This marked what, we thought at the time to be, the high-point of our trip, when once tied to the near-deserted wall (at least at 4pm) we could swim straight off the boat in water so crystal-clear that the bottom was visible 4 metres below. Of course one down-side of mooring against harbour walls, rather than in a marina, is the lack of facilities (one of the reasons they are cheaper no doubt) but then, as I have already said, some of the on shore facilities left something be desired and the Sunsail Benateaus are well equipped in the heads with showers and a large holding tank.
Lesson eleven came in the form of the South African’s who moored up next to us an hour later: if you arrange with Sunsail to provision your boat in advance, ensure you bring a dictionary. After two days of eating the ‘cereal’ Sunsail had provided, their skipper brought it on board Sun Bandit to try and establish exactly what it was he had been forcing down with his morning milk. The 1kg package looked like it should contain sugar or flour (it was trade marked Franck – who generally produce flour). The picture of a rosehip on the front and the word ‘caj’ (pronounced chi – the Croatian for tea) gave its contents away without us reaching for our phrase book.
The town of Vis stretches for several kilometres around the shore of the Viska Luka bay. Its two centres, Kut and Viska Luka, where the larger dock wall is situated, both boast good restaurants. Our aim for the night was the Pajoda and its excellent local fish. Situated in a courtyard under the cover of mature lemon trees we started with Gin and Tonic and a fresh lemon selected directly from overhead and ate some of the best red Scorpion fish between four of us. The Pajoda is a little more expensive than most restaurants but at £280 Kuna (£26) per head for 3 courses, beer, wine and G&Ts its still excellent value.
Day 4 dawned windless and heralded a pattern that was to see us through to the end of the charter: one day with wind, one without. Heading around Vis’s western end and along its southern shore across glassy seas, we followed the coastline along which you can see the remains of the Island’s recent military history. The entrances to bunkers, gun emplacements and also submarine pens are all now abandoned, but were in use until the 1980s, when the Island was still a closed military zone.
Having decided to going to give the Blue Cave and the Green Cave a miss, both anchorages are perpetually busy, we stopped at Stinava, a bay halfway along Vis’s south shore and anchored in 17 metres in the middle of the long narrow inlet. This quiet bay is well worth a lunch stop, as it gives access to a lagoon created when the roof of a giant cave collapsed sometime in prehistory. The sandy holding is good and though the inlet gets busy for a couple of hours around the middle of the day, there is always room to drop a hook. From there it’s a matter of a 100m swim (or taking the tender in) through the lagoon’s narrow entrance to reach the shingle beach.
Stiniva from the top of the hill... ...and from the boat
An hour more’s motoring and we rounded Vis’s eastern shore and came to the Island’s second large town, Komiza – a busy little port, nestled at the foot of a giant amphitheatre of mountains (among which General Tito hid, along with such luminaries as Evelyn Waugh, in 1942 and 1943). The wall here is always busy, so we planned to get into the harbour by 4 pm. Even so there were few places (perhaps 5-10) left as we span around and began our rear-ward approach.
The aim of the harbour master in Komiza is to jam in as many boats, cheek-by-jowl as he can manage, so we soon found ourselves nestled between two 43 footers, the second of which was shoe-horned in on our starboard-side an hour after we arrived. Ensuring that you have all of your fenders out (and that all are healthy) is a must, but once you’re tied up, the lack of tidal drop and the shelter of the wall makes for a comfortable night
Komiza Town, Vis Jammed in againt the wall at Komiza
Sporadic VHF contact with our Aussie friends on Jet Stream had meant two days of failing to cross their path again, but as we jammed in one extra fender on our starboard side they came through loud-and-clear inviting us to raft up with them that evening in a small bay to the south of Komiza. This came 30 minutes too late as we were well and truly wedged between an English and a German crew, so we made arrangements for a definite meet the following evening, our last night of freedom before returning to Kremik.
Cruising Croatia: Part 4. Lesson 11
Saturday, 20 October 2007