Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The shortest day of the year

On Sunday, the shortest day of the year, we drove to Krk to check up on Heron. Day was sunny and relatively warm, it felt more like spring than winter. Not that we minded. 

We were pleased to see that Heron was well and dry. These are our neighbours.

We didn't have much to do, our priority was to tape over the hatch that was leaking and to take back with us the mattresses covers to wash and dry them. We also measured some other hatches that we decided to renew - we have to order them first and then next year the old ones come out and new ones will be built in. Captain also connected the household batteries, that are constantly topped up by solar panels, with engine battery that could drain out during the winter.

After all was done, we returned to the pier.

We had to paddle, the community dinghy was missing the outboard.

We drank a cup of coffee in the afternoon sun and walked around for a while. I was hoping to take some underwater photos of the tunicates in the port, I even remembered to take my camera with me, but the water was not very clear and the visibility was rather poor. So it will have to wait for the next time.

On our way back we made a stop near the mud marsh. There was a Heron there and a White Egret, and a lot of other birds. Unfortunately it was impossible to get closer.

In summer people actually bathe here, the mud is supposed to be good for the skin.

It was a lovely day, even though it was so short. And from here it is only getting better, whith all the holidays and days growing longer!

Happy Holiday and all the best in 2015 to all!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

It is that time of the year again

Can't believe it's been so long from my last post. This means not much has happened in the meantime and the time of the year is not very inspiring for writing and taking photos.

In November we managed to find a sunny day to drive to Krk to see if everything was ok with Heron. We did some boat projects, we changed the oil and oil filter in Heron's engine, and we emptied all the cabinets and lockers and took all the food home with us. Unfortunately just before leaving we noticed that one of the port hatches was leaking more than we thought and the water, which was plenty due to rainy weather, soaked one of the mattresses and it started to mould. And I thought mould and mildew were the things of warm and moist Caribbean summers! We moved the mattress, put some tarp in place to catch the water, but we didn't have anything to tape down or mend the porthole, so we will need to do it another time.

Amongst all the work and worries we found some time to have a nice lunch right on the pier. Sitting on the pier in the sun, eating grilled calamari and sipping the delicious local wine is my kind of seaside trip. The sea was very calm and even the water in the port was very clear, so I took some photos of things in the water. Unfortunately only with my phone and from above the water.

This is one of the Tunicates, growing on the line.

And Mediterranean fan worms (Spalanzanijevi cevkarji) are growing from the pier wall.

The small white things are also Tunicates, the translucent delicate kind, similar to ones I found in Coco bay in Barbuda.

I was lucky to get another great book about under water life. It is a book called Naše morje (Our sea), written by Marjan Richter, who is also the author of more than 800 photos found in the book. The photos were taken in Gulf of Trieste, so really in our Slovenian sea, during his dives in last 50 years. Photos are totally beautiful, and although the book is not so systematic as "Pod gladino Mediterana" by Tom Turk, that I got this summer, I still learned a lot of new things. For example, I now know what the funny little black bells on photo below are - they are the Sepia eggs (sipina jajčeca), neatly tied to stem of Mediterranean fan worm.

The winter is almost here, days are getting short and grey. Every year this time has the same effect on me - I start dreaming of sun, turquoise water, palm trees, warmth. Places like Maledives, Caribbean, Thailand. For years it was a starting gun for me to plan a vacation, we usually flew to some place warm in January. Exception was last year, when we had a feeling we just came home from 2-years vacation in Caribbean, so the urge was not yet there. But it's back again this year. Not yet sure what we're going to do about it, but I can certainly daydream.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Indian summer

The autumn was good to us, it looked like the weather tried to make up for the crappy summer. I was lucky to travel to London again, this time purely for pleasure.

Heron in Hyde park. The bird, not the boat

Serpentine in the evening

St James park was still very colourful

One of my favourite buildings - the London Hippodrome Casino

Beautiful Leadenhall Market

Watching the boats sailing into the St Katharine Docks marina from the Thames

A squirrel in Regents park

With winter approaching, one starts to think of holidays. I decided to make candied orange slices, dipped in chocolate. Some turned out really pretty, the ones that didn't we ate right away. They were delicious.

Last weekend was still sunny and warm, so we spend it on the boat. There was no wind, so we could not sail much. We sailed to Luka Srščica, a beautiful bay, where we lazied around, swam and did some  boat chores.

Looks like since yesterday autumn is over and the winter is coming. The remains of Gonzalo brought storm, heavy rain, floods again and cold. It seems unreal, that only a couple of day ago we had such a nice weekend on Heron and I was swimming in the sea.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Sailing the Adriatic - from Olib to Krk

Here is the last sequel of our sailing and snorkelling summer trip.

After leaving island of Olib on Tuesday, 12th of August, we first sailed to small island of Delfin just West of North edge of island Pag. I was hoping for good snorkelling again, but didn't expect so many boats. When I took the photo many have already left, when I counted the boats on our arrival there were more than 30. Still we dropped the anchor, a bit further away from the crowd.

Captain declared the water too cold for swimming and stayed on the boat, and I went snorkelling. There was a lot of sea grass and it was not very colourful and alive. I found this Jania (Janija in Slovene), a member of red algae.

And as it should be, there was also an octopus.

Shortly after I came out of the water, we sailed off. Weather forecast was really not good, in the night there was stronger wind from South forecast, which would turn to West and then to North-East towards the morning. We were discussing where to anchor for the night, to be safe and have a quiet night. We checked several anchorages  and ended on island Rab in Supetarska Draga just before dark. We were tired and hungry, sailing lasted longer than we anticipated, but we were happy to have a good anchorage for all kinds of wind.

Next morning we sailed off towards Krk. For the first time in last weeks two dolphins came to play at our bow.

After first stopping in Stara Baška to meet up with friends, we sailed on to Grgur, where we stayed for the night. In the afternoon I went snorkelling of course and I was surprised to again find some things I haven't seen before.

This is a Cylinder anemone, but I like the Slovene name much better - it is Peščena roža, which would translate to Sand rose. And it deserves a poetic name, it is really pretty.

And this is Peacock worm (Pahljačasti cevkar), I've seen it before but didn't make a photo.

The forecast was again funny, after strong South wind during the afternoon, the wind was supposed to turn to West and then North West towards morning. We decided to stay, although the bay where we anchored, was on the western side of the island. We were hoping that maybe the forecast was not so very accurate this time. Unfortunately it was. Wind turned at about 6 in the morning and at 7 the waves were rolling into the bay, rocking Heron quite a bit. But we were still ok, I was feeling sorry for our neighbours, two guys in a motor boat anchored between us and the coast, their boat was not very big and was jumping on the waves like a young bull. But after a couple of hours wind started turning towards NE and soon waves became smaller.

Before noon I was in the water again. I saw the Parasitic anemone (Progasta stražna vetrnica), this time without the solitary crab. It was doing some kind of exercise or dance, moving and undulating and it was great to watch.

And this is another Sand rose, this time in different colours.

Maybe there was a shortage of Hermit crabs in this bay, because I found a few more of Parasitic anemone (Progasta stražna vetrnica), just sitting in the sand alone.

This one is again a first for me, a pretty little dragon, named Weever (Navadni morski zmaj).

When I was taking photos of this particularly beautiful Sand rose, I noticed the Mysid shrimps (Roječe kozice) above it.

And they are real shrimps, with bulging eyes, legs, tentacles...

And this was the trophy of this bay - the Mediterranean Feather star (Morska lilija). Again, I prefer the Slovene name, translated it would be Sea lily, I guess elegant and delicate creature like this deserves a poetic name. Her tropical relatives are also elegant, but brighter and more colourful (check it out here).

In the afternoon we sailed back to Krk and that evening we were already home.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sailing the Adriatic - from Tri sestrice to Olib

And we're back to under water photos again :-)

The evening of Monday, 11th of August, was really pretty. We saw rabbits on the island and a big owl was flying by, probably hoping to get a rabbit.  We had a very peaceful and calm night at Tri sestrice.

In the morning, after a swim and a breakfast, we had to sail off.

Our plan was to sail as far North as we could, and make a stop for snorkelling at couple of small islands South of Silba. They are a bit away from any inhabited islands, so I hoped there would not be many tourists there and the snorkelling would be good. But even before we reached them, we saw they were quite steep, and indeed the chart showed that the water around them was rather deep and there was no good anchorage. We sailed closer, took a close look and decided to sail on to Olib.

We anchored in a wide sandy bay on West side of Olib. I wasn't expecting to find much in the water, but was pleasantly surprised. It had the same feeling as Marie Galante (you can see it here and here ) in Caribbean - from the outside I could see very clear water, plenty of sea cucumbers, but not much more. But then under the water it was totally beautiful.

Almost right under our boat was this car tire, full of empty shells. I knew that the octopus couldn't be far away. 

And as I looked closer, I found her, squeezed between the tire and the shells. If she keeps eating so many shells, soon there will not be enough space for her in the tire.

The shells were obviously there for longer time, a Trumpet anemone (Marmornata morska vetrnica) was growing among them.

There were also some Tunicates near, the White sea-squirts (Bradavičasti kozolnjaki), in company of Yellow sponges (Spužve žveplenjače).

Here is the Hermit crab (Raki samotarji) section - look how pretty blue eyes they have. And most of them carry the Parasitic anemone (Progasto stražno vetrnico) on their house...

... and this one lives in Murex shell (v Čokatem voleku).

These are the eggs of one of the Nudibranches (Golega polža) - it looks like a delicate lace.

This was one of my best discoveries - the Long-snouted seahorse (Dolgonosi morski konjiček). This was the second one that I saw in nature in my life.

Tried to get better photo from different perspective, but the poor guy tried to disappear into the ground, he was clearly not happy with me swimming so close, so I took another photo, said thank you  and left him alone.

And another pretty blue eyed Hermit crab.

I found a big octopus, don't know if this was the one from the tire.

Next morning was calm and sunny, water was so clear, I could see the octopus castle from the boat. And of course I took some photos.

After the breakfast I went snorkelling again, I didn't want to miss the opportunity to snorkel in such a great place. I found another type of tunicate, it is Rožnati plaščar.

When I was taking the photo of this Potato sponge (Ledvičaste spužve), I noticed the anemone.

It is probably the Daisy anemone (Sončna vetrnica), it was too hidden beneath the rock to get better photo and be sure.

As I was swimming around, a big group of fish started to follow me. Maybe they thought I'm on the hunt for food and they could get some crumbs.

I think this is another Tunicate, it could be Nagubani kozolnjak. It is hard to tell though, because it is so overgrown with algae.

This is one of the Tube worms, the Twin fan worm (Dvoperjaničar).

This is one of my favourite fish, the Redmouth Goby (Rdečeusti glavač).

I finally found a Nudibranch - this one is called Platydoris argo (Ploščati perjaničar). After this one I found three more of the same kind, I learned what to look for.

This is a Murex shell (Čokati volek), alive and well. Not just a shell inhabited by Hermit crab.

I have no clue, what this is. Maybe some kind of eggs. They were tied around the tube of the Mediterranean tube worm (Spalancanijevega cevkarja).

When I was swimming back towards the boat, I saw this little beauty swimming in the water. I have to take a lot of photos to get a couple of decent ones, since both of us were swimming up and down in the water. It is probably a Tubellaria (Bradavičasti vrtinčar).

Despite the beautiful anchorage, clear water and great snorkelling, we had to move on. I was sorry, it was such a pretty place and great weather, the summer was finally back. But we had to be on Krk the next day, and according to weather forecast the bad weather was coming from the South in the night, so we would not be able to stay in this anchorage anyway.

Shortly after the noon we sailed off,  towards North again.