We have been dawdling south among the hundreds of islands in the Kornati group. Low, rocky and often uninhabited, they offer a lifetime’s exploring.
The cold rain and headwinds have given way to warm, gentle northerlies, but we have still needed the loyal services of Mr Ford. I know there are some readers whose only interest in this website is the problem we have had with our engine. The 40 year old Ford diesel has purred faultlessly for decades but fresh water coolant loss is something that has troubled us for at least the last 3,000 miles through Norway, Russia, Anatolia and the Aegean. Despite repeated expert appraisals and some quite expensive work the cause has eluded us. We got used to stopping the engine every 4 hours to put in another litre of coolant but now, for the very first time, I am prepared to say that the omens are good. With a new radiator cap and a larger overflow reservoir we have not needed to add a drop of coolant in the last 72 hours of motoring. Where was the coolant going? – simple – out the top of the overflow reservoir, which was too small. Although I am cautiously optimistic, I think it will be a year before I will be able to say the problem has been solved.
At Sibenik, we explored the ancient streets of the old town and ate fine seafood at a quiet outdoor restaurant.
The next day, motoring 5 miles up river to visit Krka Waterfall we stopped to buy 3 kg of fresh mussels from an oyster farmer on the shore. We didn’t get up to the waterfall – there were just too many yachts and power boats tied up at Skradin for my comfort – instead we set out on our southward journey.
Last night Lucy did those mussels in the most splendid garlic, onion and white wine broth.
Approaching Hvar in pitch black we bravely passed through a narrow channel to seek out the remote anchorage which had been such a delight last time. To my horror, this time the secluded bay was filled with anchor lights. Remembering our difficulty getting our anchor to hold on our previous visit I decided to find somewhere else. An adjacent bay was promising but twice we failed to get our anchor to hold here too. Getting tired and a bit pissed off by now, we moved west under a half moon into a peaceful channel and dropped the hook among a veritable fleet of yachts. Wind against current made for some unpredictable boat positioning – not only for us – but we were comfortable and moderately secure. Deep sleep.
At dawn I found that we were only 3 feet from a Beneteau which was lying to the wind while we moved with an eddy in the current. Repositioned, Tainui sat more respectably, but we were keen not to linger in case the wind got up. After poached eggs and 8 coffees we set off. With so many more yachts about now that summer is in full swing, I have made a mental note to avoid arriving at popular anchorages in the dark from now on.
After a 6 hour downwind run in warm sunshine today, we rounded the western end of remote Susac Island where an imposing lighthouse stands imperiously on the clifftop. Anchored off the rocky southern coast under deserted and wooded hills, I took my long overdue power nap while the Pheromones went ashore exploring. Now, fanned by a warm and gentle breeze I have Umberto Eco and a cold beer for company. How Chris would love this anchorage.