We received a phone call from the marina staff informing us that we had mail. Whenever they have called about mail, it’s always been official and serious. This time was no different. We both received letters from the health ministry, and of course we were unable to read them. Dan quickly sent a picture to our friend who explained to us we were required to go the ministry of health and purchase Croatian health insurance. Now mind you, we had already purchased travelers health insurance that included evacuating us out of the country in an emergency. No one said anything about having to buy Croatian insurance. But wait! It gets better (of course it does)….not only did we need to buy insurance for the remaining 2 1/2 months of our visa, but we had to pay for the year leading up to our entry in the country! We weren’t even living here! Are you kidding me??? Needless to say, we spent 2 days running around trying to get that squared away and figuring out where to even go. And, like everything else here, you cannot take care of everything in one place (payment in one place and paperwork in another). I believe that we are the most highly insured people on the planet now 🙁
With that all squared away, we raced to the ferry to make our way to the mainland since it was time to return the rental car. Life was about to get really interesting. We spent the day running around doing errands and buying those last few things for the boat. We returned the car and then had to figure out how to get from the airport to the ferry and then from the ferry back to our boat. After wandering the tiny airport trying to figure things out, we finally opted for a bus to a beautiful little town called Omišalj. This was a ten minute ride, and then we would have to wait for 4 hours for the next bus that would take us on the ferry and drop us in the city center of Cres. From there it would be 3/4 mile walk to the boat. Yeah, that was loads of fun. I want my car back! We had a weather system rolling in the next couple of nights, so we used that time to work on the boat and get her ready to head out once the storm passed.
One of our first projects was to replace our transducer which was no longer registering boat speed. This turned out to be one of those “you’re kidding me” tasks. I say this because it requires you to pull the transducer out of a hole in the hull of the boat. What is on the other side of this 2” diameter hole? A whole lot of water!!! This means you have to quickly pop it out, while water comes rushing in, and shove a special plug in the hole to keep from sinking your boat. And we didn’t just do it once. Nope, we did it twice! Once to take the old one out, clean it, and test it. Broken. So the second time was to put the new one in. Needless to say, we did not sink our boat and successfully completed our first repair job.
Our next task was to fill our propane tank and buy groceries (don’t forget, we are now car-less). The worst part of this task is that you have to drop the tank before 10 and pick it up after 2 (at the camp, which is no where near us!). So off we go, on our folding bikes, each armed with a big duffle on our back. It was a 2 1/2 mile ride (no big deal) with a very long ascent uphill (that WAS a big deal). I was super excited knowing I would get to make the ride there one more time today! We hit the grocery store, loaded up our duffles, and headed back to the boat. Chores were done, boat was ready, and our plan was to head south the next day. This would be our first handling Zoe with just the two of us. Similar to airplanes, take off and landing are the scariest parts….the stuff in between is a cake walk.
We headed out late morning while the winds were relatively calm. I scampered from one end of the boat to the other releasing all four lines and making sure they were clear of the props. We easily slid out of our spot for a clean exit….whew! We had a great day of wind (more than we expected) and hoisted our main and Genoa. We glided along at a peppy 8 knots most of our journey. We had a little bit of chop, but I managed to make us coffee and brunch without injury to myself or setting the boat on fire 🙂 As they day went on, the winds died down (as they typically do), so in came the Genoa and out came the big gennaker sail. Dan was a happy boy getting to play with all his sails! We arrived at the island of Unije about 4 1/2 hours later and proceeded to a very crowded anchorage. After one failed attempt at anchoring in very tight quarters, we agreed to ditch this area for a much more relaxed mooring field. Definitely a much better choice! We spent 2 wonderful nights here swimming, relaxing, and SUPing around the bay. The time came for us to venture on to our next destination….the island of Premuda.
We said goodbye to our beautiful bay and sailed our way to Premuda. Again, this was about a four hour sail. We pulled into the mooring field and attempted to grab a mooring ball. The wind was strong and the current and swells made this nearly impossible. Up until now, we have really struggled grabbing a mooring ball. The tie point is at the bottom of the ball, and they have them strung so tight that you can only lift the ball up a few feet. We are very high up from the water making it incredibly challenging for me to hoist the ball up under pressure and run the lines through….my arms are just not long enough even laying down and leaning over the edge. We decide it’s time to try something new. I will be at the wheel and Dan will grab the ball at the back of the boat, run the line through, and as the wind moves the ball to the front he will walk the line up and tie it off. We already tried this with me at the back, and once again I came up short in getting the ball high enough to run the line. The role reversal went really well. We now have a new piece of learning under our belt. We headed into town as we were running low on cash and didn’t think to stock up before we left. Here is another fun fact….many of the islands only take cash AND do not have banks or an ATM on the island! Uh oh! We read in our guide book that the post office will act as a cash dispenser. Our book said the post office on Premuda was open from 2-4. It was now 3 o’clock so we hustled to shore and headed out in search of the post office. The sun was high overhead and it was blazing hot. Wouldn’t you know, the post office was located up a very long road…and I mean UP! We arrived at 3:30 only to find out the hours were 10-12….my heart broke 🙁 We headed back to the boat sad and defeated. Not feeling really impressed with this place so far. We spent an incredibly rough night pitching around in the rolling sea. If we didn’t have our sea legs before, we definitely would now. For the first time ever, things fell off the shelf (that’s how bad we were rocking). The next day we decided to hell with this and headed out of there.
Our next stop was the island of Silba. We found a beautiful little bay with only a few boats. We proceeded in, chose our ball, and took our stations….me at the helm and Dan on the back of the boat with the hook and our mooring line. Success! We finally landed it in one try! It’s the little accomplishments that bring us such great joy…haha. According to our guide, the town was a one mile walk from the bay, and we were promised an ATM, some markets, and some restaurants. We headed up the trail which was well shaded in the trees (luckily I did not notice the bazillion large spiders hanging from many of the trees until we were headed back!) We arrived in a beautiful little town with gorgeous villas and YES! that beautiful ATM right next to a market. We quickly replenished our cash (in case it ran dry) and wandered around taking in the sights. We found an amazing little restaurant for lunch (I thoroughly enjoyed my octopus salad) and wandered some more afterwards. Before heading back, we hit the bakery, a fruit and veggie stand, and the market. We happily made our way back to the boat proclaiming our love for this little piece of paradise. Definitely spending another night here! We spent the next two days SUPing around the two bays, swimming and relaxing. We also enjoyed a front row seat to the total lunar eclipse….which was spectacular. Tomorrow, we will continue to make our way south (but I will be very sad to say goodbye to Silba). Remind me next time to tell you about the 360 degree views of naked people….I’ve run out of places to avert my eyes and seen enough naked strangers to last me a lifetime. Oh! I forgot to mention the naked Italian lady who swam over to our boat to tell Dan about the great pictures she took of our boat and would like to share them with him! I bet I have your attention now, huh? Until next time…….
Church bells gonging like crazy…..
Incredible! The views the experiences you are having. You both will know you can accomplish anything in life after all these trials….