Bright sunny days, very little breeze, water temperature consistently in the 20s. Out comes my rather garish yellow, turquoise and lime green cossie with pink and orange shells and my Maldives sarong.
We visit the Austrian boat and despatch 2 bottles of Sclumberger. Mike and Carolyn swap sailing stories and experiences with Engelbert and Hedi. They are both in their 70s and amazing advertisements for the sailing life. We don’t get back on Verity until 11.40 a.m.
We leave Smokvica, out into open water and head south most of the day. Someone spots a small pod of dolphins off to port and heading in the same direction as ourselves. This is the third group we have seen during our sailing, but like the other two groups these animals fail to join us for a play.
Carolyn provides sandwiches for lunch which we eat in the cockpit during the passage. We are bound for Primosten which will put us one sailing stop away from Trogir from where Nick and I will take a taxi to the airport on Friday morning.
Before sailing round to Primosten proper we pull into a horseshoe-shaped bay with a shore of what looks like coarse sand and there are people sunbathing and swimming. The water clarity isn’t a patch on the sea we have been swimming in around the offshore islands because we are anchored off the Croatian mainland now. But it is more than good enough to swim in, so I do.
We eat on board…….
It’s nearly pick up time. I’ve been up since 7 having already lingered in my bunk for a good hour reading Frederick Forsyth’s ‘The Afghan’. Nick is already in the cockpit with his book, ‘The Welsh Girl’, one of the titles I have read recently for my Book Group.
The background noise of nearby morning traffic builds up and before long the jack hammer which is attacking a hillside sloping down to the coast starts up in the distance. There are a few municipal amenities in what looks like a parkland backing this small bay. A track runs around above the shore with wooden seats at intervals.
A very fit looking man in a black tracksuit walks down to the path and puts his jacket on the seat. He walks around a bit flexing his wrists then performs forty press-ups in three goes. Nick says he couldn’t possibly do that (he later tries and manages 5!). Then Mr Fitness replaces his jacket and jogs off towards the headland at a very steady pace. We see him jog back to his start point and start a new lap several times.
A small woman in a grey raincoat, clutching a cane and a plastic carrier bag descends to the water edge. We watch her hand cast out a weighted line. The orange of the lure attached to the free end flashes in the early morning sun. It plops into the sea, the sound carrying noisily across the still water and she pulls the line in, looping the line into her other hand until the weight has been retrieved. She walks 10 paces along the waters edge and repeats the process. She circumscribes the bay out to the headland. We do not see her land a fish once. I remark that this seems a thankless task but Nick, a seasoned fisherman, says you only need to have struck lucky on one occasion in many to make it seem worthwhile.
So now we are ready for the off. Carolyn has taken a dip and showers off on the stern. The little cabinet in the hull which contains a hose and showerhead which dispenses hot water is a wonderful perk. It’s been a diy breakfast and feeling a bit hungrier than normal I have followed my plate of mixed cereals with two slices of toast, one of Marmite and one of Bovril. It gives me the savoury kick a cooked breakfast would.
Sail away time is a special moment. I have to close all the hatches and hull ports so the sea cannot lap its way into Verity as we sail. Nick and Carolyn pick up the anchor. Mike is at the helm as we ease oh so gently away from the shelter of the bay towards the open sea. We are playing Sibelius’ ‘Karelia Suite’ because someone has mentioned it. Magic!