Sunday, July 3, 2016

Sailing from Krk to Olib

Although this is going to be a sailing, or rather snorkelling post, I'm posting this pretty dragon that I found in my garden, first. It is continuation of the last post, for which I was told that it belongs more into the gardening or "salad" blog, and that the blog should be named Heron Salad instead of Heron Sailing. But I promise this is the last non-underwater photo for next several posts. So the blog should maybe be named Heron Snorkelling? By the way, this little beast is called Scarce chaser (Črni ploščec or Libellula fulva).

This year summer took quite a while to finally start, and the spring was rainy and cold. So our sailing season started late, too. Last Monday Captain and me drove to Krk, we planned on doing some boat projects for two days and then sail with our friends for a week. We had to pack a lot of tools, food and stuff for the boat, so we didn't leave Žabnica until 1 in the afternoon. Just when we got to Klimno it started to rain again. We managed to get all the stuff on the boat without getting too wet, but it wasn't the start of the holiday we wished for. On the boat we hurried to pack all the food into the fridge, but the fridge didn't want to start. Instantly our boat projects priority changed and the fridge became the top one. It took us three hours to figure out that the cooling pump was not working (our fridge is water cooled), then to take it apart, clean it thoroughly and spray it with lubricant and then put it together again and install it. To our relief fridge started working and none of the food was wasted. While our mood improved, it was getting too late to start another project.

The night was rather cold, luckily we have enough blankets on boat, because I needed three blankets just for myself. Next day we exchanged the broken cable that connects the radar with chart plotter, we changed and cleaned all the water and water maker filters, and cleaned the boat thoroughly. The weather was nicer than the day before, we even took time for a swim in the sea, but night was cold again. Well, one blanket less cold than the previous one.

On Wednesday morning our friends arrived. We loaded the boat with some more food and luggage and filled all the water tanks and sailed off towards Luka Srščica where we made a stop for swimming and a lunch. I even put a mask and fins on, but water was still a bit too cold for a longer swim. In the afternoon we sailed to Vela luka. A strong NE wind called burja was blowing and sea was choppy and uncomfortable. But sailing through Senj strait is almost never calm and easy. Couple of dolphins came by and made a voyage a bit nicer. By the time we dropped the anchor in Vela luka we were thoroughly shaken and fed up with wind and waves, but it didn't calm down much. Wind stayed strong, more to the East, and the waves managed to roll all the way into the long bay. In the evening it got really warm, but the night was rolly and uncomfortable.

After a short swim next morning we were eager to leave the rolly anchorage. We made a stop on West side of Grgur. On my previous visits the bay has proved to be a good snorkelling ground, so I couldn't wait to snorkel there again. But this sea urchin in a glass jar was the only interesting thing I saw. I hope it was just my eyes not yet seeing things, and all the interesting things didn't just disappear. You know like when you go mushroom picking for the first time in season and in the beginning you don't find anything until your eyes adjust to shapes and colours.

The sea urchin is using a cluster of eggs for camouflage, but I haven't figure out yet who the eggs belong to.

In the afternoon we sailed to Rab and anchored in Hawaii at the beginning of the Supetarska Draga bay. After a long sunny day it was great to swim in warm sea. Next morning I went snorkelling. The bottom was sandy with patches of sea grass in water deeper than 4m. I found this Sand rose (Peščena roža or Cerianthus membranaceus)...

... and this Spiny starfish (Bradavičasta morska zvezda or Mathraterias glacialis).

You won't believe how much running around these guys gave me. They are one of few kinds of Blennies (Babic) that didn't want to be photographed, even after I explained they are going to become famous after I post their photos on Internet. It is called Rusty blenny (Babica papagajka or Prablennius sanguinolentus). I saw plenty of them also in other places, at one spot they were literally sitting on every rock, but quickly disappeared as soon I pointed my camera at them, so this remains the best photo I've got.

This well fed creature is a Giant goby (Skalni glavač or Gobius cobitis). I saw several more and they were all nice and plump.

This one was a bit more difficult to identify, I think it might be a dark specimen of Brown comber (Volkec or Serranus hepatus), but I'm not sure.

And this was the "catch of the day", if not of entire trip. It is a Sea mouse (Morska miš or Aphrodita aculeata), it is a nocturnal animal, and here it was wandering across the sandy bottom in the middle of the day. I couldn't believe my luck, if it wasn't so covered with sand, I would be even happier.

I dove down several times to make sure I had a good photo and as I got too annoying, the mouse pointed its bristles upwards to warn me not to come too close.

Sand roses come in different colours.

I was happy to find a Sea lemon (Morska pomaranča or Thetya citrina), although it's "only" a sponge.

I've seen the Murex snail (Čokati volek ali Murex trunculus) eggs clusters plenty of times, but here it looks like it was just being made.

It was a surprisingly good snorkelling, despite mostly sandy bottom and plenty of motor boats anchored there. Shortly after noon we moved to next pretty bay, to Uvala Valsika. There were again lots of small motor boats in the bay, so we anchored behind them in a bit deeper water. I didn't miss the opportunity to go snorkelling again. I checked out the rocky North side of the bay and it was great. There was abundance of Tunicates (Rožnati plaščar or Sidnyum elegans) there, so how could it not be great.  They are really pretty, and if you look at the smaller colony on first photo you can see how individual specimens look like.

This little beauty was also a new discovery. It is a Black-headed blenny (Črnoglava babica or Lipophrys nigriceps).

How do I know it wasn't one of the Threefinn blennies (Pritlikavi sprehajalček or Tripterygion melanurus) that I already saw last year? Because this little fellow was sitting right on the next rock so I could check the differences right there. I couldn't find an English name, Italian name is Peperoncino minore.

While I like chasing fish with my camera, it is far easier to photograph the things that are not moving - like this Green algae (Pecljata pahljačka or Flabellia petiolata)...

... or this Red algae (Lepa halimenija or Halymenia floresia).

And I couldn't resist this Tompot blenny (Velika babica or Parablennius gattorugine), I love the pattern on it and especially the elaborate lappets (tentacles above the eyes).

In the evening we sailed on and anchored in front of town of Rab. In the evening the rest of the crew went for a walk in the town, I stayed on board and relaxed and swam. Next morning we topped the fuel and water and bought some fresh bread, fruit and vegetables for next couple of days. Then we sailed South towards Olib. On the way we stopped in nice bay on Pag for a swim.

We arrived at Olib late afternoon and dropped the anchor in bay to the West of the island, like we always do. I couldn't wait to put my mask and fins on and go snorkelling. And Olib didn't disappoint. 

I saw this several times now - it looks like a stock exchange of shells and anemones for hermit crabs (rake samotarce).They have to "move" to a bigger house when they grow too big for the old one.

And among them was this naked hermit crab, probably getting himself a new house.

And here is a Tunicates section - a Black Sea Squirt (Črni kozolnjak or Phallusia fumigata)...

... the White Sea Squirt (Bradavičasti kozolnjak or Phallusia mamillata)...

... and here there are even two Tunicates on the same photo.

Here it looks like the sea urchins are feasting on Murex snail egg cluster.

And for the end of this post - a pretty sea landscape with Tunicate, of course.

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