Sunday, 30 November 2008
Saturday, 22 November 2008
ACI's marina in Skradin is a very special place to moor your boat. It's not just one of the very few Croatian marinas that is in fresh, rather than sea water, but from here you can explore the River Krka and its waterfalls and the delightful town of Skradin itself. In July and August it gets very busy as many of the organised trips to the waterfalls, by boat, start from here. Its popularity as a tourist destination has given rise to a number of good restaurants, one good hotel and a number of apartments to rent, mostly closed in the winter, but off season is the best time to explore the town away from the crowds.
We'll be covering more of the onshore attractions on our sister site, Croatia Online and of course you can read more about it, including how to get there, in our Croatia Cruising Companion (page 107). In brief, head up the Krka estuary past Šibenik and it's about 8 miles upstream.
Today's picture shows the view of the town and marina from the road bridge. Sailing to Skradin you will be approaching from the left of the picture and will see the tall church tower in front of you and the marina to port. The marina has 153 berths with water and electricity and an overnight berth for a 12 metre boat will cost you €49, increasing by 10% in July and August. Many people choose to winter their boats here because of the fresh water - annual berths are therefore hard to get but cost €2,67o for a 12 metre boat.
Friday, 21 November 2008
We've just spotted an article, ostensibly about sailing, in the Independent back in October, in the Home and Garden section of all things! Whilst it does major on the vegetation, or lack of it, there are some extremely vivid descriptions of the scenery which most people, including ourselves, normally describe in just a few words as stark or lunar.
Follow this link - http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/house-and-home/gardening/woman-overboard-a-croatian-sailing-holiday-provides-a-horticultural-treat-969478.html It's a good read!
Look out for our next posting on the unique attractions of ACI's marina in Skradin - we've been exploring there today and there's plenty of news.
Saturday, 8 November 2008
Friday, 10 October 2008
Our options were narrowing as quickly as the Bora was increasing. A quick look at the chart threw up Sučuraj and the Croatia Cruising Companion confirmed good shelter for the prevailing weather conditions. The Bora kept us here for two nights and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. We berthed starboard side to on the (nearly) new wooden jetty immediately to the west of the ferry terminal. The harbour master's office is one of the three kiosks immediately adjacent the wooden jetty. Mooring fees 300 kuna for a 15m boat, including electrics (16 amp) and water. The ferry provided us with entertainment and we continue to be impressed by the ferry services offered to the islands we have visited.
The Bora was still blowing the next day, but we decided to take a look to the North and found conditions perfectly managable for a trip to Stari Grad, our favourite port of those we have visited so far. It was interesting to note the change in weather conditions in the Hvarski Kanal, in the space of half a mile or so the wind would vary from force three to six and back. In narrowest part between Brač and Hvar, Brač seemed to offer some protection from the wind, and then the two islands acted to funnel the wind. Whilst this posed no difficulty, it was interesting to observe and take note of. The sky to the west was clear and we sailed into warm, sunny weather and calmer seas before turning to port and starting our run into Stari Grad. Arriving late lunchtime we found plenty of berths available; by late afternoon, however, all the berths had been filled and some yachts were obliged to lay up alongside the trip boats. We ate that evening at Restaurant Antika which had been recommended to us on our last visit in July. Thoroughly enjoyed the meal and atmosphere (Aussies and Scots) and will go back and eat there again.
Next day was our last full day and a sail back to Marina Frapa. Always a surprise when we arrive since we never know which berth we will have. It bothered us at first, not having an allocated berth. But since there is room for all, it doesn't seem to matter so much.
An early start next day for the EasyJet flight to Gatwick, then onwards to Geneva and back to France - a long day.
Wednesday, 8 October 2008
Whilst we've been exploring inland Croatia (see sister site Croatia Online), we are once again indebted to Ian Shaw for putting the Croatia Cruising Companion through its paces and supplying us with some incredibly useful and detailed updates. Below is Ian's report on his travels to Hvar, Korčula and Mljet, as well as an update on Marina Frapa's progress with its underwater restaurant and a new Wireless Internet System. Thanks also to Ian for the photo of one of his favourite restaurants - more information below.
Leaving Marina Frapa (the new, underwater restaurant is under construction adjacent to the superyacht transit pier) on the Friday, we stopped over in Maslinica before heading to Hvar Town. Very picturesque; the harbour is a plethora of cafés and restaurants, but the lazy lines were a real spaghetti. We checked before leaving the following day and found a line around one of our props, so yours truly had to go over the side and cut it off.
The mooring rings are not well secured and with a very heavy swell from the East, our boat managed to pull one ring and spike almost out of its drilled hole on the jetty. A number of sailing yachts to seaward nearly touched masts and rigging on numerous occasions. The overnight mooring fee for a 15.60m boat was 840 kuna; wow, these are top South of France prices, and the harbourmaster's office weren't too keen to give the change for 850 kuna either!
I don't know what time the clubs turfed their customers out, but most of the noisy drunks seemed to be English and Scottish!
I am sure a lot of people will like Hvar Town, busy and bustling, but I don't think we'll be visiting again.
We then headed to Korcula Town for two nights. A fascinating town with plenty to see and several internet cafés for those who are wedded to the internet. One can just wander and there is a surprise at every corner. The ACI marina is excellent, with a reception manned by a formidable lady who warmed to us greatly when we told her how much we had disliked Hvar Town and that Korcula was much nicer! It is a very pleasant marina, on the ball staff, and a nice restaurant-we ate there one evening and were not disappointed. Well recommended. We also ate at Pizzeria Doris (turn right out of the marina entrance and it can be found 250m on the left. Pizzas and wine for five for 400 kuna and it was all good!
Our next stop was the island of Mljet and the bay of Okuklje, as you say a well-protected anchorage. We arrived at lunchtime to two locals waving and offering a mooring. We moored at Konoba Maran, the first restaurant to starboard, and the place where most of the yachts seemed to make for. It was blazing hot, my wife went straight for a swim and the rest of us for a beer or a glass of wine. We liked it so much that we returned two nights later. The mooring is free on the implicit understanding that you eat at the restaurant. We did on both nights and the food is excellent, especially the black (squid ink) risotto. As good as the other restaurants we have eaten at on our trips to Croatia, and the chips are also good! Bearing in mind the mooring is free a three course meal for six (on the second visit) plus wine a gogo and coffee came to 1200 kuna, brilliant. One tip, book your table as soon as you arrive, the restaurant was packed both nights we ate there. Contact details: phone +385 20 746 186; +385 98 931 96 01. Website: http://www.okuklje-maran.com/
After our first stay at Okuklje we headed for Cavtat to pick up a passenger arriving from the USA. We picked Cavtat since the CCC advised clearing in formalities were much quicker than Dubrovnik. Nevertheless this did entail a certain amount of toing and froing on the day. Like Korcula, we were charmed by Cavtat and found all the harbour staff friendly and helpful. We moored at Cavtat Luka. The quay moorings are rope passed through holes drilled in the stonework, no lazy lines you have to drop anchor. We were very doubtful about the holding ability of these lines and passed a short length of spinnaker line through the holes on the quay to give us some comfort, especially since the Bora was causing some swell.
As regards the formalities we caused some confusion at the harbourmaster's office, who were fully expecting a list to which amendments for incoming crew/passengers would be made. Not so in our case. In the confusion we were given a new list bearing the names of only the passengers/crew aboard. If it is any help to others this is the way we set up our cruising and this is what we have learned:
-we set up our list of crew/passengers at the beginning of the season, some 20 in all. This list bears the detachable part of the vignette. When we sail from Marina Frapa we take the original list with us. The marina issues us with an A4 sheet for each person aboard (foreign visitor), showing passport details. In effect, the marina is carrying out the duties of the police registering the foreign visitor. You must sail with the original list and the A4 sheet for each person aboard. So long as the persons aboard are on the list of crew/passengers no visit to the harbourmaster's office is necessary. If the original list needs to be changed, then a visit to the harbourmaster's office to effect that change is necessary. Where there is no facility for issuing the A4 sheet above at the marina, then visit the local police station with the incomer's passport and they will complete the formalities. The incomer need not attend the police station personally, but you shouldn't sail with that person aboard until formalities are completed.
PS Marina Frapa is now a wi-fi zone.
Thursday, 2 October 2008
Thursday, 25 September 2008
Monday, 15 September 2008
Sunday, 14 September 2008
Saturday, 30 August 2008
Friday, 29 August 2008
Thursday, 31 July 2008
We used the RIB to shuttle back a forth from Vis Town and Kut, but in the end were pleased we had stayed away from the town; it was noisy that night.
The next day the wind and swell had dropped, so we headed for Stari Grad. We were really impressed with the town. It had a terrific atmosphere, not too big or small, busy without being too busy. We were a ten minute walk to the swimming area (direction Ferry berth) with an adjacent café and 100m from the first bar in the town! That evening we tried one of your recommendations - Restaurant Cod Barba Luke which was first class and probably vied with Pod Bore at Vela Luka and Trica gardelin at Vrboska as the best restaurants we ate at. The food, as always, was good and meticulously served. We drank a white St Klement and a red Faros(?). The following night it was a toss up whether to eat on board, but it was hot so we plumped for pizzas, salad and pasta at the Pharos on the quay. Simple, but good, and the pizza bread with rosemary was a revelation. It was worth the visit just to eat that. In total, for 4 salad starters, pizza or pasta main course, 4 ice creams and a couple of bottles of wine, I paid 600 Kn. As always the staff were first class. Mooring charges 20 Kn per metre, which seems to include tourist tax
We were sad to leave Stari Grad and decided to try Bol. The small quay was exceptionally busy and pressed everyone close to the boats. That and the adjacent cafés would have made for a noisy night. We noted that the two outside berths on the eastern edge of the inner breakwater were vacant, but after watching those boats already berthed rocked up and down by the swell from the "sixpenny sicks" (trip boats) for several minutes we decided to give it a miss. So we made for Vrboska. Once again another revelation, a beautiful small town.
Clearly there is competition between the ACI marina and the town berths. If there is a spare town berth a whistle is blown, arms are waved to attract attention and lazy lines made ready. The young man and his brother who supervise the moorings are certainly on the ball and a couple of "fixers" - restaurant to eat, wine to taste (and buy) and so on. Apart from the ACI marinas, this was the most expensive berth we had 40 Kn per metre, but I reckoned it was worth it. Incidentally the bornes here have a 32 amp supply as well as 16 amps; the ACI marina only has 16 amp so far as I could see. We ate on board the first night and the second had a meal at Restoran Trica gardelin. This is quite a large restaurant and was busy lunchtime and evening the day of our arrival, so we booked for the second night. One of the best restaurants we ate at.
For our last night before returning to Rogoznica we made for Maslinica. Once again we were stunned; a small village, but with bags of character. We berthed to the South; there aren't many berths, around 12, depending on the size of the boats. A lot of work appears to be going on at the jetty, but I'm not sure for what. In any event, there are only two bornes with eight 16 amp sockets each. The fortified villa is now an upmarket hotel with beautiful gardens and a posh restaurant called "Martinis Marchi". Surprisingly, there was no menu posted outside the restaurant, or any indication that sailors were welcome, so we took our custom to the restaurant at the head of the bay. It was packed, there was an accordionist, and we thorougly enjoyed ourselves; sod Martinis Marchi!
We had a drink at the Konoba Moni before dinner. We were made welcome, even though we weren't dining there.
A couple of points about Maslinica. We arrived during the day from the South and the red/white light to starboard is hidden by trees until one is abeam of it. We also found a number of swimmers in the entrance to the inlet and around the lazy lines of the moored boats, which need to be watched for.
The next day we returned to Marina Frapa. We left early and were glad we did, since we had a Scirocco on our stern, which strengthened as the day went on. Some boats arriving at the marina after us had a real problem berthing.
Overall, we are very impressed with Croatia. The people are friendly and welcoming, and that doesn't appear to be forced. The kids are well behaved. Compared to marinas in France and Italy, everyone made an effort. Invariably, the bornes supplying electricity and water work first time. The mooring fees are cheaper than high and mid - season France and Italy.
Any complaints: one, we couldn't find anywhere that sells Schweppes tonic water in small bottles/cans!
Wednesday, 23 July 2008
Many thanks to Ian Shaw for today's posting with some great detail on his recent travels. Note particularly that Ian reports some changes in Rogač on Šolta. Ian has promised us another instalment on his trip when he has time.
Our friends arrived early on Monday morning and the following day left for Trogir to refuel. Unfortunately, a very large motor yacht had sucked the fuel dock dry and we were told we would have to wait until around 18 00 for fuel. Since it was only 11 00, we decided to head for Rogač on Šolta to refuel. There appears to be a new ferry berth here, further to seaward, then a new or refurbed fuel dock, before the town moorings. Looking at the Croatia Cruising Companion plan on page 150 it would seem the two have changed places. We liked Rogač - it was quiet, we could swim from the small beach which was a two or three minute walk around the inlet to the South side, and we enjoyed an inexpensive meal at Restaurant Pasarela (021 654-505), of fish/pizzas. The restaurant is signposted and is a two minute walk from the beach.
I paid 240 Kn for a 15m boat for one night, including tourist tax for four people. On our side of the harbour, adjacent to the fuel dock, there is only one electic "borne" from which long connecting leads to the berths were laid. It didn't seem to be working when we were there.
We had intended eating aboard the boat that evening, but a generator problem put paid to that (hence the visit to the Pasarela).
We needed to have the generator fixed. The problem was the generator motor water pump, which wasn't functioning and causing overheating. Dismantling was a difficult job, so we decided to head for ACI Milna on Brač to see if we could find a mechanic. This was our first stop at an ACI marina. How different from France were you can spend hours on the phone or VHF trying to find a berth, and when you do you are generally left to find the mooring yourself with no help from the marina. So far, the general practice seems to be "first come, first served", with a marinero to guide you to the berth and pull up a lazy line for you. The marinero seemed very keen to have the Croatian authorisations as soon as possible which puzzled us a bit, but we soon got used to it and it saved us a walk to the reception or harbour master's office (unlike France or Italy, where in some marinas it could be quite a hike). The marina was able to provide phone numbers of mechanics/electricians etc. Ours found the problem in less than a minute (a worn drive belt on the generator motor water pump) and it was quickly rectified. The mechanic was excellent and clearly knew generators.
We spent two nights in Milna and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. It's not stunningly beautiful, but had character (we were treated to the equivalent of the Croatian declaration of independence around midnight on the first night!). We ate two nights running at the Palma restaurant which is directly opposite the entrance to the boatyard on the town side of the marina. We had excellent fish each time and a three course meal with a couple of litres of house wine cost around 700 Kn. Highly recommended, and the waitress spoke better English than we did!
We did want to have a look at Hvar Town, but felt that it would be busy, so decided to head for ACI Palmižana. Once again, no problem with a berth. A one night stay turned into two as we launched the RIB and pottered around. The Captain's restaurant at the head of the jetty offered breakfast, lunch and dinner. The breakfast we had was excellent; we reeled off the order to the waitress who wrote nothing down. We were sure she would get the order wrong, but it was us who were wrong, it was exactly as ordered.
We next headed for Korčula and, specifically, Vela Luka. Of all the places we visited, it was liked the least - mainly by the ladies, but I found it OK. I think the car park adjacent to the town moorings and fuel dock gave it a bit of a desolate air. Part of the town moorings have been refurbed to give space for around 20 boats (depending on size) with new lazy lines and mooring rings. Price 310 Kn including tourist tax. We ate that evening at the restaurant recommended in the Croatia Cruising Companion (Pod Bore), exellent fish and meat and good service too. We paid around 1,000 kn for four.
Today's photo is of Milna on Brač Island.
Saturday, 12 July 2008
Thanks to Nigel Crouch for investing in the Croatia Cruising Companion and for taking the time to give his comments and experiences on his recent trip. Nigel is by no means alone in his comment about rising prices for nautical tourism in Croatia - the exchange rate is largely outside Croatia's control, but the significant year on year increases in daily berth rates at marinas and ports could end up meaning that a sailing holiday in "The Mediterranean That Once Was" (Croatia tourist board strap line) is no longer as affordable as it once was. More important than the prices themselves is that visitors believe the Minister for Tourism has a firm direction to follow and is excercising some sort of leadership on the more excessive price increases, the facilities that go with the tariff, and the overall quality of the cruising area, including conserving the pristine sea conditions that are sometimes under siege from the sheer volume of visitors. Here's Nigel's report with editorial notes in brackets and italics.
We really liked Brbinj (Dugi Otok page 68) and Antonio’s restaurant there was excellent with great grilled fish and a sublime view. I did it again on way back with Jenny and once more it was first-class.
Opat (Kornat page 76 - since we visited we understand that both restaurants are now under the same ownership) was lovely as was the lobster we consumed there in the Opat Restaurant (albeit at a lovely price!).
We spent a couple of nights in Skradin (mainland near Šibenik, page 107) and ate well in Toni’s and Canneletto’s. The Krka Falls trip was as good as ever.
Good fun fighting for a place at Primošten (mainland, page 111; recent update on prices and facilities - Croatia Cruising Companion - Primosten Update) and the harbour guy was particularly helpful. Good environment to watch one of the Croatia Euro games.
Vinišce (mainland page 130) was a very tranquil anchorage and we got some tremendous home-made red wine there (despite being in plastic beer bottles!).
Very nice guy, Nick, at outer marina in Milna (Brač page 152), who has replaced Jan and his wife, who were great characters.
We thought Vis Town (Vis page 180) was great and we ate well in the Wine Bar near the quay. On the subsequent passage to Stari Grad (Hvar page 169) we were pursued by not one but two thunderstorms, which tried to catch us in a pincer movement and almost succeeded. Stari Grad very nice and we had good meals at Pharia and Antika. Jenny had an interesting experience getting locked in the public loos there.
Trogir Marina (mainland page 132) remains the best spot by far to see people doing everything in their power to write off their boats – and everyone else’s.
Maslinica on Šolta (page 149) was a super spot and, again, a very helpful Harbour Master. Ate well in Konoba Saskinja.
We really like Rogoznica (mainland page 127) and Marina Frappa is absolutely first-class and no more expensive than the other marinas. They are just opening a very nice pool there.
We thought Tribunj (mainland page 99 and see recent update
Croatia Cruising Companion - Tribunj Update) was a nice place but the marina there was the most expensive we visited.
Could not get on to a mooring buoy at Soline on Pašman (page 50) despite early arrival – it was packed! – but turned out to be a blessing in disguise as we then went to Luka Žut (Žut page 84) and highly recommend Konoba Sandra, which had wondrous fish.
Luka Telašćica (Dugi Otok page 62) was fantastic and had superb overnight there eating on board in an idyllic spot up near the head of the channel.
Zadar (mainland page 32) was a very interesting place and Jenny had her only pukka cocktail of the trip there – an outstanding Marguerita lovingly made with infinite care by the barmaid. Had a superb meal at your recommended fish place there. Vjeko runs an excellent operation in the marina there with his Kiriacoulis team.
Despite the bizarre weather, it was a wonderful trip and we think that the overall quality of food everywhere had improved significantly. Our one worry was that with the adverse Sterling/Kuna Exchange Rate and high inflation in Marina Costs and Harbour Dues they have got to be careful not kill the golden goose in these difficult ‘credit crunch’ times.
The bottom line, though, is that Croatia is a fantastic sailing area and the people are great – thanks, again, for all your help in making it an unforgettable trip.
And again thanks to Nigel for taking the trouble to send in his comments. It's incredibly helpful to us to hear other first hand accounts of how the various destinations stand up to the test and the consistency of various restaurants that may just have been good on the day(s) we visited. We hope that such reports also provide readers of the Croatia Cruising Companion with added depth and will make sure the book stays as up to date and helpful as possible.
Today's photo is of Opat on Kornat Island.
Friday, 11 July 2008
Many thanks to Mike Forbes for today's posting and photo.
Mike shares his boat with 3 co-owners and is thus one of the unintentional victims of the Croatian legislation introduced in 2005, aimed at preventing illegal chartering, but carelessly drawn up to frustrate a number of yachtsmen simply wanting to enjoy the delights of Croatian waters at an affordable cost.
The government tells us it wants to encourage superyachts, and turns a blind eye in that respect - what about fractional owners?
For more information on the rules and regulations, follow this link - http://www.mmpi.hr/default.aspx?id=668. For an update on clearing customs at Gruz, Dubrovnik (don't - go to Cavtat!), link to noonsite.
Mike tells us that he put the Croatia Cruising Companion to good use on his travels and particularly enjoyed Uvala Pokrivenik on the north coast of Hvar (page 175). Mike is a fan of deserted anchorages and probably won't thank us for mentioning another of his favourites, Uvala Rasotica on Brač island, for which he kindly supplied excellent photos (page 12 and 160).
Mike's photo above shows his yacht in splendid isolation at Neum.
To circumvent the Croatian limit on the number of people allowed to sail on foreign-flagged vessels (28 in our case, shared between four owners) we decided to carry out our mid-cruise crew change outside Croatia, namely at Neum in the short coastline of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
On arrival from the UK I went to the Harbourmaster's Office in Split and told them my plan. The Duty Officer told me that all my crew, due to leave me in Neum, would have to appear on the List of Persons, the official List making up the 28 authorised people. I remonstrated saying that people who disembarked outside Croatia did not have to be listed; unfortunately the 2005 e-mail from the Croatian Ministry of the Sea that outlined the Rules, including out-of-Croatia crew-changes, was at home in UK. He was adamant - and so was I. He was eventually persuaded to telephone his boss - it was a Sunday - and grumpily agreed to issue me with a Crew List with their names NOT having to go on the List of Persons. We now have a copy of the all-important e-mail with our Ship's Papers.
Ten days later we checked out of Croatia at the unlovely industrial port of Ploce. All went well until the policeman who came to stamp our passports asked where and when had we registered with the police on arrival in Croatia. This is normally done by hotels, but arriving as we do and going straight to the marina it is not a practice we have followed. The policeman was taking this very seriously and returned to his HQ for further research and advice. When he returned he said the marina at Split had not reported us but he had found reference to me when I had attended some language training at a hotel in Porec in April. After muttering that ignorance of the law was no defence and laboriously taking down our details he let us go.Two hours later we arrived off Neum.
We flew a Bosnia-Herzegovina courtesy flag (made from a computer print-out) but this was the only flag we saw. We were the only yacht there, indeed the largest vessel. It is a somewhat depressing holiday resort with many people for whom we got the impression that this was their first sight of the sea. We secured stern-to the only quay, with an anchor out, and became the centre of attraction to the curious holiday-makers. The only harbourmaster in Bosnia was supremely uninterested in us, neither did the police want to know. I felt it unwise to leave the boat unattended so we dined onboard on excellent take-away pizzas.
Next day my three crew-members departed to Dubrovnik airport by taxi and were replaced several hours later by five others, including my wife and American grand daughter. I was not sorry to leave next morning, and when we checked in to Croatia at Ploce - flying Flag Q - the policewoman arrived armed with arrival registration forms which she filled in before stamping our passports. Within an hour we were off for a very welcome night at the little Hvar village of Sučuraj.
I am not sure whether other yachts use Neum to change crews, or prefer to go to Herceg-Novi, Montenegro. The latter has the advantage that there are other fascinating places to visit, such as Kotor. Whichever we use, the requirement constrains the cruise and provides a complication we could do without. But this has been a fact of Croatian cruising for foreign flags since 2005 which we have learned to live with. Hopefully, eventful EU accession will consign the Rule to history.
As a postscript to Mike's note on registering as a visitor in Croatia, this is an area where we have heard that the police are tightening up. By the letter of the law, all foreign visitors are required to register with the local police within 24 hours of arrival. If you're staying at a hotel or campsite, or on a charter holiday, registration is normally done for you. If you're staying with friends, or otherwise doing your own thing, the onus is on you, and if renting an apartment you should check that the owner has registered you.
Thursday, 10 July 2008
Restaurant Plavi Val.
Friday, 4 July 2008
Thursday, 3 July 2008
Well, we made it to Marina Frapa. We were lucky with the weather; sunshine all the way, with only a heavy swell on the starboard beam to contend with during the leg to Bonifacio, and a force 6 to 7 in the Straights of Messina. Flat calm on the leg to Ischia accompanied by dolphins at the bow of the boat for about half an hour. We sailed each leg overnight and then spent a day in port before the next one.We spent one night at Messina before crossing the straights to Reggio di Calabria. Neither have anything to commend them. We then overnighted at Marina di Leuca right on the heel of Italy, before setting a course for Vis the following afternoon just North of Otranto (the marina at Brindisi was allegedly full).We arrived at Vis on the Saturday morning, 31st May, around 9.00 am, where we eventually completed the entry formalities on the Monday morning. Strictly, our port of entry should have been Ugbi, but no one seemed to mind. The order was harbourmaster first, then police.We ate at the Hotel Tamaris restaurant on the jetty. I went for a beer first to get a feel for the place and came across Darko, the waiter from Zagreb, who could have graced any five star restaurant here in France. He was knowledgeable about the menu and the wines, enthusiastic for the food he served and gave good advice about what we should order. The five of us had a terrific meal of local fish, T-bone steaks with excellent white and red wines. Recommended.One issue left a bad taste in our mouths and it was nothing to do with Croatia. A flotilla of around 25 charter yachts, crewed by young French doctors and partners arrived on the Sunday afternoon. Their fancy dress party continued until breakfast time the following morning when one of the crew on a nearby yacht decided to cool down his friend with the hosepipe. The locals had had enough by this time and had called the police, who arrived only to be hosed down as well through the open window of the police car. Whether this was deliberate or not is difficult to say, but the guilty party was indentified I suspect, by his own colleagues, otherwise all aboard looked likely to be detained "for questioning", and taken off in the police car. On the positive side we met some charming Americans from the Seattle area, when we helped them repair the propeller on the dinghy outboard. They had a "wobbly" arrival and having made up their lines proceeded to remove the outboard from the dinghy which they had been towing. The skipper, unfortunately, was defeated by physics since he stood up in the dinghy cradling the outboard in his arms only for the dinghy to suddenly slide forward dumping him overboard. I was having a beer at the bar opposite and jumped up since I was concerned he might have injured himself in the fall, but as I did a hand appeared over the jetty clutching the rope attached to the outboard followed by a very wet skipper. The sacrificial pin on the propeller broke, but we fixed them up with a temporary repair. They showed their gratitude by kindly inviting us aboard for a drink before dinner.We eventually left Vis late Monday morning for Marina Frapa arriving just after lunch. It is certainly impressive. We moored the boat on the seaward side of the last pier until the marina master had completed his berth planning. A bit strange since the berth had been booked and paid for in February. So we had the long walk to the heart of the marina.
The system there seems to be that you book anything you need through marina reception...boat cleaning, engineering, electricals etc. One fills in a work sheet and it is then processed. It’s too early to say how well this works and the service manager was new.There is an excellent laundry at the marina, to the extent that we left a lot of our clothes there and will pick them up this weekend.We walked to Rogoznica and back, road surfacing and drainage works all over. Not a particularly interesting walk and I think the answer is to take the RIB across to the village if we want to go there.We found the Croatians we met charming. They were interested in us and what we thought of their country and showed real pleasure when we said how impressed we were. I got a good "feel" about the country and I am sure we will enjoy our visits there. Croatia deserves to succeed.
Thanks again Ian - looking forward to more news!
Today's photo is of the the view from Hotel Tamaris, in Vis, across to the small islet, now attached to the mainland.
Wednesday, 2 July 2008
Monday, 16 June 2008
As we said in the book, the breakwater provides good protection, but winds from the south-west can cause a heavy swell and the moorings are not protected by the breakwater. However, in clement weather, and as evidenced by yesterday's popularity, it's a favourite Sunday stop for sailors.
A 10 metre boat now costs 260 kunas to berth; a 20 metre boat 338 kunas. Add on the nominal tourist taxes. Water and electricity are included in the price and, reassuringly, there are signs on the water and electricity pedestals threatening a 200 Euro fine for emptying waste tanks while berthed!
You can read more about what's onshore on our sister blog Croatia Online.
Monday, 9 June 2008
Although the Croatian government has passed legislation on the dumping of nautical waste, few marinas offer much other than the possibility of arranging a tanker on request. It's therefore not easy for nautical tourists to dispose of the waste in an ecologically friendly manner and so, unfortunately, much of it is still dumped at sea. Marina Preko talked to John Nash of Marina Facility Solutions, based near Split, at an early stage of the marina's development plans and, with the help of manufacturers, LeeStrom, who John represents in Croatia, came up with the perfect solution for Marina Preko. John has been endeavouring, for most of the five years he has spent in Croatia, to encourage marina owners to install integrated pump out systems more widely. "Not only are they essential to the sustainability of first class nautical tourism in Croatia, but the cost is more affordable than many marina owners believe". John explains "most ethically and ecologically minded nautical tourists value the service and have no objection to paying marinas a fair price for utilising the system."
We hope that any readers of this blog, or of our Croatia Cruising Companion, will support Marina Preko and Marina Facility Solutions in their ecological leadership and encourage other Croatian marinas to provide a similar service.
Thursday, 5 June 2008
Wednesday, 14 May 2008
Tuesday, 6 May 2008
Saturday, 26 April 2008
The total number of moorings available was 15,834 and although it's no surpise that Austria and Germany were the biggest international permanent "occupiers" of Croatian berths, USA flagged vessels were an astounding third with Slovenia, Italy and the UK (323) following.
There were 220,875 vessels in transit during the year with Italy, as usual, providing the highest number of foreign visitors, followed by Germany, Austria and Slovenia.
Today's photo is of the classic, Croatian built yacht Galatea. More details from http://www.ocean-matters.com/.
You can read more about the nautical tourism infrastructuire in our Croatia Cruising Companion. Go to our Home Page for more information.
Sunday, 13 April 2008
For more news on the boat show go to http://www.croatiaboatshow.com/. It's good to see a list of events, in English, on the site this year - in previous years finding out "what's on" has been a bit of a struggle.
Our Croatia Cruising Companion continues to hold its own on Amazon maintaining its position in the top ten of all travel and holiday books on Croatia, and the top twenty for sailing books anywhere. Go to our home page for more information.
Our sister site, http://www.croatiaonline.blogspot.com/ is thriving on healthy competition from our Australian/Croatian friends Shane and Julie on the rare times we get to meet up with them at the same event. That happened today at an equally rare cricket match and we had a race to get the posting up, which I'm glad to say Croatia Online won! Joking aside, they have a great blog (http://www.blog.lifejacketadventures.com/) and , if you read it, you'll wonder how they have time to keep it going. In their spare time (!) they're renovating a property and an old wooden boat. For business they run kayaking tours in Croatia, a laundrette in Split, and much more besides. Their two young children seem to thrive too!
Tuesday, 18 March 2008
We've posted our latest general news on sister site Croatia Online. It's a busy time at the moment but who's complaining - we get the chance to discover, all over again, what makes Croatia a world class cruising destination, this time for superyacht owners. The essence is the same - the rich natural and cultural heritage, spectacular scenery, clement conditions, diversity...... but it's revealing and fascinating to cast an objective eye on how Croatia is adapting to the luxury end of the nautical tourism market.
Today's photo is of Cavtat, near Dubrovnik, a favourite superyacht port. Read more about this, and much more, when Boat International's Superyacht Owners' Guide To Croatia comes out in early summer.
Saturday, 1 March 2008
Saturday, 23 February 2008
As promised yesterday, we have some more news on NCP’s new October Boat Show. The full details have yet to be drawn up but it seems that it will focus on used boats rather than new ones. That seems to be an entirely logical move for NCP who probably have the largest independent shipyard in Croatia for newbuilds and refits, suitable for megayachts and small boats alike.
Towards the end of last year, NCP announced a deal with IGY to develop Croatia’s first Megayacht marina, on and around their site in the Mandalina area of Šibenik. The boat show is obviously a neat step towards that, and to developing the synergy that exists between their existing shipbuilding facilities and Croatia as a potential superyacht haven. Hopefully NCP will be able to help persuade the Croatian Government to continue to try and improve the regulations that discouraged superyachts when I first reported on Croatia as a potential superyacht destination for Boat International back in early 2005. For more comment on this, link to Croatia Online - Boat Show Special April 2006.
Just how far NCP have come, in a short space of time, can be seen from a report we did on the Croatian shipbuilding industry Croatian Shipbuilding Industry back in February 2006.
More news next week when we’ve had a chance to assimilate and digest the information available, and perhaps spend a little time back on "dry ground" and on Croatia Online.
Friday, 22 February 2008
Thursday, 21 February 2008
Friday, 15 February 2008
The Zagreb Boat Show (officially the Sports and Nautica Fair) takes place next week from 19th to 24th February. Co-author of the Croatia Cruising Companion, John Nash, has a stand there (Stand Number 32, Hall 8) which will have a healthy supply of the book for sale.
John's day job is with Marina Facility Solutions based near Split. He represents many of the leading UK manufacturers of marina equipment in Croatia, Montenegro and Slovenia and now has a long track record of successful installations in this area (pontoons, water and electricity pedestals, pump-out systems, travel lifts and cranes, etc). Over five years he has got to know the Croatian marina industry inside out and built up an invaluable store of local knowledge and contacts to go alongside his international marina and sailing expertise. Not only did that prove invaluable when writing our book but he's become much sought after by foreign investors looking to invest or extend their interests in the Croatian, Slovenian and Montenegrin marina industries. John is probably one of the very few people who could offer constructive and detailed advice on any stage of a marina's development or operation in this region. Just as valuable is his knowledge of, and familiarity with, the best tried and tested local experts, contractors and suppliers.
Go to http://www.marinafacilitysolutions.com/ for more information on John's business and to www.zv.hr/index_en.html for more information on the Zagreb Boat Show.
Have a look at our sister site http://www.croatiaonline.blogspot.com/ for more information on Boat Shows in Croatia - direct links:
http://croatiaonline.blogspot.com/2007/04/croatia-online-boat-show-photos.html (and the immediately preceding postings).
Today's photo is of the Split Boat Show which takes place in April each year.
Tuesday, 5 February 2008
We reported on Profil on our sister blog http://www.croatiaonline.blogspot.com/. It's one of the largest bookstores in town and has a great international section.
The Croatia Cruising Companion is also on sale in Algoritam's bookstores in Zagreb, Osijek, Pula, Dubrovnik, Varazdin and Split - good news for us and also for English speaking sailors who don't want to load up their baggage allowance!
Today's picture is of the Joker Centre in Split. It's by the new five star hotel Atrium and Brodarica area.
Saturday, 26 January 2008
Jonathan is also firmly for overnighting in anchorages rather than being " a bird in a cage" in a crowded marina. Fair enough but there are options in between and if you want to keep everyone's morale up then perhaps there's room for a little of both. John Nash, co - author of the Croatia Cruising Companion, has a strong preference for good windy sailing conditions; me a little less so. When we did the sailing for most of our research on the book, we took crew that covered the whole spectrum.
Fortunately, Croatia is a cruising ground that can keep everyone happy. The occasional overnight stay in a marina will refresh and reassure those still getting used to being at sea, anchoring in an idyllic anchorage allows the tranquility seekers their bit of heaven, and finding a remote village harbour with berthing facilities (and sometimes electricity, water and showers) bridges the gap between the two extremes.
You can read the article in full by following this link:
Today's photo is of Polace on Mljet Island - you can anchor in the large bay, or berth at one of the restaurants on lazy lines. You'll be expected to eat at the restaurant that provides the facilities but otherwise you'll have the freedom of the village and the chance to explore Mljet's saltwater lakes.