“A wonderful time!”: Sailors report from the first Croatia trip after the Corona-Lockdown

Croatia Sailing trip: Island Drvenik Veli
Evening atmosphere on the Adriatic - here you are guaranteed to be safe from the coronavirus.

About 30 % less water sports enthusiasts in Croatia, about 50 % less tourists in hotels, Appartements and also campsites – SeaHelp member Sonja Weidlitsch and her husband were among the first owners who, after the opening of the border from June 14 to July 9, 2020, set out to explore the Adriatic Sea, which was still almost untouched by tourism this year. A very special experience with their Hanse 400 sailing yacht, which is guaranteed not to be repeated so quickly. The résumé of the trip in Croatia in short form is: “What a wonderful time”, as the 3-week sailing trip was finally summarized by her. Here her report.

barely skipper at Cape Kamenjak

The first day led our Hanseatic League under sail from Novigrad to the southern tip of Istria around Cape Kamenjak. In the well-known Bay Portic anchoring with our sailing yacht was pure pleasure, only four ships sought shelter here for the night.

Ilovik/Croatia: Only a few buoys occupied

The next day of our Croatia trip we sailed across the Kvarner, on the way we saw only two motor boats, but otherwise we were pretty much alone with our sailing yacht Hanse 400 in the Adriatic Sea of Croatia. The wind was moderate and the sea rather from its calm side. We passed the south side of Losinj, through Sveti Petar on Ilovik to the bay of Silba, Sveti Ante. In Sveti Petar very few buoys were occupied and apparently only one restaurant was open, at the other restaurants there were no tables outside.

Silba/Croatia: Only locals on the way

In Silba we set off on foot for the village. What we saw here at the end of June makes us better understand why it causes worry lines on the faces of Croatian restaurant owners and apartment landlords: No holidaymakers in this part of Croatia, uninhabited holiday homes that are usually all occupied at this time of the year and even the supermarket only had a meagre selection of fresh food on offer. Only in the coffee bars there were a few Croatians sitting occasionally. This impression was also confirmed by the harbour: No water, no electricity – it lay almost completely deserted in front of us, like many other harbours at that time in Croatia.

Molat/Croatia: No activity in bay Luka Jazi

This impression should also consolidate on the further tour towards the south of Croatia: Few ships in the bay Luka Jazi in the area of the island Molat, where we anchored.

Island Iz/Croatia: Yacht “shifted” buoys

On the island of Iz we stayed overnight on our sailing trip in the Bucht Vodenjak, there were quite a few boats at the buoys and unfortunately there were also charter boats with men’s crews here, partying and whirling all night long. We observed a big motorboat during a “move buoy” manoeuvre; i.e. he pulled the buoy with full throttle further away until he liked the place, really crazy!

 

Croatia Sailing trip: Bay Vodenjak Island Ist
In the bay of Vodenjak on the island of Iz only a few noisy charter crews disturbed the otherwise perfect idyll.

 

Dugi Otok/Croatia: No waiting times at petrol station

On Dugi Otok im Place Zaglav the effects that the coronavirus had on the Croatian tourist numbers were also evident: we filled up with diesel, which worked perfectly this time because we didn’t have to wait and the whole landing stage was free. We were also able to bunkers water there. The gas station attendant turned out to be very friendly and like everywhere else we left a good tip. Afterwards our route led us towards Sali, where we moored to buy food in the supermarket. There was a compulsory mask, only a few people were allowed in the shop.

cornates: Significantly more operation

Our journey continued through the Kornaten, where there were also very few boats on the way, but in front of the restaurants it was already quite crowded here. Since we had already stayed overnight in the Kornati Islands very often, this time we only sailed through with our sailing yacht and were happy about the clear water there.

Corona deniers on Zirje/Croatia

A further stop was planned on the island Zirje, which is a fixed point for us on every trip, only on this trip we stayed for the first time in the Uvala Tratinska, which is on the southern side and where there is also a diving base. The buoys there were in good shape, the water is quite deep and very clean. But the buoys operator surprised us with some strange stories, like: in reality the corona virus does not exist, it is only faked by the media! The flu is much more dangerous etc. blah blah blah blah! Really very miraculous! But corona deniers are everywhere.
Anyway, we continued the next day of our sailing trip along the croatian coast to the Uvala Stupica Vela, where in this rustic restaurant as always 2 dishes are available, fish or meat, each with a delicious potato salad, there is no menu here. The prices at the buoys and in the restaurant remained on the level of the previous year. Here we hiked again to the castle on the mountain and enjoyed the beautiful view into the bay. The buoys were very well occupied.

No free moorings in Primosten/Croatia

 

Croatia Sailing trip: Primosten Megayachts
Perspective: Compared to the large yachts in Primosten, the Hanse 400 seems almost small, although it is also of a stately size.

 

In Primosten we got a place in the small harbour, where during the day huge motor yachts with up to 7 men crew have moored. We lay with our sailing yacht Hanse 400 in between and felt like the dwarves! In the course of the day the Marinero had to send about 20 sailing yachts away again because there was no more space. Some stayed at the buoys, the others went on. Primosten itself was still like extinct; the hotels were partly closed and one saw almost no holidaymakers.

 

Croatia Sailing Trip: Primosten
Primosten at the start of the season: Orphaned promenade, only in the harbours the big yachts are moored. Obviously many owners have preferred safe Croatia to other destinations.

 

Absolutely clean water

The next day was to say goodbye. On the island Drvenik Veli we anchored in the bay Mala Luka, which is located on the west side. From there we sailed the following morning to the well-known bay Krknjasi, where we also found a beautiful anchorage.

 

Croatia Sailing trip: Island Drvenik Veli Bay Krknjasi
Wonderful sea, which competes with the sky and the sun – in the bay Drvenik Veli, only eight nautical miles away from Trogir, keeping the distance rules is no problem.

 

Here were relatively many sailing boats, the water like almost everywhere dreamlike turquoise and clear like rarely before in Croatia. The water quality in general turned out to be beautiful during the whole trip, simply crystal clear water, you could see the anchor in the bays up to 12 m water depth. The Corona-Lockdown in Croatia obviously seemed to have been very good for nature.

 

Croatia Sailing trip: Island Drvenik Veli Bay Krknjasi
A setting that would fit into any film: The anchorage at Drvenik Veli with a view of the mainland.

 

Croatia Sailing trip: Island Drvenik Veli Bay Krknjasi
A picture that was repeated on the sailing trip along the Croatian coast: early July, but no tourists on the beach. Last year it looked quite different.

 

No “Corona surcharge” in restaurants

This time we noticed that a lot of boaters were cooking on the ship, despite the restaurants being open. Either there were all good cooks on board or the crew was afraid of Covid-19, I don’t know. On all islands and in the bays where we were, restaurants were closed again and again. Fortunately we could not detect any corona impact: Prices at the buoys and ports were the same as last year. The same was true for the prices in the restaurants. The people were very friendly and everyone was happy to finally make sales again.

On the return journey we visited several bays again, because they are simply beautiful. In Murter we filled up with diesel and water and then moored at a quay, where we stocked up our food in a very well sorted consumption. When passing the marina we saw that almost all charter boats were in the harbour.

Dolphins near Murter

What also surprised us very much was that it was only in the third. week we saw the first dolphins near Vrgada near Murter. But we were really annoyed that a big motorboat followed the dolphins and circled around them so that the people upstairs could see the animals better. We saw dolphins three times in total, but only in the third week of our sailing trip to the home port. These animals are simply beautiful!

Waited for Bora at Silba

On the Island of Silba we waited for a strong bora with 66 knots at the buoy, which subsided again in the morning. The buoys held well and we felt safe. All boats at the buoys took up rapid speed under influence of the Bora, once to the right and then again to the left, and the small dinghis behind at the line. Was really funny to watch. Like a water ballet with chaos!

Rovinj: Sailor overlooks shallow

Near Rovinj/Istria in the northern part of Croatia we could observe with astonishment a sailor, who came out of the harbour or buoy field at high speed under motor and directly hit the Surges between Sameri and Rt. Kurent feed. While we were still speculating if he really knows what he is doing, he already got stuck on the shallow. Too bad! Maybe he then called Seahelp!

Novigrad: Back with friends – all healthy

On July 9th there were already more ships on the way to Novigrad than three weeks ago and in one of the northernmost harbours of Croatia we met many of our friends again, all healthy and happy! Really nice!

We thank Sonja Weidlitsch and her husband for the successful travel impressions with their sailing yacht Hanse 400!

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