The American Migration South

We arrived back in our home port on Wednesday night. Our goal over the next few days was to get Zoe cleaned up and re-provisioned (stocked with food and supplies) for our journey south. We have a new set of visitors joining us in Split in two weeks, so we needed to get Zoe ship shape after our last guests departed and prepare for our 10 day trek south. Split is a 160 mile sail south from our home port, and most of our days and nights will be out in remote areas (by choice) where we will need to be self-sufficient with food, water and fuel.

Provisioning, in and of itself, is now quite an adventure. Luckily, we have finally figured things out, and although not easy by any means, we are getting much more efficient at this process. As you will recall, we no longer have our rental car so everything we do is on foot or by bicycle. The area of the island where we live has 1 “supermarket” (picture something 1/4 the size of an American supermarket). I have come to hate going here (and not because it’s a 3 mile ride uphill, in traffic, on narrow roads) but because it is ALWAYS packed! And NEVER has more than 2 registers open (if you’re lucky). So Dan and I have gotten very clever in our shopping ways (I guess you could say more like locals and less like tourists). The day after we got back to port, we rode our bikes into town to the local fish market. After our time on land, we were craving some fresh fish. We picked up a couple of yummy Brancine and a Rumb fillet (flounder, we discovered) for making Ceviche (one of our new favorite meals…..but unknown to Croatians apparently). We then went next door to get some locally grown limes, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and avocado. On our way back to the boat, we discovered the butcher shop. We found some amazing treasures here too! Bye, bye “supermarket”! We ended up doing this trek again the next day in order to be prepared for our departure. So here goes Dan and I, on our folding bikes, riding to 4 different places and loading up these big duffles on our back to haul back to the boat. Then we get to ride through a gauntlet of people inhabiting the pathway that lines access to the water. It is quite the adventure!

Ceviche….yum

Once back to the boat, I began vacuum sealing our haul of amazing fish and meats. We have 2 small refrigerators with those tiny little freezers you see in a dorm fridge, so space is at a premium. At this point, we make sure we are all set to depart tomorrow (Sunday). We will have a couple of last minute tasks to do in the morning, and we will be on our way.

Vacuum sealer…great way to make use of limited fridge space

Sunday (today….check it out! I’m real time blogging now!) we cut lines (no, not literally). It was relatively calm in the marina, but we still had a small audience who came to watch us depart. We are the ONLY Americans and American flagged boat in the marina, one of the very few catamarans, and even fewer catamarans to see depart the marina. Fortunately for us, it was an uneventful departure (our favorite kind)! Once in the channel, the remnants of the Bura were in full effect. With 20-25 knot winds and some rolling seas, we were able to sail about 10 miles of our 40 mile journey. Sadly, the wind then died down to nothing and we were forced to motor the remaining distance. This also meant hours in the blazing sun with no breeze for relief 🙁

Originally, we had 3 separate bays in mind to moor for the night. Each one we cruised by was loaded with boats and far to tight for our girl. At that point, we opted to continue on the the island of Ilovik. We knew there were a lot more mooring balls here within a wide open channel. Believe it or not, Dan has family here too (yes, they are everywhere) 😂 He has an Aunt and Uncle who own a restaurant here. We are hoping to pop in and say hi tomorrow morning. It is very high season here, so a visit tonight would not be a very good idea. Anyway, we got Zoe tied up and quickly dove into the crystal, clear water to cool off. After a beautiful sunset and great dinner on the grill, we are enjoying a quiet evening on the water. I’ll be back tomorrow with our next escapades 🙂

The days voyage
Sunset over the mooring field

Today, we opted to just stay put. We had spent 9 hours making our way south, and unfortunately had a very sleepless night. There was not a lick of wind, and the night was very still. This translates to a very hot and sweaty night below deck despite all the hatches being open 🙁 The first thing we did upon getting up this morning was to dive into the very crisp and clear water surrounding our boat. It was refreshing and picturesque. What better time to add a chore! It had been several weeks since we scrubbed down the undersides of our hulls, and since we were already in the water….why not?! Despite the workout out of trying to scrub underwater, while staying afloat, and moving down the length of the boat, this is actually a quite entertaining chore. Not the scrubbing part…that’s gross! Not only are you scouring off this slimy stuff, there is all kinds of “things” growing there attached to the boat (I’m not even going to think about what’s there!) At this point, you may be asking yourself, where is the entertainment? Well, we have discovered that bath time for Zoe means feeding frenzy for the fish. So as we scrubbed, hundreds of fish followed us around every inch of the boat, sucking up all the “goodies” we were dislodging. They stuck around for the scraps from our breakfast, and every time we approached the back of the boat, the swarmed out awaiting any new treats. It was like swimming in our own personal aquarium.

Scrubbing with a hungry audience
Aquarium below the boat

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As the day heated up, and swarming bees descended upon us, we decided to dinghy ashore to see Dan’s family. Since his Aunt and Uncle have retired from running the restaurant, it was a long shot that they would be on the island today. As luck would have it, they were! We spent the next few hours visiting with them over beers, prosciutto and cheese. It was great to just relax and have nowhere to be. Tomorrow, we will continue our journey south on another very long passage. Soon, we will be entering the islands of an amazing national park. To quote George Bernard Shaw, who visited in 1929, “On the last day of creation, God desired to crown his work and thus created the Kornati Islands out of tears, stars and breath.”

Ruins of a Venetian fortress as a backdrop

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