This time we sailed for a week from our home base in Split. The ship was a Bénéteau Oceanis 311 and the full route can be found below. A week with beautiful weather. Every day well above 30 degrees, and only one (partly) cloudy day. A week also with beautiful wind. Every day a good sailing wind, usually around 15 knots, mostly from the NW direction (Tramontana).
Today is ‘back to Split’ day, still 25 nautical miles. It is obvious that all charters have to be in harbour tomorrow morning: Sailing yachts are appearing from all directions towards Splitska Vrata. The water is busier than we saw anywhere this week.
With some light Jugo winds in our back, we slowly move through the Pakleni Kanal between Hvar and the Pakleni Otoci towards Rt Pelegrin (the most western tip of Hvar). There, we turn sharp north towards Splitska Vrata. Meanwhile, the wind changes to north-westerly directions (Tramontana again). By the time we reach Splitska Vrata, there is a stiff breeze. We turn towards Milna to gas up. Thanks to the great winds this week, we only used 10 litres of diesel.
We anchor for a couple of hours in one of the small bays just off Milna. One more swim, one more time enjoying the Adriatic sunshine. The water is clear, the sun is strong, and my beer is cold – what else do you want from life?
Around 17:00 we lift anchor and hoist the sails. Our course is 0 degrees, due north towards Split. In the end, the wind leaves us half an hour before we reach Split, so we have to motor the last few miles.
A strong Bura wakes me up at 06:00. Although this bay is well-sheltered, the swell is very uncomfortable. This is caused by water being ‘pushed’ between the islands of Lastovo and Prežba. Around 08:00, the rest of the crew is awake as well, and we make a go for it. Not too bad, given that we have to make it back to the mainland before the weekend. With over 20 knots of wind, and boat speed reaching 7.5 knots, we race towards Korčula (course 330), until…. At 09:00 the wind dies down completely. That is the Adriatic as I know it, always ready to throw another surprise at you!
For one hour, our boat speed ranges from 1 to 2 knots, until (just after 10:00) a light north-westerly wind arrives. Tramontana did not let us down this year. After passing Korčula again, wind speed is well over 20 knots again.
We would not like to risk another night without sleep, so we do not moor in Hvar. Instead, we go to ACI Marina Palmižana. A cute, small, and very quiet harbour. Proper showers for the first time this week. And some extra fun is added when our German neighbour oversteps his dinghy, landing himself in the water. In the evening, we have a great dinner at the Restaurant Meneghello.
An ambitious day today. Upon checking the weather-forecast, I find out that wind expectation is extremely good. Starting early (around 10:00 instead of the usual noon) from the south-west. We decide to try and reach Lastovo, which is over 30 nautical miles away. Neither of us has ever been there before. It is one of the most remote inhabited islands along the Croatian coast.
Around 10:30 we leave Hvar. We hoist the sails immediately outside the harbour, and pick a course of 150 degrees (SE), which we simply keep all day. After a couple of hours, we pass the island of Korčula, with a nice view towards Vela Luka. The Tri Luke bay just around the corner is the ‘spare option’ for the night, but wind and weather remain favourable so we continue. Susač and Lastovo are already clearly visible at the horizon.
The wind speed is 22 knots by now, so our speed picks up to well over 7 knots. Not bad for a Bénéteau Oceanis 311! It is obvious that we have open sea now, there is quite a swell. Fortunately, none of the crew comes down with seasickness.
Around 19:00 we drop our sails. We pass in between the islets of Bratin and Vlašnik into Luka Velji Lago. It is a large bay on the western side of Lastovo, actually a channel between the islands of Lastovo and Prežba (check the pilot guide here). There are various suitable moorings here: Ubli, Jurjeva Luka and the quay at Hotel Solitudo. Our choice is anchoring in Kremena, a bay just around the corner when entering Velji Lago, which is surrounded by pine trees with their wonderful smell.
Upon entering, there is a little surprise. There is the entrance to a huge tunnel. Lastovo used to be military territory during the days of Yugoslavia, just as Vis was. The dark hole makes the bay a bit spooky, but fortunately the beautiful star-spangled sky compensates for this.
Taking it easy today. There are clouds, and the weather-forecast talks of rain showers. The clouds diminish, and the showers don’t show up at all. But it is time for a visit to the Zoo. In other words: we would like to moor along the Riva (quay) in Hvar again.
We will regret that later, though. Around 02:00 the next morning, some still-awake visitors and locals start throwing a party on the quay. This because of a general lack of pubs that are still open at this time of the night (at least in pre-season. Three guitars and a drum. Continuing until 06:00 AM.
We hebben trouwens goed gegeten bij Restaurant Luna.
No wind during the morning. We haven’t got a clue where we are heading, but we do know that we want to leave the harbour. In the end we motor towards Sveti Klement, one of the Pakleni Otoci. However, the wind starts building up! Again, that solid north-westerly, 15 – 20 knots! So it’s sailing time again. We try and find dolphins between Vis, Šolta and Hvar. Unfortunately, we do not find them this year.
Late afternoon, we sail back to Sveti Klement and anchor in Palmižana Cove.
Again a strong south-westerly today. It is a slow wake-up morning. We swim a bit, and leave the bay after a late breakfast around 11:00. Vis or Komiža, that’s the question… Given the weather-forecast (constant westerly winds during the night), Komiža is not the best possible place. The harbour is not that well-protected, and especially westerly and south-westerly winds can create heavy swell here. So Vis becomes our destination for today.
Around 16:00 we leave Split harbour. Great wind, so hoisting the sails is the first thing to do. It always takes a few minutes to sort out a boat that you have not sailed before. We set sail for Splitska Vrata, the channel between Brač and Šolta. That is the point where my holiday really begins.
With wind coming from the NW (Tramontana), around 15 knots, we make good progress. After clearing Splitska Vrata, we head due east. Our destination for today is Lučice, a cove on the southern side of Brač. Upon entering the bay around 19:00, we are surprised by the strong smell of the pine trees. We pick a mooring, and prepare our first meal (and open our first beer…).