Med 2009 - Croatia - First time

We left the Marina at Vieste and anchored under the cliff of the town on the southern side.  It was quite shallow and had good holding.  That evening it was calm with no swell, such a change from the day of our arrival when the wind was comming through quite strongly.  After a great meal and good nights sleep we were pulled up anchor at 0600 and set sail for the nearest Croatian island about 60 nm away.  There was not much wind so we had to motor sail most of the way to the island of Lastova.  The town of Ubli is situated in a small bay with just enough room for the ferry which was docked in from of the harbour master office.  Lastova UbliWe tied up at the customs and immigration dock.  The port police officer a lady who spoke very good english wanted to know where I was from and if the global finanacial crisis had hurt Australia.  She was very interested in OZ and its wide diversification of people. She observed that May and June the number of vessels checking in at her area of responsibility had dropped by more than 50% as compared to last year.
I walked round the bay to the Harbourmaster office.  A drap office but with a network connected computer.  He filled in the detail of my cruising permit on line using drop down menu options... the most sophisticated I have yet seen.  The speed at which he took the 1765 Kuna or 252 Euro or $450 Oz was swift.  He accepted cash but not credit card although there was a ATM right outside his office.  I then received the normal cruising permit for One year.  I'll use it again next year 2010.
We did not stay but motored south east to a lovely bay called Skrivena.  The same name as the Canberra water storage Bike with Harrydam.
We dropped anchor and started to open a bottle of wine for the normal sundowner when the ugly head of money grabbing Croatia appeared.  We had been warned that at every anchorage a boat will appear and attempt to take money from the "rich yatties".  On our first occasion I deceided that there people were in fact legitimate because they were park officials along with information, uniform and a well fitted out RIB.  The fee K20/person/night Not a lot but the start of what is the norm of Croatia.  The next day we took the bikes to the shore and set off up the winding road to the main town of Lastova.  We had been informed it was only 5 km away.  Well after about 4km up the road we reached the top of the hill but the town was no where to be seen.  We headed down the road at break neck speed only to reach the botten of the valley with a further hill to climb to reach the town pearched on top of a cliff overlooking the northern side of the island.  It is a one road town with a pub, tourest information centre and supermarket.  Bike DennyWe stocked on bread and set off down the valley and up the other side before reaching the summit and the long free wheel down to the bay in which Malua was anchored.  We were pleased for the exercise but not the heat and the long push to get us to the top of each mountain.  Lesson learnt was to check how far a local 5kn easy bike ride actually is!
After lunch we set off in a NW direction for the Island of Korcula.  Suppost to be the greenest island in Croatia.  The wind was from behind so we had a good sail towards the eastern end od the island, rounded the cape with a distinctive light house.  We deceided not to go to Kortula town or the recommended bay to the south east but to drop the anchor in Lumbardo bay, just north of a marina.  The following day we sailed NE to ??? bay with its Monestery on to the town of Korcula with its fort and walls.  It is said that Marco Polo was born here but the Venitians dispute this.  The marina looked crowded and not the place to stay so we moved east to the bay called Banja.  The holding was not good at all and after many attempts to get a good hold I deceided to try the fishemans or admaralty anchor.  It took first time. Luckely there was no wind so it was not tested when the boat swung.  We lowered the RIb with the bikes and went ashore to ride into the walled town of Korcula.  Small with narrow streets.  The supermarket was good so we stocked up on a few essentials before we set off northwards the following day.
We were heading to the island of Vis to see the Blue Grotto of Croatian fame.  One has to arrive in the morning between 9:00 and 11:00 to get the best effect and see it was some distance off we anchored for the night on the southern side at a place called Rukavac.  Again not good holding and a few boats around but in the end we got the anchor to hold.  Off the next morning in flat calm to the island Bisevo.  You dont need to know where the Blue Grotto is because the number of vessels heading in that direction will tell you.  There is a bay and you have to drop the hook in at least 25 m of water.  Luckely there was no wind and a number of people on there yachts to keep an eye on yours.  Into the RIB and rowing to the entrance to the cave.  Again the Croatians had their hand out for money.  This time 30k per person.   You pull your RIB through the low entrance and then you are inside a large cave with this wonderful blue light filtering up from the water.  When we entered there were only two other inflatables but we were disturbed by three local tourest boat that barged their way into the best place in the cave.  Luckely we had taken our photos and soon left the cave.
We sailed to the main town of Vis called Komiza and anchored out hoping we were far enough out not to be charged to anchor but no a yound lad with a shirt and a local badge came along side and charged us 70k for the night.  We went ashore and walked up the hill to the 13th century Benedictine monastery of St. Nicholas, so-called Muster. It has been built on through the ages but the latest Baroque style was added in 1652.  Work was underway pumping concrete into the foundations to stop it falling apart.  The marina/harbour was filling up as we returned to Malua.  We were pleased to be anchored out from the inevitable chaos of the charter boats going astern onto the dock.

As the sun set two small fishing boats started to put out a fishing net.  One at each end in an attempt to catch a shoal of fish.  After encirceling the fish they hauled the net in by hand, a very difficult task.  When the final purse was along side they pulled it abourd with about five buckets of small fish.  What an effort for such a small catch.  Nothing was thrown back because it was too small.  No wonder the Med has been fished out.
We set off to try and get as far north in one hop.  We called into see the sunmarine shelters built into the mountains.  There are a number of island scattered around this area however few have good anchorages especially if the wind is coming from the south as it was for us.  Great sailing but no anchorages.  We passed through the chanel between Klement and Maninkovac and did a turn of the Havar bay.  Very crowded and not a place to stop.  The wind was still in our favour so we set off to find a bay on the southern side of Brac.  As we came closser it became obvious that the wind was in the wrong direction so we turned to the east and passed through the ??? channel and into the bay with Milne at its head.  We had sailed 60nm that day and just needed a place to anchor which we found in a lovely isolated bay.

Here are some photos Croatia

We then set off for Venice.