Monday, 24 August 2009

More Ancient Cities and time for Maintenance ..... August 2009

19 - 23 August 2009

***The busy town anchorage at Hvar Town looking up to the Fort***And now the busy town anchorage looking down from the fort!!*** An evening at the Opera in Hvar***Time to do some sewing, attaching new slugs to the mainsail***

Having secured our parking spot in Hvar Town harbour we sat back and watched with amusement as the afternoons armada arrived. There really was just too much going on around us to go ashore so we just cracked the bar open, sat back and got ready to fend off the odd boat that really did get that close!!! Describing it as busy and overcrowded is totally inadequate, it was manic but by about 7.30pm there were only a couple more late runners on the horizon so we decided it was safe enough to leave Balvenie alone and head ashore for a look around. Every one of these old towns is different and all have been amazing, Hvar certainly was no exception. With one of the largest town squares in Croatia there is a huge arena overflowing with outdoor cafes and stalls selling anything from local artwork to the dried lavender the island is famous for. It is a beautiful place with a horseshoe shaped harbour, tiny local fishing craft crammed into one side and some seriously large super yachts fender to fender on the other, the display of wealth is overwhelming.

We returned to Balvenie just before a light evening breeze off the land filled in. It was time for some of the charter boats to go walkabout again, luckily for all concerned there were no unmanned boats involved. Boats were re anchoring and dragging again, lifting other boats anchors and getting in a tangle, all in no more than 12knots of wind - much entertainment. Once everyone was settled, and when the super yacht tenders stopped ferrying the rich and famous backwards and forwards the anchorage calmed down and we managed a good sleep. Next morning most of the boats had left by 9am, leaving just a handful so we decided it was safe enough to leave Balvenie without fear of someone pulling her anchor out while we weren't onboard. We went ashore and picked our way up through the maze of tiny streets to the Fortress Spanjol perched high above the town with a stunning vista out over the surrounding islands and the sparkling seas of the Adriatic. The present day structure was built to defend the town from Turkish invasion, since then the Austrians and the Venetians have had turns occupying it, along with several others. It was worth the 20kuna entry fee to stroll around and enjoy the vista. Back down in the town square while enjoying a coffee and people watching we noticed a sign for an "Evening of Opera" that evening at 9pm in the Franciscan Citadel, we checked the weather forecast and things looked calm and settled so we decided to chance it and stay another night.

By 7pm it was full on chaos again, by 8pm more boats were dragging - mmmmm only 10 knots this time, we are not sure if some of the charterers know that the anchor needs to not only touch the bottom but that you then should put more chain out, make sure it is dug in, then more chain, then just to be sure put some more out!!! Oh well, more details will come in my special "Anchoring Antics" blog to be done at some stage. By 8.30pm everyone was settled and it looked safe enough to leave, so we did the med thing and put all our fenders out and went ashore - if you can't beat them - join them.

The opera was fabulous, we are not opera buffs but appreciate most live music especially seated in an enclosed stone courtyard setting, vines clawing down the weathered stone walls, just perfect. There was1 Croatian, 2 Slovenians and 1 Canadian performer, they were all excellent and for 50kuna each it was an excellent evening out. We always love to go ashore at night, especially into these old towns, but it is not always practical or safe especially if it is a long dinghy ride back so it is always a treat when we do. We have been lucky with some of the harbours here as they are fairly enclosed and we can anchor reasonably close to shore. As with Split Harbour we expected to have to pay to anchor here but on both evenings we were on the boat until dark and we were not charged - no complaints from us, we are just baffled at how it all works!!

Time to find some peace, quiet and flat water. We sailed south and of course the wind was from the south - always on the nose. Still it was light, the seas flattened once we got away from the powerboats wash and we sailed slowly all day to the southwest corner of Korcula and anchored for 2 nights in the beautiful quiet bay of Tri Luce, amazingly with only 2 other boats, ah peace at last. We were behind on our maintenance so took the day catching up. The mainsail came down and I sat and replaced 3 slugs that had been broken for a couple of weeks, never an easy job getting the main off, repaired and back on again but we managed to get it all done before too much wind came up. Skipper was servicing the outboard engine, it has been chugging away sounding somewhat unhealthy for a while and we blamed it on our 14 month old Egyptian fuel, but we had recently drained it and put new fuel in which it liked even less, so apart it all came, all cleaned out and after a few attempts now runs like a new one and goes faster!!! Next on the list was an oil change but on further investigation Mark checked the log and we have only motored 130 hours so far this season so that has been put back on the 'to do' list for a later date. Only one more job to do, the foot control button for raising the anchor on the electric windlass had been playing up, jamming on then not working at all so all apart it came, everything cleaned up, wires sanded and put back together again, hopefully it will behave itself for the rest of the season. Jobs completed - rest of the day at leisure!

We loved this anchorage, after all the busy ones it felt so remote and peaceful, we didn't even go ashore but there looked to be just a few houses and nothing much else. We kept moving on though as we wanted to meet up again with friends before we all parted ways to head for our winter homes. We had a very gentle sail in light winds along the southern coast of Korcula to the little harbour town of Brna. We anchored in the bay and went ashore for a walk around the very small town, topped up on a few supplies and had a sundowner, not much else to do there. Just on dark the dreaded 'anchor charges collector' paid us a visit wanting 10 kuna a metre to park. We just refused, yet again, and after about 20 minutes he gave up on us in disgust. I expect we are getting a reputation as being tight-fisted, quite frankly I don't mind, we were the only boat in there, it was a nondescript town with no redeeming features, no ATM, 1 average restaurant, an expensive supermarket and the anchorage wasn't great. We left early the next morning before we were run out of town, best really, and had a great sail in about 15 knots on the beam for a change around to Korcula Town.

Cruising Info for Hvar Town on Hvar, Tri Luce and Brne on Korcula - Croatia:
Anchorages -
Hvar Town - Hvar ... 43 10.153N 16 26.312E 18m Very very busy at night. Must anchor to port as looking ashore as ferrys come in on starboard (shame as much shallower over there)
Tri Luce - Korcula ... 42 55.505N 16 40.036E 11m sand with weed patches but could see anchor on bottom.
Brna - Korcula ... 42 54.251N 16 51.533E 15m sand and weed. PAY ANCHORAGE. Fjord like anchorage just behind Brna looked ok, would need to stern tie, supposed to be free
Internet - No signals at any onboard. Found a Internet cafe ashore in Hvar (just off main square - well signposted), free access for 20 minutes with coffee - use their laptops or take your own
Money - ATM machine in Hvar
Provisions - All shops and good supermarket in Hvar town, small supermarket in Brna (no meat or bread and vegetables looked dead)

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