Perhaps what 2020 has provided us is an opportunity to reset expectation, and to work more closely aligned with anticipation. Expectation breeds complacency. Anticipation allows for a delicate dance with knowledge and agility. An expecting society struggles to see the beauty of each day, the simple appreciation of clean water, the comfort of a warm (or a cool) bed in which to sleep. When those simplicities are made more difficult through an introduction of the unknown, they become more precious, more valuable. Shake the rug and we realize how much dust has been masking our world. 2020 has provided the shake. What now will we do with our knowledge and agility?
We, the captain and crew of Madame Geneva, move about in our home. We have our comforts about us but we must work for them. We make our water to drink and to bath and there is a great joy in that. We do not take these things for granted, simply because that is when they break and we are bloodying ourselves to fix them. We struggle through what is expected of us (work, school) with the limitations of electricity (what we cannot create by solar, we must ration drastically, leaving laptops uncharged and assignments due) and wifi, while wanting each hour to be filled with the rarity of exploring at this time. We recognize how incredibly fortunate we are for these struggles.
Last year, we were unable to get to Hvar town. The weather was not cooperating, our bow thruster was not working and the only available space was a rocky stern-to mooring. Uh…no thank you. This year, we arrived in perfect time. Surprised but pleased to know that we had secured a “360 buoy”, despite the closeness of every known boat in Croatia, we settled into our day with a fresh tank of water made in Rogoznica (that is one tank because somehow we have two other tanks of water but are without the ability to retrieve said water). We watched a little nervously as charter boats rafted up to one another at these same buoys and were careful to discourage anyone rafting up to us. Later in the day, we were approached by one of the marineras and we requested that we ride our mooring alone. We were told that only one boat was allowed per mooring. He said this while two boats were moored together at the next buoy.
Secure in our knowledge that we were at the mercy of the fates, we left the boat and went into the town. As with many of these ports, the streets were relatively deserted. Over the next couple of days, we hiked up to the fort and through the alleys. We visited shops of handmade jewelry and leather bags, dockside cafes, and narrow sidewalk restaurants. The kids had their most expensive gelato in Croatia (18 kuna! 2-3 times more expensive than elsewhere and still about USD$2.70 for a cone). The people were gracious, and worried for business that did not come this year. “Not since the war,” said a silver smith at his family’s jewelry shop, “has it been this bad. I was only 9 years old then.”
We cast off for the island of Lastova. This national park at the edge of Croatia, well into the Adriatic, was pocketed with bays, ruins, churches, and beauty. Our first anchorage had us tied to a tree. Our next had me swimming for a stern buoy with a long line tethered to Madame Geneva, in about 20 knots of wind. We walked into the town of Lastova, high above the cliffs overlooking a small port. The chimneys of Lastova vary from house to house, as symbols of status. Each also served to reflect the intimate knowledge of the wind in that area, providing ventilation in these old stone homes. Some were grandiose and proud, some small and delicate.
We have been traveling in Croatia for about five weeks, and we haven’t even come close to seeing all there is to see. Last year, I said that Split was not to Dubrovnik, but little did I understand how unexplored we had left Croatia. Though many towns share similar ruins and rules, each has its character often easier to photograph than to describe. From a bell to a door to a quay made into an organ, these towns provide an opportunity to remember that our expectation can never be met with quite the pleasure with which our anticipation can.
Take nothing for granted. Much love and stay tuned.