years of new monks arriving each year to train, this year was the first year that there was no intake, though 7 were due next year.

From there we went further up the river to Roski Slap (don't you just love the names!) to see the small cascades that the locals call 'Necklaces'. The surroundings were magical and a perfect example of nature at its best.

As if all that wasn't enough, once back at Skradinski But, some of us swam in the waterfalls before deciding that we hadn't had enough exercise that day and opted for the 2km walk back to town following the shoreline arriving back just in time for a quick spruce up before heading into town for dinner. We all slept very well that night!

Sibenik town quay - for 30kns, you can tie-up and fill up with water. They will also refill gaz containers whilst you wait for 150kns, expensive but very convenient.
Fresh mussels 15kn per kilo. If you stop infront of the farm, they may come out to you unless they are busy and you will have to dinghy in. Lovely & worth the stop.
Skradin - all shops are there. Several homes (and a bakery!) make their own wine and sell it. Don't be afraid of trying it and being led out into a shack in the backyard where the 'brew' is made.

Hello from Audra & Gavin!
Audra Entwistle
09/13/2009, Stari Trogir

For the past 10 days, we have had visitors, my sister, Audra, and her husband, Gavin. Thought they should tell you what we have been up to during that time.

Hello to all of our friends.

Arrived safely at the medieval town of Trogir, where our first sailing experience awaits us on Deep Blue. My first glance of Deep Blue, bobbing alongside the town quay wall was one of delight. Both Gavin and I cannot believe how beautiful the yacht is and we are actually there with Sandra & Chris (sister & hubby) for a fantastic family holiday.

Our first couple of days are lazy & relaxing while we adjust to our new surroundings. We anchor in the bay of Mirine & off the island Tijat in isolated bays with crystal clear waters. We dinghy onto the islands and discover a medieval fortress & climbed hills over rocky walls. Whilst sailing to Tijat, we experienced the 'Bora' wind (a notorious northeast wind that sends shivers down the spines of the local Croatians because of its ferocity). However, we were unaware and thought this was the norm for Chris & Sandra while sailing. The gale force winds were beating down on us while Deep Blue dipped in & out of the waves. It was rather scary but exciting too, especially when, on several occassions, the sea tossed itself over the yacht and drenched us all. Chris & Sandra couldn't believe how calm we were but we really didn't know any different.

We sailed into the Krka River, which was declared a National Park in 1985, and anchored outside Skradin. While there we met up Chris/Sandra's American friends, Katherine & Craig. They too had a visitor on board their yacht (Sangaris), Jennifer, their daughter, had flown in from Boston a couple of days after we arrived. Together, we all went on a organised boat trip in up the Krka River National Park to visit a series of waterfalls, one of the best known natural beauties of Croatia. We also visited the island of Visovac, which sits in the Krka River and houses the monks of the Franciscan Monastery, a fortress of spirituality & faith.

To enjoy watching England thrash the Croatians 5-1 at football, we sailed to Vodice on the mainland. It seemed odd to be watching football in the country of the team England was playing against. We were well behaved whilst watching the game with the locals but secretly happy for England to have won.

After our few busy days, we say goodbye to Sangaris and are now back relaxing in a beaufitul bay on the island of Zirje before we have to start sailing back to Trogir where it all began. Not ready to come home yet because it is so beautiful here !!

See you all soon, Audra & Gavin xxx

Cruising buddies in Stupica Mala

After a night at anchor in Jazine Bay, just outside Murter, we sailed over the the island of Zirje where we anchored in Stupica Mala.

In order to anchor in 5m, we dropped anchor and then rafted up to our cruising buddies, Katherine & Craig. Deep Blue and Sangaris seemed very happy with that arrangement! As he was already in his dinghy, Craig took a line ashore for us and tied it securely around a rock. We were obviously nice and secure because we had a storm a couple of nights later and didn't move a jot. The anchorage was well protected and lovely for swimming and snorkelling.

Sunday afternoon, Katherine threw some bread out for the fishes and, as they all came to the surface for their Sunday lunch, a seagull swam over and promptly swallowed one of the bigger fish! The poor fish had no chance and the seagull even had trouble swallowing it's free lunch. That's the cycle of life I suppose.

We took a walk ashore and walked up the hill and over to the next bay where there were lots of larger motor boats playing loud music. We think we made the right decision as to which bay to stay in. The brambles were full of blackberries but probably a week away from being ripe for picking. Hopefully, we will find some more in a week's time.

We spent 3 nights in the bay during our week with K&C, each night sharing the dinner cooking and hosting as well as making jewellery, swopping books and stories, baking bread and generally having a good time.

We are now heading over to Trogir to pick up guests but will be meeting up with K&C again in a week's time to do some more exploring.

Very good holding but you have to go right in as it is deep (10m+) otherwise.
No facilities.

Murter - surprise meeting with Hannes and Regina

We anchored off Murter town and dinghed in to do some shopping. As we were walking, a man on a bicycle came towards us and we heard 'I don't believe it!' It was our Austrian friend, Hannes, who we had helped a couple of weeks earlier when his anchor was stuck. He and his wife, Regina, keep their lovely boat, Molweni, in the marina at Murter year round. What a surprise for all of us. We sat and talked as we sampled delicious Austrian Reisling from their home country. Next day, together with Katherine & Craig, we all got together for coffee and talked about our travels. Afterwards, we explored the town and ate ice-cream. Nice day.

Anchor in bay off town and marina in mud. Good holding.
Water tap on public quay. Harbour master's office behind.
Several supermarkets, butchers, bakers and lots of restaurants/cafes

Arta Island - meeting up with friends and the art of Croatian wall-building

Another great sail brought us to Arta Island, just north of Murter, where we anchored in sand in the lovely bay of Mala Arta. The island is uninhabited apart from 8 mountain goats, lots of wasps and, like many of the islands, is covered in long, man-made stone walls.

After being the only boat in the bay for one night, it was nice to be joined by our friends again, Katherine and Craig. Together, we climbed to the top of the hill to find out what all these walls were about. These particular walls seemed to be part of a former settlement but K&C told us that a local Croatian had told them that in times past, the locals built the walls in order to protect a small piece of land or garden from the strong winds so that they could grow vegetables. The view from the top was great. We could see all the islands between the mainland and the Kornati Islands in the west.

A bora wind had been announced for that night, though we were not too concerned as we were in a great protected anchorage but, as always, it means a restless night as you tend not to sleep too well because you always have an ear on what is happening outside and frequent trips out of your comfy bed to check everything is ok not only on our boat but others too. The last thing you want to see is other boat heading in your direction because their anchor has dragged!

By midday the next day, all was back to normal swimsuit weather.

Good location for bora. Good holding in sand.

Taster of the Kornati Islands

For the next leg of our journey, we decided to travel down a channel between the islands of Kornati and Zut so that we could get a glimpse of the Kornati Islands, a national park of 89 islands and rocks.

We had a great sail down the channel, and were practically the only boat going down. To our right, we could see the high top of Kornati Island, with rocky outcrops and several ravines. We had heard that the Kornati islands are very rocky and moon-like however the small glimpse we had showed us high, rock islands covered in low-lying shrubs. As we got to the end of the channel, our perfect sail was topped by seeing a small group of dolphins glide by us. We haven't seen dolpins since arriving in Croatia and wondered if we would.

We ended the day in a small anchorage between the islands of Zut and Zutska Aba where we went to sleep with the sound of the local goats in the background.

Sali, our first marina in Croatia on the island of Dugi Otok

After a night at anchor in Lamjana Mala in the south of Ugljan, we headed over to Sali on the island of Dugi Otok, one of the westernmost islands in central Croatia.

We had a great sail there, as we have had on many occasions here. The wind seems to pick up nicely in the afternoons to take us onto our next destination which is so much nicer than having to listen to the engine. On the way there, we passed the island of Krknata, where there is a shallow anchorage between it and Dugi Otok. With a sandy seabed below and shallow water, the water was a beautiful turquoise colour and very, very clear.

We arrived into Sali around 3pm intending to do some shopping and get some water and then find an anchorage for the night. However, it was too hot to hurry these things and we decided to stay the night and explore the small town. By 5pm the marina was completely full and boats still kept on coming right up to about 11pm, only to be either disappointed or to find ingenious way of finding a space even if it did mean tying to the ferry dock and being woken at 6am to move when the ferry arrived. We enjoyed dinner in a waterfront restaurant and had enough octopus salad to take back to the boat with us for lunch the next day.

Marina quiet on Sat/Sun but busy on Mondays.
350krs (approx 50 euros) 14m boat Aug '09.
Good supermarket, butcher, baker and fruit & veg stall. Good stop for provisioning & water

Giant Mollusc in Prtljug Bay on Ugljan Island

Whilst checking that the anchor had dug in good and tight at Prtljug Bay on the island of Ugljan, Chris saw two giant molluscs on the seabed. They turned out to be Pinna nobilis, a bivalve mollusc. They can grow to 80cm, one of the biggest shells in the world and are a rarity to see as they face extinction. The ones we saw were about 80cm and 50cm and were similar to giant mussels. They were greyish in colour, having been covered by a layer a mud and sand and they had buried themselves slightly into the seabed. How lucky were we to see them.

Water water everywhere - not

We have to carry on board all of our water supplies and have a 400l tank for this purpose. We try to top it up whenever we can when we are cruising around islands.

During the winter, we bought two 15l collapsible water containers to put into the rucksack whenever we went ashore. So far we have found water at public showers and public taps (though there are not many of these in Croatia) and it was proving a little tricky to find on Molat.

However, on our walk into town, we found a disused well and next to it a tap. A little too far to carry back to the dinghy, we were in luck to also find a small trolley that looked quite new, abandoned underneath a tree. So, we borrowed the trolley and took it up the hill to the tap where we were able to fill up with 30l of water. We decided that it was too good an opportunity to miss so we put the trolley back under the tree, went back to the boat, put the water in the tank and then returned to get two more containers. We turned on the tap, nothing. We can only assume that either a) the water was only turned on between certain hours or b) it wasn't a public tap afterall and someone had seen us and turned off the water.

Next day, we thought we'd try again however, the abandoned trolley was not under the tree where we had left it, not that it mattered as the tap was still dry!! Please remember this tale the next time you turn on a tap at home!!!

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Who: Chris & Sandra Mennem
Port: Shotley, UK
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