Perched on watch in the morning sunshine overlooking glassed out waters – I’m altering the autopilot a few degrees here and there as we motor along the towering cliffs of Krk Island’s eastern side. This serene morning must be a stark contrast to the weather often experienced in the Velebitski Canal. The canal is named after the steep 1,700 metre Velebit Mountain range positioned on the mid Adriatic coastline. Here gale force boras (northerly katabatic winds) can howl down the face of the mountain and through the canal that separates the mainland and inshore islands, and as such has eroded Krk’s landscapes since the beginning of time. This side of the island is completely barren and uninhabitable. It sits in juxtaposition to the forested and populated mainland located only a handful of kilometres opposite, which has escaped the brunt of the fierce seasonal weather.
Always on the back foot catching up with blog content – I’ll write more on this area at a later date.
Five nights this past week was berthed at ACI Marina Icici on the Opatija tourist coast. Opatija was an ageing Viennese-influenced region with grandeur old residences and rocky bathing coves along the lush rolling coastline, which during Yugoslavia’s heyday was the playground of Europe’s elite. Unfortunately today, a number of these once magnificent mansions lay unoccupied and are in a state of disrepair. We strolled and explored numerous kilometers of the waterfront promenade in both directions to the north and south, to while away hours between our boat modifications.
Before work could start we had the pleasure of a short visit from Vlad and his lovely wife Tanja, to hand deliver custom-made stainless steel fabrication that Vlad had expertly constructed from their home in Zagreb. Through research, our yachting friend Frank on Dominos had tracked Vlad down last year and had passed the valuable contact onto dad. Vlad owns and operates his own fabrication business in Zagreb and in addition to his meticulous stainless steel work, has also built large catamaran patrol and tourist boats.
Also in the picture below are Robert and his wife from Rijeka’s Diver Sport Centre who kindly visited us again to deliver final pieces for our new diving kits. Almost without exception, the service provided by Croatian businesses has been simply outstanding. On several occasions people have gone out of their way to meet our requirements, and for that we are most grateful.
Contents of our container were finally released from Croatian customs control this week. But not before several persuasive emails between dad’s agent and customs officials who were playing hard nose and wanted to delay the release by 10 days while demanding payment of 25% VAT for goods that were clearly our personal possessions. The main issue was over dad’s trike aircraft that customs assumed he would sell to make a profit. Guess they don’t see too many light aircraft being imported by foreigners through their port and could not believe the story (nor can we at times)!
All that aside, a delivery truck finally arrived at the end of our jetty earlier this week and all our freighted personal belongings (including trike) were unloaded. The ongoing joke over the past two months has been “its coming in the container” as we mention items we need now, but will have to wait. Out of pure necessity many items were bought along the way anyway and we now have some double up. With everything stacked up on the jetty we all shook our heads with the same thoughts – where on earth are we going to fit everything?? But with several cabinets still unoccupied and hull space free under the floors, it all found a home eventually.
The main installation has been an adjustable frame across the stern, built to accommodate three new 250-watt solar panels and to lift and support the trike on its floats. Dad and Mike toiled for two days to get the installation just right, and to make minor adjustments aimed at having the trike level as it is raised, lowered and finally stowed. Still to be wired, the solar panels can be adjusted to different angles to best catch the sun’s rays and will greatly enhance our power making and storage ability so we can rely less on our 11 kVA generator. The assembly of the trike onto its floats and then on board was quite the tourist attraction at the marina that day.
We’ve encountered several spectacular landscapes and anchorages since leaving the marina and Opatija/Rijeka region – including our first bridge underpass. Will be sure to write again soon. Dovidjenja!
Below: daily entertainment on the busy neighbouring hardstand at Icici Marina.