Been There, Done That

I wake to the sound of the anchor winch and the motor running.  We’re going to Sesula on Solta today, we were there last September with Nigel and Jane, and it pays another visit.  We sail south with the motor in tick over, in no great rush.  We make a lunchtime stop on Drvenik Mali and I conjure up a pasta duo.  This comprises left over spaghetti Bolognese and some fresh Ricotta pasta parcels.  We are gradually eating up our provisions and I have mapped out our meals down to the last slice of Croatian prosciutto.

Sesula is a pretty, busy little anchorage with a small wooden pontoon/platform and boats tied up to the part natural/ part artificial quay.  There are fisherfolk putting stuff into keep nets (mussels) and a local fires up a BBQ and cooks some sardines which Nick is invited to share because he helps them out over a shoreline/anchor issue.

Here are families (it is Saturday) at leisure.  The water is relatively shallow and children and adults flop in and out of the water to cool down.  We already know that if we want to have the slow cooked lamb from the Konoba Sesula we must order it, and we do.  The meat is tasty, succulent with potatoes, carrots, courgettes cooked in the large metal dish.  Afterwards I think that the bone debris doesn’t quite look right for lamb, I wonder if it was goat.  I remember eating goat at a pub near Shellness a couple of years ago and it was tasty.

Next morning we walk over a hill into Maslinica which is a very pretty coastal village with a frontage of quayside cafes, a small market stall, and the attractive converted former palace which is now a hotel.  Families take coffee and stroll round the frontage, some bound for the boomed beach on the northern side of the entrance to the inlet.  Many of the shrubs, smal trees are in flower and again I lament the lack of a camera to photograph them.

We walk back then weigh anchor.  We are now bound for Nigel’s home port.  As we leave Sesula we pass houses on the low hillside, bougainvillea  and oleander draped over facades and verandahs.  The oleanders flower very lushly here and have a heady perfume.  The coastal houses have steps partly hewn and partly cemented which descend from gardens to diving platforms or natural ledges near the water’s edge.  We motor past the entrance to Masalinica and anchor off a nameless isalnd between Solta and Stipanska for lunch and a swim.

Making the crossing to Nigel’s marina on the mainland takes us across a tract of water where, thanks to the cloud cover and the wind that has rustled itself up, we get our best sail yet, reaching 7.6 knots.  I sit in the cockpit enjoying the sensation as the wind fills the sails, the sound of the humming chorus in the rigging, the boat heeling over as she creams along. Nick and Nigel fine tune adjustments on the sails to maintain a good speed without overcanvassing.

We arrive at Marina Agana, a small unpretentious marina.  What it lacks in sophistication (shopping opportunities, restaurant, smart reception area) it makes up for with a fabulous shower block.  It’s the first one I have come across where you don’t have to keep leaning on a knob to keep some semblance of a steady stream of water.

We go ashore to eat.  There is more argy bargy, this time over aspects of the meal.  Nigel gets a small reduction and some complimentary wine by way of compensation.  It is more than we need.  Back at the boat there is no way we will stay awake for Foyle’s War.

I wake far too early on departure day, my mind buzzing and a bit anxious.  I read my William Boyd novel, Ordinary Thunderstorms, thinking I will read myself back to sleep as Iusually do, but it does not happen.  At 8.30 I haul myself out of my bunk and the day is spent shutting down the boat readying for departure in the early evening.

This brings our second Croatian interlude this year to a close.  We have been joining sailing friends in the Adriatic for the past five years or more and as we fall into bed in the very early hours, after our drive from Stanstead, we agree that next year it will be a case of, as Monty Python would announce,  ‘And Now for Something Completely Different’

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