Sunday, April 30, 2017

First Week Queenstown

You'd think that being in a new country for a week would have seen me post things regularly on new and exciting experienced I did in that time. Unfortunately, this last week was not the norm in that regard. For starters, I got sick. Badly. A cold which a few others in the hostel also caught. The first day with it, I had committed two others taking a walk with me up a hill behind Queenstown to have a look down. A short way up I had to stop, as I noticed that the exercise was not doing me any favours what so ever. From that point on Emma (Aussie) and Adam (UK) carried on alone and I just wanted to walk back and get in to bed. Unfortunately that would have meant I would have been out of food, which is probably not the best thing to be when sick in bed. Swung by the supermarket and bought a few things before getting back to the hostel and bed. I slept for a good portion of the day, but as a result my jet lag (still I reckon) came in to play and I couldn't sleep the rest of the night.
Due to bad luck I had to take an hour bus trip to the next town the following day, reason being to open a bank account. Now, opening a bank account seemed like such a simple thing. At least it was in Australia. On my second day here I walked off all the banks in Queenstown and the results weren't promising. Westpac had declined straight away. Company policy dictated that I couldn't open a bank account before having a job (along that line) and, well, it's extraordinary difficult to get a job without a bank account. Ergo, problem?! The next largest bank, the ANZ, didn't have a spot free to open an account until three weeks later, which is a very long time to go with pulling funds from over seas. The other bank, a bit smaller, Kiwibank couldn't give me an appointment for a similar long time. In the end I organised an appointment in the next town in Cromwell, where I could go and get everything done four days later. The bank problem seems to be a Queenstown exclusive, as stories I've heard from backpackers in Auckland say that they got in when they walked in to the banks.
Anyways, in the end I went to Cromwell with a cold to open a bank account. There are two buses, one in the morning going there and one in the evening coming back. End of line. Brilliant for when one is not felling to well (sarcasm). What was nice about the journey, though, was that we had a funny and talkative bus driver, which in my situation was really a relief. Also the scenery along the route was stunning. We passed wine fields and bungee drops over clear rivers where rafting and kajaking is possible. All surrounded by the South Islands mountains. I can't wait to travel in an own vehicle again. 
In Cromwell I actually managed to get a bit more than the bank account done. As if to make up for all the bad felling from being ill, I got a lot of good new that day. I'd found out I could get a bit more money from Oz than originally anticipated, due to superannuation I was never going to need. I got my tax file number sorted out, which was made a lot easier with me just having been in the bank and I re-read a job interview invitation I have for a ski field I applied for. Once back I then just dropped in to bed again.
The next few days saw me recuperating and generally not doing a lot past sleeping, reading and watching videos. Most of my survival in that time was in tea, honey and raw lemons, but as of today I feel a lot better.

The past days have been cooling off and just today we have had the first bit of snow on the mountains. Here is to hope to a good season, and quite a few other backpackers are also getting a bit hyped up due to the snow. A lot of people are itching to get on to the snow fields.  

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Flight to New Zealand

The first blog from New Zealand for me. After an agonising long time.
First the background check of what has been going on these past couple of days and what it has taken to get here. About five months ago I had decided to go to New Zealand after my time in Australia. After all they are close together. First of visa, that took a while to do. As people from the UK are allowed to stay two years, I wanted to take my British citizenship and apply to NZ same as in Australia. Unfortunately I don't qualify as a UK citizen, as I have been living in Germany. So after a lot of scrambling around with the German embassy and getting passports sorted out internationally, I got to go to NZ as a German.
Next thing was flight and I reckon I got a really good deal with that one. Due to me knowing pretty sure four months before that I wanted to go to NZ I booked a flight fast and had it go via China (to visit Rhiannon) and Germany (to visit everyone else). In the end I paid 1200€ all together, not bad in my books, considering it was Quantas and British Airways I was flying with, too.
After a 35 hour long travel of which 26 were spent in the plane I got my first eye on New Zealand, the South Island more precise as I was flying in to Queenstown. My body was fed up with planes, me being tall not helping at all. My stomach had had enough of plane food, too. Nothing against what they served, it was very nice, but in the end I wanted something which I could spread out more. Airports just served very pricey things.
The first things I saw coming down in the plane were the tall mountains, which we actually ended up flying through to get to the airport of Queenstown. The top of these mountains is not covered in trees, but only in what looks to be grasses. Lower down the trees start showing up with roads and small towns in them. 
Upon touchdown my neighbouring passenger seemed relived, he didn't seem to like the landing much. Can't say the same for myself, as I have flown so many times now throughout my live I'm desensitise to a lot of the quirks of flying. On the plus side we had a nice sunny day, too, so the views on to the surrounding and the planes reactions were superb.
Upon disembarking the plane we passengers walked along the tar to the terminal to pick up our luggage. I myself was relieved to see my backpack come, as the last time I had seen it was Munich, on the other side of the planet. Picked it up and proceeded through the document check system. For some reason I had the jitters a bit, but there was no reason for that, as everything I had done and supplied was correct and accounted for. Due to that I had no issues what so ever passing through, the only thing I couldn't answer positively was that I had a job or knew someone. That didn't seem to matter to much, so a short while later I stood in the main terminal. I was surprised a bit by the sheer amount of police present for such a small airport, but then again, a lot of people were around that day. Grabbed some money from an ATM machine to pay for any bus or taxi feeds and then outside the airport I had a quick ring around a couple of Queenstown hostels.
A week prior to my flight I started looking at accommodations, which was probably not the best thing I did. Due to an extreme lack of misfortune, everything had been booked out in Queenstown. Everything in my price range at least. I chatted with my Lesley about it (my aunt), who had been to Queenstown before, and she found an accommodation which was the cheapest of the pricey ones. In the end I booked one night in Wanaka, a town an hour and a half’s drive from Queenstown, just in case I found nothing on my arrival or the authorities wanted some proof I had where I was going. In the end though, I got an accommodation in Queenstown, as someone had backed out. Pretty much exactly what I had been aiming for. Also Queenstown probably has the advantage that it is the bigger of the two towns, so to set up things like banks accounts and such it may be a bit better.
Caught a bus, on which I had my fist taste of Kiwi English in Kiwi-land. A guy I had worked with before was and spoke like a guy from New Zealand, but with this bus driver I really noticed. Got dropped of at the hostel I booked in and arranged my room and all. After getting to my bed, I pretty much just lay in it and slept. Waking up two hours later to get my clothes of whilst everyone else went out for some drinks. I myself was just to knackered from 35 hours of travelling.

The next day saw me getting up earlier than everybody else. Most likely due to my screwed up biological clock and partly probably because of them all having been out the night before. I must have been one of the only backpackers awake at that time, as after having some breakfast provided by the hostel (jam sandwich) I went out for a bit of a walk. Sometime throughout the night I developed a headache, probably thanks to not hydrating enough the day before. Drank a lot and had a walk in fresh air. Looking at the scenery again I was reminded of Johannas words, that Queenstown very much looks like Nesselwang. I can happily agree to that, as I really like mountains and snow. The snow part is still missing, but the mountains and forests are more than making up for it for now.
Walked along the shore of Lake Wakatipu for a very short while, as I had to be back at the hostel for checkout. Checked around the town a bit, too, to see where most of the important things are located. Back at the hostel checked out and then walked to the hostel I was staying in for a week. Check in at that hostel was at 3PM, so I was way to early. But in the meantime I left my bags there and went shopping for some food. Had a bit more of a look around the town at the same time, too. From what I can gather of the people there are a lot of tourist here at the moment, as I saw a lot of Asian looking people and heard a bit of Dutch (I think) and German. If the stories of past people I have met in Australia are true, then NZ is full of Germans anyway (again). Did a bit of light shopping nearly had a heart attack looking at the prices, but later on other backpackers told me that it's just Queenstown which is this pricey.

Back at the hostel I just had to wait a short while and then got my room allocated. Fist thing I did was have a shower to clean of nearly two days of travelling before sitting down to write the blog.  

Friday, April 14, 2017

Sailing Croatia Day 14: Cuscica Bay – Biograd Marina

The last day and I tried to have a bit of a sleep in. For some reason I was felling a bit under the weather again. But at one point dad asked quietly if I was awake, with a positive answer, so I got up and helped him bring up the anchor. Daniel must have heard the call, too, as pretty much when I got up he was out of bed, too. Once we got under way not much happened to me, personally. Due to being lethargic I spent most of the last day lying in my cot with a book at hand. I wasn't the only one felling a bit under, as most of everyone else also didn't do to much. Later on in the day I was called up to the deck, as Rhiannon went higher up the mast than before. Whilst helping her up another boat passed us and the skipper jokingly asked if we were searching for bananas. Once up I left to get back in to bed, but was called out later as a small school of dolphins passed by. These were a lot more active than all the previous ones we had seen, probably because there were more of them. A couple of tail slaps on the water later we carried on, me back in bed until we nearly reached Biograd. Rhiannon had been doing most of the last stretch and I got to go in to the marina.
What a chaos. We had to dodge multiple boats hanging around the exit of the marina. One backed in to the marina at hight speed from a couple of hundred metres outside the marina walls. Once we managed to get close to the entrance a catamaran came out backwards. Don't know what was going on there, but everybody seemed to like the reverse gear. Once in another came boat came screaming from the left, backwards of course and we nearly had a collision.
Pretty happy once we got in to the bay we had allocated to us. Once all things had been checked, electricity, fuel, water and the cars still being there we had a bit of free time before we all went out in the evening to dinner. After eating in a nice pizzeria with large pizzas we returned back to the boat for the last night. Took a while to get there as the city was celebrating Easter, and a lot of residence were walking from the church to somewhere.
Back a the boat a comfortable sleep before getting up early in the morning and heading home with Daniel and Annalena on a ten hour trip. After being in Oz for so long, ten hours doesn't seem like to much, though.
Track at GPSies.

Weather sailing: Nice day with a bit of sailing and motoring.

Weather driving: Rainy most of the way.  

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sailing Croatia Day 13: Jezera Marina – Cuscica Bay

Two more days of sailing to go, before we head back in to Biograd an the end of the holiday. Due to the “accident” yesterday we got away a bit later than planned, as the marina tried and managed to contact the owner of our neighbouring boat a bit later in the morning. Seems to be no big issues, so we set of at around midday. The wind was not up to the game, as it was yesterday, so we had an easy time motoring out of the marina. Unfortunately this also meant that sailing proved rather difficult. We still passed the start of a small regatta, which were using all the wind that they could catch in the sails.
Out in open there was a bit of a breeze, but not to much. Still, whilst dad sailed across a lot of the open water stretch towards Zut Island, all the rest of us played a game of Phase 10. At one point we heard a loud engine sound and in the distance a coastguard vehicle could be seen approaching. Got a few pictures of it passing and caught the tail wave of it a few moments after it passed close by.
Once we reached the shores of Zut we had two ways of going around the island, west or east. The east was open towards all the rest of Croaita with a few boats around (former mentioned military boat still making a noise) and the west was a small path between two island. We choose the west way. Along the way we had to switch the engine on at one point, too, and as the wind left us shortly after we motored up all the way to the bay we stayed in. Along the way Daniel got it in his head again that he wanted to have some water contact. So as we travelled along we let the back down and he could stick his head and feet in.
Arriving at the island we were in debate if you could anchor or not. One out of three of our maps said no, but there was no sign to tell us not to. Also someone else was there already, but one should never rely on that. Dropped the anchor in four metres of water the first time, but after we had let out the correct length of chain for that depth (5x) I saw us being to close to the rocks on the side of the bay. So the anchor came back up again and we dropped it in six metres, which left a bit more space to the edge.
Shortly after all of us except dad went ashore to explore the area a bit. Dad stayed in case the boat got free. Walking was an interesting thing, as the land is treacherous. Most of the time we walked across thin sheets of stones that stuck up, due to the way the mountains go in to the water. But we had some stunning views down the route we came up with the boat. A few small remote farms with stone walls splitting up the island. I guess that the farmers bring their stock out here in summer, when the temperatures are milder. Reminded me of Scotland and Dad said it bought up memories of the Falkland Island.
Once we arrived back at the boat, Annalena and Dad cocked up some tea, pasta again. But after a nice filling meal and some desert we went to bed after playing a game of Phase 10.
Track at GPSies.

Weather: Sunny with a few wisps of cloud, light wind in the morning, no wind in the afternoon.  

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Sailing Croatia Day 12: Zirje Island – Jezera Marina

Dad and Daniel were once again the first ones awake, whilst I just laid in bed reading a book. The evening before we had agreed that we would lie in a bit, so the motor was started up somewhere closer to nine o'clock than the usual one hour earlier than that. Whilst we motored out I had gotten everything on and was up on deck with the other two boys. Just outside the bay the wind picked up considerably and the sails went up shortly later. Annalena woke up due to that (maybe) and Rhiannon got up a while later, too. Due to the winds Daniel was surfing along the water at six knots later on, to much for breakfast, so we waited until the wind went down a bit after the next tack and had something to eat then.
Our general aim was to head towards the marina on Murter, but due to the strong winds and early start we had loads of time left. The wind died down shortly after, too, so we stopped at a lagoon on Kaprje. Dad and Rhiannon walked around the island a bit whilst Daniel went for a swim in my wetsuit. Annalena and me watched him from deck.
Once the two island explorers had returned I got on the wet wetsuit (juck) and hopped in. Fortunately Dad and Rhiannon had bought me a stone, just enough for me to be able to dive a bit. First time going down I had to hold back from breathing, as the last times I went down in my wetsuit I had a tank on the back. Dived under the boat a few times and had a look at the anchor.
Back on the boat Rhiannon had a go with swimming, too, and eventually saw that the water wasn't to cold in a wetsuit.
After we got her on board and dried Annalena pulled up the anchor and we set of toward the marina. And what a speed we had. Racing along Rhiannon eventually reached seven knots on the GPS, a speed we hadn't reached previously. Quite a few others were around, too, most of them with reefed sails, but we had a short bit of fun next to another boat doing the same as we were.
Getting closer to the marina dad took over the helm and probably good he did to. The wind was less than ideal coming in and following the (misguided) advice of one of the employees we ended up scraping alongside another boat. No to large damage done in the end and whilst the rest went shopping I looked after the boat.
Once they came back we set of for some dinner at a local restaurant. Back at the boat more computer stuff whilst Daniel was watching football.
Track at GPSies.

Time 4 hours 30 min.

Weather: Sunny day with lots of wind.  

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sailing Croatia Day 11: Drvenik Island – Zirje Island

For some reason I was pretty knackered again waking up in the morning. Might be due to the anchor warning going of again three times in the night, due to lost GPS signal. Can not be because of the anchor dragging, as when I checked it the night before going to bed I had a clear view of the chain lying on the ground with the full moon light illuminating it.
Daniel and Dad were awake before everyone else, so when they started getting the boat ready for leaving I managed to get out of bed. Daniel drove us out of the bay and nearly immediately we had decent wind. Annalena and Rhiannon had woken up by then, too, so we were all enjoying breakfast. Due to that reason the sails didn't go up until the meal had finished. But when they did we had the good wind the whole time. With a wind coming from behind we shot past the church/lighthouse island we had passed on our way south and Primosten was left behind fast, too. Along the way it was discussed if we should go to a marina again, or camp out in a bay. As Daniel wanted to go to Zrce we headed that way. A few hours before arriving he realised that there are two named like that. It's written differently, but sound the same. So we carried on on our way to Zirje. As we had only bought the food to survive until to the next marina in Hvar, we had to go shopping on the way. I offered Kaprje, as Dads navigation book said it's got a supermarket there. Shortly before arriving Daniel red in the book again, that it can be difficult to get in there with larger boats. So our grocery aim turned to Muna, on Zirje island.
Getting in was a bit hairy, as the wind wasn't in our favour but we managed to land directly in front of the supermarket. Which was just being filled up. I managed to charge my laptop to last another day and we got food for the night. Dad and I spent some time on the boat whilst the rest walked around the town. Once they came back we got ready to leave. We had a play full cat having a go at the end of the lines. The cat had tagged along with the others and was rather friendly.
Left the harbour and whilst four of us enjoyed a game of Skipo, Dad steered us around the island to another anchorage. We set speed records of 0.3 knots coming around there and when Dad later had a game with them and I steered that dropped down to zero. Motor on and we carried on around the island to our anchor place.
Second time anchoring on a boy and once again they are different. These ones you take the rope through a loop at the top and there are two you secure yourself on. Did that and whilst Rhiannon and Dad chilled on the boat, Annalena, Daniel and me went exploring in a cave in the side of the cliffs we had moored to.
Later on a good dinner prepared by Daniel and Annaena. Spaghetti with a sharp salami sauce.
Track at GPSies.

Time: 9 hours

Weather: Sunny blue sky day with ideal half wind. Enabled a constant four to five knot speed.  

Monday, April 10, 2017

Sailing Croatia Day 10: Palmizana Marina – Drvenik Island

Bit of a later morning. Stayed up until half past twelve, working on pictures, time lapses, blogs and tracks. So in the morning we left a bit late, with no breakfast, heading to Hvar. Just before leaving, though, we refilled the water tank and charged a couple of things in the last minutes.
Hvar was the target again, as Daniel and Annalena hadn't seen any city on the journey so far. Got to Hvar under motor, as the wind was nearly non-existent. In the city we backed in to a spot again, as the harbour seemed a bit empty at ten in the morning. Power on (again) and then we had a coffee and tea at a small cafe. Later on whilst the new two were exploring the city and went up to the fortress, us other three took a walk to the other side of the hill and got a picture across the city. Back down at the harbour we got some breakfast at the local bakery which was consumed back on the boat. Then some shopping in the local supermarket, aptly named “Konzum”. My plan for the evening was to cook some pasta carbonara, but non of the supermarket sell the pre-finished sauce. A quick Google in the local WiFi and I had the receipt for the sauce.
Back on the boat Annalena manoeuvred us out and then later on we put up the sails on her watch, too. The first mile of driving straight took some getting used to, as the boat reacts in a certain way, but she is getting better and better.
Shortly later we sailed along at just under three knots on our way to Drvenik. The next hours were spent just lazing around in the sun. Dad and me steered most of the time whilst the other three played Skipo. Later on Rhiannon wiped up a fruit salad which was consumed just as we passed through a narrow gap in between two island. Out behind the island we could already see our anchor point and Daniel spotted a super yacht anchored in there. We managed to squeeze past it and whilst Daniel and me stood at the helm, Dad and Rhiannon dropped the anchor.
Once secured I got ready to cook up dinner and Daniel rowed both girls over to the island for them to have a look around. Dad was content with staying on the boat and taking pictures of the rising moon.
Dinner ready the others came back and we had a full stomach after a while with the super yacht taking, what seemed like, pictures toward our boat.
Track at GPSies.

Time: 7 hours

Weather. Sunny blue sky day with a little wind.  

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sailing Croatia Day 9: Brac Island - Palmizana Marina

Up early in the morning. First time I was the first one up. Thought I'd best get up and let someone else know that if they get up we can leave. A few second later I heard Dad get up so I rowed out and released the lines before the both of us motored out. Just before starting the engine it gives a small “beep” and when that went of today I just heard Daniel say “now”. Annalena had asked when we are going to start the engine so he had his answer ready.
Motored out and set of towards the other side of Hvar, the island we had just come around the other day. Originally we had wanted to stay in a marina, but ended up staying in the town a few days prior (no mistake on that part) but we wanted a nice warm shower with a lot of space for once.
Whilst we were driving along we once again had breakfast before getting to some serious stuff. When Daniel and Annalena showed up the day before they commented on how warm and clear the water looked, so I took Daniel up on that offer for a swim. I knew it was freezing, but someone needed to go along with him, otherwise he would have never gone in. Stopped the boat and jumped in for a VERY short stay. Tried to get some video of the bottom of the boat to see what it looks like, but don't think it resulted in anything good.
Back on the boat a short while to dry and then the next idea popped up, to get someone to go up the mast. So Daniel got rigged up with the help of Dad and Rhiannon and later on I winched him up to get some GoPro footage from halfway up the mast. Whilst he was up we had to dodge a windsurfer school. Once he was back down again Rhiannon wanted to have a go, so up she went, this time with the help of Daniel and myself. Once she was up she got a video and pictures on the GoPro and we set the sails while she was still up. Hope she got some good footage from it. 
Back down we explained the sailing aspect to Daniel and Rhiannon and the next few hours saw us getting cooked in the sun, eating fruit salad (curtsey of Dad), having some biscuits and generally relaxing. Nearing the western tip of Hvar we ran out of wind so the last hour was spent motoring around the tip and trying to sail the last bit to Palmizana. The wind gave up on us shortly after, so sails in and motor fully on. Coming around the corner in to the marina things looked rather empty and Dad hadn't been able to reach them on the radio or phone. But there was an official looking person waiting for us. A short while later we moored on to the side of the pier and had warm showers, electricity, wifi and a secure place to stay.
In the evening we went to go and eat, but the restaurant was “closed”. We were lucky enough and dad looked hungry enough and they ended up letting us in if we were alright to eat what they eat. No problem, we would have been happy with pasta. Instead we got a five course meal with the best cooked beef I have ever had.
With a full stomach back to the boat to work on the blog and pictures.
Track at GPSies.

Time: 10 hours

Weather: Sunny day with decent wind.  

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Sailing Croatia Day 8: Tucepi Marina - Brac Island

Short day today, to compensate for the night before. I got up at about 11.30 AM and Rhiannon came up later on when all of us were enjoying lunch. Farinas and Dad had gone of to have a coffee and leave us to rest.
In the marina Dad and me helped some French people park in their boat and shortly later Daniel and Annalena showed up after a 13 hours drive from Nesselwang. Shopping was on the list (again) after we got all their belongings on to the boat. Whilst we young ones were gone the rest got their things packed on the boat and loaded in to the car. We met a Croatian in the shop who heard us speak German and asked where in Germany we were from. He knew of Kempten.
Back at the boat we said our goodbyes to Farinas who took Daniel and Annalenas car back to Biograd and swapped it for theirs. 
Back on the boat we left shortly later and motored towards Brac. Most of the way was spent like that, as the wind didn't really pick up that much on the short journey there. On the last stretch to the protected bay of Rasotica we managed to sail a bit, but shortly later the sails had to be put back down as the bay wasn't that wide. Motored in to the bay and saw that we couldn't really use an anchor to stay there effectively, so the next hour saw Daniel rowing me around the place fixing lines on steel ring in the rocks and securing lines around rocks to hold the boat. After all that had been completed and the boat tidied up Rhiannon got to cocking us some dinner (spaghetti with tomato sauce) and I rowed ashore for a time lapse video. Had a quick walk around the place and found a few houses behind the trees. Back on the boat we had dinner and then (half) a game of phase ten.
Track at GPSies.

Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Weather: Sunny with clouds coming over the mountains. Little wind.  

Friday, April 7, 2017

Sailing CroatiaDay 7: Korcula Island - Tucepi Marina

Long, long, long day today. Daniel and Annalena are coming down to take over for Farinas who have to leave us tomorrow. Some miscalculations saw us being ways a way from a suitable pick up place. We didn't want both of them to have to drive through another country and the only way to get to our area was to pass through Bosnia & Herzegovina. The aim was to get as far as possible, but the wind wasn't really in our favour. Stefano and me pulled up the anchor early in the morning and we started chugging around Korcula Island. The rest started appearing rather fast after the engine was started.
Whilst motoring along we had breakfast and later in the morning we sailed/motored around the east tip of Korcula. The channel funnelled some Northwest wind down against us and on one side of the channel was an old monastery and a Venetian City. Dad did a weather check and the wind predictions for the night were more favourable to out cause of getting to … and picking up our next two guest. So instead of sailing we moored in the harbour of the city of Korcula to have some lunch. Luckily someone was there to help us, as we couldn't see the usual front lines on which to hold us. We backed in ready to get the ropes secured but he yelled “ancherus” at us. The revelation what to do was pretty obvious, so Stefano motored out a bit, we dropped the anchor and then back in again properly. Off the boat we then explored the quaint little city for a bit before having some lunch in a restaurant. For myself and some of the others the floor was moving backwards and sideways, but no one got “land sick”. Lunch was interesting, as Rhiannon thought that she had ordered some baby squid to eat on and instead got half a kilo of the adult one. Swapped that for Caros macaroni and everybody enjoyed lunch. 
After that Dad went back to the boat, Stefano tagged along a while later, I took a walk around the city (which was over in 15 minutes) and the girls both went shopping. A short while later we were ready to go and left Korcula. The wind was blowing pretty strong and after getting all the sails out we ended up reefing the main to it's lowest possible one. Once that was completed we zigzagged up the channel, passing some windsurfers on the way. About halfway up the channel it was getting very obvious that we would be sailing until to the morning, so I went down and tried to get some shut eye for later in the night. Sailing hard on the wind was interesting trying to sleep, as when you jibe it throws you to the other side of the bed. Managed to get a bit of sleep here and there and in the end I ended up going up at about midnight (after five hours sleep) to take over from Dad.
Rhiannon joined me shortly later and we sailed until the early morning. Best thing about night shifts, no one sees you eat the biscuits. About an two hours before arriving in … we had to take the sails in and switch the motor on as no wind was showing up any more. About 15 minutes before reaching … Rhiannon went down to wake up Dad, but as it was to early in the morning we carried on to the next marina, Tucepi. Just before the daylight started showing up Rhiannon navigated us in to the harbour and after tying up we all (Rhiannon, Dad and me) dissapeared in to bed pretty fast.
Track at GPSies.

Time: 20 hours.

Weather: No/little wind in the morning, strong wind in the channel and sunshine with clouds.  

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Sailing Croatia Day 6: Hvar Harbour - Korcula Island

The morning saw Dad get up, give Rhiannon one warning to bring her stuff to wash, being ignored, Rhiannon realising he was gone and getting up in a rush and calling him.
I myself was a bit more relaxed about getting up and later on in the morning I passed up on my usual porridge food and had a bread breakfast with the rest. After breakfast Caro and Dad went shopping whilst Stefano and me got the boat ready. Just as the two shoppers came back I started up the engine and the boat left a few minutes later with Rhiannon at the helm. Going out the harbour our place was taken up immediately.
Outside we were later followed by a couple more sailing boats and whilst Dad and Stefano were discussing the predicted wind conditions I yelled down that we had seven knots of wind. Sails went up immediately. For the rest of the morning we were accompanied by a drizzle of rain and aft wind. New experience for 3/5 of the boat crew who had been sailing against the wind for most of the time. I commented to Dad how “boring” downwind sailing can be after having to go against the wind for four days. Short time later the music was turned up and Rhiannon was the DJ.
Later on once a few musics went through the mood calmed down a bit as the rain was still holding up. Everybody got rather sleepy and relaxed. On the horizon a lot of the boats from Hvar were in a regatta but we only met one which seemed to have come of course a bit closer to our track.
We took the sails in in the end, as the wind had come down to about four knots. The first spot we had aimed to get to was reached at about three o'clock, with nine knots of wind. I was felling a bit tired and hungry and was looking forward to anchoring. As the wind had picked up Dad suggested to carry on to the next anchorage, so I made myself some food and then went to have a nap.
When I woke up again we were just of the anchorage point, so whilst Stefano was anchoring I set my anchor monitoring app. 

The bay we sought shelter in from the predicted 20 knot winds at night is a really nice area. Clear water down to twelve metres with sandy and grassy ground. After anchoring Caro started cooking and Stefano was tiding up his fishing road (which had twists in it from a malfunction). And low and behold, whilst dragging the rope back through the water he caught a Sepia (type of squid). Meal for the night was guaranteed. After that a nice meal consisting of pasta, pork and Sepia.
Then bed.
Track at GPSies.

Time: 9 hours

Weather: Drizzly rain, later on sunny with wind.  

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Sailing Croatia Day 5: Vis Island - Hvar Harbour

The night was rather restless. My anchor alarm app went of four times, but not due to the anchor dragging, but because of my phone losing it's GPS signal. In the morning we started motoring out of the harbour and set for the open sea again. No long journey planned today, as we wanted a bit of a relaxing holiday. Whilst on our way we had some breakfast and later on saw a dolphin poke it's head out of the water closer to the boat than any before. The water was speckled with rubbish here and there, so they don't seem to take recycling to big here. 
We reached our destination island after a short while (breakfast had been finished) and dad navigated through until we reached the other side. Out side of Hvar an ocean cruiser could already be seen (Pacific Princess – Hamilton), so we headed straight for that, correctly assuming that was our destination harbour. We had two options, a marina on the opposite side of Hvar on a different island or in Hvar harbour. When we read that Hvar also has electricity and water, we went straight there.
Along the way we did some testing with the boat going backwards and Rhiannon and Caro had some fun doing twists and turns whilst Dad was on the toilet. Not shortly after we reached Hvar, got the fenders and lines ready and Rhiannon and Dad got us in to the mooring. After that sitting on the deck, updating the blog and uploading tracks to GPSies. Whilst I was working on that, the others decided to run of and have a drink. Later on I joined in (after taking ages to find out how to lock the boat) and after a drink everyone except dad went up to the Fortress above the city. Up there Rhiannon and me did a time lapse and after a short visit around the embattlement’s we returned to the boat. Whilst Caro took a shower Dad and me had a chat with people from the “DoE” who were sailing around the area.
Once Caro was ready we all set of to look for a restaurant. The first one we found we went in, but after looking at the menu dad came up with the excuse that we have no cash on us (they only took cash) as it was so expensive. We then had a very good meal in a restaurant which seemed over it's head with how many people were there.
Back to the boat and then some sleep whilst Rhiannon and Caro were trying to rap and breaking down in laughter after that.
Track at GPSies.

Time 4 hours 15 min.

Weather: Cloudy with some sun later. No sails up.  

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Sailing Croatia Day 4: Kremik Marina - Vis Island

A long day today, with all sorts of sailing conditions. And a small reminisced of the days sailing with Allan.
In the morning I was woken up by Dad and Stefano discussing when to leave again and after a while dad knocked on my door telling me to get ready to go. I was rather tired from the night before, as I had been working on the time lapse from the evening before that.
So we left in the morning to motor to the city we had eaten the day before and had some breakfast. Originally we had just wanted a coffee (me a tea), but in the end we decided to have a full blown breakfast instead. So later than we wanted to, we left and motored out of Primosten. A bit out we were able to put the sails up and then sailed along comfortably at around three knots. Our first fix point we passed was a lighthouse with a massive house for who knows what. From a distance it looked more like a church. Passing that we saw a lot of sea gulls in the water and we are still trying to catch some fish. No luck again, though. After the lighthouse we set sail for open water. The island we were aiming for is called Vis and it's a fair way out at sea. Due to the weather and wind predictions from Stefano, we took a more coastal course, opposed to a sea course and then swinging back around. We couldn't take a direct approach to the island, as that was where the wind was coming from. And the next few hours we spent out there. Saw a lonely dolphin again and some birds tried to take Stefanos lure, but other than that just a nice calm day. Or so we thought. Early in the afternoon we heard some thunder and the land we had just left was enveloped in rain and dark clouds. Dad heard a warning come through on the radio at one point, but nothing concerning us directly. A bit later on the wind nearly stopped altogether and the sails got rolled in and the engine came on. Didn't hold long, though, as soon after the wind picked up dramatically. Sails back out, engine off and a while after we even had to put one reef in. Caro was having a brilliant time, jumping on the waves, which had started breaking out in the sea. Soon after Rhiannon took over, for us to get in to the island, as the day was slowly drawing to a close. Big red sunset, with a ball of red in the sky. 
Then came the sort of stuff I was used to with Allan. We had an anchoring we wanted to stay at and got there just on the break of dark. There was some weird ship bunker near there, too, or it might have been for subs. First anchoring attempt saw us getting to close to shallow water with to much wind in the anchoring, as the wind had turned to an unexpected angle. Finding a good anchoring place seems to be a problem here in Croatia, as the water drops of rapidly. You can be 50 metres from the coast and in 80 metre deep water. The second anchoring point was dismissed straight away, due to the same reasons as the prior mentioned one. The third anchorage we steered to was a bit away, so by the time we got there it was dark. The only sheltered area we found was directly in front of the city of Vis and the clearest spot we found was interesting to navigate in to. Dropped the anchor and shortly after a guy in a white car rocked up yelling something at us. No clue what he was saying. We gave him many options to speak in. English, German, Italian and Chinese, Portugese and Dutch were more options. While we were debating if to stay or not (close to the land again) he managed to do some phone calls and just yelled “Go Away!” over. Dad still having a bit of humour left over just yelled an “OK” over and we lifted the anchor and left (anchor was wrapped up in the chain). Travelled a short distance and in the end dropped the anchor near to another boat (with Germans on it). A few calculations later dad had worked out what coordinated we had set the anchor at and I could put it in my phone and be at peace (bad experience in Pancake Creek). Caro had whipped up a lot of pasta, so we all got stuffed before going to bed and sleeping.
Track at GPSies.

Time: 11 hours

Weather: Sunny in the morning. Thunderclouds in the evening with winds up to 20 knots.  

Monday, April 3, 2017

Sailing Croatia Day 3: Zimnjak Island - Kremik Marina

The morning saw me getting woke up by Dad and Stefano discussing about getting ready to leave. When I heard that they wanted to leave at eight I checked the clock and saw that it was quarter too. As I didn't really want to lie in bed with and engine running next to me, I got up pronto.
By the time my head came up over deck Stefano and Dad had already untied from the buoy and were heading out to sea. Calm, no winds and flat conditions, the ocean was close to a mirror. The water here is so clear you can see to the bottom of the sea in quite a depth. Sometime later Caro and Rhiannon awoke, too, so we all sat down for breakfast. We had some of the fruit salad Caro prepared the night before and a lot of other things. After breakfast we/Dad cleaned up the boat, but all still under motor as the wind was nearly not there. For quite a while there we had the auto pilot running, as the battery was being charged by the engine anyway.
To me, the sea up until now didn't really feel like and ocean, as we are surrounded by islands until to the horizon, but later on in the morning Stefano spotted some dolphins, so we must be in the right water (it's salty, too). A lot of the islands around us have, or still are, inhabited by humans. Old stone walls separating olive plantations or collapsed houses out of stone are dotted everywhere. And then you'll also find a small town tucked away in a sheltered bay somewhere. Also there is the odd structure which no one knows what it is used for. An outside toilet looking like structure made from concrete was one. 
Past the islands we did find a stretch of sea which was open all the way to Italy. And that is where the wind really picked up. Dad had just gotten his T-shirt of to get some sun and the wind picked up. T-shirt back on again and sails up. Rhiannon, Stefano and Dad put them up whilst I tried to keep it in the wind. Shortly after Rhiannon took over the helm and we started sailing along in a straight line with over five knots. It was very well planed (or lucky) that we just arrived at the opening when the wind picked up, as we got across the open stretch fast. Once we reached the islands on the other side again, we got close to the planned marina. Dad tried reaching them on channel 16, but no answer. In the end he phoned them and got them. After closing and and taking down the sails, Dad motored us in whilst Stefano and me took care of the roped. Going backwards was and interesting thing in the yacht. No real steering until some speed is there.
After getting all moored up we had a toilet run and took a taxi in to town for some dinner and shopping.
Then back to the boat again for blogging and sleep.
Track at GPSies.

Time: 7 hours

Weather: Mostly sunny with clouds later on. Decent wind from midday until three in the afternoon.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sailing Croatia Day 2: Biograd - Zimnjak Island

First day sailing, with a lot of wind.
In the morning we all woke up about the same time. Whilst Farinas and Rhiannon went shopping, Dad took care of the water on board and I got the car in to a better parking space. Whilst all of this was going on, Dad said that some professional Austrian team came past and completely messed up, getting a few boats endangered in the process.
Our attempt went a lot better, as no yelling or boat ramming happened. Stefano steered, whilst Dad and me got rid of the lines and Caro and Rhiannon took care that we don't bump in to our neighbours. Left the marina with a lot of speed, as the wind was blowing us out. Out at sea we got a bit of distance from the mainland and took up the sails. The first attempt saw us take all the sails out and the boat was overpowered rather a lot. After a short while of sailing like that we got the sails in a bit and the boat ran a lot better. The first “wende” (German) was a bit of a disaster, as we could not for the live of us work out why the boat wasn't turning. Dad released the pressure on main sail a little and we swung around without an issue. The next few hours saw us racing against another boat next to us, doing taking the whole was as our destination was upwind and getting to know the boat. At some stage the wind reached higher speeds, so we had the main sail reefed in as much as possible and the front sail nearly all the way in. Not any sea animal was seen, so we've all started wondering where the dolphins are. Dodged a few sand banks and rocks on our way to the next anchorage. What was chosen was a buoy near to a closed restaurant. Apparently you pay for the buoys unless you eat at the restaurant. As the restaurant is closed until May, we hooked up and didn't have to pay. Fixing to the boy was interesting, involved leaning over board, Caro trying to grip the buoy with the ship hook and when we got the line through we did something wrong and had to move it to the other side. All the while a ship a couple of tons heavy is pulling the rope out of your hand. 
After we got secured we had a drink and then whilst Rhiannon and dad got the small boat in to the water I went for a swim in my swim suit. The water was freezing, I thought the med was supposed to be nice and warm. Anyway, I was happy I had it with me. Did a few swims around the boat, dived down to the block of concrete holding us and checked the rope. All good. Did a few pictures whilst I was at it and then got back on board to dry of and write the blog. The other left for the shore at that point, one at a time. Whilst I was finishing my blog they explored the island. They met the brother of the owner of the restaurant (or something along that line) and had to pay 100 kuna for the night (about 13 Euros). For that they also got a lift back to the yacht with a motor boat. Before dinner dad then rowed me over to the mainland so I could get a time lapse of the yacht in the bay. After completing that and having a stunning few of the surrounding from the top of the hill a big pasta meal, curtsey of Caro. A few drinks after that and we were of to bed.
Track at GPSies.

Time: 4 hours 50 min.

Weather: Sunny/Light cloud cover with 25kts wind and 30kts gusts.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Sailing Croatia Day 1: Nesselwang - Biograd

Two weeks of meeting and greeting people later, Rhiannon, Dad and me are of to Croatia to sail. Stefano and Caro (Farina) are joining us for the first week and Daniel and Anna-Lena are coming the week after.
At 5.17AM Dad came and picked me up, after I had had two and a half hours of sleep. Got a few comments about taking to much, as I took my swim suit and flippers, too. Then at 5.23AM we left Zillhalde with Rhiannon to met up with Farinas at the centre of town. Shortly after we set of towards Austria with a Hogarth car and a Farina car. We had set of so early to forgo any traffic that might be on the way. It's no holidays, but the weekend just started. And then we drove and drove and drove. A few places Dad recognised from his biking times in the Alps (heard a story a few times about Heidi not giving him the chance to have a coffee) and a few I recognised from my own explorations with Nico. 
In a spot in the Dolomites we stopped for some breakfast. Haven't seen mountains like that for years, Australia’s are a bit more worn down, but Oz has it's own good things. After coffee Rhiannon had some fun on pass roads and shortly prior to the Slovenian border Dad took over again. Went through some toll roads and border controls in Slovenia and on the Croatian border. Rhiannon took over the wheel again on the old main road along the Croatian border and had some fun on it with Stefano leading.
We arrived in Biograd where we found the Marina after asking some locals and then got settled on to the boat. It's a nice boat, a Dofour 350.
Did a shopping spree shortly before dinner and then went to the Marina restaurant for some food. Dinner took absolutely ages to get there (we thought dads salad had been forgotten) but tasted pretty good.

Then back for some bailys and bed.