Friday, August 19, 2016

Sailing holiday - part 2 - the wild part

We woke to a nice sunny, but fresh morning. In the night Burja (strong N-E wind) cooled down the air and sea also, and I wasn't really tempted to go snorkelling. The bay where we were anchored - Uvala Vela Galbočica - was very serene and pretty, with fragrant shrubs and low trees growing all around the bay, and there were only two other boats anchored all the way inside the bay. While we were having a long lazy breakfast, a deer came out of the woods, walked along the shore for couple of seconds and then disappeared in the woods again. Wow! I was so happy that I wasn't in the water and was able to see it.

We set our sails right after breakfast, our destination for the day was bay Sveta Fumija W of town Rab, we were meeting some friends there. It is not such a terrible distance from Cres to there, but we knew we were going to sail almost against the wind. To our luck wind was more from the N, so sailing was not bad.

Next day we sailed to Vela luka on S-E side of Krk. On the way we made a stop for swimming on S side of Havaji on island Rab. The water was still rather fresh from all the wind, but I figured this might be my last chance to go snorkelling for a while. The visibility wasn't the best, since the water was mixed with lots of sand because of the wind.

First I checked the rocky edge of the bay and under the rocks and ledges I saw plenty of Tunicates (Rožnatih plaščarjev).

There were some cliffs at the beginning of the bay and there were many sea gulls there.

I swam back in a bit deeper water over sandy bottom and I saw this Slender goby (Peščeni glavač)...

... and this Weever (Navadni morski zmaj). It is first time I saw it swimming and was surprised that it was so pretty and colourful...

... usually I get to see this side of it. Which is also not bad.

In the evening we anchored in Vela luka. After a small dispute with Italian skipper that wanted to anchor his sailboat 10m from ours - luckily his crew convinced him to move the boat further away, my "bitch-wings" and reasoning didn't suffice, we went to shore with the dinghy to have dinner with friends in a local restaurant. 

There were plenty of sheep there, as always. This one was probably expecting some money or at least food from me for taking a photo of her.

Next morning we sailed towards Klimno. Our original plan was to stop at Luka Srščica for swimming, but with weather forecast promising showers and thunderstorms we decided to sail further and make a stop at the entrance into Klimno lagoon. Before we made it there, lots of clouds appeared in the sky and even some drops of rain, so we figured we better sail all the way into the lagoon and tie the boat to buoys before weather gets nasty. But we didn't make it. When we were right at the beginning of the channel that leads to the lagoon, a big black cloud came from the West and it started to rain heavily. We were wet in seconds. I still had the time to get my camera and make some photos - of captain dripping wet with rain..

... of shoreline through the rain ...

... and shoreline disappearing in the rain.

And after that it was the end of photos, visibility was almost less than 30m because of rain and the wind also started to get stronger and stronger and we had all our hands full. And if it wasn't enough, the hail started to fall, luckily it wasn't particularly big and didn't do any damage to the boat, sails or even bimini or sprayhood, bit it was quite unpleasant when it was hitting captain and me.

I was only wishing no boat was coming towards us in that narrow and flat channel. We had radar on, but there would be very little we could do in such a weather, especially with our draught. So we had our eyes peeled and our fingers crossed. Few moments later there was a lightning and almost immediately after it a loud thunder. At the same time all our depth gauges and some other instruments went dead. Oh no! Navigating a narrow flat channel and lagoon without the depth gauge is not good! Luckily, our chart plotter with GPS seemed to still work, so we could navigate on chart and according to our previous routes. Luckily we were there so many times before and we also knew the area very well.

Once in the lagoon we wanted to anchor the boat to wait out the storm, the bottom there is muddy and it holds well. We prepared for anchoring, turned the boat into the wind and captain ran to the anchor winch to throw the hook. We figured wind will push the boat backwards and the anchor will bite into the ground and there was nothing I needed to do on the engine. But a moment after the anchor was in the water, a very strong wind gust came from behind, from 180 deg different direction than few seconds ago, and pushed the boat over the chain. I jumped to the engine, put into reverse, but only with all the RPM's we got I managed to move the boat backwards. I'm not sure how strong the wind was,  our wind instrument was also not working, but I would guess 40 to 50 knots, gusts probably more. 

Few moments later we were anchored with ample of chain and we relaxed a bit. And so did the weather - the blackest part of the cloud with most rain and lightnings moved towards East to mainland. It was still raining and there was plenty of chilly wind, but nothing like before. Talking about being at the wrong place at the wrong time! 

In about half an hour almost all was over. We checked the boat to see if there was any damage. Luckily hail didn't make any and we also didn't see any damage on the boat from anchor chain. We reset the instruments several time and eventually they all came to life, even the depth gauge that was resisting the most. The engine ignition was also working fine. We were very happy to just get the fright but no damage.

An hour later we were tied to the buoys and after cleaning the boat a bit and a lunch we drove back home.

But we were back already the next evening. Captain had his own plans for next couple of days and I stayed on Heron. Next day, on Saturday, new crew joined me - Captain's cousin with his girlfriend and her son. Plan was to sail around the Krk and Rab a bit and pick Captain in Punat on Wednesday evening. It was my first time being a Captain (or is it Captainess?) on Heron, or any boat, but I was expecting a nice weather and easy crew, so I was just a little nervous.

On Sunday we sailed to Uvala Petrina first and made a stop for swimming. Then we sailed on to Vela luka for the night. Weather forecast was again promising some unstable weather, with lots of rain in the night and strong Burja (N-E wind) in the morning, that would grow stronger during the day. To get out of Vela luka we had to sail through Senj strait, where the wind is usually the strongest. So we decided to leave Vela luka as early as possible and sail with the wind through Senj strait and then in a broad reach towards Rab, where we could hide in any of the bays on S-W side.

Rain started at around 5 in the morning and that was the end of sleep for me. Rain was accompanied by strong wind gusts from all directions, so Heron was pushed around the anchor violently. This went on until 8.30, when the rain stopped and wind became more steady. After a quick but gentle breakfast we sailed off. My crew were non-sailors, so I tried to explain what is waiting for us when we get out of the bay, we could already see the white caps of waves from the anchorage. When we reached the bay entrance there were 1 to 1,5 m waves and Burja at around 40 knots. We pointed the boat to S-W and pulled out our small jib. The motion was not pleasant because of the waves from behind, but we were doing 8 to 9 knots. And I knew once we came behind island of Grgur, the waves would almost disappear and the ride would be calmer. We got some rain, but it wasn't too bad, and after a while we could see the island Rab in the distance. But what worried me was the wall of dark clouds, reaching all the way down to the sea on the West in direction of island Cres. I thought, maybe this was the rain that Burja blew back to the West, but after couple of minutes I realised it was a new front coming straight at us. First the wind changed direction, then it started to gain strength, so we reefed the sail first and then when wind was getting towards 50 knots, we rolled it in and turned on the engine. Heavy rain followed the wind and we were soaked in seconds, because of waves we were all in cockpit, I didn't want anyone to get seasick. For the next two hours we were washed by one shower after another and rocked by one wind gust after another. I was only happy that my crew took it so well, nobody was sick or panicked, I'm not sure if I would have time and energy to deal with anything more than the boat. 

As soon as we reached island Rab, we turned into Supetarska Draga and anchored between the islands of Havaji. I figured that this was the only place nearby where we would be protected from the wind from any direction. Already as we were anchoring, the wind turned from West to Burja (N-E) again. Luckily there was enough space there - there were only three other sailboats and a motorboat there - so I was able to anchor well despite the strong wind, but I put a remote control for anchor winch on my wish list.

We stayed there for the rest of the day, that actually wasn't too bad. In early afternoon sun came out, wind calmed down a bit, so I could even roll the jib out and in again, it was rolled way to tightly, but you can't help it in such a wind. And I even went for a quick swim a couple of times. In the evening we had a nice meal, tortillas filled with sauteed beef, salsa, sour cream and lots of veggies. And beer and wine. It looks like this has become a classic for this anchorage.

In the evening the Burja became stronger again, but we were anchored well and had a good and long night sleep. Next morning I even did some snorkelling, but the visibility was rather poor, because the wind stirred the water up. This Cuttlefish (Sipa) was the most interesting thing I saw.

In the afternoon we sailed on to bay Sveta Fumija near town of Rab.  The wind was gentle, just right for sailing on just a jib. Once there, my crew took the dinghy and rowed to the shore and walked to the town, and I had a quiet evening on the boat.

The sunset that evening was particularly  pretty.

Next day, on Wednesday, we sailed or rather motored toward North. Only when we reached the West end of Senj strait there was still enough Burja so we could sail with 4 knots. Once we reached Krk we made a stop for swimming and lunch, and in the evening we sailed into Punat lagoon and anchored near the marina. Later in the evening we picked the Captain up from Punat marina and brought him to Heron. Phew! I was glad I wasn't the Captain any more.

The relief was even bigger the next day when we saw weather forecast - on Friday evening a new storm was coming, with even stronger Burja on Saturday and Sunday than what we already had. Oh no! Well, that didn't leave us much choice for our sailing plans - we wanted to be in Klimno tied to the buoys by early afternoon on Friday. We stopped in town Krk, where crew went ashore. Later we sailed towards North and anchored in Malinska bay. Next morning we sailed further North and under Krk bridge and into Klimno lagoon. In early afternoon, after a bit of fiddling with the buoys and the lines, we got Heron tied and on early evening we were having a nice meal in Oleander restaurant. In the evening we were watching a loud thunderstorm passing to the South of us, but in the night we also receivied our portion of heavy rain and in strong wind. In the morning the rain stopped but wind got even stronger. In early afternoon Captain brought the crew to Krk airport, but their plane couldn't land because of strong wind, so they were transported to Pula, from where they flew home. Later we thoroughly cleaned the boat and left Klimno in the evening. The Krk bridge was still closed for buses, trucks, motorcycles, mobile homes and any vehicle taller than a car. So we were lucky and were allowed to pass, and got home at 10 in the evening, both very tired.

And when are we returning to our boat? Don't know about the Captain, but I'm not going until somebody promises me good weather. Or at least no storms. Is that too much to ask?

No comments:

Post a Comment