Friday, 28 August 2009

Busy Korcula then returning to Nature - Croatia ..... August 2009

24 - 27 August 2009

***Entry into Korcula walled town***Korcula from the sea***The anchorage at the Monastery on Badija***

We arrived mid afternoon in the anchorage just outside the wonderful walled town of Korcula. We had had a great sail in around 10 knots just aft of the beam along the bottom of Korcula island, then turned and went up the east coast a couple of miles harder on the wind before dropping sails and turning west for the last 1/2 mile into the channel between Korcula Island and mainland Croatia. What a difference on this side, the wind was whipping through around 25 knots, the kitesurfers were out in force having an amazing time in the brisk breeze and flat water. We decided to anchor in the town anchorage even though it is a pay one as we wanted to enjoy Korcula by day and night and be close enough to enable this. It's another small anchorage and like all the other town anchorages so far it ended up way too full. The one redeeming fact this time however was that everyone was anchoring in over 20knots so at least their anchors were setting by default!

We went ashore around 5.30pm, stopping enroute to meet Doug and Shanna off American yacht Hob Nob we had heard them on our morning radio net a few times so always great to finally put faces to the voices and say hi. While we were talking with them they spotted the dreaded 'anchor charges collector' doing his rounds, so we did the obvious and all skedaddled ashore to avoid paying, shame on us. Korcula is yet another outstanding example of a well preserved walled town, it's just tiny - set on a compact peninsular with only a handful of alleys running at right angles to each other so they can't have been too worried about the pirates gaining access, and it certainly did appear very well fortified. We settled down at a waterfront cafe and enjoyed a sundowner, reaching a new high for a small beer and a sprite at 40kuna, about 6Euro, oh well rather spend it on this than paying to anchor! Then we people watched a little longer, explored the streets again after dark, stopped for an excellent pizza and just lapped up the atmosphere oozing from this lovely town, priceless.

After a settled night the anchorage emptied out early so we decided to go ashore once again, have coffee and get a few provisions. We spotted Hob Nob whilst partaking in our morning coffee and people watching ritual and whiled a few hours away chatting with them in the town square. Then it was time for a quick top up with fruit and veg before the market closed, however one stall holder must have thought I'd just arrived on a cruise ship wanting 30kuna (4.50Euro) for 3 bananas!!! We found a small supermarket on the way back to Balvenie and got 5 bananas for 7kuna instead. Maybe she was the anchor charges mans wife trying to recuperate our unpaid fee!!!! Still it was the first time I have knowingly had someone try to overcharge me since we have been in Croatia so that's not too bad at all.

Mid afternoon we left the anchorage and motored a couple of miles east around the corner and nestled between some outlying islands by the Monastery on Badija, a delightful spot with the monastery surrounded by pine trees, the massive hills on the mainland as a backdrop and turquoise waters not unlike those in tropical islands lapping at the hull. 15 minutes but a million miles away from the hectic Korcula Town anchorage. We only stayed one night as time is marching on, but this is a place you could bury the anchor for days and just relax.

We continued on further southeast and returned to the sheltered anchorage at Polace in the Mljet National Park on Mljet Island. We still had our park tickets from when we stayed coming up and showed them again with no problems. We have heard they are valid for a year. Last time we were here there were around 60 yachts squeezed in, now on our first night we had 12, the 2nd night down to 7, the end of August is fast approaching. This is a favorite spot, the scent of pine in the air and the clicking of thousands of cicadas is overwhelming, give me the smells and sounds of nature any day over the city smells and traffic noises. We met up again with Maurice and Heather off New Zealand yacht Baracca who we first met last year in Turkey, great to catch up again with them then the next night Hob Nob joined in as well, happy hours whilst cruising are really one of the highlights.

Our good friends on Gone with the Wind were in Dubrovnik getting ready to leave Croatia for Greece and continuing on back to Turkey for winter. We wanted to catch up one more time with them this season so left this tranquil setting and motored in glassy seas back down to Zaton Bay just north of Dubrovnik to rendezvous with them for the last time in 2009.

Cruising Info for Korcula Town on Korcula, Badija Monastery and Polace on Mljet - Croatia:
Anchorages -
Korcula Town (Uvala Luka) - Korcula ... 42 57.222N 17 08.49E 15m sand/mud 10 minutes walk into town. Anchorage is bigger than it looks on chart. PAY ANCHORAGE - Collects around 5-6pm but don't know how much it is
Monastery - Badija .... 42 56.942N 17 09.640E 14m sand, plenty of room and possibilities in this area.
Polace - Mljet ... 42 47.367N 17 27.050E 12m mud, excellent all round cover. NATIONAL PARK PAY ANCHORGE 90K per person tickets valid one year (we think)
Internet - Unlocked signals onboard at all. Signal at Korcula on and off, other two both good.
Money - ATM machine in Korcula and Polace
Provisions - All shops and adequate supermarket (one by bus terminal, another small store on road in from anchorage) in Korcula. Good bakery and butcher, they share a shop! in Korcula outside walled town. butchery closes for siesta though. Polace has 2 small supermarkets and a bakery all quite expensive here. Didn't go ashore at monastery but don't think anything there.
Fuel - There is a fuel dock between Korcula town anchorage and Badija Monastery. We didn't go to it so not sure of depths or prices.
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