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.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Indian summer

Later on Tuesday, 8th of September, after snorkelling, we sailed on and anchored South of town Pašman for the night. Next day we sailed only a little bit further North, to town of Baratul, also on island Pašman. After not so very calm night, we dinghied ashore for some shopping and then sailed further up the Zadar channel. In early afternoon NW wind was getting stronger and soon the waves developed. We were making a slow progress against the wind, waves and a bit of current. But with the waves we figured we need to sail all the way to Vir, if we want to sleep in a calm bay that night. The rhumb line to Vir was 22 miles, but with tacking against wind (zig-zaging) we made 33 miles. We anchored near the town quay South of town of Vir. It was calm and we were hoping for a long calm night. It was almost that. In the middle of the night a fishing boat, rather large one, with all its fishing lights on, anchored next to us, and the fishermen were having a loud debate over the sound of running engine. I was lucky and only got awake for a few moments, but Captain couldn't sleep for much longer. You just can't anticipate things like that.
On Friday morning we dindgied into town for some shopping and we saw several more fishing boats docked at the town pier or anchored near us, they were unloading their catch. After shopping we moved the boat a bit further away to the West, to keep some distance between us and fishing fleet. Just as we dropped the anchor, out friends Suzana and Martin sailed into bay with their lovely boat Best Move and dropped their anchor next to us.
They were in Canary islands in lockdown just like us, but on island La Palma. We sailed towards Gibraltar in the same week and planned on drinking some beer together when we meet there. But they got tangled in the fishing net of Moroccan fishing boat and spent a month in Morocco to finish the dispute with fishermen before they were allowed to leave. When they sailed to Adria, they were in a hurry to meet with relatives, and again we didn't meet. So we were all very happy to get together after so much time.
We had a nice BBQ that afternoon, and a couple of beers of course. In the evening Captain took them to the shore to see the rebuilt fortress.
When they got back, we decided to sail all together to island of Molat and spend another day together. It was a good compromise, with us traveling North, and them sailing South to Greece to winter their boat.
We sailed to Uvala Podgarbe on Molat. It is really nice, and on Saturday there were no charter boats and the anchorage was not very crowded.
We swam in the afternoon and had a great meal on board of Best Move. We finished the evening on Heron, with a nice chat and few more drinks. And since it was so much fun, and weather nice and sunny, we all decided to stay there one more day and spend some more time together.
Next day it was one more day of Indian summer, warm and sunny, and even water was almost warm again, even warm enough for snorkelling.
There was so much to see in the water. Near the shore there was almost like a reef with unbelievable amount of fish - mostly there were Annular seabream or špari (Diplodus annularis) near the rocks and Mediterranean chromis or črnik (Chromis chromis) in the background.
I find this pretty Red tube worm or pisani pokrovčkar (Serpula vermicularis).
I think this Sponge might be a Sea orange or morska pomaranča (Tethya citrina).
And finally I found it - a Green ormer or petrovo uho (Haliotis lamellosa), from family of abalones. And it's still alive!
The rest of the day was spent in good company, with some nice food and drinks. But after a delicious breakfast on Best Move, on Monday morning we had to part. They sailed on towards South, and we sailed only a short hop to bay Uvala Široka on island Ist. We swam in the afternoon and were reading, and in the evening Captain dinghied ashore and even climbed the hill above the village and took some photos of our anchorage.
Next morning was calm, water inviting, and I went snorkelling. I was surprised to have found a Cowry shell or porcelanka (Luria lurida), I don't see them often in Adria.
Under our boat was a gorgeous Mediterranean red sea star or ognjenordeča zvezda (Echinaster sepositus).
In the middle of the day we sailed on, first through the narrow pass between islands of Ist and Molat. On the North side there is a very pretty anchorage.
Then we sailed North to the bay on NW side of island Olib. Yes, I know, I always want to go to Olib, but it's really pretty and there's such good snorkelling there. I just hoped, we would have a calm night, since the bay is open to SW, W and NW.
Few minutes after we dropped the anchor I was in the water. I saw these small Striped red mullets or progaste bradače (Mullus surmuletus) digging around our anchor.
After a long time I saw a Common stingray or navadni morski bič (Dasyatis pastinaca), although a small one.
This handsome fellow was posing and showing off his back fin - it is a Black goby or črni glavač (Gobius niger).
I've already seen and made photos of lots of Red spotted horseshoe or apnenčasti cevkar (Protula tubularia), but this one has a Sepia egg (sipino jajčece) tied to its tube.
Although it looks like four fan worms, there are actually two of Twin fan worm or dvoperjaničar (Bispira volutacornis) here.
Red-mouthed goby or rdečeusti glavač (Gobius cruentatus) is also showing off all his fins.
These guys were so very difficult to photograph - first they are not of very bright colours, so they are not so easy to spot three or four meters down. And then they hide so quickly into sand, as soon as they detect water movement or a shadow. I surely dove down more than couple of dozens of times before I got couple of photos. These guys are Peacock worms or pahljačasti cevkarji (Sabella pavonina).

This must be a Tunicate, one of Social seasquirts or zadružnih plaščarjev, with Red spotted horseshoe or apnenčasti cevkar (Protula tubularia).
And this is a Honeycomb bath sponge or konjska spužva (Hippospongia communis), they were and still are actually used as bath sponges or for wiping blackboards.
I like this guy, the Brown comber or volkec (Serranus hepatus). Despite his small size and gentle eyes, he is a ferocious hunter.
This has to be one of the most elegant creatures in the sea - the Cylinder anemone or peščena roža (Cerianthus membranaceus). I like the Slovene name, translated it would be Sand flower.
There were several Mediterranean fanworm or Spalancanijev cevkar (Sabella spallanzanii) there, but this one had several Sepia eggs attached to its tube.

Maybe this is the mom - Sepia or sipa (Sepia officinalis)?
This pretty upside-down face belongs to Zvonimir's blenny or jelenoroga babica (Parablennius zvonimirii).
And yes, I find sponges pretty and exciting - this one is a Boring sponge or spužva vrtalka (Cliona spp).
A nice commune of organisms - Bryozoa, Solitary corals and clams (mahovnjaki, kamnita nakovalca, školjke).
This is an Eye spot hermit crab or okati samotarec (Paguristes eremita) with a big house.
Evening was not very calm, the waves were rolling into the bay from NW, but luckily it got calmer in the night and we slept well.
Next day we moved only a short distance and anchored on the E side of island Silba. In the afternoon we dinghied to the shore and walked to the village on top of the hill for an ice cream and some shopping. The night was not very calm, although there was not much wind, there must have been much more wind up North and waves managed  to travel all the way into our anchorage. The stronger NE wind, burja, was forecast for next couple of days, so on Thursday morning we sailed off to the bay Artatore on island Lošinj. It is much better protected than anchorages between Silba and Olib.
We stayed in Artatore for two nights, NE wind was quite strong the first night, so we awoke often. It was whistling also during the second day, and we had quite a workout rowing our dinghy ashore. But it was worth it, we had a great meal in Artatore restaurant. Second night was not so wild, and on Saturday we sailed on to island Unije to the bay Uvala Vognišča. The day was sunny and calm, but the NE wind cooled the air and the water, so we don't swim so much any more and it is necessary to put some more clothes on in the evening. And I was glad I managed to do so much snorkelling in our Indian summer, the water is getting too cold for that.
Today we sailed across Kvarner bay to Istria, and we're anchored in Medulin bay. Tomorrow we're heading deeper into the bay to find a well protected spot to hide from bad weather that is coming in next week. There will be a lot of rain, near-gale wind, and we'll probably move on only when the weather calms down. And while I'm hoping for some more sunny days, I guess the Indian summer might be over.