This year we went sailing for two weeks in September. Our ship this year was the same Bénéteau Oceanis 311 (Tamara) we used in 2005 and our route can be found below. The trip was a combination of days covering relatively large distances, and days spent in bays for necessary rest & relaxation. We visited quite a few new places.
The weather was good. Again, a lot of northerly winds (Bura, Tramontana and Maestral). Usually between 10 – 15 knots, sometimes a bit more, but never more than 25 knots. We started with some beautiful summer weather, followed by a few days of cloudy, cool and rainy weather. Near the end of the first week temperatures were back at 26 – 28 degrees Celsius and the clouds were gone, and we kept that type of weather until the end of the trip. Because of the cold weather in the first week, seawater temperatures did drop from 23 – 24 degrees Celsius to 20 – 21 degrees Celsius.
We did notice that we were sailing later in the season. Darkness came early (no later than 20:00) and occasionally the nights became very cold. Furthermore, most harbours and bays were busier than we were used during our ‘normal’ sailing period late May.
That night the wind turns to NE, but it remains as powerful as during the day. When we leave the harbour that morning the wind is already 20 – 25 knots. The weather prognosis for today and tomorrow is rather bad. We go looking for a safe haven to anchor and wait for better weather. Fortunately we know just the right place: Luka Polace on the island of Mljet.
After some time, the wind decreases to 15 knots, and we hoist our sails. Course is 140 degrees and speed is 5 to 6 knots. The sea is rather choppy, especially when approaching Mljet. Sailing along the northern shores of Mljet we quickly find the first entrance to Luka Polace. It always surprises me how quiet the waters become as soon as you enter the bay. And Luka Polace is a well hidden place. A true pirates’ nest.
The wind starts early this morning. We have 15 knots of SE wind (Jugo) in our bay. With a reefed mainsail and half a genoa, we sail on a course of 100 degrees, towards the Pelješki Kanal between Korčula and Pelješac. The wind increases during the day towards 25 knots (Force 6 on Beaufort’s scale), so sailing is hard work today. The grand final comes when we approach Orebic, another harbour that we did not visit before.
The lay-out of this harbour is rather strange. In front of the harbour, the sea is rather shallow – maximum depth is 4 – 5 meters. This creates a rather serious swell when the wind is towards land (like Jugo). The harbour of Orebić has a large breakwater pointing southward, with a lightbeacon at its head. However, halfway that breakwater there is another one at a right angle. It is behind that second breakwater that you find the actual harbour and the moorings.
Just when we approach the harbour, the rain starts pouring. And when I say pouring, I do mean pouring… We cannot see 50 meters, and we are soaking wet within seconds. Fortunately, we do find the harbour entrance. And there we find the next hurdle. In the middle of the entrance a small tourist ship, dancing on the waves, is disembarking its passengers. We do manage to manoeuvre around it and park our boat. No harbour master in sight, no other help, but with just the two of us we ‘execute according to the book’. And just when we tie up the last line, the rain stops just as sudden as it began.
Yes, and there are no pictures of that. Because when sailing shorthanded in circumstances like this, you have other things to do. Besides, our camera is not waterproof…
That evening we had a very nice dinner at the Restaurant Karako. We found it when following the coast in an easterly direction.
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