Ston to Mljet

When the Commodore and Sandy Lawson give you advice you take it.  They told us we should see Ston and Polace, so we did that yesterday.

From Kobas, we turned left and anchored Mercier at the entrance to a narrow channel at Broce. We had spoken to crew of a motor yacht the night before and they advised leave the boat at Broce and go up the channel about a mile in the zodiak and we would be in Ston. The channel is 3 metres deep but silts up and that was too fine a match for Mercier’s 2.5 draft.

Broce
Broce

We followed the narrow channel past a few holiday houses, rounded a corner and saw the great wall of Ston lining the hilltop over the village reaching out to the nearby village of Mali Ston. When I saw the stairs going up to the wall, a sigh of relief escaped me.  With Mercier at anchor back at Broce, James wouldn’t suggest we climb the steep stairs or walk the 5.5 kilometre walk around the perimeter.

The Great Wall of Ston
The Great Wall of Ston

Wiki says that this wall was built as a second line of defense for Dubrovnik and also as a defense for the precious salt pans which was a large commercial enterprise then and is still making salt today.  The wall was completed in the 15th Century and the fortress town not only had protection, but was fully plumbed.

Anchorage at Ston
Anchorage at Ston

Miljet is a very long island and we had headwinds on the way there, but the day was warm and sunny.  We made it to Polace in a few hours, it was like being in a very large Refuge Bay with small anchorages up to the main bay.

Polace
Polace

Here are a few photos, more about Polace tomorrow. If you want a challenge, there is a marathon in Ston.

Ston Wall Marathon
Ston Wall Marathon

First of the Croatian Islands

Sunday saw us go to Dubrovnik Old Town for a last look, on our way into town however we counted five cruise ships and started making alternate plans.  We thought we might go to some of the newer parts of Dubrovnik and since we had heard about the Orsan Yacht Club thought we might have a nice lunch there.

Orsan Yacht Club Restaurant
Orsan Yacht Club Restaurant

In the evening after exploring, lunching and doing a bit of shopping in New Dubrovnik, we went back to the Marina and swam in the cold refreshing pool, which is filled with water from a nearby mountain river.  It is so cold but so refreshing.

Swimming
Swimming

We leave the next day for Kolocep, one of the Elafiti Islands just off Dubrovnik for a swim.  We motored over to the bay of Slano before deciding we will continue on to Kobas a small fishing village with stern to moorings for the “guests” of the restaurants.

Off to the next destination after a refreshing swim
Off to the next destination after a refreshing swim

The cooking seems to be done in a massive outdoor over with the vegetables from the garden and fish, scallops, shrimp, sea urchins, mussels and oysters locally sourced.

Dinner
Dinner

There are three restaurants here and we pick the one with the deepest moorings: Niko’s Croatian food aka Konobas – Ribarska Kuca Niko. The bread was the best we have had in Montenegro or Croatia, coquilles St. Jacque were very tasty and the fish platter was lovely. We also had a very nice cheeky white chilled to perfection. In Italy you may pay E100 for a marina, in Croatia you pay E120 for marina and a two course meal.

Rustic backdrop to the restaurant
Rustic backdrop to the restaurant

We have enjoyed all the emails about places to go and restaurants here in Croatia.  We are looking forward to catching up with Lesley in two weeks and maybe we will see Lauren before that. The Godson is departing for Australia without a visit this time, but we still love him.

Dubrovnik- Walking the Bastion


The city walls of Dubrovnik deliver many exciting panoramas, you walk the perimeter of the city at varying heights and look inward into the resilient city or out to the busy sea.  The walls are 1940 meters in length and up to 25 meters high. Dubrovnik Card also tells us that there are three forts, 16 towers and 6 bastions.

View out to see from the Bastion
View out to sea from the Bastion

Today was forecast to be cloudy, possibly rainy and windy.  We stowed everything down below on the boat and took the bus into town.

The merits of walking the bastion mean that you climb many stairs; the pay off is that the view is enhanced. You get a look at life not from street level but from a loftier perspective. We are view junkies, so we take the stairs.

We walk for a kilometer around the top of the wall from Pile Gate towards the Bokar fort and then on to the Fort of St John. The sky was grey but looking over the Ploce Gate and mountains behind the city, dark storm clouds were threatening.  We thought this might be the right time for a lunch break.

Big, black clouds rolling over Mt Srd.
Big, black clouds rolling over Mt Srd.

We walked down into a labyrinth of tiny streets and looked for an indoor restaurant.  We could see that awnings were not going to keep us dry.   We passed a few cafes, but a few large raindrops focussed the mind. We found a table free and ducked in for a dry lunch in a nice little Italian.

Not just rain, but hail
Not just rain, but hail. Awnings didn’t offer much protection.

After lunch we decide some indoor activities were in order and we went to the Rector’s Palace followed by the Maritime Museum.

Open courtyard at the Rector's Palace
Open courtyard at the Rector’s Palace

Three hours after those early raindrops, the skies cleared and we resumed the walk of the bastions with some lovely vistas.

Washed clean, Dubrovnik is  beautiful
Washed clean, Dubrovnik is beautiful

Congratulations to  Ben and Jacqueline for making my cousins, Lorraine and Fred, Grandparents. Welcome to the world, Aiden.  Happy Birthday to cousin Sonya, & pals Kim and Charlene. Hope you are all spoiled.  It was Lorraine and Ben’s birthday recently but they were just waiting for another happy event. Auguri, to you all.

Cavtat & Dubrovnik


Yesterday we left sweet Montenegro and in a matter of minutes we were in Croatia; both the yellow flag and the Croatian flag were hoisted.

Although it was so close to Croatia, we had to motor a few hours to Cavtat, the first port of entry to clear customs.  Cavtat is a small village with beautiful harbourside walks, a lovely harbour and a very villagey feel. We weren’t sure what to expect tying up for customs, anchor out in the harbour and go stern to the quay (dock, for my fellow Americans). Boats moving in and out as soon as they clear customs gives a feeling of franticness – ‘get me off this dock before some megayacht puts his anchor on top of mine and sends it to China’ kind of feeling.

James off to clear customs in Croatia
James off to clear customs in Croatia

We saw a few Aussie flags and swimmers passed by and said hello.  It was Dennis and Bosjana, sailing on Sarayu from Mooloolaba.  They have been sailing in Turkey and Greece, so had some information to help us with next year. We shared some of the local knowledge we gained from John and Tony in Porto Montenegro with them.

We moored in the harbour which meant swims and breeze on a local council mooring, slept well and woke to a sunny day in Cavtat.  We took the zodiac into the village and went for a walk along the harbourside, a path that encircles the village.

beautiful clear water in Cavtat harbour
beautiful clear water in Cavtat harbour

Following a swim, we motored off to Dubrovnik. We did a sail past of the old town from the sea, then proceeded to the marina.

The old harbour of Dubrovnik
The old harbour of Dubrovnik

We are moored in ACI Marina, up the river from the old fortress town.  We caught the bus into the old town and wandered through the marble paved streets.

Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik

Looking for a laundromat, we came across a cable car going up the mountain behind the Old Town.  Instead we took the cable car up for the majestic overview.  Here are some photos.

A mixture of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches and buildings, Dubrovnik is known as the Pearl of the Adriactic.
A mixture of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches and buildings, Dubrovnik is known as the Pearl of the Adriactic.
Island of Lokrum, just off Dubrovnik.  It was once a Benedictine Monastery.
Island of Lokrum, just off Dubrovnik. It was once a Benedictine Monastery.

A Sunday in Gornja Lastva


John Stephens recommended a trip up the mountain to the small village of Gornja Lastva and mentioned a restaurant. So we took a taxi up the slope of Vrmac Hill and the taxi driver dropped us off near an old cemetery.  This is a tiny village of about 20 stone homes, with just one elderly lady who still lives here on her own.  Many of the houses were damaged in the 1979 earthquake and only have one or two walls standing.

the Church, only 600 years old
the Church, only 600 years old

The church is the Roman Catholic Church of St Mary’s, built circa 1410.  We tried the door but it was locked.

Panoramic view of the bay
Panoramic view of the bay

The view from the yard of the church was spectacular.  Nearby there was a lady collecting some flowers and we asked her where the café was, she pointed to a house down the lane.  Hesitantly, we wandered down the lane to the house/café.

the streets of Gornja Lastva
the streets of Gornja Lastva

They bring us mineral water and sit us in the shade under a giant pine tree, at 710M it is cooler than on the marina.  There are a few people in the house preparing food and Emil comes and says hello.  He apologises for his English but it is really pretty good.  Emil is the last baby to be born in the village, but only comes back to put on Festas or like today, take in a tour group which comes by bus to see an authentic Montenegrin village.

Emil greeted the Tour group and took them for a tour of the church and the olive press.  He then took them to the café with its little stands of local products; finally platters of olives, bread, cheese and prosciutto were brought out to them.

Emil then collected us and took us on the tour of the church and the olive press.  Tiny bats flew around in the room with the olive press, because it has been dormant for about ten years.

first stage of the olive press
first stage of the olive press, where the olives are pressed by the large stone wheel
the pulp is then added to these rope 'donuts'
the pulp is then added to these rope ‘donuts’ (note there is a sump under the board where the oil drains to
then the 'donuts' are pressed
then the ‘donuts’ are pressed

When we got back to our table the friendly tour guide, Dolores from Kotor, had joined our table. One of the village gentlemen, explained to her that they were not a “classical style restaurant”, they only had the platters available.

 

Lunch
Typical Montenegro Lunch

We thought that was more than enough.

Bond Hijinks and Glitter

Bond Chasing the Bad Guys into the bay.
Bond Chasing the Bad Guys into the bay.

 

Followed by a hi-speed boat chase

Followed by a hi-speed boat chase
Business Finished, Bond is off to the Casino
Business Finished, Bond is off to the Casino
Which car will he choose?
Which car will he choose?
Bond fans of all ages
Bond fans of all ages
Dresses
Dresses

flowing dresses
flowing dresses