Friday, November 30, 2018

September sailing

Although this is going to be a sailing or rather snorkelling post again, I have to start with another beauty from my garden - it is a Ruddy darter or Krvavordeči kamenjak (Sympetrum sanguineum). Usually dragonflies visit my garden in early summer, so I was quite surprised to spot this guy at the end of August. It just teaches me to always keep my eyes peeled and always have my camera in the pocket.

In the beginning of September I joined the Captain on Heron again with two of our friends. It was a short holiday, but it was four days of glorious late summer weather, good company and an absolute nirvana. There wasn't much wind forecast, so we made a very relaxed sailing plan, starting from Punat on island Krk, to Hawai near Supetarska Draga on Rab, then on to city of Rab, then around the SE edge of Rab to Uvala Mag, and before returning to Punat a stop on Grgur.

Water was still warm and it was perfect for swimming and snorkelling. Most of the photos here were made in Uvala Planka and Uvala Mag on Rab.
I think this might be albino version of Red seasquirt or Rdečega kozolnjaka ali morske breskve (Halocynthia papillosa). I'm pretty sure it's a squirt (tunikata), would wish it didn't sit under the rock so I could make some more photos from different angles.
This almost translucent delicate looking fish is probably Gray wrase or Gnezdivka (Symphodus cinereus).
This is "just" a humble sponge, but still pretty - it is a Stinker sponge or Snopasta hrapavka (Ircinia fasciculata). With my mask on my nose luckily I didn't notice any bad odours.
Luckily this guy was moving or it would remain unnoticed - it it a well camouflaged Small spider crab or Mali morski pajek (Maia crispata).
This was one of my best finds - a Streaked gurnard or Progasti krulec (Chelidonichthys lastoviza). It must be one of the prettiest fish I've seen here, it is almost as pretty and colourful as it's Caribbean cousins. It spreads its wings when it feels threatened, like when a snorkeler with camera is coming too close.
And this is a red Red seasquirt or rdeči Rdeči kozolnjak ali morska breskev (Halocynthia papillosa).
I'm always so happy when I discover a Sea lemon or Morsko pomarančo (Tethya citrina), although it is only a sponge.
I'm so proud of these next couple of photos (they were taken as they are presented here, I didn't change a bit) - I've seen Common prawns or Žagaste kozice (Palaemon serratus) plenty of times before, but these are by far the best photos I've managed to take. On first two photos there is the same prawn and you can see how translucent it is, as the colour of the background actually shines though its body.

If you look closely, you can see the serrated edges on the sides of its nose near the eyes and hair on its tentacles.
This is a Red-black triplefin or Rdeči sprehajalček (Tripterygion tripteronotus), this time not in red and black, but beautiful bronze and golden colours with bright blue specks. What a display!
Yellow cluster anemone or Rumeni zoantar (Parazoanthus axinellae) has a rather non romantic name in both English and Slovene, but it really looks like a small bouquet of bright yellow flowers.
On our last evening we were anchored on W side of Grgur and decided to go out for a dinner. We knew there were Fallow deer or Damjaki (Dama dama)  on Grgur, but didn't expect them to come almost to the terrace of the restaurant and to be so tame.
This is me trying to make some good photos of them, with Heron and a sunset in the background. It was a perfect last evening of the couple of wonderful days.
Back home the summer weather continued. I discovered this beast in my rose bush - a Praying mantis  or Bogomolko (probably Mantis religiosa). I do see them occasionally here, but not every year. This one was just having a lunch when I photographed her, her pray was a bee.

She was living in the same rose bush until temperatures dropped towards 0 at the end of the October. Don't know if she can survive our winter, will need to check next spring.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Summer holiday - part 3

After snorkelling near Murter we only sailed as far as the S coast of Kaprije. There are just a few of houses there, small jetty and lots of green blue water. It looked so pretty and inviting in early afternoon sun, so we decided to stay for the rest of the day and the night. First we all went for a long swim or snorkelling.

This is a Purple sea urchin or Belobodičasti morski ježek (Sphaerechinus granularis)

Every now and then I have to make another photo of Golden anemone or Zlata vetrnica (Condylactius aurantiaca),.... well as of Painted comber or Pirka (Serranus scriba), especially when they have such a shiny blue belly.

Two-banded sea breams or Fratrci (Diplodus vulgaris) found shelter in the remains of the chair.

Red spotted horseshoe or Apnenčasti cevkar (Protula tubularia) looks so delicate.

It wasn't easy to spot this Black scorpionfish or Škarpoč (Scorpaena porcus), if it wasn't for the stripes on his tail, I would have surely missed him, he could be even easily missed on the photo. The fact that he's hanging upside down doesn't help either, probably it was his intention to remain unseen.

Here is the Goby sections - this is the Red-mouthed goby or Rdečeusti glavač (Gobius cruentatus)...

... and this one is Slender goby or Peščeni glavač (Gobius geniporus).

I'm not sure what this is - maybe an alga? I've seen them already last year, especially on Šolta.

There were fields of beautifully coloured alga, that looked like an autumn forest. I think that green and brown ones are both Red alga Topovejnata lavrencija (Laurencija obtusa) and the whitish one is a Pink bush alga or Kosmata alga (Wrangelia penicillata).

In the evening most of the crew walked over the hill to the town of Kaprije for a snack and ice cream. In the morning after the breakfast we sailed only a short distance to the island of Zmajan. It was time for swimming and snorkeling again.

I snorkeled here before and found several interesting things, so my hopes were high. I saw several Red seasquirts or Rdeči kozolnjak ali morska breskev (Halocynthia papillosa).

It was funny how this Rock goby or Mrki glavač (Gobius paganellus) showed off all his fins in hope to look bigger and scare me away.

After all these years I still find new things - I think this is a very pretty Pink sponge or Vijoličasta zobčasta spužva (Dysidea avara).

Almost under the same sponge that I saw it last year, I found the Dotted seaslug or Pikasti perjaničar or Dalmatinček (Discodoris atromaculata) again. It is one of the prettiest slugs I've seen. Under the lower edge of the sponge a Black squat lobster or Črni skakač (Galathea squamifera) is hiding.

I took several photos of slug and only on my computer back home I realised, that there were two of them, you can see the other one hiding in the hole.

In the afternoon we sailed back to Kremik marina and after the lunch our guests and myself drove back home. I was really anxious to see how my my garden is doing.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Summer holiday - part 2

In the afternoon we left the pretty bay and sailed further South and visited a friend and his family in a camp near Jelsa on Hvar. What started as an afternoon get together on Heron, with swimming with kids and snacks and drinks, extended well into the night in front of their camper, with many topics to discuss and way too many drinks. Sometimes in good company these things just develop spontaneously and unplanned, and not even a bit of hangover the next morning can spoil it.

Next day we had to sail back and after a short stop in one of the small bays on West side of Brač we sailed all the way to Uvala Kasjun on Šolta. Unfortunately there's been a road built near the bay and it doesn't look as pretty as before, but snorkelling was still good.

This is Caneva's blenny or Rdečepikast babica (Lipophrys canevai).

And another blenny - Mystery blenny or Jelenka (Parablennius incognitus), unusaly light in colouring.

This is the Forkweed or Ploščata razcepljenka (Dictyota dichotoma), I love how it looks almost fluorescent.

It is very rare that I get to see the Encrusting bryozoan or mahovnjak Rdeči skorjevec (Schizobrachiella sanguinea).

On next two photos is the same kind of fish - Red-black triplefin or Rdeči sprehajalček (Tripterygion tripteronotus), the second one is either a male in "plain clothes", or a female.

We stayed the night and next morning I went snorkelling again.

This is Black-headed blenny or Črnoglava babica (Lipophrys nigriceps).

Tompot blenny or Velika babica(Parablennius gattorugine) has the most interesting eye brows of all the blennies.

Flounder or Morski jezik (Arnoglossus)

I've seen the same kind of nudibranch last year on outer side of Šolta, this time it was half buried in algae - it is Giant Doris or Kodrasti perjaničar (Hypselodoris picta).

And one more Warty crab or Kosmej (Eriphia verrucosa).

After snorkelling and a breakfast we sailed North and after a stop for swimming in beautiful Uvala Stari Trogir we sailed to Rogoznica again, where we stayed the night.

Next morning we picked Tomaz's cousin with friends in marina Kremik. The forecast was good, lots of sun and not much wind, so we decided to stay among many small islands near Šibenik for next couple of days and do more swimming than sailing. The plan was happily accepted, especially by three small children we had on board. And it also gave me lots of opportunities for snorkelling, first being near the island of Dvainka.

There I saw this Two-banded sea bream or Fratrc (Diplodus vulgaris).

In the late afternoon we moved to the bay behind the Forth of Šibenik and stayed there for the night. Next morning the exploration of the forth was on the agenda. After breakfast and some swimming we sailed to Murter and anchored on the S side of the entry channel to the Marina Jezera.

Next morning after breakfast was again time for some swimming and snorkelling.
There were many Giant gobies or Skalni glavač (Gobius cobitis) around.

This is probably the prettiest specimen of Cushion coral or Jadranska kamena korala (Cladocora caespitosa) that I've ever seen, it looks like a small cushion. If you look closely you can see the coral's tentacles.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Summer holiday - part 1

This year the summer started with very changing, rainy and windy weather. We went sailing already in June and for the first two weeks we stayed in Northern Adriatic. 

Regular bad weather fronts dictated our schedule - we were studying weather forecast every day, tried to find a well protected and hopefully pretty bay for the night and find some interesting stuff to do as well, since the conditions were not very suitable for swimming and snorkelling. First couple of days we spent around islands of Krk and Rab, visiting bays and places we already knew. One day I had to put on my mask to check the anchor and when I put my head, especially ears in the water, it almost hurt, so I quickly swam to the anchor and back and that was all the snorkelling for that week.
The second week we started from Punat on Krk, stayed in the Punat lagoon for the rest of the day and the night due to the strong NE wind and rain. Next day we sailed to Supetarska draga on Rab, or as we call it - Hawaii. Sun came out and some of us even went for a swim. In the evening there was a beautiful sunset.
This is the view towards East...

...and this to the West.

Next morning we sailed on towards town of Rab and we stopped in Uvala Planka on the way. It was a nice, warm and sunny day, so I decided to go snorkelling. Planka is one of my favourite snorkelling places in North Adria, so I didn't want to miss such a good opportunity. But the water was a bit chilly, so I didn't stay in the water as long as usual.
I forgot about the cold water as soon as I saw the first pretty sight - Pink tunicate or Rožnati plaščar (Sidnyum elegans).

This guy looked like a proper heavy weight champion - it is Warty crab or Kosmej (Eriphia verrucosa)

And this is his more elegant relative - a Marbled crab or Marogasta rakovica (Pachygrapsus marmoratus)

There were several Blue spiny starfish or Mnogokrake morske zvezde (Coscinasterias teniuspina) around

And another beauty - a Zvonimir's blenny or Jelenoroga babica (Parablennius zvonimiri)

This is also a blenny - a Combtooth blenny or Velikooka babica (Lipophrys trigloides)

These pretty flowers were hiding under overhangs - they are actually corals named Yellow cluster anemone or Rumeni zoantar (Parazoanthus axinellae)

This is my first photo of swimming Rockpool shrimp or Običajna kozica (Palaemon elegans), I wish it was a bit better, but with my poor ability for photographing moving targets I'm happy it turned out as it did

After a pleasant evening in town Rab and calm night in Uvala Sveti Eufemije we sailed on to Cres next day. The stronger NE wind started on afternoon so we had quite adrenalin sailing almost to town of Osor. We anchored couple of miles East from Osor in a small but well protected bay. In the evening we dinghied to the town and it was adrenalin ride as well, NE wind was getting even stronger and although the shore protected us from the waves, we were quite wet anyway. But it was well worth it, we had a great dinner in Osor.

We stayed in the same bay the whole next day and night, the weather was really windy and almost cold. We had a lot of sunshine, but it was even too cold to sun bathe.

Next day we only sailed to Puntakriža, the wind was still too strong to sail further North. Luckily the anchorage was well protected from the wind, so it was warmer and we could at least swim.

The next day it was a bit calmer and we sailed to Supetarska draga on Rab again, but weather was getting worse again in the night and we needed a good protection. And the day afterwards we just managed to get to Punat lagoon in time before rain started. After two weeks on Heron I returned home and captain sailed South to Dalmatia.

I joined him again a month later in Primošten. I couldn't believe my luck - the weather was forecast to be really bad for next two days - with strong winds from all directions and lots of rain. We studied the maps a bit and decided Rogoznica would be most protected bay for the weather. It was just a short sail away and first evening didn't look too bad.

But already in the night it started to rain, with rain came the wind and it went on like that for entire day as well. Afternoon was a bit less rainy but still very windy, so we decided to stay another night.

Next day we sailed further South and stopped in Uvala Parja on island Hvar for the night. Part of the bay is privat, but it is very pretty and luckily there was just one more boat anchored there, probably because of the windy wether. We had a very nice evening, calm and peaceful.

Next morning I went snorkellling. There was plenty of interesting things under the water. There were plenty of healthy algae - Rdeča viličasta alga (Scinaia furcellata) and Bledi grmiček (Amphiroa rigida)

I just have to take photos of these beauties - it is a Red tube worm or Pisani pokrovčkar (Serpula vermicularis)

This Mystery blenny or Jelenka (Parablennius incognitus) was darker and more colourful than the ones I've photographed before

This must be a tunicate, it could be Kepasti plaščar (Polycitor adriaticus), I couldn't find the English name

One of my favourites, the bright Red-black triplefin or Rdeči sprehajalček (Tripterygion tripteronotus) and his not so colourful misses on the right

This is all I managed to see from Mediterranean moray or  Lisasta murena (Muraena helena), maybe she didn't even know her pretty tail was out in the plain view.

And another Zvonimir's blenny or Jelenoroga babica (Parablennius zvonimiri), a bit darker and more red this time.