We continue our waterborne amble down the west coast of Kornat; past Vrulje, Lopatica, Ropotnika with a lunch stop in a niche at the northeast tip of Lavsa. We are bound for Smokvica (another anchorage with happy memories) and when we arrive, the innermost harbour is busy so we have to anchor in the west bay at the entrance to the inlet. Because there are many boats here, a decision is made to book for supper at Konoba Piccolo and as luck would have it I get the last small table on the terrace.
A cooling-down swim is needed then we have some drinks on board before going ashore. When we come to load up on the dinghy something goes awry and Nick and I end up in the water. He has tried to help me down with one foot in the dinghy and one of the diving platform on the stern of Philippides. A classic mistake. He feels his legs drifting apart when I wobble, and he has no leverage to hold me steady before I can sit down.
So in we both go and he tells me afterwards how amused he was to see my face underwater with my glasses still on. Very droll. Sorry folks but there is no picture for the gallery this time! There’s no point in making a fuss. A quick change is called for and the contents of my bag are laid out to dry with my watch: wallet, camera, phone, but thankfully no other vulnerable items. Amazingly my nice Versace specs stayed on as I bubbled back up to the surface.
What follows is a convivial evening with Hungarian Sofia and Croatian Kornel at the table next to us and next to them, Hartmut and ‘Daisy’ Katz. We sing, we swap contact details and during conversation an assignation emerges whereby undertakings are given to reune on September 13th. Nick and I won’t be in Croatia then but I wonder if Nigel will keep it….
Two complimentary bottles of local liqueurs are brought to our tables (normally you are just given a glass) and this accounts for some thick heads on Philippides 5 the next morning, but thankfully not mine. You can’t beat a swim under those circumstances, then we are off. We have no great distance to travel, merely to Uvala Stupica Veli which is on the southern end of Zirje. This marks a southern boundary for the Kornati archipelago and associated islands before you travel over more open water to the complex of rather larger islands such as Solta, Brac, Hvar.
The anchorage is thoroughly buoyed and tying up to one of these invites a charge, or a requirement that you eat at the local konoba. We are eating aboard so we drop anchor near the entrance to the embayment even though it makes for a windy and choppy trip when we take the dinghy ashore. We make a short ramble up a track, which has been improved in places with the addition of chipped limestone pebbles, to the fortress of Justinian.
The flora around the ruins is diverse and I am sad not to have my camera, or to have thought to suggest that Nick bring his iPhone. There are many plants which have flowerheads nearly spent, but I do find Helichrysum italicum growing more plentifully and vigorously so I take some sprigs for the pot. The aroma is rather thicker than the nose-clearing pungent smells associated with thyme, rosemary, eucalyptus.
I spot a dainty little stem of beautiful purple flowers, orchid-like with a long calyx and I subsequently find others which are less advanced. I’ll have to try and track the name down. I come across a well at ground level and disguised by bushes, with a grating which doesn’t quite cover the opening. I drop some pebbles down – they fall for a long time, clattering against the sides before coming to rest at the bottom. Scary.
We swim when back at the boat, to cool down then it’s omelettes with herby saute potatoes. We settle down for another episode of Foyle’s War before retiring to our respective bunks.