Our next destination was the island of Korčula, whose ancient walled city was home to some of my forebears. Though my father and my sister had visited Korčula, I'd never been, and I was really looking forward to it.
Before reaching Korčula, we first wove our way among the constellation of islets scattered off the eastern end of the island, each one a bright, white-and-green jewel surrounded by the clear, turquoise water of the Adriatic Sea.
Islets near Korcula
The waterways were busy with boats - Korčula has a busy charter base and is a popular cruising ground. It was midday, and we were looking for a good place to anchor, within easy dinghying distance to Korčula town. We checked the anchorage near the island of Badija (Otok Badija), with its large monastery and church. The water faded from turquoise to light green as it shoaled over brilliant white sand. I held my breath as Eric steered Awildian through a pass between two islets, where the chart indicated a depth of 8 feet, and the water was clear enough to see every stone and blade of sea grass on the bottom. If the bottom had shoaled since the chart was made, the water would be shallower...The depth quickly dropped from 20 feet, to 15, 11, 10, 9, 8...and then 9, 10, and back up again. I let out my breath. Ok, so the chart was still correct. Also, I'm not used to having a boat that draws only about 4 ½ feet.
Even though the Badija anchorage looked promising, we pushed on to check out a couple of other anchorages around the other side of Korčula town. Rounding the small peninsula on which the walled town stands, we marveled at the old gray stone buildings with their red roofs, all packed into a small area, with a sturdy, fortified wall around most of it. The anchorages on the west side of Korčula didn't appeal to us, so we turned around and headed back to Badija.
On our way, we passed close to the town, and I looked up at the portion of the town that didn't have the wall (which I later learned was called "the living room" by locals). Here, small restaurants lined the street, their outdoor seating areas shaded by fragrant aleppo pines. Scanning the signs, I saw a name I recognized: TEDESCHI.
"Hey," I hollered to Eric, "I see Pizzeria Tedeschi!" (More about this in the next blog post.)
Back at Badija, we dropped Awildian's anchor, joining two other boats who were already enjoying the picturesque anchorage. "The monks had all the best real estate," Eric quipped. He's not wrong.
Deer, priests, cicadas, but no nudists
I scanned the shoreline through my binoculars. "Were those deer?!" Yes they were. A small herd of fallow deer call the island home. It all began with two pairs brought there in 1958 and well, what do you expect to happen, when you put two couples on an island paradise? These days, the deer wander around, hanging out mostly near the quays where the tourist boats and water taxis dock, enjoying handouts from the visitors. Apparently the deer can't read, because they often stand right next to the "Please do not feed the deer" sign while they're enjoying their treats. My sister said that they especially liked the cherries she'd brought with her.
We took our dinghy to shore to do some exploring.
A pretty heart stone that I took home
A walk around the island's shoreline provided us with stunning vistas across the water,
Korcula in the distance
lots of cool shade courtesy of the pines,
and a deafening rendition of the cicada symphony. Along the way we discovered a sad-looking playground, and a dilapidated mini-golf course.
Actually it was beyond dilapidated, whatever that word would be.
This sign caught our attention:
FKK? We looked it up. FKK is the abbreviation for the German words "Frei Körper Kultur" which translates as "free body culture." In other words, nudists; in this particular case, a nude beach. Ah, apparently the island's priests didn't want nudists in their front yard. I get that.
A surprise visit from faraway friends
One day, a pretty blue X-boat came into the anchorage, heading toward Awildian. As it got closer, we could see that the people on board were waving at us. That was strange...we don't know anyone who's sailing in the Med. Or do we? When they got close, we were amazed to see that the boat's name was Zensation, and her crew was our friends, Cindy and Geert, whom we'd last seen in New Zealand in 2021. Since then, they'd sold the original Zensation, flown home to the Netherlands, and later bought the current Zensation in Italy. Now here they were, sailing in the same places as we were again! They did a fly-by and then anchored a short distance away.
Zensation and Greyhound
They dropped their anchor near a boat that looked very familiar: a sturdy metal boat with a silhouette of a greyhound on it...that had to be Greyhound, with our friends Marie and Dieter, whom we'd also last seen in New Zealand in 2021!
Oh my gosh! We six, who'd last spent time together on the other side of the world, had converged here, in the little anchorage at Badija! How cool was that?!
But how uncool was this: I'd just tested positive for Covid, so I couldn't hang out with them.
Undeterred, Eric and I put on face masks and dinghied over to Zensation, where Cindy, Geert, Marie, and Dieter had gathered. Floating in our dinghy nearby, we had a really nice chat with the four of them, catching up a bit, and finding out where they were heading next. The next morning, both boats swooped past Awildian so their crews could say, "see you later!" I'm sure we will.