Sunday, August 14, 2022

Holiday in Adria 2022 - part 1

This summer I spent four weeks on Heron. I travelled to Pula, where Tomaž and Heron were already waiting for me. Then we sailed South. Unfortunately there were a couple of days of bad weather and burja prior to my arrival, and the NE wind was still blowing and the crossing of Kvarner bay was rather bumpy. We slept in Artatore bay on Lošinj, because it is very well protected from the burja. Of course there were plenty of boats there, and although it is a quite a pretty bay with nice clear water, I didn't go snorkelling, and it wasn't just because of crowded bay but also because the water was rather cold.

Next day we sailed to Ist and passed the three small islands of Grebeni (ridges) on the way. The funny thing is that they are called South, Middle and West Ridge. Logically. 

Some years ago I had the bright idea to stop there for snorkelling, because the water around the islands is so deep that no one anchors or even stops there, so it must be very unspoilt. I was sure, my Captain would find a way to anchor Heron for couple of hours. But when we got there we saw that the only not so deep place was between the islands and it was narrow and rocky, so we didn't stop either. But I bet the snorkelling there must be awesome!
I didn't go snorkelling on Ist either, the fresh wind was still blowing and water was still cold. Dipping in the sea was not meant so much for cooling down as for washing. And the same was on Murter. But we had some nice company on both evenings. 
Next night we already slept near Vodice and again I didn't snorkel. Next day our stop was on E side of Kaprije and it looked like the summer was finally there. It was sunny, the sea was warming up as well, there was very little wind and even the evening was warm. It was rather late in the afternoon when we got there and the light was not the best and since I already snorkelled there and it wasn't very good, we were just swimming and lazying around.
Next morning we made a detour to Zmajan and of course I went snorkelling, this time in company. The best thing we saw was couple of beautiful Mediterranean Red sea stars - (Ognjenordeča zvezda or Echinaster sepositus)...
...and couple of Sea flounders (Morski jezik or Arnoglossus spp.)
Then we sailed to Ravni Žakanj in Kornati. Of course in the afternoon I went snorkelling again, after all I had to make up for the whole week. This thing is still a mystery to me, in one of my books it says that these kind of spheres appear in summer and are someone's eggs, but no one knows who's. Usually they are gelatinous translucent spheres lying on the sea bottom, but this was the first that I saw that was attached and floating.
Very pretty Rocky shore hermit crab (Zelenkasti rak samotarec or Clibanarius erythropus) with chequered eyes.
This year I only saw one Bearded fire worm (Ognjeni črv or Hermodice carunculata).
I also found the Red sea squirt (Rdeči kozolnjak or Halocynthia papillosa).
This is the Mediterranean rainbow wrasse (Knez or Coris julis), no other fish I know has the eyes this red
And just because I'm so happy I found so many octopuses (Navadne hobotnice or Octopus vulgaris) that afternoon, I'm posting the photos of all three:


I hope they survived the Italian sailors and local hunters and have the opportunity to grow big and have plenty of babies.
I couldn't resist this pretty face - it is Rusty blenny (Babica papagajka or Parablennius sanguinolentus).
We stayed in Kornati for two more days and I went snorkelling on every day. But even on Kornati the Fan mussels (Leščur or Pinna nobilis) are dead and there are Murex snail eggs (jajca Čokatega voleka or Hexaplex trunculus)...
...or Oysters Ostrige or Ostrea edulis) growing in them. They were destroyed by parasite as in the rest of the Mediterranean, and although I've heard that alive specimens were being seen here and there, I didn't see any.
But the protection of a national park definitely has very positive impact on fish, this is the biggest school of fattest Salemas (salpe or Sarpa salpa) I've ever seen. 
And here are two more octopuses from Kornati.


I was a bit disappointed that I didn't find more nudibranchs - this Hope's Elysia (Pisanček or Thurdilla hopei) was the only one. Sorry for the bad photo.
This monkey face might be a sponge covered in Briozoan (Mahovnjak).
As most people already know, I rarely leave the boat, but since we were tied to the pier on Ravni Žakanj, it was very easy to go for a walk in the evening. We "conquered" the peak of the island and there were some pretty views from the top.
And this is the view over the pier and the anchorage.



Friday, July 8, 2022

It often snows in April...

 And here I am again, after loooong time... Last half a year flew by very fast and not much exciting happened, we are quite well and our families also. 

This year the winter was more "normal" or more how we knew it to be, it was rather cold, with some snow as well. We are feeding the birds every winter and this winter they flocked to our bird feeder again. I have very good and close view of the feeder from one of my windows, and I can hide beneath the curtain and freely watch and photograph them. The woodpecker (veliki detel) is a regular, this year one of his friends came by occasionally as well. 

We do not see the Long-tailed tits (dolgorepke) every winter, but this winter they visited us often. How cute are they?
I got a great birthday present this year, a beautiful cast iron pot and I mastered my bread making technique. Winter is ideal time for such things.

And then, when we could already smell the spring, we got some snow again in April. Here is where the title of this post comes from, I remember titling one last year Sometimes it snows in April (like the song title from Prince or symbol or whatever). Unfortunately there was again some damage on plants and trees that just started to bud and prepared for blooming. Maybe next year the post title here will be It always snows in April?
In April we also sailed our boat from marina in Izola to marina in Pula, where her home base will be for the next year. Pula lays in Croatia on the point of the Istra peninsula and is an old Roman town with very pretty Amphitheater and other ruins. It is also a good starting point for sailing South.
This spring we were seeing lots of jellyfish, these are harmless and don't sting.
At the end of April spring finally arrived, in woods...

...and in my garden as well.

In May we made use of the nice weather and took my mom and her sister to a trip to Logarska dolina (valley), a very pretty place surrounded by mountains.
And then in June the weather switched gears and we got full blown Summer with over 30 degC almost every day. Captain is already on Heron since the beginning of the June, I had some work to do an am joining him tomorrow. We plan on sailing to Dalmatia and then return to Pula at the end of the month, and we will have some friends aboard occasionally. I'm looking forward to lots of good snorkelling and good company as well. So I guess the next post will be all about snorkelling and full of under water photos again.



Saturday, January 1, 2022

All the best in 2022!

 HAPPY NEW YEAR 2022! Lots of everything that was missing in 2021 and good health, good fun and some carelessness. 

We are well, not much to complain about. Beside the obvious... Hope you are all well also.

Heron is in the marina in Izola.

We hadn't had much winter here, so for holiday feeling I'm posting the only photo with snow that I have.




Monday, October 4, 2021

September in Adria - part 2

The next day we sailed to Kornati. The entrance fee to the national park is quite hefty, but the area really has a magnetic charm. Our first stop was in the bay of Lojena on island Levrnaka. It is supposed to have the most beautiful beach in Adria and there are huge number of boats bringing tourists from mainland for day trips. Even on this day, when the high season already ended and the South wind was bringing some waves into the bay, it was packed with boats and there was way too many people for my taste. And I didn't find the beach that special, I've seen at least 10 prettier ones in Adria. So I did as I always do when I want to avoid outside world - I went snorkelling. I didn't find anything really special under the water, but there were some interesting purple things.  Like this red algae (kamenolista alga or Lithophyllum sticlaforme)...

... and a Calcarerous pink algae (janija or Jania spp). Sorry for the bad photo, but this colour is really something else, usually these things are white or very light pink.
The Hermit crab (rak samotarec) was hidden in the shell except for the tentacles and eyes.

There were plenty of Flounders (morski jeziki orArnoglossus spp.) there, but they were rather small.

Next we sailed to island Mana and then we anchored not far away from it between two small islets. I went snorkelling again. Red things really catch my eyes, like this Red encrusting bryozoan (mahovnjak rdeči skorjevec or Schizobrachiella sanguinea).
But it was the multitude of Octopuses (hobotnice) that really made me very happy. This is the first one with red eyes.
A pretty murex shell.
And this is the second one.
There were other things worth photographing as well - like this Honeycomb bath sponge with red algae (konjska spužva z obrobljeno luskavko or Hippospongia communis with Peyssonnelia polymorpha)...
...and Blood-red tubeworm (oranžni cevkar or Protula intestinum)...
...and Mediterranean red sea star (ognjenordeča zvezda or Echinaster sepositus).
There was a third octopus in between and this is the fourth one.
This beautiful shell of Giant tun snail (sodec or Tonna galea) gave the octopus away.
Before I swam back to the boat, I found the fifth octopus. I was over the moon to see so many, this was more of them in an hour than I saw the whole summer. And it is a clear indication of what a huge difference the marine reserves can make.
Next we sailed along island of Veliki Kornat with it's fences made of stone. The islands here weren't always so barren, a couple of hundreds years ago Venetians chopped most of the trees down for building ships, and the sheep and goats ate the rest of vegetation. Then erosion took away so much soil that trees couldn't grow back.
In the afternoon we sailed to small island of Ravni Žakan and anchored for the night. We were surprised to still find so many boats there, especially near Kameni Žakan, where we originally wanted to anchor. But we found a good spot, a bit away from the restaurant, that we had for ourselves.
Next morning I went snorkelling again, I didn't want to miss another opportunity to snorkel in such a clear water. And almost under our boat I found another octopus.

The pretty blue fish in front of yellow sponge are the young Mediterranean chromis (spužva žveplenjača in mladi črniki or Aplysina aerophoba and young Chromis chromis), the only coral fish in Mediterranean.

This year I didn't see so many Mediterranean fanworm (spalancanijev cevkar or Sabella spallanzani).
A colonial sea squirt (spužvasti plaščar or Didemnum spp) of pretty apricot colour was also there.

In the afternoon we sailed to East side of Kaprije and had a great evening with delicious food in restaurant Kata.

Next morning the water ship came into bay and we watched how the ship came more and more out of the sea as the water it carried was pumped into the cistern on land.

Later on I went snorkelling. It was not as pretty and colourful as in Kornati, but there were still a few interesting things there, like the Spiny starfish (bradavičasta morska zvezda or Marthasterias glacialis).
The Longstriped blenny (črnoboka babica or Parablennius rouxi) was patiently posing for me.

And I couldn't resist another photo of Red tube worm (pisani pokrovčkar or Serpula vermicularis).

As it turned out, this was my last snorkelling expedition for this year.

Later in the day we sailed on to Murter. On the way we almost got part of the regatta.

Next day we made a stop in pretty town of Betina.


It is the season for fig drying.

That day we sailed to Ždrelac and the next to Muline on Ugljan. And on Saturday it was time to sail back to Petrčane and then we drove back home and Captain stayed on the boat for few more weeks.