Tuesday, 29 June 2010
The weather has been great for the past four days with the possible exception that the wind, when there has been any during the day, has been consistently from the north west. As a result I have rather "declined the challenge" and stayed put. The nights have been, up until last night, calm and balmy. Last night was the exception, north east wind blowing straight into the anchorage and resulting in the first sleepless night since Cavtat but at least I had the anchorage to myself. The island of Lokrum is truly a paradise. It has no permanent population, no roads, a Monastery, a Castle and virtually nothing else. The only noise at night comes from the amorous exploits of the extensive peacock population! The Monastery ceased to function as such over 200 years ago. It is currently being restored, in some areas, by the civic authorities. In the cloister gardens a rather smart Cafe/Bar has been established, one might ask what would the Benedictine Monks have to say about that? The "Royal Castle" is a single circular tower, not extensive but well preserved and worthy of a visit even if only to view the tree lined avenues leading to it. Yesterday I reached a crisis point, I ran out of bread! The choice was a beat upwind to Kolocep, the nearest island to the NW with a shop, or to get the flour and yeast out and make some. I chose to do the latter and although not the lightest concoction ever produced the two loaves met the needs of the crew, i.e. me! Tomorrow, weater permitting, it is a late afternoon departure to Kolocep followed by an early (0400) departure the following day to make headway northwards by catching the morning offshore which routinely blows from the NE up until 0900'ish each morning.
Saturday, 26 June 2010
After six days in Cavtat waiting for the northerly winds to abate we set off yesterday on the first, very short, leg of the journey north. The period in Cavtat was not entirely wasted as it gave me time to install the new solar panels, (purchased with the aid of a gift from the generous friends who attended a suprise birthday party for my 60th)! The result is that Kurukulla is now much more green friendly; the batteries charge at 7 amps in full sunlight and running the engine solely for battery charging should be a thing of the past (unless we get endless very cloudy days!).
The final two nights in Cavtat were a nightmare. Why is it that with the option of anchoring almost anywhere in a very large bay people always choose to anchor upwind, with 35 kts forecast and too close to the other boats at anchor. On Wednesday night it was a charter Bavaria 55 which dragged down onto me with no crew onboard (the German crew turned up three hours later, when the football finished. drunk but at least apologetic) and following some very explicit advice from me set sail not to be seen again! The following night it was a UK registered, 42ft, power cruiser who refused to re-anchor and promised to maintain a watch overnight to ensure he did not drag. Needless to say I had a very sleepless night and after the first hour there was no sign of anyone on the bridge; I had a very good view, from around half a boats length! His cheery "hope you had a good night" the following morning was not met with good grace by me, despite the fact he had ladies onboard. He departed knowing my feelings!
Friday morning we had a very good beat to windward to reach Lokrum Island where I decided to anchor for lunch and a swim. In the event the forecast for the overnight was benign and we therefore stayed put. What a joy to have the anchorage to oneself! The nearest other vessels were the cruise liners anchored in the roads visiting Dubrovnik. Today, well we will see what the forecast brings but the temptation of an empty anchorage may see us stay another day. Lokrum is a privately owned island where the tourists are required to leave by 1900 each evening. The tranquility is too good to miss; that is provided the weather holds, it is not an anchorage to use when the wind has any degree of easterly in it.
Sunday, 20 June 2010
I finally made it away from Brindisi on Friday morning, 18th of June, in the company of another British yacht "Tranquillo" and only two months behind my original schedule! All is now well with Kurukulla and we are in Croatia at last. Shipping traffic off Brindisi was heavy (but still less challenging than the English Channel) but after that the only other interesting moments were finding a slightly alarming quantity of water in the bilges (a rapid taste test confirmed it to be fresh water subsequently found to be coming from the cockpit shower connection) and stumbling on a completely unexpected buoy, in the middle of the Adriatic, Gp Fl 5 Y, on the the direct line between Brindisi and Cavtat and on the median line between Italy and Montenegro. The late afternoon of the passage was made much more pleasant by the presence of a school of dolphins playing for half an hour under the bow.
Thursday, 10 June 2010
After an early start from London on the 2nd of June and a three day drive via Munich and Rome I arrived in Brindisi to find Kurukulla safe and well sitting on the hard. She was in need of a clean up and a coat of antifoul but otherwise ready for another season. The journey was un-noteworthy other than the rain hardly stopped all the way. So much for the joys of open topped motoring! After a pair of days relaxing the work has started in earnest, the antifouling and waterline are done, the clean up started and the minor mechanical servicing items underway. The hope is to be in the water by 14 June and away two or three days after that, not quite a early as planned but still tenable.