This is a photo story of a cruiseembarked on 4 years ago. I meant to do it earlier, but somehow I did not find the time at first and then - forgot. Lately I have come across the blog of Mekićevica, about a Manta 19 sailboat, which inspired me to sail further (next summer) and to put down this story.
We planed a trip for the same summer with the same good old crew from an earlier cruise on a rented, bigger sailboat in Kornati, comprising: my sister Ana, her friend Anna and her husband Jordy from Barcelona. Since Tweety was docked on the island of Krk it seemed natural to plan a circumnavigation of it. In addition, we wanted to reach Rab (on the homonymous island) and be able to take part at the Fiera, held every year from 25 till 27 July. It is a historical reenactment and festival on the island of Rab in Croatia, during which the residents of its main town try to present the life of their ancestors in three days of costumed performances and demonstrations of traditional arts and crafts and local produce.
This is Tweety (named after the Yellow bird from the cartoon), a Manta 19 built in Austria in 1978. I bought it in the spring of 2013, to become its third owner in almost 40 years of its existence, but this sleek boat is still in great shape. I still keep it moored in the bay of Soline.
After buying it at the end of winter in 2013, I had to do some little maintenance work and fulfill a tremendous amount of bureaucracy and documentation, as well as taxes´ requirements. I wanted to describe that as well, in a separate document, since it was grotesque to say the least, but after all the hurdle was done and over I forgot about it, probably repressing it, as it had cost me a lot of nerves and frustration.
And so we did. We met in the morning on 22nd July. The packing (water, food, new chemical toilet, clothes...) lasted long, so when we finally left the mooring it was very hot. We motored to the entrance of the Soline bay and then opened the sails there. We tried to catch a little wind, only to realize that sailing in the north Adriatic in July requires a lot of patience. As soon as we opened the sails the wind would die. We had nothing left to do but to proceed by alternating sailing and motoring to Jadranovo to the east. Then we sailed under the Krk bridge. We passed over it thousands of times by car, but this was our first time under it so we considered that to be a major milestone. That was so exciting! After a few hours of sail-motoring we turn the north cape of the island and it was time for a break, a refreshing swim and a late lunch. We ate sardines from a can under the new sun shelter tent.
The tiny bay is not very protected but in summer time it is usually full of boats. The locals have even built some wooden and concrete quays to make it easier to reach their boats (avoiding entering the sea). We found an empty docking place on one. We hoped that nobody was going to send us away from there and in the meantime we could step from our boat ashore staying dry. We walked to Njivice to have a coffee and use the toilets. After sunset we came back to the boat and prepared dinner on the gas stove, pasta with tomato sauce. Delicious, accompanied with red wine.
After dinner we went to sleep. The Manta was almost overcrowded with the four of us, but we were very satisfied of our first day and pleasantly tired, so we slept well like babies.
We got up, swam, had breakfast. There was absolutely no wind, so we motored in front of Malinska bay where we had been swimming every summer during our childhood. We sailed by Porat and got to the “Šotovento part” of Krk. We stopped in Čavlena bay for another swim, lunch and a break. There are few boats but no real crowd at all. We proceeded in front of Glavotok with its church and monastery, surrounded with beautiful woods. We tried to sail in the afternoon but we had to go against the wind, so we advanced rather slowly. After a while we started the engine again. It worked without any problems. We checked the amount of fuel left. We decided it was not critical, but it would be wise to buy some. We knew there was a boat petrol station in the major cities: Krk, Lopar and Rab. When we came in front of the city of Krk it was pretty late. We decided that it would be a problem to find a nice place in the port, so we continued to a bay after Punat, in the hope to find a mooring spot in the wild. There is a nudist camping resort. We walked to its café´, dressed. Some people were dressed, most were not. After a nice relaxed beer drinking session, we returned to the boat and had dinner on the beach before going to sleep.
After the usual morning routine, of swimming in the clear blue sea and breakfast, we continued along the coast of the island Krk. Here is pretty naked and wild. The sea was absolutely flat and there was no wind at all. We gradually left the coast and pointed to the south, to the small island of Sveti Grgur. It is famous because it used to be a female prison during the communist regime in Jugoslavia. It is a very emotional experience to reach an island for the first time with a small sailboat and we all enjoyed in that feeling of excitement and adventure.
We entered into the bay and found a well protected small port, with several tiny boats moored on the quay. The sea was shallow at this point, so bigger boats could have not reached shore, but our Manta 19 with its lifting keel had no problems. We threw the anchor from stern and tied the bow to the quay. The other boats seemed to had stayed there for more days and the sailing crews to know each other. This island is not inhabited, but in summer there are visiting tours from the neighboring islands. Few hundred meters from the port, there are young deer, behind a fence surrounding a park and several demolished buildings of what appeared to be the rests of the infamous architectural complex. On a sign it is written that it is property of a hunter´s association. Our imagination brought us images of woman imprisoned because of different – anti-communist- regime - political opinions. The same buildings are nowadays populated only by big spiders. We found nets are all over our heads. We followed a narrow path which lead us to the next bay. It was more crowded since there was a restaurant, with tourists who arrived on 1-day –tours from the islands of Krk and Rab. We enjoyed a standard meal of fish and chips, nothing special. It would be nice to come back on the island, I really liked it, but then we could not stay longer, as we had to proceed in order to reach our destination on time for the big opening of the Fiera.
So after a rest we continued to the south-east in the direction of Lopar. We were short of fuel so we had to find a bigger harbour with a petrol station. We reached the island of Rab and entered the wide, but shallow Lopar bay in the afternoon. It is a bigger nautical centre, so it is full of boats. A ferry arrives here too. We found a place on the top of a quay and tied the boat sideways. We asked some local fisherman for approval, and they said it was ok. We went shopping in the supermarket, we bought food and water. And we refilled our canisters with gasoline. On our return we prepared and enjoyed a nice meal on the quay.
Later we went to sleep. But I could not fall asleep. I heard boats passing. The waves started to enter the bay from the west, and I continued to think how unprotected we were. The boat swung on each wave, it rubbed the fenders, and it squeaked. The swinging keel produced its unsettling noises too. I saw lighting. Far from us, to the west, but I could not stop worrying. I was happy when I saw the morning sunlight, even if I knew that the day ahead would have been a difficult one as I´d be tired.
We continued in the morning. We passed in front of the big and shallow bays of Supetarska Draga and Kampor. As we reached the Kalifront peninsula the traffic got thicker. Many powerboats and yachts passed along us, and disturbed us with their wakes. Kalifront is covered with a beautiful protected forest. There is also a site of the Faculty of forestry, and many hiking paths. There are also many beautiful bays. We chose one for lunch, a swim and a rest. I managed to take a nap. My sister got stung by a wasp, but we happily discovered that she is not allergic. Then we approached the city of Rab. The traffic was terrible at the entrance but we were so happy at the sight of our final destination with its marvelous city walls and four bell towers. In the bay, among hundreds of local and tourist boats there were a big cruiser and a beautiful 4 mast cruising sailboat. We found ourselves a mooring on one of the wooden quays supported by iron poles. There were many boats and people swimming around it. We asked if we could stay there, and a local man showed us a place where we could put our boat. Perfect, a free mooring in a place close to Rab! In the neighborhood there was a beach with showers that we were allowed to use, a restaurant (with real toilets!), shops, and everything we needed. We swam, refreshed ourselves with drinks and showers and rested for a while, and got ready for the Fiera. Its inauguration was scheduled for that very evening.
We walked to the center through the crowd. There were many stands with food, beverages, traditional items, artists, buskers...the locals were dressed in traditional costumes. The opening was marked by a cannon firing. The party in the streets and many bars was going to last till morning. We walked and had fun, but after a couple of hours we felt all the tiredness after such an eventful day so we went back to the boat to sleep.
The next day we were rested so we went back once again to the city to do more sightseeing , this time with daylight and less crowd. We walked through the center, the three parallel streets, we climbed the bell tower, we ate fish in a restaurant. It really is a beautiful town, and it would have deserved more of our time, but our holiday was short, our boat was relatively slow, so after having a planning session with all the crew, we calculated the time we would need to complete our journey, and sailed off to the open sea in the afternoon. We bought more fuel before, just in case, to be on the safe side. We had to return home, by circumnavigating the island of Krk, thus reaching the Soline bay from the other side.
Most of the afternoon we motored around Kalifront. We greeted with waving and smiles possibly every small boat similar to ours. We were pointing directly to Krk, in the hope to be able to reach it fairly quickly, but after we realized it was too far away, we decided to stay overnight on the cape in front of Lopar. It was not a very protected spot, but the weather forecast was predicting very stable conditions. We passed by a small church on the shore - it looked very romantic in the red sunset light. We found a nice beach in a small bay and threw the anchor from the bow. We swam and took the ingredients for the dinner ashore. While I walked on the beach with my feet in water, I almost stepped on an octopus. It escaped. I tried to follow it, but I did not manage. It shot its black ink and disappeared. Pity, it would have made an even better dinner! We prepared our meal and drank some wine. When we went back to the boat it was pitch dark, but we were not afraid.
We slept well. I felt a bit “kind of melancholic” because I was aware the trip was going to end very soon, sooner than we´d wished. We started before breakfast in order to avoid to be in the middle of the sea when the sun is at its peak, because it can really get unbearably hot. We ate while we sailed. In the morning there was no wind at all, so we had to motor. We made 4.5 KN. We pointed this time to Baška on Krk island so to leave the beautiful island Sveti Grgur on our right. We passed trough the narrow channel between Krk and Prvić, another uninhabited and interesting island. Further on the east we could admire the dramatic island of Goli (which means “naked”- since there are no trees, only rocks and stone), (on) which was the notorious, equally infamous prison for men during the communist regime. It would have been interesting to visit it too. When we turned around the east cape of Krk we saw the beautiful town of Baška with its long beach. We approached it and decided to moor at the big breakwater. There were some boats, but also some free buoys with mooring lines. We found a place for us, but were not sure if we could stay, so we decided to split into two groups. One went sightseeing, and the other two took a place in the shadow in front of a café´ with the view on our boat, so to be able to see if anyone would mind us being anchored there. Later we went to a restaurant to eat fish. We discovered that the waiter is or neighbor´s friend. We stayed in Baška until late afternoon talking, resting and swimming. Then we proceeded. We opened the sails but as usual when cruising, we had to ascertain again that the wind was coming from the wrong direction, so we just accepted that we were to advance slowly, again. Sunset caught us just in front of Mala Luka, a bay perfectly sheltered from all the winds. We entered and found several boats and a Robinson Crusoe-style restaurant.
Since we had had lunch in a restaurant, we decided to have dinner on the boat. We prepared a salad and accompanied it with wine under the stars. We were very happy but the melancholy from the morning came back, and we shared our thoughts: tomorrow we were to sail back home. We took advantage of the beautiful warm night for one of the last swims and the final group pictures.
We started early, and had breakfast on the fly again. The coast from Baška till cape Glavina is naked, without trees, because of the “bura”, a cold and very strong wind that blows here from NE. When it blows, better not be here. Fortunately, it was quiet. The coast was naked and dramatic, with high, vertical cliffs.
In fact, there was no shelter till cape Glavina, which we reached around noon. Around, there were several nice bays and we chose one just after the cape. We prepared the meal and swam. In the afternoon we pointed to the cape in front of Šilo, leaving the beautiful Vrbnik far on our left. When we got further from the coast, we noticed a pretty strong wind. It came from stern, so we could catch it. Finally there was some good wind also from the right direction, from NE. It was the dangerous bura, but this time its intensity was right, we got just as much as we needed. We got on with a speed constantly over 4 KN, with peaks to 5. We arrived in the early afternoon, before schedule. We were very tired but happy. It had been a great unforgettable adventure.