Split day 2
17 September 2017
Day two in Split started early for one of us. The propane tank was delivered to the marina office and the old bow roller was delivered to the guy with the lathe who promised it would only be a few hours
and we would have a new roller only 100 eu omg for a little piece of rubber? correction teflon. Expensive but at least it will be exactly what we need. We removed the old anchor by tying a line to it and then lifting it straight up and slowly swinging it towards the back of the boat then prepared the spot for the new roller that we were going to get hope hope hope.
Now the moment we had been waiting for. We removed the sales slips and bubble wrap. It was so shiny and so big. Wait one minute does that label on the anchor say 40 kg? omg is it to big?
The 33 kg anchor that was ordered was a little on the big side for Ice Bear but 40 kg thats a big anchor. Would it fit? Can the windlass lift it? Did we order a 40 kg? Do we keep it? How would we get it back to the store? and of course the most important question will it look weird on the bow. While we were pondering our next move a guy appeared at the stern of the boat with the new bow roller it looked perfect. To late we had already decided to go to town. Once again we walked. There was a new collection of large yachts to look at including a huge sailboat that actually looked like it had sailed.
The boom vangs where massive not to mention the size of the things passing for the stay turn buckles. Once downtown we entered the Diocletian's Palace and went into the Substructure (basement ). When the palace was still used as a palace this area was used as storage. As the city and its inhabitants changed they used the area for different things. At some point people lived and worked in the underground rooms. Olive and grape presses
were both found during excavation and as the city above grew over the site holes were dug into the ceiling so the city's garbage could be tossed down inside. Hehe there has been a lot of cleanup and
now this area is amazing to walk around in. There are ancient stone pipes that both brought fresh water and took waste away as well as examples of carved stone figures and pillars. This is also the
area that was used to keep the chained dragons in the Game of Thrones. We shouldn't have told Emmet this as now hes convinced the prints in the Concrete floors were from dragons. The Palace above is mix of all the types of architecture from The Roman era to modern day all mashed together. It seems to work well though. You never quite knew what you would see as you wandered around the small streets. One time it was a cathedral then up a few stairs into a round room with an open ceiling the brochure called it a vestibule. There were sphinxes from Egypt and temples to gods repurposed for Christian needs. Around another corner was a group of men loading firewood into two baskets so that other men standing way up on a balcony could pull them up. All so the restaurant with what must have been an amazing view could cook the evenings meals. I would guess by the size of the woodpile they would be at it for hours. Some of the small streets had wires overhead that hung samples of whatever the store underneath sold and when you were going up stairs you needed to watch that you didn't step on the pillows or customers of whatever cafe claimed the steps. There were even a few roman soldiers walking around willing to pose with you for a few kuna. We found out that a large % of the residences inside the walls were actually occupied by locals perhaps that explained the relaxed and friendly atmosphere. We found a hole in the wall restaurant that must have had a good rep because they were turning people away and other restaurants not to far away had tables to spare. It did not disappoint plus homemade bread mmmm.
It was dark when we returned to Ice Bear luck smiled on us and the loud party in the charter flotilla near us was just heading to town.
The third day in Split was all about leaving for the next destination. We installed the anchor roller wrestled the new anchor to the bow tied on a line and slowly lowered it into place. Found a new home for the old anchor in the forward storage locker. Cleaning it out in the process. Noted the 5 guys in itsy bitsy speedos sunning themselves on the flat surfaces of the powerboat they just arrived in and wondered about the male dynamic in Europe. Retrieved the filled propane tank and purchased food and liquids at the marina corner store. Then as we were leaving split we stopped at the gas station and fueled up. We really liked Split if it wasn't for the fact that we destroyed the budget we could have stayed for a week to properly explore. However the next place came highly recommended it was a little hop in the wrong direction but we were promised a place we would never forget.
Split day one
15 September 2017
Split is a big city and home to another Game of Thrones set. The marina we chose to stay in was an ACI. ACI marinas are all that is right and wrong with boating in Croatia.
They are clean and well run they have everything you could want in a marina helpful staff well maintained docks, laundry service, bathrooms, really nice showers,grocery store, restaurant,
and all manor of skilled tradesmen If you want it chances are they could supply it or know someone who can. But they are very expensive (160 eu for one night for Ice Bear) they cater to
the charter companies which means if you by some miracle could actually get a slip on a weekend you would pay even more. I would guess at least 100 boats return get cleaned and leave the
dock on vacation every weekend from every ACI in Croatia the activity at the docks must be insane. One harbour master said he was told there were as many as 20 thousand charter boats exploring Croatia at any one time.
Knowing all this we still chose to tie at the ACI in Split and we don't regret it. We needed to do three things for the boat here and until we went to the reception building to check
in we really didn't have an idea of how we were going to do all of them. While checking in we were reading all the flyers and brochures on the tables and walls. Some talked about tours of the palace. Some about the services in the area one in particular caught our attention... bring us your propane tank and we will fill it, boat job # 1 complete. We had asked for directions to the taxi
because the chandlery with the anchor wasn't at the marina when suddenly out of nowhere a guy showed up and said you need a ride? We explained what we were doing and he seemed to have no issues
helping with the 33 kg anchor quest and said 200 kn return ($40 can) sold. Off we went it was almost 20 minutes to the store we spent probably another 20 min shopping and sorting the anchor paperwork. Wow it looked so big on the floor all wrapped in bubble wrap and sales slips. The look on our drivers face when he saw the anchor was priceless. You know its a big thing when you arrive and they send two guys to the store room to retrieve it. The anchor took up his whole trunk at his request we tied it down so there was no chance it could move. When we arrived back at the marina we carefully removed it from his car into a wagon. With much thanking a tip and shaking of hands we dragged it back to Ice Bear tied a line to in and pulled it over the passerelle ( draw bridge ). We were
afraid that the weight of the anchor combined with one of us would fold the passerelle in half. Once secured on the boat we had a nap, job # 2 done. That evening we set off for the palace but
not before talking to some guys at the dock about job # 3 a new bow roller for the anchor. Our old one wasnt round anymore. They didnt have one big enough for us but they knew a guy in the marina
that had a lathe and he would be at the dock early tomorrow. hmm fingers crossed for # 3. At marina reception there was a boat that for 50 kn would take you right to downtown Split but we chose
to walk it didnt look that far. We walked past some race boats and a fleet of dingy sailors returning from a day of training. Judging by the signs several building sported with the names and dates
of wins at international competitions they took racing seriously. We walked past several yacht brokers and then onto the promenade. There were really big boats tied to one side and restaurants and
lots of bench seats along the other. In the promenade itself there were plaques placed in the stone. Each plaque had the name, date and location of the summer olympics that a Croatian won a medal
in an aquatic sport. It was really kewl to see. After about a fifteen minute walk we came to the old roman town outside the palace. The small streets were lined with restaurants and shops. In the middle of the main walking street was the place where the mornings fish market was held. I have no idea how they do it but it didn't smell like fish. We continued to walk through the small streets until omg a Tea shop the first one I had seen since leaving home. hmhmhm kn later my tea choices were greatly improved upon woohoo no more yellow label Tetley for awhile. To celebrate this wonderful find we stopped for dinner We had a pizza with a big dollop of sour cream on top. You know it was really good, however when we declined the offer of ketchup and mustard they looked at us as if we were a little odd. We spent the rest or the evening walking around the outside of the palace looking at the stalls of local gift and made in taiwan trinkets. Emmet even had his picture taken with a statue of Grgur Ninski the Bishop that is responsible for the bible being read in the Croatian language. They say that rubbing his foot brings good luck. Who doesn't need more good luck?
13 September 2017
Hvar was the next destination. It is a walled city like Dubrovnic only smaller. We thought woohoo a smaller city maybe less people and a chance to get a good look at the wall but the description of
the town in the travel guide suggests that's not what will happen the guide talks about glitz and night clubs then compares it to the Riviera hmmm it cant be that bad right?
About an hour out of the city we started seeing boats and more boats we started counting soon we were well into the 70's. We needed to stop counting as we found ourselves part of the mass and
needed to keep an eye out for the non boater in the little day rental boats. When we came around the corner we could see Hvar at first it looked really inviting stores,restaurants and the wonderful
walled city but as we drove closer we started to see the boats they were tied to the quay, on mooring balls, and anchored. The boats that were moving were going fast causing really big waves it
was like a washing machine I couldn't imagine being on one of the tied boats just watching them buck in the wash was making me queasy.
We pushed further into the bay where a boat from the harbour master met us and said there was no room go up the coast to find a place to tie. We slowly turned around and wove our way back out to
the relative safety of openish water where we met up with Micasay and decided to find a place on Planikovac island. The spot looked quite protected it was a stern tie to the beach. Well the trees
on the beach. we couldn't get both boats together the first day but they were near enough that we could see each other Micasay helped us and we helped them, making the tie so much easier. Seems this was a clothing optional area so many body parts.... Once we cooled off with a swim and had a nap it was time to go to Hvar. It was time for Micasay's dingy to shine they had a big outboard engine on it
and boy could it go. It took less then 20 minutes in all the ugly waves and traffic to get us to Hvar. It was worth our lives to get out of the dingy though. You needed to time the waves right to get out or you could be flipped out into the water. There were more people in the city then boats in the harbour. The place was a mass of humanity but it had everything you could want food, bank, bakery, grocery stores, clubs and of course the small streets one would expect in a old city. hehehe one of us craved Thai and we found that as well. We grabbed the groceries we needed and made a run back to the dingy and used its big engine to get us safely back to the boats. We were happy for the relative calm of Planikavac island then at midnight it started the boom boom boom we couldn't believe how well we could hear the dj's sometime around 4 am they stopped. This was it turned out an every night thing We spent 5 days here swimming checking out the island. One day we walked to the other side another day we took our dingy for a very long trip down the outside of the string of islands to a resort type area with lots of mooring balls to try out one of the restaurants. It turned
out to be very expensive 800 kn for dinner then we were able to use the tri coloured light someone picked up so we could be seen in the dark on the trip back. We dingyed to Hvar for supplies several times and enjoyed a few potluck type meals with Micasay.
There were boats of all sizes tied to the trees the 70 ft power boat that tied next to us was controled by a topless lady with a what looked like an i phone she stood on the deck running both
the boat and windlass ( thing that controls the anchor chain) while I think teasing her husband and son about being slow tying the lines to the beach. We took the opportunity to do some boat jobs
greasing winches in Icebear and helping Micasay put her spinnaker into its sock. Several days back Micasay found they were leaking oil from one of their sail drives and had started to contact yards in Croatia and Italy that could potentially repair the leak and while in Dubrovnik we had purchased a 33 kg Rokna Anchor to be picked up in a city called Split. while we were enjoying the swimming and relaxing some of their enquiries were starting to be answered and they found a yard inItaly that would serve their purposes. We still
needed to head north to Split. The sad day arrived on the 20th of aug spurred into action by a new Bora (A type of land affect wind) we both pulled away from the island and went our separate ways we were with them almost 3 weeks and had lots of fun :).
01 September 2017
Micasay had left before us to get some more pictures of Dubrovnik all we needed to do was find them should be easy it was open water lots of visibility except for the island we seemed to never be on the same side of..right sorted that. The trip to Mljet gave us the opportunity to try our new kite so exciting. It took a few minutes and woohoo we had all the lines rigged to fly. OMG its huge and colourful. I knew how big it was. Before we left home we had the thing covering the whole living room and up the stairs while we were checking for tears before packing it for the flight but when its up the mast wow. We didn't rush anything and pop there it was.
Micasay must have had the same idea because we looked over and she was sporting a lovely blue kite. As it turns out it was a first for her as well. As we neared Mljet the wind turned and we doused our new toys. They must have seen us coming because two small boats were racing towards us their drivers intent on getting our two boats tied to their mooring balls for the night. The deal is if you park on their mooring ball its free but you must eat at their restaurant. Sounds good to me. The view from the restaurant was hmm trees I guess they did say it was the only restaurant in the area made of wood. We spent two days in Saplunara bay swimming, then we moved to Okuklje bay. In this bay the restaurant had a quay so we stern tied. The restaurant was good there was a truck that came around and sold fruit and veg. We walked around the bay and looked at these really big clams. I suspect that touching one would result in some sort of fine. We spent two days swimming and watching the charter boats come and go. Our next stop was a little bay on Korcula island near Lumbarda I'm not sure why but I cant find its name on any charts. We spent two nights here as well and yes you guessed it we went swimming hehe. However the weather report was showing a bit of a storm coming our way so we thought maybe it was time to find a secure place to hold up. That's when we found this little harbour just North of the city of Korcula. Banja harbour didn't really look much different then any other harbour by that I mean they are all beautiful lined with houses and some restaurants. The thing abut Banja is the gentleman that owns the dark coloured mooring balls Ante. He charged us 20 eu a night for the ball then invited us for a taste of his wine made from his own grapes, offered us a drive into the town of Korcula both which we accepted. (The city of Korcula is a well kept walled city and the home town of Marco Polo) He offered to take us to one of the Restaurants in the bay. Micasay even ended up getting their laundry done while we were there and to top it off before we left the
bay he let us fill our water tanks all we needed to do was keep the boat near enough to the water supply as there was no dock. A very big thank you Ante for making your beautiful home so memorable. Once the big winds had past we headed North to the island of Scedro where we picked up a restaurants mooring ball. Just like every ball we have tied to the skipper dove down to check it out he didn't come back with his usual happy expression. While he felt the concrete block on the bottom would hold us in the light to non existent winds forecast for the next few days he didn't feel that this would be a safe place for a boat the size of Ice Bear if the wind picked up. After some swimming they had the big clams here as well and a nap we hopped into the dingy and motored to the restaurant only to be told that we should have reserved a table they were full.
It seems while we were playing two large charter flotillas had arrived. Flotillas are an interesting thing. Usually there is a boat (We on Ice Bear call this the mother duck) covered in flags. Now before someone gets excited I say flags because its usually a mixture of burgees, pennants and miscellaneous other things flying from the jib halyard. The mother duck arrives and ties to whatever. Then as the day progresses slowly the ducklings arrive and raft (tie) next to the mother duck. The experience level of the crews aboard the charter boats vary from lots to none at all and often the people on the charter boat met the day they boarded for the trip. Sometimes the mother duck crew needed to be very hands on with the docking assistance sometimes all they needed to do was throw a line to the boat. The next day when they leave the crew will help cast off the ducklings collecting whatever may have been left behind to the best of their ability. This enables the cruisers to check out swimming beaches or sight see without having to worry about finding a secure place for the night or apparently a restaurant for dinner. Not to worry there was a second restaurant in the bay and they had room at a table away from the main seating area for people that didn't have the foresight to make a reservation hmm. We shared it with some people from Denmark and had a lively discussion about Lego.
The next morning a boat puttered into the bay selling pastries wow how could you resist a boat full of fresh pastries 24 kn for a doughnut and a croissant mmmm breakfast of champions.
28 August 2017
Once we were all secure at the ACI maina we made our way to the
bus stop for the trip into town 15 kuna omg how much? oohhh ya right exchange rate so like 3 dollars. It was a short 30 min ride as there was lots to look at. The bus dropped us off at the wall of the city right near a tourist info booth. That's where we decided to take the tram that took you to the top of the hill and if we went right to it we could be at the top to see the sun set. Who knew there were going to be so many stairs to just make it to the base of the lift but we made it and the sunset was beautiful. The fortification at the top held an important place in the hearts of the Dubrovnik people while it was a built by Napoleon in the early 1800 it was more recently key in the defense of the city and the country as a whole in the more recent 1991- 92 siege of Dubrovnik so much so there is a museum dedicated to just that at the top.
The next morning we got up early eewww and bused in to walk the perimeter wall. Its a big wall and they had it set up so you could only walk in one direction counter clock wise. With the number of people walking the wall it made sense there were several places where it would have been tough for two people going different directions to pass. There were restaurants seemingly clinging on to the outside of the wall with tables and umbrellas perched on the cliff side. As you continued left you came to the port you could see where the locals tied their boats. Where the day tripper boats loaded and unloaded their passengers as well as where the old quarantine building was although it sounded like it was used more for doing trade in an effort to keep the rift raff out of the city then keeping out pest and pestilence. We took about two hours to walk the wall. We didn't feel rushed and I don't think we were going slow either but by the end the heat was getting to us perfect time for a nap. we returned to ICE BEAR and found the crew of Micasay planning a trip up the river to a waterfall. They had two paddle boards and two kayaks to pay with. We dropped the dingy into the water and tada we were all set to go. The paddle boards looked really fun hmmm will need to try those. Once we passed the marina the river was very nice the tall grass that we have seen everywhere was on one side and homes with small boats tied in front,
restaurants and a hostel lined the other. The waterfall wasn't so much a waterfall as the overflow for a hydro holding pond but it was pretty and it made a nice sound. There were people sliding down the water into river. The water was cold not everyone in our group went for a swim and of course we stopped at one of the hostels for a drink on the way back. We went into Dubrovnik several times and we all noted that it was different then the other walled city's we had been in it was the first one where the streets were relatively wide and straight much better for commerce then defense. However much like the other city's the streets were highly polished from all the people walking on them. Game of Thrones merchandise was everywhere including bobble heads of the main characters hehehe they even had t shirts with the bobble heads on them. there was a candy store with big barrels full of bulk candy I bought the biggest gummy bear you have ever seen but alas no pictures muahaha I ate it. While Dubrovnik was fun and we could have spent more time exploring it was also going to be the place that we said good bye to our third crew member. That had to have been the fastest month ever. Oddly enough this is where Micasay said good bye to two of its crew. The Aci marina is a main charter base for the area and they told us that when the weekend came we had to go so they would have room for the charter boats returning. Wow they weren't kidding Friday night they started coming. There were boats and gear everywhere. Micasay had seen the writing on the wall and had asked to be moved to a spot that was going to be easier to leave from. We stayed put confident we could crash through anything in our way. It was a good call on both our parts. The morning of our departure was kinda sad as our third crew member helped cast us off and we wiggled back through the slime lines. He was heading to the airport for a flight to Athens and we were off to Mljet island.
18 August 2017
While in Kotor we started to talk to the real life Americans and realized they were going the same direction as us and it seemed like it would be fun to travel with them so Micasay and Ice Bear
left Kotor, Montenegro for the town of Cevat, Croatia at more or less the same time. As we were leaving Kotor we needed to pick up some fuel and check out of the country of Montenegro lucky for us
the docks we needed to tie to for both things were on either side of a small waterway, however as we were moving to the fuel dock three cruise ships were pulling in. They were going to use the
customs dock to off load their passenger hmm lucky us... while this didn't slow down the check out process it did add a little to the docking difficulty level. So many people watching and no one to able
or willing to take a line. Leaving Kotor we needed to retrace our steps into the bay. We were able to play one more round of ferry frogger and pass by the sub pens it seems there must have been a
slight current leaving as well because we received a call on the vhs that we were traveling at 9 kn through the bay which was way more then the 6kn posted speed limit. We slowed down and carried on
our way to Cevat. Once again a relatively uneventful run which isn't a bad thing there were more castles and chapels along the coast line. When we pulled into Cevat we found that the Customs dock
was full so we fell inline with the other waiting boats. There was room for 5 or 6 boats to be stern tied at one time and there were two guys on the quay acting as traffic control and taking lines and
100 kn for the privilege of docking at the mandatory customs dock. The check in process couldn't have been to bad because the captain was back on board in less then a hour. While Croatia is part of
the EU it still has its own currency called a Kuna which is approx 5 kuna to a Canadian dollar which makes everything seem really expensive. Cevat was a cute town but the cost to moor was expensive even the restaurants seemed slightly over priced was this a picture of things to come? We had been warned Croatia could be pricey. The next day we motored to Dubrovnik. For those of you who didn't know Dubrovnik is Kings landing in the Game of Thrones. It is a large walled city it looks really kewl from the water side. We were really looking forward to seeing inside. The marina we chose to tie at was an ACI marina. These marinas can be found all over the Croatian coast line. It was up for lack of a better description a river at the base of the river was a really big bridge now I know this bridge is really tall and there is no way Ice Bears mast will hit it but that still doesn't stop the uneasy feeling in the bottom of your stomach when you look up and see your mast slide under something. The marina was 3/4 of the way up the river it was large and as this was a main charter base full of boats. The dock attendant signaled us to park deep into a finger eeeppp
With two of us watching down the sides of Ice Bear we slowly wiggled our way past several lazy lines with only inches to spare (someone wants me to stress the inches part he seems to think that our props where tickling the lazy lines) and into the spot with the what if there's more boats parked along here when we leave question hanging in our minds. We were here for three days 160 eu for each of the first two days and 180 eu for the Saturday omg if this keeps up my build a house kitty will disappear fast.