Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it sure feels that way :). Without a doubt, it is an awesome place to be trapped…..but it is seriously throwing a monkey wrench into our plans! We always forewarn those who come to play with us on the sea, flexibility is a must on a sailing vacation because you never know what might come your way. In this case, our house batteries (the ones that run the refrigerators, freezer, lights, plugs, etc.) gave up the ghost. This meant heading back to a big city, out of the islands, to get the work done. So, let me back up a little to where we last left you.
After 5 days at anchor in the bay of Punat, we were feeling pretty confident and successful with setting our hook and riding out moderate weather. As we made our way out the sea, we once again hoisted sails and set our course for the island of Rab. When we reached the island, we had a number of different anchorages to choose from, so we motored through a couple to find our happy place. While the first one was quite spacious with lots of room, we just weren’t feeling it (despite it being a very popular anchorage and town). In the end, we dropped anchor in a beautiful bay just outside the famous 4 steeples of Rab. We were tucked deep into the bay with forested land on one side and a towering monastery on the other. You definitely could not beat the views. Since we were a bit far from the main highlights of town, we were completely isolated from the number of boats that came in later that week.
We took our tender to one of the closer towns, and set off on foot to the ancient city of Rab. It was a long, lovely walk along a path that followed the sea until you reached the steeples, at which point you climbed a large number of stone steps into the medieval, walled city. We spent several hours taking in the sights before taking a different route back to our boat. This one took us through a maze of winding pathways that snaked through dense forested grounds. Despite being a tough uphill hike, the shading of the trees made it a very nice hike back.
At this point, we were approaching 10 days at anchor (our longest run ever being on the hook). We were feeling pretty confident and successful with ourselves at this point and super excited to carry on with our journey. Things were humming along far too smoothly, don’t you think? Here is where things start to go sideways. It soon became evident that we were having to rely on our generator for longer periods of time and more times throughout the day to recharge our batteries. It didn’t take long for Dan to discover that our house batteries were no longer holding a charge. This meant that we needed to go in somewhere that had shore power so that we could plug in.
We were once again very fortunate in that Dan discovered a hidden gem on the island of Cres in Punta Križa. This floating pontoon with shore power and water was not identified in any of our cruising guides and therefore not well known by people. It was tucked into this very isolated bay with only a campground and 1 restaurant at it’s entrance. Once we were plugged in, Dan decided to run some tests to confirm our fears. In the end, our batteries refused to hold a charge which meant no more anchorages or mooring balls until we got them replaced. Luckily for us, this isolated floating pontoon was the next best thing to being out at anchor. We enjoyed 5 days here while researching our next steps.
We had already made the decision to install solar, so now we were scrambling to price out a new battery bank and someone to install them. We also needed to find a marina to house the boat while the work was being done. Here is the kick in the teeth…..after 11 days of paying a daily rate, a monthly contract becomes much cheaper. At this point, we don’t know when they are going to start, how long it is going to take, and the batteries will take 5-7 days to arrive at the marina. To further complicate things, Dan is scheduled to attend a business conference in Greece in a couple of weeks! (I told you he was failing at being retired). After considering all factors, we decided to return to the city of Pula (almost all the way back to where we started this journey in April) and sign on for a month contract with the marina. While this is NOT our happy place, it’s definitely one of better cities to be stuck in…..and the view from our boat is amazing (the towering walls of the ancient coliseum are right next door). Since I already know my way around this city pretty well, it is a very convenient place for me to be stuck alone for a week when Dan heads to Greece.
After a 9 hour sail surfing some pretty good size swells, we arrived in Pula and are now tucked into our new home for at least the next 3 weeks. While this may seem like a little inconvenience, it is quite a bit more complicated. As you will see, we are pretty far north in Croatia, and we MUST be out of here by July 27th when our visa expires. Italy is no longer an option because the boat has to be in Montenegro by September to avoid that pesky 25% tax hit. We have to be out of Croatia for 3 months before we are allowed to come back through (that includes transiting in their waters). I’ve made it sound a little worse than it is…..we can be in Montenegro in 44 hours of non-stop sailing (so it is feasible), but that is a painful journey. Not to mention, for the 4 seasons we have sailed in this country, we have spent almost no time in the southern islands. So, provided we have no other “issues,” we will once again make our way south at the end of June and have a few weeks to explore before heading to Montenegro.
Since the goal of our blog is to share some amazing sights and places (and some of the craziness of living on a boat in foreign lands), we may go quiet for the next few weeks so as not to bore you :). We do plan to take some excursions during this down time, so we may include some pics with a brief synopsis. We just wanted you to know that we are still here and will be back to blogging when we have more interesting things to share!