19 July 2013 | Korcula, Croatia
From Vis island we sailed to Korcula island, arriving late afternoon in Tri Luke, on the southwest corner of Korcula.
This three fingered bay offered protection from a predicted wind change to the east overnight and again, due to many charter yachts (please read inexperienced young skippers) already anchored with stern lines ashore, we anchored well out in the bay, to give Trilogy adequate swing room. We chose the most western of the three bays, as it offered the deepest water.
With Kat and John engrossed in a game of Yahtzee, Garth and Ros decided to explore all three bays in the dinghy as the setting sun bathed everything in a soft golden hue. Our guidebook said that the coves are packed with holiday homes, mostly illegal! We did not manage to find out an explanation for this statement, but there were some very big new homes being built, so we are more than a little curious. We delight in the old original stone shuttered cottages as most of the new concrete homes have little aesthetic value. We think concrete must be very cheap in Croatia (probably due to the abundance of limestone) as the amount of concrete construction in some of the homes is quite phenomenal and they look more like fortresses.
Kat won out in the Yahtzee just as the dinghy expedition concluded, which meant it was Gin and Tonic time (yeh!). Having bought a range of tasty local products in Vis Town, we enjoyed the evening twilight trying out the capers, anchovies, cheese and mortar, a wild herb collected on the stony beaches, which has a slightly acidic/lemony overtone. Kat prepared another wonderful meal of cevapcici, mashed potato (Croatian cuisine doesn't know this version of spud preparation), a sauce based on roasted red capsicum and paprika (a product called Ajvar) and an arugula salad with lemon and shaved parmesan. We have had our share of delicious restaurant meals but our meals on board have all been first class and offer the special ambience that only dining on the water can do.
Another leisurely morning and we up anchored heading for Lastovo Island. Kat took the helm while John and Ros did anchor duty and prepared Trilogy and the skipper prepared the passage plan. We unfurled the headsail and managed 7.3 knots in a light breeze and reached the picturesque western aspect of Lastovo with a myriad of small islands and beautiful bays. The islands and islets are densely covered with trees and in 2006 this region was declared a 'natural park'. We nudged into the tiny bay where the township of Ubli sits, but it had no breeze and there seemed to be only modern holiday houses and low rise apartment buildings. We decided to continue without stopping for a lunch break and before long the seaward land had lost all trees and we observed cannon emplacements lining the cliff top, further remnants of the Yugoslav occupation.
We arrived in Skrivena Luka, a bay with a discreet narrow entrance of 6 metres depth and opening up to a depth of 15 metres, perfect for anchoring. We cooled off in the crystal clear water and all had a siesta. It was great to have a lazy afternoon but as the day cooled off the swimming, Yahtzee and exploring picked up pace.
Garth and Ros set off to check out the bay and also the two restaurants, to make the choice of an evening venue. Our information described the konobe on the east of the bay as no printed menu (and therefore price list ) and an owner who claims 'I am the menu'. A small flyer which advertised prices for this restaurant had been delivered to the boat but we were keen to check out the konobe on the other side of the bay with a flash new jetty. We knew we were in lobster land, as the marker buoys were prolific along the coastal waters. As it turns out, Konobe Porto Rosso was the best restaurant we have experienced yet out in the islands, with a comprehensive menu. We asked to inspect the lobsters and were taken to the end of the jetty to watch the large cage hauled up to reveal two different varieties and we opted for the smaller ones. It was only a quick glimpse as they were concerned for the lobsters out of the water in the heat. It was strongly advised we decide at that stage if we wanted lobster and how much....OK.... we'll have 2 kgs between the four of us!
When it came time to dine, John selected Dom Perignon 2002 Vintage to go with our char grilled lobster and the night was off to a very good start! Lamb Peka was available but we passed that up for beef with truffle sauce served with wild asparagus and baked potatoes followed by crepes with sour cherries and ice cream or citrus syllabub, served with a straw, both superb desserts. The red and white wine were excellent and we finished with a delicious dessert wine that was claimed to be the last bottle in Croatia along with a complimentary local cheese and fig platter. Our waitress Nina had looked after us very well and she joined us for a glass of the dessert wine, which was a nice touch. She is a journalist working in her summer holidays while visiting her mother on the island, who happens to be a music professor. Nina is heading to Buenos Aires in October and will be in Melbourne in January, to do a documentary on Australia's economic survival of the GFC. Croatians all seem to know someone in Australia and Nina's relatives from Lostova Island have settled in Geelong. Apparently there are Croatian government restrictions on returning to Croatia with foreign money, so very few migrants have returned to Croatia. However the manager of Porto Rosso is an Australian born daughter of Croatian parents and she has taken up life in Skrivena Luka a year ago to run the restaurant and what a great job she is doing!
Business as usual next morning with swimming, brekki, fresh bread purchasing and a cup of very good coffee at Porto Rosso, before departing this delightful bay.