One of our goals with this blog was not only to share some amazing sights and experiences with you, but to also share the trials and tribulations of life as a vagabond on a boat. Today was one of those epically rough days for a variety of reasons. We always warn visitors that weather and situations will always dictate and sometimes override our original plans. Our plan today was to leave the Pakleni Islands and head to the island of Brač. We had two specific stops in mind. One would involve a 45 minute hike to a remote monastery, and the other was to a slender peninsula of a beach that juts out into the sea. Bol, the beach, is known as one of the top 10 beaches in the world.
Our morning began with a dense layer of dark clouds building overhead, so Dan and I start scanning the various weather sites we use. Worst case, light rain is forecasted…..no big deal. As we start to get ready for our day, one of our most dreaded catastrophes hits 🙁 Our head (toilet) stops working and backs up (threatening to overflow). This disaster was compounded by the fact that we were in the islands….not near an appropriate marina with services and repair shops. Dan starts scrambling to find a marina with a repair facility and someone who can come to the boat fairly quickly. The guy says he can come do the work sometime tomorrow, so we make the decision to head to the marina which is a little over 2 hours away. No….it was not that simple. Without getting too graphic….here is where things get messy. The toilet is now about an inch from the rim and needs to be emptied to avoid sloshing all over the bathroom when we are underway. I’m sure you’re getting the picture…..so guess who got the fun of scooping the liquid mess into the bucket….yep, you got it….today I get to be first mate (how convenient)🤢 One disaster under control….pretty damn well I might add. As we headed out of the bay, the rain started….fairly steady…..definitely not light! We rounded the point, and all hell broke loose. We found ourselves in blinding rain, thunder, lightning, and low visibility. The seas were churned up, and we were pounding through the “washing machine” of wicked waves. This was the first time where things, other than what we usually stow, were threatening to scatter to the floor. It was also the first time we needed to turn on radar in order to better see oncoming boats. At one point, we had to do our watch from inside the cabin as we were soaking wet and struggling to see due to the force of the wind and rain. After about 45 minutes of this craziness, we came out of the chaos and weather and seas began to calm. But as I mentioned before, these two problems derailed our original plans, and we headed for a marina in the town of Milna on the island of Brač.
Dan and I decided to try and troubleshoot the toilet and fix it. Needless to say, that ended in all kinds of bad 🤢 Lucky for us, the guy we had talked to showed up about a half our later (never mind a day earlier than we expected). What we learned: The saltwater that runs through the system builds up salt residue and other minerals. Over the years, this plugs up your lines. The opening in the tubing, which is usually golf ball size, was now pea size. Apparently running hydrochloric acid through the system from time to time, removes the build up. We have learned some new lessons for the upkeep of boat head systems….and it only cost us 200 euro 🙄 (and me scrubbing down the bathroom 3 bloody times!) So that was the bad and the ugly….
Let’s get back to the good.
We were tied up to the quay at the marina in Milna which was actually quite nice. While our friends wandered the little village, Dan and I did some chores, and Dan took pains to learn as much as he could about the repairs of our marine head. I baked a chocolate cake since we had all decided that grilling steak off the back of the boat sounded fabulous tonight. We had a wonderful night of yummy, homemade food, lots of great wine, and a late night of learning a new (to us) card game. We played Euchre late into the night, laughing and enjoying a relaxing evening after a stressful day. Tomorrow we would get back to some of our original plans.
We headed out early for the anchorage we had originally planned with the hike to the monastery. This is a very tight bay that often sees a lot of traffic, including very large day tripper excursion boats. When we arrived, there were only 3-4 other boats anchored, so we quickly chose our spot and set our anchor. Dan headed to shore to tie stern lines from the back of our boat to shore. You have to back down close to shore, so there is really no room for your boat to swing freely around the anchor. These lines keep you in one place. By now the winds had picked up, and I was nervous about leaving the boat completely unattended for several hours. If you recall, we have not had many anchoring experiences as of yet (and I am still fighting the battle with our new anchor). The other problem was that more and more boats were streaming into the anchorage, and we were trying to make sure they didn’t foul our anchor by laying over top of us. In the end, Dan and I decided that we would both stay with the boat to ensure it was safe (we had already been to the monastery but have come here to share the experience with our friends). Dan dropped them off on the beach at the trailhead, and they headed off on their own adventure. Meanwhile, we were watching the waves build out in the channel and decided we would just stay put here for tonight. Our friends returned, and we enjoyed the water and beautiful anchorage. Pretty soon we heard some yelling and a great deal of pandemonium across the anchorage. A large charter boat had come loose from their anchor and fouled their prop with their stern line (they now have no engine power). One dinghy raced over to put himself between the boat and the rocks as the boat was quickly being thrown into the rock lined shore. Soon, several other dinghies, including the guys on ours, were racing over to help. Dan had a line tied to them midship to try and pull them away from the rocks. Two dinghies were pushing against his hull to keep him off the rocks, and several people had gone into the water to help cut away the line from his prop. Fortunately, the prop was freed and the boat was kept from being destroyed on the rocks. We all watched in anticipation as the skipper attempted to reset his anchor (winds were even higher now). He eventually called it quits and waved goodbye and thanked all of us for helping. More boats came in making things very close quarters. A few boats, stuck on the outer fringes of the bay, eventually gave up after pitching all around in the rollers coming in off the channel. We had a comfortable but somewhat sleepless night (will our anchor drag? Will someone else’s drag and send them crashing into us?) In the end, all was well. We were ready for our next destination.
Today we headed for that beach I had mentioned earlier. Our plan was to spend a few hours swimming and hanging out on this world famous beach before taking our friends back to our favorite bay with the fabulous restaurant up on the cliffs. We had already pre-ordered our dinner and reserved our mooring ball, so we were under no pressure to get there early….other than to have some time to play in this gorgeous, amphitheater of a bay. We arrived in Bol a few hours later, and as you can imagine, there were boats everywhere. This beach is one of the highlights of most tourists’ trips to southern Croatia. We found a place to squeeze ourselves in and drop the anchor. She seemed to have set pretty easily, but only time would really tell. We sent our friends off on the SUP to the beach, and Dan and I hung out monitoring the boat’s movement. We set an anchor alarm (warns you if your boat moves out of the set parameters). After 45 minutes, we seemed solidly set, so Dan and I headed to the beach to join our friends.
After enjoying the crowded chaos of this very popular beach, we decided that we were all ready to move to our next location to enjoy some more beautiful (yet more serene) surroundings. Three hours later, our host was helping us moor up to the same spot as last time we were here (best spot in the mooring field in our opinion). Needless to say, our dinner experience did not disappoint. The family has now begun to treat us like regulars which is a very unusual occurrence in a place where your customers change daily all season long (we have now been here 3 times in less than 2 weeks!) It was a somewhat sad farewell, but we promised that we would return next season.
Sadly, our friends’ time with us has come to an end. After running through a variety of possibilities, it is decided that we will head north to Primošten where we will have a few hours to enjoy the beauty here before our friends take a cab back to Split. The plan is for them to spend the evening in Split before flying out the next day on the second part of their travel adventures. As for Dan and I, we will spend the night in Primošten (maybe even two) before continuing our journey north. Believe it or not, our time in Croatia is quickly coming to an end 🙁 At this point, we plan a leisurely journey back to our home base in Cres, where we will do one final check on the house and say goodbye to all the friends who have made our time here so special. Then, it’s on to Venice. But I’m getting ahead of myself…..stay tuned for more Croatian adventures by both land and by sea 🙋🏼♀️😘
Here’s an interactive map showing these parts of the voyage.
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