Uvala Hiljaca is a dream of an anchorage. The approach takes us through a network of smaller islands. We sail round the coast of Zut island and at last get a glimpse of a small sheltered embayment with a few stone buildings with red tiled roofs scattered along the shoreline. It is still early in the season: there is a konoba which is not yet open and a small group of men working on a wooden quay.
By now the windless heat of the afternoon has settled around Verity. We make tea and Carolyn and I sit in the cockpit and gaze at the view. A young man with an arresting tattoo is drifting across the tiny bay in a shocking pink canoe. The tattoo completely covers is left arm and encircles his left shoulder blade in a sweeping arc.
The men on the quay continue with their construction work but it is not intrusive. We bask in tranquillity. Nick and Mike are derusting an old shackle down below. Soon it will be time to crack a bottle of bubbles, wheel out the nuts and anchovy-stuffed olives and sit in the stern whilst the sun goes down.
We are going to eat onboard and this is Carolyn’s forte. Before we left the Marina she had already mapped out what we will eat, how much to buy, how often we are likely to eat ashore. She has a clear idea of her menus.
Every fresh fruit and vegetable she buys is carefully picked over to remove bugs and then washed. The lettuce is laid out to dry then bagged, it keeps beautifully for days and days. As a special dispensation Verity is carrying spring onions for me and a fat green cabbage for Nick. Tonight she serves a one pot dish of Grilled Chicken breast on wild rice with strawberries to follow.
After a good night we up anchor and head north. Our destination is the island of Rava, lying just off the east coast of Dugi Otok. We all recall a champagne moment at the Villa Rava. This is a waterside restaurant in the small cove on the west coast between Uvala Lokvino and Uvala Marinica. We are hoping to eat dinner there.
The water temperature has been creeping up and it now reads 19.3 degrees. Moored off the Villa Rava, the afternoon heat convinces me that a swim will certainly be cooling and probably invigorating. Now I have shorter hair I am less precious about how I enter the water in an attempt to keep it dry. I can now plunge in. As I do so I recall the words of Napoleon as he urged his men to set sail (and which inspire the title to this post)……….. A l’eau! C’est l’heure!!