Underway to Pula to pick up visitors

I decided to change things up a bit and try to live blog as we go. It won’t be posted as it happens, but I’m hoping by writing as things are happening, I won’t have to keep asking Dan if I am remembering things in the right order 😝 So if my tenses (yes, once a teacher…always a teacher) start to switch back and forth, you’ll know I fell behind. Well, that is my story anyway, and I’m sticking to it!

We set out today around 11:00, and it was a veritable traffic jam! Apparently we all decided to leave the dock at the same time. Our goal was to fuel up before heading out, but that was an epic failure as well. There were at least 6 boats waiting in line for the fuel dock! If you’ve never done it, sitting in a line/holding pattern on a boat is NOT fun. Since we still had over a 1/2 tank of gas in each tank, we headed on out. Our destination today was Medulin or Pula on the mainland peninsula of Istria. Dan’s son, Jacob, and niece, Brianna, were flying in to visit us for a week, and we needed to be in Pula to pick them up. As it turned out, Jacob’s flight had a mechanical problem which forced it to cancel (which meant Dan spent several hours, in the middle of the night, scrambling to rebook him). Anyway, we got well underway, and traffic thinned out dramatically. The seas were calm and the wind was light, but we hit a patch that allowed us an hour and a half (of our 7 hour journey) to actually sail. The saying here in Croatia is that you either have too little wind or too much. Needless to say, our journey took quite a bit longer than expected.

We had decided to moor in Medulin tonight. The guidebook proclaims that this amazing bay of coves and anchorages was a place you would want to spend a week exploring. HA! Maybe if you enjoy living in a zoo! As we entered this huge bay, every square inch of it was packed from shore to sea. Tents and campers were racked and stacked on every open space of shoreline. We dodged parasailing tourists, jet skis, kayakers, SUPers, powerboats, sailboats, hobie cats….you name it, we were dodging and skirting it. The waterway was as full as the shore. It was awful!!! We pulled into the mooring field, and I felt ill. It was a tiny field of balls surrounded closely by the land which housed a carnival and lots of restaurants and hang outs. That wasn’t the worst part! As I have mentioned, Croatia has been (and still is) under an extreme heat advisory. The air was completely still and blistering hot. But here is the best part! Instead of the beautiful, turquoise waters we’ve had in the islands, the water here was a greenish brown (gag). And the deeper we got into the bay, the brownish foam on the surface got heavier. Ummmm, hell no! There was not one person swimming off their boat, which is how everyone wiles away their days in the mooring fields. That was a big, neon sign right there! We once again entered the gauntlet and headed out. This time, we headed to a mooring field outside of Pula. As we came into this bay (another hour later), my sense of dread once again escalated. If dodging the chaos was bad last time, this was 100 times worse! The entrance to the mooring field was a very narrow channel where we not only had to dodge other boats, but swimmers and SUPers crossing the channel without even looking for boats! Don’t worry….all has not been lost….as we came into the mooring field, it opened up nice and big, with quite a few balls open for the taking. We picked one we felt the best about, and got ourselves tied up…..and yes, we magically ended up back in nudie land….haha.

So here we are, sitting in this quiet and still mooring field, darkness has descended upon us, and we are waiting for Brianna’s arrival. She is due to land in Pula, will take a cab to a restaurant at the end of the bay, and Dan will dinghy in to pick her up and bring her back to the boat. Our plan is to stay in the bay tomorrow but maybe move to a better ball as we see which boats leave. Jacob is scheduled to arrive tomorrow night, and then we will make our way back to Cres the next day. Tomorrow I will add any highlights we encounter to this post. If you are growing weary of sailing posts, stick with me. We are about to take to land for a few days for some new adventures!

We decided to spend another day on the ball here in Pula. We spent the day swimming and SUPing, eventually heading across the channel for a beer at a local beach bar. By the time we got back to the boat, we dove in for a swim in order to cool down. I kept feeling something brush against me in the water, but whenever I looked, there was nothing there. After a bit of floating around, Dan decided he wanted to practice learning to dive. So with Brianna and I in the water coaching, we laughed hysterically as Dan’s dives looked more like a frog leaping from a lily pad. His last dive had finally begun to show some signs of improvement, and as he stood on the swim step, perfecting his form, he promptly announced that there were a bunch of jellyfish swimming around the boat (and our exit route OUT of the water!) I scrambled to the ladder, using my arms to forcefully move large amounts of water out of my path. We guided Brianna to the SUP which she quickly jumped up on. Next thing we knew, these large brown jellyfish came drifting by (the previous ones had been somewhat small and clear in color). These were the size of a saucer with hundreds of dangling tentacles. Brianna decided to try and video some of them and even brought one up on the board with her using the paddle. Needless to say, we all decided swim time was over! Given how many people were swimming in the bay, and no one seemed to notice them, I decided to look them up. I soon learned that the translucent ones were non stinging….whew (especially since I’m pretty sure that is what kept brushing me in the water). According to google sources, the scary brown looking ones do not have harmful stings to humans. I cannot confirm this as NONE of us were willing to test this out.

When jellyfish attack!

This evening, we decided to dinghy to shore and Uber into the city of Pula. Ironically, the Uber turned out to be the hardest part of this whole process! After climbing up the hill to wait for our Uber (15 minutes out), he eventually cancelled at the last minute. Grrr. We ordered another one. Once again, after waiting in the sweltering heat, they cancelled again! We decided to try one more time….and this time we took off on foot to the nearby town where it appeared our Uber driver was dropping a fare. We trekked further up the hill and around the bay (about 2 km) just in time to see the back end of our Uber driving away. Fear not! He had turned around and came back. We finally got our ride. We arrived across the street from the ancient Roman Arena. We wandered around this majestic, ancient arena taking in the historical site. The arena is still used today for concerts and various other venues. As a matter of fact, the World Cup was televised in the arena on a giant screen with 20,000 in attendance. I can only imagine what a sight that was to behold. From there, we waded our way through the throngs of people ending up at the Temple of Jupiter. Having once been a teacher of ancient history, I absolutely LOVE seeing historical sites from ancient times. Luckily, hailing an Uber to go back to the boat was much easier. The tough part was the 10 minute dinghy ride back to the boat in the pitch black while avoiding the obstacles of mooring buoys strewn about the bay.

Ancient Roman arena, built first century AD
Worlds largest collection of ancient Amphorae, found in Pula

Temple of Jupiter – Pula
Downtown Pula

So that brings us to today. We opted to bug out early…ok, semi-early. Dan and I got us underway by 8:30. Unfortunately, our late arrival to the boat the night before, and our semi-early departure from the mooring field meant we missed the fee collectors. For all I know, we may be wanted criminals now 😬 Anyway, our departure was another episode of collision avoidance between the early morning boaters, randomly anchored boats, SUPers, and swimmers. I won’t elaborate on the giant luxury yacht that bore down on me, refusing to alter course, requiring me to drastically alter course and surf their wake in the gentlest way possible. There was not a lick of wind and the seas were flat as glass. We pulled into the island of Zeča 4 1/2 hours later. Sadly, our little bay (only 3 of us in it a month ago) was filled with about 15 boats 🙁

This is an anchorage, so I’m back to the battle ground with my Rocna. We head to the outskirts of the bay, but I am not happy with the ground….it’s rock and sea grass. We decide to take our chance (Dan’s choice) and drop. With absolutely no wind, we wait. Dan decides to go into the water and see what’s happening. The anchor has not even spun around properly, so I back the boat up just enough to spin it around while he watches through the water. He tells me it has dug in behind a rock. SWEET! We set an anchor alarm to ensure we don’t drag, and we swim and play all day, never moving. Toward the end of our day, I swim out to the anchor with Dan so I can see how it’s set (he had told me the anchor was 1/3 dug in behind the rock). What I see is an anchor resting in a channel between two rocks! What 1/3 he was seeing, I have yet to figure out. The good news is our chain had settled around another rock and our anchor (and the chain) had not budged in many hours. With an extremely calm and quiet night forecasted, we felt pretty secure for the night. Unfortunately, I cannot claim anchor victory with this half ass ground lay…..so, anchor 0 – Robyn 0…..at least until we do battle once again. I shall master this damn beast! Tomorrow, we will make our way back to the marina and begin some land based adventures! Stay tuned!

Water in the Croatian Islands is so clear!
Mermaid!

Sunset dinner in the Cres Marina

Video of our day anchored off remote uninhabited Croatian Island
We spent the night anchored off an uninhabited island
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Don Morrison
Don Morrison
1 year ago

Robyn you missed your calling. You should become a novelist. Thanks for the commentary but some how my retirement seems so boring.

Robyn
Robyn
1 year ago
Reply to  Don Morrison

Thank you….I enjoy writing and try to make it fun to read. If you are doing what you love, then you are living retirement to the fullest. This is a lot of fun, but it also comes with a lot of stress and work (something I try not to play up too much unless I can make it funny….otherwise, who wants to read that?!). Hope you are doing well!