Thursday, December 31, 2020

End of the year

As the end of 2020 is approaching,  we wish you all a much better 2021, with all the things we were missing in this year - spending time with family and friends, parties, traveling, eating out.... 


Instead of whining and complaining about the current situation, here are couple of photos of few nice moments in last months.

I found this beautiful beast in in my garden in beginning of November. It is a Southern Darter or Sredozemski kamenjak (Sympetrum meridionale). I was surprised that I found him out so late, but this year we had a very warm November.

Just look at these eyes. And shoulders...

 On rare occasion we make an outing. On one of the days as we had fog in the valley, we drove to Rakitna, it is just high enough to have more sunshine.

The lake was pretty, with a bit of fog lying on the surface...

...and even some ice in shady spots.
The most interesting thing we saw was a fresh water crab. He was wandering about and wasn't camera shy at all.

Captain's phone is water-proof and so he was even able to take some under-water photos.
We were happy to have such a nice weather for our walk...

...since this kind of weather was awaiting us in the valley.

Friday, October 23, 2020

We're home!

We made it! On October 1st we got to the marina in Monfalcone and put Heron in her berth. 
We left Medulin bay one day later than we planned. On Monday, 28th of September, it was still raining till the afternoon and it was blowing quite strongly. So we decided to stay one more night. In the evening we had bright pink sunset, that painted the town of Medulin across the bay in surreal colours,...
...and the rest of the bay as well.

In eight days that we were anchored there our boat made almost a perfect circle around the anchor. As you see the anchor position doesn't seem to be in the centre of the circle, though in reality it is. This is biggest shortcoming of the anchor watch function that we use on our AIS system, which requires us to run downstairs during anchoring to press the reset button and we rarely press it exactly in the moment when anchor hits the ground. It would help if one could offset the anchor position afterwards, but that is unfortunately not possible.
On Tuesday we sailed off rather early, and after lifting the anchor I went back to bed. I got out again when we already rounded the SW tip of Istria and were sailing through Brioni islands. There were lots of jellyfish in the water, but we didn't think of going swimming anyway, since water got colder after all bad weather.
Weather was sunny and nice, but not very warm any more. Near town of Rovinj we saw a European shag or vranjek guarding the W cardinal marker.
Rovinj is really pretty...
...from both sides. We need to visit it sometime.
Another pretty town we sailed by - Vrsar.
And one more - Novigrad. Istria is really very beautiful, if it only had the clear blue sea as Dalmatia, it would be perfect for sailing and for holiday.
Another Shag on another cardinal marker - this one was at the entrance of Dalja bay, where we spent the night.
Next morning we sailed to Umag to clear out of Croatia. Then we sailed around Savudirja lighthouse towards Slovenija.
Just two days before, Slovenija lifted quarantine requirements for Istria, which made us very happy. For clearing in we tied Heron to the customs pier in Piran. Everything went smoothly, finally something was going our way! Piran was looking very pretty in autumn sun.

We sailed off right away towards Koper, where we took some fuel, and then sailed to Debeli rtič, where we anchored for the night. 
We got up early the next morning again, we wanted to reach the channel that leads to marina in high tide. We were a bit nervous if Italian police would stop us when we cross the border, but nobody came by and in the middle of the day we were at the entrance to the channel. A Shag was welcoming us from the channel marker.
After another half hour we tied Heron into her berth. Then we had a nice gin&tonic in marina bar, and then we started packing. Captains brother and his wife did us a huge favour and brought our car to marina few days earlier, so we loaded as much of our possessions as possible into it and drove home in the evening. It was so nice, but also a bit strange, to sleep in our bed, that wasn't moving. 
After all the excitement of last few days, long sailing and worrying about crossing the borders, it was a bit of an anti-climax to be home. Like we didn't really know what to do next. It took couple of days to stove away everything we brought from the boat and the adrenalin level to drop to normal level. 

First on our list were visits to our moms. We were all so very happy to finally get together after such a long time. We wanted also to get together with friends, but covid situation was getting worse by the day and we rather had long phone calls with them.

Last week, for Captains birthday we spent two days in Vila Bled, former presidential residence, now a hotel. Our room had incredible view over the lake and the island.
From hotel terrace we walked down to the lake...
...and along the path around the lake. Views were breathtaking almost from every point, this is the castle on the cliff on the other side of the lake.
We saw a blackbird munching on berries. He'll need all the fat he manages to build up when the winter comes.
We also saw a pretty big lake trout.
We were so lucky that we had such nice weather for the walk.

Afterwards we drove to another pretty lake not far away, to Bohinj lake.

We made a walk towards the waterfall Savica, but we didn't go all the way there, it was getting late and the light was already fading.

Although the next day the weather got rainy and cold, the view from our balcony was still stunning. And the food we had was amazing.
Last day, before returning home, we visited Zelenci springs. It is wetland near town of Kranjska Gora, where there is a source of Sava Dolinka river. There was already some snow around...
...and also surrounding mountains were all white.
The colour of Zelenci is vivid green, even on a cloudy day.

This past week was not very happy, the covid situation exploded in Slovenija just like almost everywhere else in Europe and every couple of days there are new restrictions. We can't drive to my mom any more, we can only travel within our region, in two days shopping malls are closing and only food stores and some technical stores remain open. It feels like deja vu from Spring, I just hope it doesn't last so long. 
But I'm happy we're back in our beautiful house, with pretty surroundings, and that we were able to visit our moms and had few great days in Bled when we still could. 
Heron is on the hard from today and Captain drove to marina this morning to prepare her for winter. And for the possibility that we are unable to drive there for couple of months. I still hope that doesn't happen.
I'll still post here from time to time to let you know how everything is, and maybe I'll be able to make a nice photo or two as well. Stay safe.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Last days

This past week we spent in Medulin bay, tucked in front of Pomer marina. The weather was not so very bad till Friday, it mainly rained during the night and we still had some sun during the day, so we rowed ashore often and even took a dip in the sea, more for hygiene purposes than for swimming. Then the rain and wind intensified, it got colder and grey and depressive. We hoped to be moving up along Istrian West coast a bit already today, but it doesn't look too good. Rain just stopped and wind is still whistling around the shrouds and it doesn't look like things are calming down as forecast. So we'll probably spend another night here.
Here are some photos of the past days. This is the bay on Unije, where we slept last Saturday. Even then the water was not very warm any more, so I didn't go snorkelling.
And this is a lighthouse in Kvarner. Bay of Kvarner used to have a bad reputation amongst the sailors, it is quite large and the burja, the NE wind really blows fiercely here and also whips up quite a sea, that can easily make people sea sick. But in calm weather it's just not even a long stretch of sailing, or motoring.
The area around Medulin really looks more like mainland,..
...there were even cows grazing near the shore.
First night, while it was still calm, we anchored more at the entrance to Medulin bay, where the water was clearer. But then on Monday we moved inside the bay in front of Pomer marina and the camping ground. Both have free internet, yay!
On one of the days we made a trip around the bay with the dinghy. First we checked the shallow lagoon to the West.
There is a concrete pathway across it, with several small bridges to allow for the movement of the water. We heard that lots of baby fish grow up here and that there are also lots of birds around. We only saw one white egret.
We checked the camp site on foot. It is actually "glamping", which means glamorous camping. But you could hardly call these small houses tents, although the walls are made of fabric. They have baths, TVs and even air conditioning in them. What I liked the most was neat surroundings, especially huge amounts of rosemary around the houses...
...and some still flowering plants that the bees loved.
This is the marina, to the left is the camp site and to the right are Heron and our neighbours, an American cat.
Next we dinghied across the bay. I couldn't resist the photo of the clouds.
The Mediterranean shag or vranjek was not very pleased, that we came by so close.
We visited a site of the old Roman villa that was built during 1st to 4th century. The walls are recreated and the mosaics and more valuable finds moved into museums, but it's a nice walk through the pine woods and one can get pretty good picture, how thing used to be.
We left the dinghy in Uvala Burle.
The Roman buildings were built almost around whole peninsula, it is hard to imagine it all belonged to one villa.

There are still lots of original old stones in the sea, the sea level at that time was lower than it is now.

This is Medulin...
and this is the marina in Medulin with windmill.
I don't think this was built by old Romans, but it looks very much in their style.
I don't know these flowers, but they were very pretty. Some relatives of crocuses maybe...
And when the weather got colder and we needed to warm up the boat, I baked Irish soda bread. It was pretty good, the next one was even better. And it takes less than an hour from start to finish, so it's perfect for a late breakfast.
Tomorrow we'll sail up along the West coast of Istria, then to Slovenija the day after and then, probably on Thursday, into marina in Monfalcone. Next time I post it will already be from home.