Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sailing the Adriatic - from Murter to Hvar

Weather on Saturday, August the 2nd, morning was nice, sunny and windy, and the sailing was good. Our first stop was on island Kaprije in a nice bay with crystal clear water, of course we were not alone there. Water was not very warm, but I had to go snorkelling.

At first it didn't look like much, but at a second glance I started to discover pretty and interesting things. Like this member of red algae, called Bledi grmiček .


This Violet sea urchin or Belobodičasti morski ježek, camouflaged itself with the empty shell of another urchin.

This is one of the prettiest sponges, the Encrusting orange sponge or Spužva žilavka.

There were more fish than I expected, these are Salemas or Salpe.

This pretty landscape was under a rock - here we have the boring sponge or Spužva vrtalka, those are the yellow round things in the middle, sitting in what appears to be the Blue sponge or Modra spužva. Larger thing to the right is a solitary coral, called Pig-tooth coral or Kamnito nakovalce. And the orange round thing with needles to the left is, I think, another sponge, called  Ščetinasti sodček (Sycon raphanus). Pretty, isn't it?

There is a multitude of tube worms, all very elegant. This one is Red-spotted horseshoe or Apnenčasti cevkar.

In the afternoon we sailed further and found a good anchorage for the night on South-East of island Žirje.

Sunday morning was cloudy. A boat came by, selling bread, fresh vegetable and fruit and even ice cream, and we treated ourselves to a big and yummy breakfast. The clouds that were coming from the North-West were darker and darker, so we sailed towards South just when it started to rain. We even got some wind, but luckily not much rain. Since the day was grey and not very suitable for swimming, we decided to sail on through the day and in the afternoon we anchored Heron in one of the bays on the South of Šolta. It was already getting late, but I wanted to see how underwater world looks like. And I found some nice things again.

This is Bledi grmiček (Amphiroa rigida) again, and next to it some Hydroids, or Morska peresca.

This is one of the red algae, called Topovejnata lavrencija (Laurencia obtusa).

The Two banded sea bream or Fratrc

When I first saw this thing, I thought it's some sort of plastic packaging material. I took a photo anyway, and later found it in my book - it is actually a cluster of eggs of Murex snail or polža Voleka. Amazing.

This is a Purple sea urchin or Vijoličasti morski ježek, dressed in algae.

This is Black scorpionfish or Škarpoč.

This is an Octopus or Hobotnica, trying to blend in with algae, rocks and sponges of type Ledvičasta spužva.

Couldn't resist some more of Hydroids or Morska peresca (Aglaophenia), they were one of my favourites already in Caribbean.

This is the pretty bay or almost fjord on Šolta, that we spent the night in. Water is pretty deep here, so one has to throw the anchor, reverse the boat and then tie it to the rocks, it is call Med-mooring. Our boat was one of two there, we were moored a bit right of the house.

We sailed on to the Pakleni otoci near Hvar. Hvar is a very posh and crowded destination, so we knew there would be plenty of boats. We found a nice spot in one of the bays and a little later I was in the water. Near our anchor chain I found this Scaldfish or Morski jezik (Arnoglossus).

Soft next to spiky...

This is one of Blennies (Babica), I don't know exactly which one, sitting on an orange tube worm among sponges (Krompirjasta spužva)

Kardinal fish (Morski Kraljiček) looks the same as its Caribbean relatives.

A mullet (Cipelj)

That evening we had a great dinner in one of our favourite restaurant in Adriatic, in Dionis. It was worth going ashore and break our people-hater habit for it. Still, visiting Dionis outside the high season is more personal and intimate experience, and you have a chance to eat some of the seasonal delicacies like baby artichokes or wild bore.

Next morning was sunny, we took time to have long breakfast and go for a swim.

This was our bay, it was really pretty and water beautifully green and blue.

But there were a lot of boats...

... even a group of boats that had a party the previous night till very late... or should I say early.

We didn't stop in town of Hvar, we just sailed by on our way back North. In high season it is really hard to moor or anchor there. And we didn't really need anything, so after a day and a night in crowded anchorage we decided to keep on being people-haters.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sailing the Adriatic - from Krk to Murter

Past two and a half weeks we were sailing, the rough plan was to sail South all the way to Pakleni otoci and Hvar and then back. I might have mentioned before that weather this summer was not very summery - it was way too rainy and cold. We were hoping that maybe August will be better and that it must be better further South. 

We sailed of on Tuesday, 29th of July. We sailed along the East coast of Krk towards South.

We chose bay Mala luka on Krk for the night.  Just when we sailed into the bay, the rain started again.

The night was rather calm, but in the early morning a storm came with lots of wind and even more rain. What a start of holiday!

Weather improved later that morning and we sailed further along island Rab and then further along Pag. In late afternoon there was another storm coming towards us. We were still several miles away from the next protected anchorage.

As it was coming closer the colours changed and it really looked menacing.

Soon the storm caught us and we were wet in seconds. We stowed the sails away in time and were motoring through the gusts of wind, that were reaching over 40 knots. I had the feeling the hurricane season has moved from Caribbean to Adria, only it was colder. We just hoped that if anyone was out on the water in that weather, they used the radar too, since the visibility was maybe 30 meters.

An hour later we anchored in a protected bay on island Pag and the storm passed us towards North. We were wet and cold and hungry, and I was starting to miss my couch in my dry and warm and cosy house. That night I added another blanket to two blankets I already had on my bed.

Next morning was sunny and windy, a perfect day for sailing. Not so perfect for swimming, because it was still rather cold. After the breakfast we sailed off towards South again and sailed the whole day until evening.

We made a lot of miles and we anchored in the bay South of town Pašman. That evening we had our first swim.

Next morning this pretty old boat sailed by.

After buying fresh bread in Pašman we sailed further to Murter. We met friends there in the afternoon, who were going to sail with us for a week. After loading them and huge amounts of food on board we anchored in Murter archipelago.

The weather was improving, it was sunny but still not very warm. Regardless I was eager to go  snorkelling, I wanted to see how under water world looked like. I was snorkelling in North Adria a lot as a child, but a lot has changed over all these years, there are less fish and shells now. But I came prepared - maybe you remember my great books I used in Caribbean to identify things on my underwater photos (I mentioned them here ). I was very lucky to find an equally great book for underwater world of Adria and Mediterranean, and it is in Slovene language! It is called Pod gladino Mediterana, written by Tom Turk, a Slovene biologist and diver, if you're interested, it is available here . I recommend it to anyone who ever snorkels or dives in Adria and Mediterranean, it has a lot of great information and photos of not just fish, but also corals, algae and sponges and other creatures. Beautiful!

The water around Murter is pretty shallow and ground sandy and muddy and I didn't expect to find much. And the light was not the best also, it was already getting late. But there were still some interesting things to see. This one is called a Golden anemone or Zlata vetrnica in Slovene. Pretty, isn't it?

There were not very many fish, but I found this one - it is one of the gobies, I assume it is Peščeni glavač in Slovene, couldn't find the English name. (I am using the site  for the name translation)

I couldn't resist another one of these.

This big shell is a Fan mussel or Noble pen shell or Leščur in Slovene. I was happy to see so many of them, there was time when you could barely see one, they were over harvested. But obviously they recovered in some degree since they were declared protected.

This beauty is a tube worm called Mediterranean fan worm or Spalancanijev cevkar in Slovene. It looks very elegant and delicate.

After such a promising start I couldn't wait to get in the water again. Although we were on a sailing trip, I was determined to find the time for snorkelling every day. Luckily our friends were happy with our plan to avoid marinas and crowded places, so we called our trip a people-hater trip. This would also mean better snorkelling places for me. After a calm night we awoke to a sunny morning and after breakfast we sailed further South.