Croatia - Prvic

By Mark Stevens • Photographs by Sharon Matthews-Stevens

The sun rises over green hump-backed hills, backbone of an island called Prvic in the Adriatic Sea, off the coast of Croatia, in the region of Dalmatia. We’ve docked overnight in one of the most beautiful cruising grounds in the world. 

The hills look across a blushing expanse of water riffled by winds whose names we discovered yesterday morning at the chart briefing that began our Sunsail charter flotilla near a village called Primosten. 

Bora, Pura, Yugo. Winds that nuzzle the grey-green slopes of the Dinaric Alps, winds once wooed by Roman triremes. Winds that carry us north and east and west on exhilarating romps for six days, that skim waters traversed by Turkish warlords, that skirt havens where fisherman have returned nightly for nigh on seven centuries. 

These winds with names buffet my wife and I this morning when we go ashore to explore a medieval village hunkered down beside a stone pier while our friend and able crewmember Elizabeth makes coffee in the cabin of “Neve”, our chartered Jenneau 36’. 

Croatia - Pavle GaleryWe pass Pavle Gallery, huddled inside a fifteenth-century house. Eve, the proprietor, wears a white-and-blue bikini. Her husband, sporting a Speedo, tinkers with the outboard engine on a dilapidated wooden runabout on a stone quay just outside. 

We stroll serpentine cobblestone streets; we enter a churchyard, negotiating weathered crooked headstones in the shelter of a stone steeple circa 1461. We climb a stone alley behind the church; we look down at a sun-dappled harbour where history abounds, where a fleet of white sailboats sharing the characteristic scarlet Sunsail furled foresails are lashed, Mediterranean-style, to a wharf built from ancient stone blocks.

Now we return to “Neve,” straining at her dock lines in a gentle swell.

Elizabeth sets steaming cups on the cockpit table. I sip and sit, looking around in awe, entranced by the scene before me, a Technicolor travelogue.

Now we finish our coffee and saunter down the pier to a path skirting the shore, occupied by rusty ladders that descend to crystal waters. 

Croatia - Krka FallsWe dive into the Adriatic. 

Sharon, Elizabeth and I splash about, cooling off, gazing, with a dolphin’s-eye view, at a multitude of islands scattered across the horizon line like the ransom of a Roman emperor (that’s no mere simile: the emperor Diocletian built his retirement palace a couple of hundred miles south of here around 400 A.D.), islands we’ll explore by sail, chasing fair winds, islands that will shelter cool swims on hot days. 

This morning we’re taking a dip in Dalmatia.

Yesterday we traced a rhumline of roughly eleven nautical miles out of Base Kremik, Sunsail’s second largest base worldwide. Nine miles under sail, velocity made good, steady at six knots. A multitude of emerald islands rose up from waters that sparkled like diamonds, mist shrouding the further ones. Our own boat was heeling; white triangles ahead and behind marked both our flotilla and those nominal winds blowing out of a cloudless sky.

Croatia - Krka FallsLast night we proved the efficacy of going with a flotilla: Ana, the “social director” hosted a dockside punch party replete with hors d’oeuvres and great company. “Eat, eat,” she said, playing the fleet like a Savannah socialite. Then she found her way into my heart. “Drink, drink,” she added.

We made new friends doing the flotilla and we had built-in escorts and tour guides: to suggest ideal stops, to make arrangements in a different and difficult language, and, most important, to guide us through the trials and tribulations of Mediterranean Mooring. 

These thoughts and images – the memories of yesterdays perfect sail, my anticipation of the next few days – float as lazily in my consciousness as I now float during my first Dalmatia dip.

We’d take our next dip late that afternoon at Krka Falls.

But first a charting briefing from Mr. T., our lead skipper, in the shade of a grove of cypress trees. His name is Tvrtko but no one can pronounce it. He suggests perfect lunch spots, identifies potential hazards. But he finishes the session with a pessimistic prognostication for the day. “Winds light and variable,” he intones in a solemn voice. 

Croatia - SkradinAn hour out from Prvic with ten perfect knots of Mistral (“The sailors’ wind,” Mr. T. told us yesterday.) off the port quarter, making for a massive Renaissance fortress, we wonder about the forecast. 

“Do you think he does that on purpose?” asks Elizabeth.

“Then we get great winds. Could be.”

But the winds aren’t a factor for long. We soon enter a long twisting canyon, past sheer cliffs where hermits once lived, past Sibenik on the port beam, host to a Croat king a thousand years ago. 

We sail where we can, motor where we have to, at long last pulling up to a marina beside the village of Skradin, a picturesque settlement climbing steep hills in an emerald valley, a place once populated by Turkish warlords, dominated by the ruins of a stone stronghold high above the harbour. 

Tonight we will march en masse to a traditional Croat kanoba (traditional restaurant) we never would have found ourselves. We’ll dine on a traditional dish called a ‘peka’ – a sort of metal Croatian crockpot, comparing notes, exaggerating boat speeds.

But first my wife Sharon, Elizabeth and I will make our way upriver to Krka waterfalls, carved out of limestone cliffs. Eight or nine cascades plummet from high overhead, sending up a fine mist, a welcome spray on a thirty-degree-plus day. 

We clamour down a steep shore and lower ourselves into the rushing current. 

We enjoy another dip in Dalmatia.

 It is a day and a half before our next Adriatic immersion.

Next morning we make for open waters. Seas are flat; winds cooperate. We glide over glittering expanses past green islands sporting fishing villages with makeshift wharves; we chase the winds rather than either course or velocity made good. We make landfall at Tribunj: a shower in the new marina, a stroll to the old town over a stone bridge, an early start next morning.

For today we sail for the far islands – the Kornatis. We get ten miles out of Tribunj in perfect conditions. The islands loom ahead, swathed in haze and mystery. George Bernard Shaw described this one-hundred-fifty member national park archipelago as being made from “tears and stars and breath.”

To me, once we see them up close when we drop the hook at Smokvica Vela in a bay we share with only two other boats, they look like Mars meets Death Valley, but with water.

Swinging gently here at the edge of the world, I fire up the barbecue. I wait for the coals, I watch the sun fall behind a barren grey slope decorated by low stone walls built here by shepherds twelve, thirteen centuries ago.

Tomorrow we will make for Zlarin. We will stop and drift in the company of cavorting dolphins. Next day we’ll race other boats past the wreck of a World War II submarine, we’ll take a rollercoaster ride over six feet waves in twenty-five knots of wind. We’ll lunch in a bay with waters Caribbean blue. We’ll have another dip in Dalmatia.

But for now, nursing a Karlovacko beer in the cockpit, swinging on the hook in the waters of history, I wax pensive, gazing out to sea. 

Then I stand up; I go forward, balancing on “Neve’s” toe rail.

“Anyone for a swim?” I yell. 

Then I take my penultimate dip in Dalmatia.

 

To check out more destinations, stories and photography by the award-winning team of Sharon Matthews-Stevens and Mark Stevens, log on to www.travelwriteclick.com.

 

Ship's Log

Sunsail and Moorings both maintain extensive fleets in Croatia. Our charter explored rustic villages and relatively deserted islands. The flotilla option is an excellent one for sailing here. For all your options go to www.sunsail.com/destinations/mediterranean/croatia or www.moorings.com/destinations/mediterranean/croatia 

For background on the newest member in the European Union along with information if you tie your charter to a land-based adventure, check out http://croatia.hr/en-GB/Homepage 

 

Photo Captions:

Photo 1 - Ships of the Sunsail flotilla lined up on the seawall at Prvic, a medieval fishing village.

Photo 2 - Many of the out-islands are retreats for artists like Eve, co-proprietor of Pavle Gallery on Prvic.

Photo 3 - A cool oasis on a hot day - Krka Falls is spectacular and popular.

Photo 4 - After a long cruise up a picturesque canyon, boaters can take another boat ride to a National Park encompassing Krka Falls.

Photo 5 - One perfect overnight spot for sailors who dip into Dalmatia is the village of Skradin, once the haunt of Turkish warlords.

 

 

 Killarney

KillarneyStory and Photos by: Jennifer Harker

We’re aboard Attigouatan, a Pursuit 2260 that normally lives life as a friend’s cottage boat, running back and forth from dock to dock. This will be her longest run in four years, travelling the approximately 120 kilometres (80 miles) northwest from Parry Sound to Killarney, threading our way through the northern reaches of the stunning 30,000 Islands of Georgian Bay’s eastern shoreline.

Her name evokes an early indigenous name for Lake Huron – Spirit Lake. 

Read more about Killarney....

  

Lifestyle

  • Prev
This photo from a CPS member shows how talented boaters are. Brenda Cochrane from Kelowna BC, a ...
The first part of this blog will show that not every day is blue sky and sunshine in the Bahamas!
This beauty came our way from Reel Deal Yachts in Bahia Mar, Florida. Why not charter for the ...
This new legislation from Washington State Department of Fisheries applies to boats launched in ...
Don’t miss this brilliant photo double header
In honour of Launch Day, our POTW this time comes from Wendy Loat in Port Credit. This shot, taken ...
Our favorite, Man-O-War Cay, is home to the Albury Boat Building empire. They have been building ...
On the Easter Weekend, the Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club from Vancouver Island, had its first ...
We were finally able to get a SIM card and data plan on our phone Monday morning. We could now ...
It’s Friday afternoon at the Newport Yacht Club in Stoney Creek, and that can only mean one thing - ...

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
At the boat shows, the Ranger Tugs’ classic tugboat lines always grab the crowds, with the wives ...
Tactical Custom Boats announces the sale to a North American client of a custom Tactical 77’ – Fast ...
Bruce Elliott is an inventor. And when he sold the technology he developed to build utility poles ...
One often asks of a winning achievement or a fabulous design, could it have possibly been done ...
The latest new model from Cruisers Yachts is the Cantius 42 and this yacht made its debut in the ...
The Sabre 45 Salon Express is new for 2017, making its debut at the Fort Lauderdale International ...
Jeanneau’s newest NC model is the NC 33, and it’s an exciting and innovative inboard cruiser ...
The Four Winns H290OB combines two of the most popular new big boat trends to come up with a great ...
Commodore’s Boats is a full service shipyard with over 50 years of generational history and ...

 

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 440

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 440By Zuzana Prochazka

There are few things more satisfying than watching someone thumb their nose at tradition and introduce something revolutionary that kicks convention to the curb. French designer, Philippe Briand, has done just that for Jenneau’s new line of Sun Odyssey family cruisers. By starting with a clean sheet, Briand re-thought how we move about on deck and below, and the results on the Jeanneau 440 are game changing.

Jeanneau unveiled the first hull of their 440 in Annapolis with dramatic flair. On command, the plastic that sheathed half the boat...

Read more about the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 440....

 

 

DIY & How to

  • Prev
CYOB readers often ask questions about their boats and system. For this issue, I’ve answered a ...
Modern marine engines run at very high temperatures and rely on a few methods to keep their ...
Pyrotechnic distress flares have been around for decades, while electronic strobe distress flares ...
In the early spring, just after launch, with the hustle and bustle of engine checks, antifouling, ...
All engines, including marine engines (inboards, outboards and stern drives) have many moving parts ...
Most of us don’t give a second thought to our sacrificial anodes – those curious knobs of raw metal ...
I once heard an argument at a yacht club. Two old salts, patiently itching to let go lines and ...
In this time of boat show afterglow, many boaters are counting the days until launch. 
This one-day course consists of both theory and practical demonstration sessions, is designed to ...
Water has a funny way of making its way into a boat: through through-hulls, stuffing boxes, leaks, ...

Marine Products

  • Prev
Canada Rope promises that its new Night Saver Rope will illuminate at night and act as a reference ...
Take a look as a 68-foot yacht docks itself in between two Volvo Ocean 65 sailing yachts at the ...
Industry Firsts Include Direct Injection and Integrated Electric Steering System
Verviers, Belgium, 18 May 2018 — Mercury Marine, the world leader in marine propulsion technology, ...
Again, we return to the beginning. We started this column with a look at marine navigation for ...
Ga-Oh (spirit of the winds in Algonquin) creates bags and other items from re-purposed sails.
The 2018 Northwest Boat Travel Guide just arrived. This time of the year is the perfect time for ...
We are all looking to gain a little more time these days, and technology is often the route we ...
While they are no longer a part of the CPS Flare Program, Fogh Boat Supplies and Fogh Marine, both ...
We have all had the experience of heading down below on a nice boat only to encounter an unpleasant ...