With bad weather moving in, we tied up in a marina near Primosten Croatia for 4 days. It’s near the middle of the country’s coastline and offers good opportunities for land exploration and other adventures, but there was not a rental car to be found! It has been one of the busiest years we can remember, and finding a rental car in August has been nearly impossible. We did manage to do some nice hikes from the marina, both along the coastline and up through a grapevine terraced hillside to the very top of the point overlooking the sea. At the very top, is a monument (Our Lady of Loreto Statue) to the Virgin Mary which stands 17 meters (55.77 feet) high and is visible from Italy on a clear day. There wasn’t much more exploring we could do without a vehicle, so we were eager to get underway once the weather cleared.
From there, we headed to the island of Pašman. We were making our way pretty far north, so this was a convenient rest stop for the night. We still had a fair amount of wind (15-20 knots), so we grabbed a mooring ball and settled in for the night. It wasn’t long before every spot was taken. Since we were anxious to get more miles under our belt, we got moving early for our 7 hour journey. The downside of our journey north is that the prevailing wind is pretty much always from the north which means very little opportunity to sail 🙁 Our next stop was the island of Olib, and a large anchorage on the southern end of the island. We still had some residual wind creating a bit of chop in the anchorage, but we did manage to get in a swim for some exercise.
Olib was another one night stop before heading to the island of Silba. This has been one of our favorite islands, and you can access town via a 20-30 minute walk through the countryside. We tried a new bay this time which had been filled with mooring balls. The balls were uncomfortably close to one another, but there weren’t many boats so it was okay. We quickly learned why there weren’t many boats. The wasps were insane here. We started out using our zapping racket, and that soon became futile. We ended up hiding inside the boat because they were so bad. Before heading to town, we constructed a wasp catcher using a water bottle and some watermelon juice. By the time we got back, there were over 60 dead wasps in the bottle….a special treat for the fish. It still didn’t deter them! Needless to say, we only lasted one night here as well.
Once again, we were tracking another weather system (ahhh, you gotta love northern Croatia). We headed up to the island and town of Mali Losinj. This has always been one of our favorite places, fairly close to Dan’s family home. We spent 4 nights here enjoying the town and visiting with one of Dan’s cousins and our friend Magrit, from the town of Stivan. We found some more great hikes including one to Vela Straza (Monte Baston), an ancient hilltop fort. This was considered to be of strategic importance thanks to the wide views which allowed for the protection of the town of Mali Losinj. Once again, no rental cars available!
Before long, we were on our way again. Destination: The island of Cres and home of Dan’s father and his ancestral roots. This would be our final stop in the northern Adriatic and where it all began for us with Zoe. If you’ve been following our blog from the beginning, you will recall that we had Zoe moved to the island and town of Cres after we purchased her in Tunisia. I lived in the marina on Zoe, alone, for 5-6 weeks getting her ready to become our home. Dan was still working at the time back in the US. I stayed on Zoe during the spring while monitoring the exterior renovations that were being done on Dan’s ancestral home on the island. So, here we were, back at our favorite marina (ACI Cres) after several years away. It felt like coming home. Unfortunately, this will probably be our last visit up here with Zoe (we will always come back by land) as we are feeling the pull to explore farther afield on the boat. We spent another 4 days here (and yes, there was weather AGAIN!) We explored all of our favorite haunts and hikes, visited with friends in the town of Stivan, checked on the house, and visited the crypt of Dan’s dad, aunt, uncle, grandparents, and great grandfather. As you can imagine, visiting the small village of Stivan is bittersweet for us, but it always calls us back.
We said farewell to Cres this morning and have begun our journey south again. We have 3 more sets of visitors over the next month and a half, each arriving further south in Croatia. We will be taking them through more of the islands of Croatia, sprinkled with some land adventures, before we make our way back to Greece and Zoe’s winter resting place. As always, we hope to bring you some new and exciting adventures during our explorations with our guests!