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Day 10 - Wednesday - Day 4 of sailing - Destination Mljet

After our usual great breakfast by Simon, we departed Korčula for another day of sailing.  Hoping to find higher winds.  For a while, there was not much wind and so we jibed out way downwind.  Later in the day, I took the wheel.  It was fairly uneventful until the wind started gusting and changing directions on a whim.  In one instance it caught me off guard and came from around 11 o'clock, and so I was steering to close to the wind.  Not being experienced enough to quickly decide the best course of action (ie I was turning the wheel gently when I should have yanked it hard over to correct), Simon was nearby and jumped on the helm and righted the ship.  So we experienced a lurch to port side with the ship hard over on a good angle.  Worst case would have been I let go of the helm and the boat would have headed into the wind, slowed to a halt and the sails would have fluttered.

Later in the day, while Wayne slept on the starboard side on his starboard side tanning his port ear, me still at the helm, the same situation arose yet again and again, twice.  And in both cases this time knowing how to handle it, no one even knew or felt that it had happened.  I had a great time and learned a fair amount.  I could feel the rudder through the wheel and with the wind direction indicator atop the mast, I steered us (masterfully one might say) in a meandering fashion towards our destination - Polace.  While on route we could see the Elafati Otoc (Elephant Islands).

Once in Polace, we moored at a restaurant, which meant we had to eat there.  These little coves that had moorings and facilities (sometimes including power, water, etc) provided the service for free if you had dinner at their place.  So you usually got someone's home cooking.  There was always fresh seafood, Lisa does not eat seafood, fresh salad (either tomato, cabbage, greens, cucumber, or a combination of all), and all the meat of various sorts you want.  Of course and vino and pivo.  Way too much!

Anyway, after docking, we wet out to visit the Mljet National Park.  After paying the usual fee in Kunas which covered a bus up the hill and ferry across the inland salt water lake to the island of Sv Marija where there was an ancient Monastery.  After walking around the small island, we jumped in the lake for a swim.  Really nice.  So salty that one almost floats out of the water.  We were told to look for the big clams, 3 or more feet in diameter, we found them in 6-12 inches in diameter.  We were in the wrong lake.  There were to lakes.  No biggie.

On the way back, after getting off the 3 stop ferry at the wrong stop and then jumping back on, we got off where we started out.  Lisa and I decided to walk back (since we took the bus up).  We could have hired bikes earlier rather than take the bus, but we had too much gear to carry (cameras, fins, masks and snorkels and swim suits and towels).

We met a young British couple vacationing touring the islands while on the ferry ride back, jumped off with them incorrectly as I mentioned, got back on, but they didn't.  They were exploring...  While on our walk down the hill, we met them - blimey - we took the wrong road, we are heading for other ferry stop.  So we turned around and the four of us walked back up the hill.  Wayne and Linda were still waiting for the van that seats 7 with 12 others.  So we now took the correct road and walked and talked with this very nice couple -  Chris and Keltie.  Once at the bottom, we exchanged email and said our goodbyes. 

The evening ended with drinks and dinner and more drinks and sleep.







Day 11 - Thursday - Day 5 of sailing - Down to Šipan and back to Mljet

A gorgeous day!  Sunny skies, calm seas, and wind for sailing.  We sailed to Šipan on the island of same name for lunch.  On the way down, we finally did some jibing.  Sailed past the elephant islands, down near the end of Mljet on our right to a nice little cove on our left.  After lunch, I had an unexpected yet long awaited and needed nap.  I awoke to the roar of the engines.  A nap while there may have been some boats colliding or near colliding I am told, but I missed it all.

Let me now describe to you a typical leg of a journey.  As we start out on engine power, we untie the boat, I release the mooring lines, untie the 4 fenders on each side of boat and move them to the rear to be retied while under sail.  Then the skipper asks for the raising of the main sail.  To the mast I go, to lower the sail bag, raise the main by pulling on the sheet (Wayne and I) until it is too hard to pull manually.  I then secure the line on the winch, grab the winch crank and crank it the rest of the way.  Quite the aerobic activity.  Then I raise the bag.  Back to the cock pit.

Then the skipper asks for the Genoa sail.  So I release the furling sheet, put a few wraps on the winch of the Genoa sheet on the side the non win-ward side of the boat.  Sailors, please forgive my descriptions which I am sure are not technically labelled or described.  This is a layman's description for other layman to get a feel for what goes on.  Then I pull in on the sheet while Wayne ensures the Furling Line is free to let out.  Then of course the sheet is too hard to pull by hand so into the winch to be cranked and secured.  We are off.  Sometimes, we adjust the main traveller - loosen a sheet on one side, pull in the slack on the sheet on the other side so that the main in effect is no longer parallel to the boat but off to one side.  Sometimes we even adjust the kicking strap.  We also sometimes pull back or allow forward the Genoa cars, in effect altering the shape and how the Genoa flies.  Later, the wind may disappear, requiring the engines.   Bring in the Genoa.  Wayne pulls on the Furling Line pulling in (rolling up the Genoa) while I keep tension on the sheet.  Then we wait for wind.  And when it comes, hoist the Genoa and we go again. 

Now we were off to Mljet again, the southern tip this time, backtracking a bit to a small place called Okuklje (Oh-ku-klyeah).  The wind was in front of us now making for faster times and forcing us to tack since you cannot sail straight into the wind.  One must zig-zag their way upwind (tacking).  Now assume the Genoa is up and we need to tack, usually a direction change of 100 degrees.  What has to happen.  Skipper yells ready to tack, crew acknowledges they are ready, skipper says "tacking", and turns the boat 100 degrees.  When the boat comes dead into the wind he yells "Leo", the secure Genoa sheet is released, and the other sheet on the other side of the boat is now pulled in and ratcheted and secured.   Now the Genoa is on the other side of the boat, the high side, while the people in the cockpit are now down near water level as the boat is on a pretty good pitch.  Meanwhile, the main has also travelled to the other side, boom bang and all, and so the traveller needs adjusting.  You can usually tack  between 7 and 11 or 5 and 1 when going upwind.  And as you can see, either direction take you off course resulting in a continuous progression of tacks back and forth until you reach your destination.

Luckily today, we had winds from the north, and seas up to 3 feet, perfect sailing conditions and we tacked several times on the way.  Then I took the helm for the rest of the way and the skipper did the sheets while tacking.  It was great today for me after getting the experience yesterday.  The boat was cutting thru the water, tilted as it should be, we got it up to 8.7 knots.

As you approach the cove, we pull in the Genoa, the the skipper points the boat into the wind allowing for the lowering of the main.  First we raise the main bag (this allows the main to drop in keeping it secure, safe, neat and tidy), then we release the cleat that holds the main sheet, the sail drops, we tidy it into the bag, raise the bag, secure the sheet, close the cleat, tidy the remaining sheet.  Then fenders from rear back to their locations on each side.  If we are anchoring, Lisa takes charge of dropping the anchor (whatever number of feet the skipper asks for) (usually thrice the dept).  In this case we were docking at a mooring.  Young could see several places to moor, each owner out waving and holding the mooring line hoping we would pick his place.  As the skipper back in, Wayne and Lisa hold the lines to throw off the back, I grab the hook so that I can reach the mooring line being offered.  It goes from shore then out into the water in front of the boat where it is anchored.  I grab the line with the hook, pull it up, drop the hook and walk the line to the front of the ship and cleat it after pulling tight so that the boat is now secure from the front and the rear.  Since there was no one else at this location, we put a second mooring line (nice luxury) to better secure and stabilize the ship.

We did a little walk around the cove, took some pics, skipper dove off the front of the boat for a swim.  When we returned, I went for a swim myself.  Very nice.  Clear water.  Sometimes the water is royal blue (when out in the deep), sometimes it is turquoise green (in and around some of the bays).  Dinner and off to bed.


Day 12 - Friday - Day 6 of sailing - Destination Dubrovnik, and last sleep on board Lazy Penelope

We awoke to yet another great breakfast a al Simon, which always included fresh bread, jams, marmalades, cereal, fruit, milk, coffee, juice.  My favs the rose hip jam and the peaches.  We then set off got Lopud, a very nice town on a very nice island.  The winds were silent.  Seems we've had great winds over night (to help rock us to sleep), only to subside for the following day.  Come to think of it, we did have a few very rocky windy nights.  But what a way to sleep, being rocked like a baby, even if on occasion given a few really good shakes or jolts.

At Lopud, we anchored and tendered in for a hour wander while Simon went to work on procuring fresh vegetables and bread and other stuff for lunch.   As always, there were narrow winding roads, oceanfront, churches and hills to explore.

Back on the boat, we had another typical Simon lunch, which always included fresh bread, choice of salad, always from local produce, various meats (again local).  And other, who can remember, menu items.  Simon's meals were always look forward to and enjoyed by all.  The tomatoes here, Bill, you would enjoy, just like my dad's.  Oh are they good.  Worth the trip over just to eat them for a couple of weeks.

Then we pulled anchor and were off for our final destination, Dubrovnik.  When arriving, we saw a cruise ship, and the now landmark bridge.  We went under the bridge and up the river to the ACI Marina.  Our adventure now over. 

Day 13 - Saturday - Dubrovnik

After breakfast on the boat, sad good byes, and good wishes, our cab driver Ivan drove us to the Ploče gate of the old city where we waited a few minutes for Nevena who met us to escort us to our apartment.  After settling in the apartment, which is a ladder climb from the "wall", how cool is that, we left out some laundry for Nevena to do, she is very sweet.  Then off exploring.   

Just down the street (a few meters) is a tunnel thru the wall to the city beach.  Here, beach means the ocean with a pool ladder coming out of the ocean.  A quick walk around town, with Lisa calling me Karsh and Wayne Karsh Jr. whenever we strayed or lagged to far behind.  We found the market where fresh produce and fruit, nuts etc were sold.  We bought fruit and a tomato and nuts for nibblies later when the need would arrive.   Wayne and I were tasked with returning the food back to home base.

On our return, lunch time it was.  My belt was now showing a few pounds have been added to my shoulders since I arrived.  Scary since the 7 course meals of France still await.  Anyway, whatever, spicy pizza for lunch.   Then the girls wanted pokey time so Wayne and I went to the island of Lokrum via ferry for photos of the city from the ferry and various points on the island.  Pretty island, e walked along the shore to a beach, took photos, then up the big hill (yes hills are everywhere here), to a fortress type thing for more pictures.  From the island we could see several cruise ships.  There was more to see on the island but we agreed to meet the girls for the walk around the wall around čheteri sati. 

So we met and climbed the stairs to the wall.  This is the reason for coming here, to Dubrovnik, to Croatia, to Europe.  This is something one needs to see in their lifetime - spectacular - we have never seen anything like it.  The wall took about 2 hours to traverse (Karsh speed), all around the town.  The vistas indescribable, the pictures will not do them justice.  We even walked past our apartment (which we could see from above).  Took many photos. 

Later that night, it got very windy.  Most of the eating in Dubrovnik takes place outdoors.  So when it gets cold, indoor eating spaces become hard to secure.  After not being able to find a restaurant that had indoor seating and would satisfy all four of us, we split up.  Lisa and I went to The Renaissance, that we had walked by earlier and kind of fancied.  We had to wait for 15 minutes for an indoor table, so we broke open a bottle of wine at sat outdoors listening to the lovely live classical music performance.   The wine we had, Lisa had read about while researching Croatia, so we were looking forward to trying it.  Again it was a local wine, this one from Korčula.  It was very nice.  But as the waiter said, a bit heavy (14% plus alcohol) and that you can only drink one bottle.  Well we almost finished it, and we had a buzz on, me more than Lisa since usually I have to drive, this time, nope.  We both had steak, hers in truffle sauce, mine in a peppercorn sauce.  They were superb. 

When we returned home, we got a text message from home letting us know that Emma was allowed to go to sleep at 1:45pm Halifax time.  She was a part of our family, we loved her, she was a very very good cat.  She is now with Pip.




Go to Day 14  


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HOME  |  01 - Split  |  06 - Split/Sail  |  10 - Sail... Mljet |  14 - Dubrovnik cont'd  |  18 - France   | 21 - Cycling   |  25 - Cycling cont'd   |  29 - Villa cont'd   |  32 - The Rest