26 May 2016
Sitting in the dark, on the boat which is stern to the dock here at Sponga in Polače. Listening to the fishes eat away at the anti-foul on the bottom of the boat and the stray cats outside fighting.
We got up at 4am this morning to get a head start on the long passage we had to make. The original plan was to anchor just outside of Korčula Old Town, but we made good time and were approaching Korčula at about 4pm. So we decided to keep on going and we made it to Polače about 6 or 7pm. Of course, the guys at Sponga were waiting on the dock to help us tie up, and once those formalities were out of the way, they brought us the obligatory shot of grappa. The kind of grappa that burns all the way down! I am of two minds as to which is worse, grappa or baijiu!
We’re the only boat pulled up to Sponga. It’s so quiet in here and its lovely. We stepped off the boat (looking pretty spiffy in our Med Sailing Holidays shirts!) and straight onto our dinner table, where a carafe of red wine was waiting for us. We ordered a soup each and a light meal with a salad to share. I had the pancakes, drenched in tinned berries and wrapped around this amazing ice-cream! And then they said that dinner was on the house… I know that we will be bringing guests back here and yet I am still blown away by this kind of generosity. We got talking to the waiter, Franjo, who used to live in Dubrovnik and worked at a night club in the Old Town called Revelin. He says it’s the third best club in Europe. I’m happy to take his word for it!
The food here is simple. The people are lovely. Like the old guy who told me to tighten my mooring line at the bow and pull more in. He didn’t make me feel stupid or anything. He was just very matter of fact, he knew that it could be pulled tighter and was simply informing me. And the old woman who looks like the kitchen boss lady. We went over and thanked them for dinner. She looked like she appreciated it.
This is what I am going to enjoy the best. Getting to know these people, the local people. The people for whom summer season is their livelihood, their bread and butter. I want to talk to them, hear their stories, learn about their culture and lifestyle.
But for now, my Blondie is snoring away in bed and my place is beside him. We still have another fullish day sailing ahead of us tomorrow, and hopefully we can hit Dubrovnik before the shops close.
Sailing on a new boat has been interesting. Good thing she’s a beautiful wee ship, and spotlessly clean! It’s been lovely being back on a boat just the two of us and some good down time before we get our first lot of guests.
Here’s to a great day out on the water today, lots of sea miles covered and more of the same tomorrow!
xxx laku noć, bonne nuit, wān ān, po marie and good night!
27 May 2016
We’re gutsing down our second servings of pasta and trying to get the wifi working. It’s such a lovely temperature outside but it smells like someone has dumped their holding tank in the marina. Not cool.
We got a sleep in this morning. YAY! Had breakfast at Sponga as they were opening up. Cruised out of Palače at a leisurely 8:30am. It was another stunning day, with brilliantly blue skies and strong sunbeams that may or may not have burned us a little… I don’t know how we manage to pass so much time on the boat together without killing each other, but it just doesn’t seem that long when we’re playing idiots together. Coming into Dubrovnik was breathtaking. When we sailed/motored out of Dubrovnik, I was so overwhelmed with all the sights that I didn’t really take much of it in. And so coming in today I could actually SEE so many things that I had missed. Like the stoic, storybook mountains that tower over the ocean. The little bays with resorts that are getting all set up for the summer season. And as we motored up the river, the terracotta roofs that are littered all along the riverside, so quaint and pleasant to look at. Nick was downstairs radioing in our pending arrival and making sure that we could get a berth, so I was upstairs helming, furiously trying to ensure that I wasn’t so distracted by EVERYTHING that I headed completely off course. Because off course in a river means running aground. And I was successful! No running aground happened, and I still managed a fair amount of marvelling at all of the awesome around me. The setting of the marina is like something out of a children’s book that I used to read, with a stone church on the other side, quaint little fishing boats tied up along the river’s edge and those damn majestic mountains!
We went for a wander once we had successfully docked. Found the laundry, the showers and the supermarket. I’d love to get up early tomorrow morning and have more of a wander, but I can’t see the early part happening. And with guests arriving after lunch, we will be busy making sure that the boat is perfect for them. I have all the provisions ready and have organised all my galley cupboards to look pretty as well as being practical. All breakfast and tea/coffee goods in the same place and a prettily arranged fruit basket! We got a brush and shovel cos boy oh boy does the dust and gunk and hair collect up in the corners FAST! Had a shower in the head earlier. That shower head is the BEST I have ever had on a boat head. The pressure was awesome!!! It’s the little things that make the biggest difference. I hope the guests like the boat…
Better go do the dishes!
29 May 2016
So we met and picked up out first guests yesterday, Ben and Shannon. They’re from Connecticut in the mighty US of A and they’re really lovely. It was an easy check in and we were on our way out of the marina by 1:30pm, which was awesome because the mill pond that was the marina was getting ridiculously hot! We gave them a briefing as Nick sailing/motored us to a sweet swimming spot. What better way to start your sailing holiday than with a swim in a gorgeous little bay, followed by a pretty sick spread of cured meats, cheeses, fruits and pickles?! We were off to a pretty good start!
Sailing (slash motoring) to our first bay, Luka Okuklje, was pretty cruisey, with the sun at exactly the right strength and height for Ben and Shannon to relax in style on the bow of Vaco da Ganda.
At Luka Okukljie, we dock stern to at a restaurant called Baro, run by… You guessed it! Baro! Ben and Shannon went for a nosy to explore the bay a little, while Nick and I chilled out on Baro’s deck with a glass of wine each, drinking in the view more than the wine (well in my case anyways). Okuklje is my favourite spot thus far. And it’s hard to pin point exactly why. I mean, sure it’s gorgeous. And so are al the other bay’s we have visited. Yes, there are random stray kitty cats, some of whom are friendly enough to come and rub up against my leg wanting attention. But it’s more than that. The first time we docked at Baro’s on Sea Princess, there was a little girl (Baro’s granddaughter I think, but I’m not sure) helping out and holding the mooring rope, all ready for us to pick up. That definitely tugged at my heart strings. This time, there was no little cutie in the dock. But across the bay, outside the little (and only) convenience store, there were about 5 or 6 kids of varying ages congregated, some on bikes, some with their legs swung out over the dock and fishing lines in their hands and a couple of them were playing with a very rambunctious puppy dog! As we sat and drank wine, we watched the kids on the bikes ride back and forth around the bay countless times. It reminded me of kids playing in a cu-de-sac back home. The parents weren’t worried about them. The community feel in this bay is strong and you get the feeling that in this area, the saying “it takes a village to raise a child” is definitely put into practise.
Dinner was simple. Geoff recommended the seafood platter, but as none of us are particularly sea-foodies, we went for pretty basic meat meals. Which was kind of perfect. Simple food and great fruity local wine. And that view…
After dinner, Nick and I went wandering. We marvelled at how clear the water was. Even though it was well dark by then, the little light that it up the street was enough to see right down to the bottom of the inlet. It’s maybe a couple meters deep, not even that in some spots. And the water is just crystal clear. We played with cats, we said hello to locals who were taking their nightly strolls around the bay, we found cats to play with, and then we found the rambunctious puppy that the kids were playing with earlier! Hahaha needless to say, I melted. I sat on the road and played with this gorgeous lively little bundle of fur. It was definitely the highlight of my day.
And the next morning, guess who was curled up on the dock by our gang plank?! I had to tell myself that I needed to be a grown up and make breakfast before I could go play with him. He knew I was up and was looking towards the boat with his big, beautiful puppy dog eyes. I chopped up fruit as fast as I could, set the table for breakfast and proceeded to plant myself on the dock with the puppy. Oh puppy cuddles are so almost as good as kitty cuddles!!!
As much as I wanted to take him with me, we needed to set off and head for Polače. Nick reminded me that I’ll probably see him every week but that didn’t stop me watching him on the dock as we motored out of the bay.
My Skipper husband was very happy that we got some decent wind on our passage from Okuklje to Polače. He got Vaco da Ganda up to 9 knots! And gave Ben and Shannon their first sailing holiday sailing lesson hahaha. Shannon wasn’t too sure about the heeling at first, which is totally natural when you haven’t had much sailing experience. I kept a close eye on everything downstairs as Nick showed her how far we can heel over and how easy it is to ease the sheets to stand her up again.
We arrived in Polače super early. Ben and Shannon went for a wander, Nick did some paperwork and I got lunch sorted. After lunch, Ben and Shannon hired bikes and rode to the lake, we then had peka at Songa. The peka blew Ben away. He absolutely loved it, as well as the house wine that we drank copious amounts of! Nick took the opportunity to take a couple of sweet slow-mo shots of them clinking their glasses together, some awesome glowing grins and a very cute kiss. He’s putting together a complimentary video for them as a keepsake of their trip on Sea Princess. So he’s been shooting sneaky footage here and there, like when they’re lounging on the bow, when Shannon is taking photos or Ben is chilling out helming. I can’t wait to see the finished product. I know how good an eye he has for these kinds of videos. And I can’t wait to see the look on their faces when they see what he’s put together for them. I am so super proud of my Blondie and there are few things that I love more than seeing others realise how awesome he is.
And I am falling asleep into the keyboard! It’s actually been a really long day and we’re leaving early (again!) tomorrow to hit Korčula at a decent hour. Ben and Shannon are going to LOVE Korčula!
Note: If you want to see the finished product of the video that Nick made for Ben and Shannon, click here. I knew it would be awesome and IT IS!!!