I feel lucky. Always do these days but lately so much more so. When we left the fjord to head to an outer island for a safe night’s anchor we were a day ahead of when we expected to get back offshore. The wind had been dead, the heat present and the days long and hot. We have lived through and sailed through the early summer Mistral winds that howl from the French Alps and know all too well that in the Med it’s feast or famine for wind. Famine means motoring or motor sailing. Feast often means seeking a sheltered spot and hunkering down or charging on deeply reefed. Often for days.
The Bora is famous. So is the Sirocco. Winds that are big and destructive which shape how life is lived get names. Bora is the NE katabatic wind which pours like an avalanche down the Velebit mountains. It’s not at all uncommon to be 50-70 mph in the summer. The islands in the Velebitski channel are barren facing northeast, forested to their lee. In the winter some towns string chain or ropes along sidewalks to help people walk into howling snow hurricanes. Sirocco blows from the Sahara hot and strong and when it rains the rain is red. There are safe harbors and bays (Uvala) aplenty. Getting caught out is an option we are careful to avoid.
We anchored (3 times to avoid the weed and the rock scale bottom) in a bay alone to run our generator for water making and clothes washing. A calm and productive night in Uvala Zabodarski, Losinj, Croatia. I doubt most locals know what where we were is called.
The next morning we were off to Istria. This is the peninsula on the mainland just south of Slovenia and a mere 75 miles from Venice. We are the farthest north we have ever sailed. Exactly halfway between the equator and the North Pole.
Light wind motor sailing at 9 knots found Madame Geneva spotting dolphin, green and orange giant jellyfish and boats everywhere. No Americans. Just us…and a lot of Germans, Croats, a handful of Dutch, Austrians, Italians and the first Slovenian boat I’ve seen.
We pulled into the marina at Pula because some regrouping and watering/provisioning was in order. We might be accused of thinking we know what we’re doing underway. Occasionally even the blind squirrel finds a nut. Hours after we tied up….Bora! Pretty big summer Bora at that. Definitely gusting 40’s at times in the harbor. 60+ with 9-12 foot seas where we spent the last 2 days alone at anchor. Yep. Feast or famine. Blind squirrel with a full belly.
Pula is amazing. A giant Roman Colosseum lit at night on the waterfront. Roman ruins abound. Venetian palaces, Austro-Hungarian empire relics, World War I tunnels under the city, medieval everything and even a Mexican restaurant. Yep!
Stay tuned. Stay healthy. Much love.