Here comes the wind – now that we are leaving
The following morning dawned sunny and…calm!! So back to motoring for Magrathea to Maslinica at the west end of Solta island. This popular spot attracts many curiosities but the highlight was the group of four young lads (plus dog) attempting to circumnavigate some of the small islets in their pedalo whilst sheltering under a couple of pink umbrellas. It all looked curiously reminiscent of the two decoy pirates in the first Pirates of the Caribbean. We tore our eyes from them (and the nude chap hiding in the woods) and turned to lunch.
Frittata of artichoke potato and rosemary. Tomato salad with bread crumbed aubergine fritters green salad leaves, pine nuts, lambs lettuce Parmesan and avocado and pancetta. Sage focaccia with red onion and Gorgonzola.
Somebody senior had spotted that this was our last afternoon and hence the last chance for a sail. So it was that we sailed north to our final destination of Trogir in a stiff breeze of 18knots hard on the port bow. We had to thread the needle between rocks near the entrance to the bay but carrying 10 knots of momentum we managed even when the wind eased or moved. The only real danger was the stream of Sunsail flotilla yachts setting off (and straight at us) for the start of their holiday. We are never quite sure if these guys know anything about the ColRegs – but all was fine.
Neatly anchored just outside the town there was time to cheer the dozens of party flotillas storming in at the end of their holiday before turning to our final dinner.
Seared scallops with cauliflower purée and cumin velouté. Turbot with homemade tartare sauce and capers, potato croquets. (Better even than Yorkshire fish and chip.)
Chocolate and black chocolate stacks with blackcurrants, kumquat and gold leaf.
Finally the gods pass wind
Setting off into the Korcula strait (surrounded on both sides by high mountains) we raised full sail in the gentle 10knot breeze – only to find it suddenly shooting up to 30knots (and back down again) and coming from behind and then in front of us. The water was completely flat in this narrow stretch of water but even so going downwind at 12 knots in such a gale and contemplating heading up into the wind was a scary prospect. Fortunately (sic) the wind dropped at the exit of the straits so we reverted to M/Y mode and headed for Scedro island and the anchorage of Lovisce anchorage for lunch. Duck and orange salad with rosemary and raisin bread.
After lunch it was time for a cracking sail sail (without mountains to confuse the matter the wind blew strongly and in one direction) up to Hvar. This town is another full of interesting Venetian buildings. Of more interest generally is its reputation as the St Tropez of Croatia – very popular. We decided to test out the reputation and after getting recommendations from Ecclestone and Abramovich (mmm – perhaps not the most sensible sources) we went to Divino’s overlooking the harbour. Outstanding food and wine.
Towards the end of the evening (Friday 9 pm UK time)I received a call and a text from the guy who had sold me Magrathea. “No Barry I am not thinking of buying another one – and especially not at this time of night.” “No Chris I have had a message that you are in Hvar and your anchor may be dragging.” Sure enough back aboard we had to sort out some movement – but more remarkable was the message system. A yacht nearby had seen us, recognised us as an Oyster. The skipper was married to a lady who new someone in Oyster. He called his wife in the UK, she called her old colleague, she called the salesman on the basis that he probably still had my contact details and 20 minutes letter we had our warning. How’s that for after sales service?
Quit boating - start Cycling
Awaking to yet another windless morning we decided on a change of activity and hired bikes to explore the interior. This half the island is a nature reserve so plenty of unspoilt woodland, forest trails and a large lake - that is actually an almost totally landlocked bit of sea. Half way around we discovered that you cannot do a complete loop (no bridge!) so we had to reverse direction and track back to our start point. At least there was a legitimate excuse for a halt for a refreshing beer. Back aboard comfortably before lunchtime we could relax and enjoy Chef’s latest offering.
Chorizo, red pepper and caramelised onion tart, American potato salad, panzanella salad (cucumber, tomato, bread and dressing).
Then we poked our nose out of the ring of islands to confirm that there was still no wind and the donk was back out as we made for Korcula. This walled and battlemented town stands out into the middle of a west facing strip of water – so the sunsets should be remarkably good. Skipper recommended a bar at the top of an ancient tower. Drinks are brought up on a dumb waiter (customers must use the more prosaic ladders to the top). Despite staying for a number of cocktails to witness the sunset we soon realised that it was going to be some time and the dumb waiter mechanism would never be able to carry us down so we departed for dinner aboard.
Chilled cucumber soup with smoked salmon ribbons. Monkfish wrapped in Palma ham with herb risotto, with red wine sauce. Wild strawberry shortcakes with elderflower ice cream
Warmer Water at Last
We came on deck in the blazing sun of the early morning to review the carnage of the night before. "Snowdrifts" of tiny black insects were all over the decks. Even chef's battery Dyson gave up after 30 minutes of sucking up the pesky critters and a second recharge of the machine was needed before the decks were shiny white once more. Fearing an extremely muddy anchor and chain chef cleverly persuaded Skipper to reverse roles and winch in the chain while she took the helm. Despite the unfamiliarity of the task skipper managed admirably and even somehow managed to bring up the anchor without a trace of mud. Ho hum chef, better luck next time. M/Y Magrathea set forth for the island of Mljet.
We pulled into Prozurs bay for lunch. This pretty little bay is guarded by two small islands at its entrance that in turn have strings of small rocks connecting them just below the surface. Do not in any circumstances use these passages said the guide book. We therefore watched bemused just after we had anchored as a sunsail yacht came in through one of the gaps, swung violently to port half way through and emerged unscathed in the bay. Must be something to do with not actually owning the yacht. After all the excitement we settled to a quiet lunch of crispy Camembert salad with hazelnuts and morello cherries accompanied by pesto Chelsea buns. Then it was more motoring up to the main town of Polace on the west end of the island. There are more tiny islands just off the town producing a maze of inlets and pieces of coastline where yachts can anchor stern to and feel as though they are the only boats for miles. The water is shallower around the islands so swimming was a little more comfortable in the slightly warmer water. We gave the chef the evening off and went ashore for dinner at the Restaurant Calypso. Here we discovered local specialities of slow cooked lamb or fish in a "bell" and the fact that they make some very good wine in this country!