Sans Souci is now anchored in front of the town of Hvar!
|A map of the Croatian portion of our trip, thus far.
To reach Hvar, we stopped a few times along the way, and those visits should not be forgotten, starting with Polace, on the island of Mljet.
Mljet is a long skinny island (20 miles long, 1.5 miles tall) running roughly east to west. We had anchored in a bay at the eastern tip of the island, and now wanted to check out the western tip of the island.
The west end of Mljet is a national park, with a large inland sea. We had a smooth run along the north coast of Mljet to reach our next anchorage, in front of a town called “Polace.”
|The town of Polace, within the national park, on the island of Mljet
|We found a very calm, and well-protected, anchorage in front of town. To reach it, we did some cruising through a beautiful, but narrow, passage.
|There are mini-buses to explore the park, but we’re never sure if dogs are permitted on the public transportation, so we elected to rent a car. The car rental company was fairly busy so we only had a few cars to pick from, none of which had air conditioning. Although this particular car had a “dog” look to it, we decided to pass and rented a different one.
|The national park has a huge inland sea. At first we thought it was a fresh water lake
|One of the popular tourist attractions is a monastery that is on an island. To reach it we had to park the car 1/2 mile away, then take a little shuttle boat to the island. The boat had a “no dogs” symbol, but as you can see, our dogs aren’t very intimidating, and sometimes we get lucky.
|Mljet National Park. Island Monastery. We hiked around the whole island and were on the next shuttle boat back, spending perhaps an hour on the island.
|The afternoon was spent swimming and having fun. Here you see Steven, on Seabird, proving that he too could walk on water.
|An alternate anchorage in Mljet National Park, at Pomena. We checked it out, were quite impressed, and had a nice lunch on the beach, before returning our rental car, having put a whopping 6 miles on it.
|Our next stop would be to the island of Korcula. Roberta did a lot of the early pre-planning for our trip, and had deliberately bypassed Korcula due to there being a lack of great anchorages. There is a good close-in anchorage, but it is too small for both of our boats to fit. There was another anchorage, that had been recommended, called Lombardo, but it was three miles out of town, and would mean long tender rides. Closer in there is an anchorage off an island called “Badija” which we decided to try. It would be more exposed than we liked, but the weather forecast was for light winds.
|We anchored in front of an island with this Franciscan Monastery. Interestingly, it had once been converted to a high school, but had been recently given back to the church. It was undergoing a remodel while we were there.
|Our anchorage at Badija island was miserable. Winds funneled through the channel, and whereas the winds were 10 knots elsewhere we had a steady 20 to 25 knots. A couple of incidents during the day added to our sense of discomfort. Here you see a catamaran that tipped over while running past where we were anchored. They barely recovered before nearly smacking into another anchored boat. Then, a 100′ boat, anchored behind us, broke anchor. The crew scrambled and averted disaster only moments before they would have hit the rocks. We held fine, but when the time came to go, we were all happy to be leaving.
|The walled city of Korcula
|According to a tour guide, Marco Polo was born in this house. I think it was this house. She pointed this general direction, so apologies if I have it wrong.
|Various scenes around Korcula
Our anchorage at Korcula was windy and exposed. Thus after a day spent touring, it was time to move on.
Studying the charts we noticed an anchorage, only about ten miles away, that looked interesting. It was called “Loviste” and was on the tip of a long peninsula, connected to the mainland, that I had first thought was an island.
Loviste demonstrates how getting off the beaten path can be a good thing. Korcula and Hvar are both major tourist destinations, whereas Loviste hardly appears in the travel guides. We selected it primarily because the winds were making us crazy at Korcula, and we wanted a good night of sleep. Loviste promised calm weather, thanks to a well-protected anchorage.
For a 3d look at our anchorage, click this link:
As soon as we entered the bay we knew we had arrived somewhere great. On our right were a series of restaurants lining the shore, and to our left were twenty or so boats at anchor. The depths were perfect for anchoring (40 to 50 feet), and there was enough room for both us and Seabird to swing freely around our anchors. Even better, the water temperature was WARM at 78 Fahrenheit (26c) which meant there would be swimming.
|Surprisingly, for a small bay, with a village lining much of the shore, most of the people on boats had forgotten to bring swimsuits. In the afternoon a small cruise ship arrived with 50+ similarly un-attired sun worshippers.
Roberta and I were too lazy to go to shore, and spent the day hanging out at the boat and swimming. Seabird was a bit more adventurous, and went into town for dinner, where they reported back that the food was excellent (as it also was that night aboard Sans Souci!)
|Seabird, at anchor in Loviste bay. I thought the picture looked more interesting in Black/White. Roberta disagrees, but that’s why they call it “Ken’s Blog!”
Overall, a highly recommended location for future cruisers, and we were sorry to leave it.
|The Pakleni Islands, near Hvar
I was eager to get to the Pakleni Islands. These are a series of islands, just across a narrow channel from the city of Hvar. They look incredible in pictures, with a large number of bays, facing both north and south, for anchoring.
Seabird and Sans Souci have traveled together for two months now, with the two boats never out of sight of each other. However, this was an unusual destination where I suspected that our interests would not align. Seabird has a guest onboard, and it would not be fair to stick the guest, whose time in the islands is limited, to several days sitting in an anchorage with little to do. Whereas Roberta and I could think of nothing except finding a calm anchorage and doing nothing for days, we thought Seabird, and their guest, might want to be closer to town. I thought it would make the most sense for Sans Souci and Seabird to anchor independently from each other. My thought was that everyone would be happiest if we headed to the islands, and them to town. But, how to broach the subject?
Perhaps explaining why Seabird and Sans Souci have been able to cruise together through so many thousands of miles, so successfully, is that we are very sensitive to each other’s desires. I suspected that if I told Steven that we wanted to anchor in the islands, rather than near town, he would alter his plans to accommodate us. To be honest, this was a rare time when I can’t say the same about me. There was no way I was going to anchor with hundreds of boats, close to a city, with ferries, jet skis and tourist boats (usually booze cruises) zooming past me all day. I wanted a blue water anchorage in the islands. I met with Steven to talk about where we’d go after Loviste, and both sides danced around their preferences. If you’ve ever been to Seattle and watched two Seattle-drivers arrive at an intersection simultaneously, you understand our dilemma. I left the conversation believing that Steven understood we were heading for the islands, and he would be anchoring in front of the town. We’d only be a few miles away, and he could join us in the islands after burning out on the “in town” experience.
As we ran the 30 miles from Loviste to Hvar, we were blasted by wind; 30 knots on our starboard beam (right side.) There was an island to our right, so there was not much fetch (meaning the island was stopping big waves from forming.) We had two-foot seas, with lots of wind, but overall, it was a fairly calm passage.
We did have one semi-exciting event during the run…
Five miles into our passage I noticed that the tender wasn’t pulling correctly. It somehow had gotten itself cockeyed. I needed to get into the tender, straighten the motor, and get back onto Sans Souci. Roberta and I knew that once we stopped the boat we’d be rolling sharply. Reeling in the tender, which was 100 feet behind the boat, getting me into it, and resuming our passage, could potentially be dangerous. To our surprise, it went absolutely smoothly. Roberta pointed Sans Souci into the wind and stopped the boat, while I did all the tender work. We were underway again in five minutes. I love the new headsets we bought. We were talking to each other throughout the operation.
There was very little radio communication between the boats during the trip. I wasn’t sure if we were really going to be splitting the two boats or not. Finally, about three miles from Hvar, I started veering towards the islands, and Steven came on the radio to ask if we were headed to the islands. I confirmed it, and wished him well finding a place outside the city walls of Hvar. It felt very strange to talk about breaking up the team, even if only for a day or two.
|Carpe Diem Restaurant. We tried to anchor in front, but the bay was too small, and the bottom too deep.
The Pakleni islands run east to west, with numerous bays to tuck into. We chose the south side of the islands, to be shielded from the prevailing north winds. I picked a bay, called Stripanska, because of a restaurant there which I saw described as a “Nikki-beach type experience.” I confess to liking the Ibiza-ish restaurants with their chill-music and funky-chic ambiance. The bay was extremely tight, and on the chart it looked like there would be only one corner where we could anchor a boat our size. There was a sailboat sitting in that spot. Darn. The rest of the bay was too deep for anchoring. I look for a minimum of four times the anchor chain deployed to the depth of the water. In this case, most of the water was 100 feet deep, and I only carry 400 feet of chain. Thus, I could theoretically anchor, but the bay was only about 700 feet across. If I had dropped all 400 feet of chain, I could conceivably swing into land. We turned around to leave the bay, when the sailboat occupying the position we wanted started departing. We waited, positioned where he had been, and discovered that the depth, which showed on the chart as 59 feet, was instead 80 feet. Double-darn. I could probably drop anchor and be fine, but we keep getting surprised by winds not in the forecast. There was no way I wanted to cut anything close. It was just too tight.
|Although we were not able to anchor in front of Carpe Diem, we did take the tender over later and had a nice leisurely lunch. While there we saw a poster for the nightly entertainment. The action starts each night at 1:15am. My guess is that we dodged a bullet by not being able to anchor in front. Sleep would have been impossible!
As we sadly turned around to exit the cove, I noticed Seabird blasting past the entrance to the cove. “Seabird, what happened to anchoring in front of town?” I asked. “You wouldn’t have liked it Ken. It was incredibly tight, and there was no room anywhere unless you wanted to anchor in 100 feet of water.” Our boats had just reunited!
We searched from bay to bay, in a quest for a place to drop our anchors, surrounded by a host of sailboats who were making the search miserable. Sailboats, while sailing, have the right of way. This means that if our power boat is crossing their paths, they don’t need to alter course. Altering course is our responsibility, not theirs. We also had to dodge a series of little tenders and speed boats, who were ziz-zagging in all directions, with no hesitation to cut in front of us, confident in their ability to maneuver away from us at the last moment.
Each bay had the same problem. Reasonable anchoring depths extending out about 100 feet from shore, then 100+ foot depths in the middle. We really wanted a 50-60 foot depth to anchor in. We are in high season now, so basically, everything we saw fit into one of two categories: 1) Too deep, or 2) Taken. We poked our nose into one bay, called Vinogradarce, which seemed to have the right depths for anchoring, but it looked like a boat-parking-lot! Short of squeezing butter down both sides of our boat, I didn’t see how we could possibly squeeze in. We were discovering the “joys” of high-season cruising in a popular destination. Finally, Seabird found a bay and dropped anchor in 72 feet of water, but was so surrounded by boats that they could only put out 250 feet of chain, making the ratio a little tight. I anchored behind them, in 80 feet of water, but had plenty of room to put out all the chain I wanted, and put out 380 feet of chain.
|Seabird and Sans Souci, anchored at Uvala Tarsce, in the Pakleni Islands, near Hvar
As soon as I dropped the anchor, I looked up at the temperature gauge: 73 degrees! It would be cold for swimming. At least for me. And, unfortunately, because of the long search for a bay, we were now over four miles from Hvar; a tenderable distance, but farther than I really like to be away from the boat.
|Uvala Vinogradesce, in the Pakleni Islands. A very busy anchorage, with several restaurants, a swimming beach. It was too tight for us, but I could happily spend a lot of time there. There were boats lined up along both sides of the bay, stern-tied to shore. Roberta and I have gotten good at stern tying Sans Souci, but we have a debate going over whether in high winds we are safer swinging freely at anchor, or tied to shore. In any event, I wouldn’t want to be tied to shore with boats on both sides of me. It would be too claustrophobic, and there would be no privacy.
|Roberta and I tendered over to Vinodarsce (the packed anchorage) for dinner at a wonderful restaurant called Zori. You can see how crowded the anchorage is in the background. The doggies enjoyed dinner!
|A few scenes from our touring of Hvar.
|Ken’s most popular book, in a major new release!
It is incredible for me to believe that it has now been ten years since Roberta and I crossed the Atlantic as part of Nordhavn’s Atlantic Rally. My book about it has continued to sell, and is a personal favorite.
The book is special, because it was written at a time when Roberta and I had a lot of experience with boating, but none with running offshore. My own naivety gives a rare chance for others, who are considering what long-range cruising might be like, to experience it through my eyes. I was as green as they come, and this makes for an entertaining, and educational, read. It’s also a behind the scenes look at the people who build Nordhavn boats.
This release of the book is very different than the original version, and has an unusual story behind it. The idea for the re-release was not mine. I was contacted by Michael Jones, a senior Google Exec, and boating enthusiast, who is a fan of the book. My original release of the book was sloppily done, and released with obsolete links, misspellings, grammatical errors, an ugly font, and worst of all — the pictures were all black and white, and of poor quality. Michael offered to do all the work to bring the book up to modern standards, seeing the book as a good way to excite boaters about long-distance cruising. Nordhavn’s senior management also jumped onto the bandwagon and added some great content. I also contributed by adding a section talking about the years since the rally, and what has become of those people who I’ve kept up with, and used the great Nordhavn Dreamers mailing list to reach out to people with whom I’ve lost contact.
Overall, even if you read the original, this new release is a real collector’s edition. I don’t normally plug my own books, or anyone’s books, but in this case I’ll make an exception.
I set up a discount with the publisher which will allow readers of my blog to order the book for $20 off the regular price. At this price I don’t make a dime, but the books and the blog have never been about money.
Anyway, if you want a copy, click this link:
Once you to the checkout enter this code: JR7H9ZDR where it says, [Apply Discount] and the price will magically get cheaper.
And… if you’d like to tell friends about the book: It can be bought at Amazon, with this link:
http://amzn.com/1484890604 ->Hint: Actually, that said, if they are a friend, give them the link to the site where they can get the discount. Cheaper is better!
That’s it for this edition of the blog.
As always, thank you!
Ken and Roberta Williams
Nordhavn 68, Sans Souci
With daily updates (or, as often as I can) at: http://www.facebook.com/kensblogdotcom