Summer 2010 - Part 6
Thursday 8th July 2010
“A Riveting Day”
Another early alarm call began our leave-taking in Vela Luka; the Restoran Pob Bore had been an excellent find and we left there with light hearts and totally clean clothing!
This island of Korcula (part of Croatia) seems full of welcoming people and wonderful scenery, and ferry travel seems the ideal, indeed the only, means of transport.
We caught the ferry VIS at 9.30 a.m.,
heading for Ubli on the nearby island of Lastovo, arriving at 11.15 a.m. and carrying us 3 amongst the 10 passengers and 2 cars. We had to disembark via the car deck at the stern so were able to count! That was also our chance to see the inside of the hull, absolutely covered in rivets.
VIS was built in 1965 in Germany as SYDFYN at 959 gross tons, and designed by Knud E. Hansen for Danish owners to take Danes to Germany to buy tax-free cigarettes; in 1976 she was sold to Jadrolinija and became VIS, sailing in Yugoslavian (now Croatian) waters. It was wonderful to see the 1965 mural featuring the islands of South-Eastern Denmark, with the Nordisk Faergefart house flag in the centre, still on the wall of what was the cafeteria.
At Ubli we hurried off the ship to get tickets to Split, knowing that we had to get there via Vela Luka. The staff in the little quayside office mentioned that VIS would stop sailing after September so we were pleased to have sailed on her, and grateful to her Captain for allowing us on his Bridge for a few minutes.
I seem to have a couple of photographs taken with my camera peering down in the depths of the vessel, which are interesting.
So there we were, heading back to Vela Luka on Korcula island, amongst the mountains, islands, and blue sea, in glorious sun and air. I do love England but also welcome the chance to travel in different waters in a different climate…
Back at Vela Luka we had to disembark and watch VIS prepare to depart, only to see our next ferry appear to take us on the two and three-quarter hours journey to Split on the mainland. What a contrast as we embarked on the 2007-built KORCULA of Jadrolinija (2,923 gross tons)
and both ships headed out into the sea ways. It was good to be the second ferry to leave and then catch up and pass VIS and see her reflection in one of the windows on board KORCULA.
Passing the island of Hvar and Hvar town, I was thrilled to see several dolphins down in the sea on our starboard side.
Split’s picturesque harbour was full of ferries coming and going, against the mountain backdrop, and another beautiful place to arrive by sea.
We enjoyed the shipping scene for a few hours before boarding the brand-new JADRAN, completed just this year in a Split shipyard for this route from Split to Stari Grad on the island of Hvar. She was spacious and interesting to see. It may be a new ship, and designed for these waters, but my goodness it was a bumpy journey in calm seas and my ferry friends said it was not the right design for this route. What a shame and I wonder where she will end up…
Our thoughts were diverted by the sight of the good ship MARKO POLO (built in 1973) heading towards us.
Goodness, she looked amazing, considering she had been sailed onto an island and sustained considerable damage. She had a new bow and lots of new paintwork, and it was great to see her again. We had sailed on her in July 2007 and thought she might never sail again after her recent accident.
Once into the channel leading to Stari Grad on Hvar island, the sail on JADRAN felt more comfortable for its passengers, and suddenly we were back in what I like to call my dream-time – the tiny and lovely little port of Stari Grad, set amongst woods with a natural harbour. As usual we were greeted by locals offering accommodation and again we were lucky with our rooms in a local house near the water (Apartments Sober). The village allows no traffic in the centre, so everyone strolls around happily and enjoys the local facilities. After a happy dinner and evening, I slept in a comfortable room with the most beautifully embroidered bed linen – what a delight.
Ships seen: Vis, Korcula, Dubrovnik, Regina della Pace, Hrvat, Krilo Jet (a fast craft), Biokovo, Marko Polo, Judita, Karolina, Petar Hektorovic, Tin Ujevic, Jadran.
Friday 9th July 2010
“Day for a Little Treasure…”
No alarm clock call, no need to rush anywhere, no food for breakfast, so my day started with a stroll to the local little shop up the hill for some goodies to eat sitting around the kitchen table. After such a leisurely start, our apartment host offered us a lift to the ferry for the 11.35 a.m. TIN UJEVIC from Stari Grad to Split, ready for a rather special evening sailing from Split. I do love visiting Stari Grad and felt rather reluctant to leave; last time I was here I didn’t think I would ever get back again, and yet here I am.
TIN UJEVIC was built in 2002 in Greece as ANO CHORA EXPRESS, and then in 2003 was sold to Jadrolinija for sailing out of Split to various islands on the Dalmatian coast, carrying 1000 passengers and with her current name.
We disembarked in Split at 1.00 p.m. and left our luggage in store; again the authorities needed our passport details – and money – before that could be done.
Then we were free to explore – Matt to sail to Rogac on the island of Solta on board LASTOVO which was built in 1969 in Japan, and Bruce and I into the ancient city. We enjoyed seeing the plentiful food and fresh fruit markets, the Palace and other ancient buildings, and overhead the swooping swallows enjoying the light and heat like us.
Lunch in a small local back-street restaurant was arranged, although as we sat at a tiny outside table there was a sudden ‘splat’ on the table, and we realised a passing swallow had left us a messy souvenir. The waitress soon brought good food and cleaned the table before putting the plates down, and all was well. Good job the swallow flew over when he did, I thought. The narrow street had stone houses on both sides, and quite a few pedestrians walking along, so it was a very cheerful and active area.
I loved seeing the Promenade area now looking very established with its aromatic herbs and plants around plentiful seating, which all offered views of the shipping in the large harbour, or the wide street and elegant buildings.
Then it was time to collect our luggage, rendezvous with Matt safely returned from Rogac, and check in on – how exciting – ANCONA of Blue Line, to sail to Ancona in Italy.
Cabins down on deck 2 of this 1966 Gothenburg-built little ship smelt overwhelmingly of diesel so we were glad that a change could be made. Seeing the aqua-coloured wash-basins in the cabins reminded me of other happy journeys on this little wooden wonder, with so much original panelling and lighting still to be seen. The ship seemed very full but we must have been lucky, and may not be asphyxiated now, in our newly-allocated cabins. The kindly English-speaking Purser also arranged for a Bridge visit for us early tomorrow morning. Gin and tonic and a good Restaurant dinner finished the day off beautifully.
Ships seen: Ancona, Judita, Adriana, Tin Ujevic, Jadran, Marjan, Biokovo, Hrvat, Lastovo, Saranka, Croazia Jet, Krill 2, Karolina, Korcula, Petar Hektorovic