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THE CROATIA EXPERIENCE

 

SPLIT 15th – 22nd May 2005

 

The crew:-

 

Bob J (or Bob the elder) – Skipper (apparent), Knickerbocker Glory lover.

Bob P (or Bob the younger – Skipper (non tidal) – homeless.

Mike – Organiser – Chief  Helmsman – Chief Complainer and Asker of questions (fluent in Croatian second language)

Bill – Navigator – Local knowledge – Fellow Knickerbocker Glory lover and Bird Spotter.

 

 

‘Mustang Sally’ rang out across the Adriatic from the cockpit speakers aboard the yacht Lambarda as skipper and crew cracked open the bottles of beer pleased with their first efforts at trimming the sails – ‘this is what it’s all about’ they were thinking, this is really what it’s all about.

 

‘What the **** is wrong with the instruments’ asked the skipper, the RayMarine wind instruments gyrating steadily indicating that the wind was going through 360 degrees every 2 minutes – could it have been the local Pivo beer taking effect already – ‘nah’ says Bob P ‘all the instruments is shagged if you asked me’, ‘where’s the burgee backup’, ‘blown away in a Bora I expect’ says Bill, the GPS is buggered as well – impossible to get waypoints in, bloody good job I’ve got my handheld’

 

These were only the first of many shortcomings which captain and crew would have to contend with, the list of complaints were to grow during the week which gave Mike as the Chief Complainer much to look forward to in the weeks to come.

 

The trip had for months been eagerly anticipated by all, captain and crew assembled at the duty free shop at Gatwick eager to get going. Having purchased the initial essentials - vodka, bacardi and perfume flight BA 2888 accelerated down the runway, took off, punched a hole in the cloud and set course for Split.

 

Two BA hostesses proudly sporting their new uniform did their best to take passengers minds off the hot roll, cake and ice cream, purporting to be lunch. They failed.  

 

Stepping off the aircraft in Split, Bob J’s vest, winter shirt, sweater and sailing jacket had their effect in the hot dry eastern Mediterranean atmosphere, his temperature rose another 20 degrees as the delightful Ivannah ushered him into her car for the drive to the marina (the others were ushered into Ivan’s taxi).  Bob J was well aware of his age, condition and responsibilities but the sharp-featured Ivannah with the bronze thigh (he only spotted one through the split up her skirt) won him over in an instant as she told him about her yearning to be a doctor. Bob took his sweater off.

 

Lambarda waited patiently on the pontoon eager to be introduced to her new crew, she was a 5 year old Sun Odyssey 34.2, at first clapping a very reasonable example of the type thought the crew.  Not only has she furling jib, furling main and an electric windlass but she also sported a fine blue flag on the shrouds.

 

Mike as Chief Complainer was not in the least impressed, he had specifically booked a different, younger yacht called Mika (which was moored nearby) he made his dissatisfaction clear to the Euroyacht representative Serena who assured him that Lambarda was Mika’s equal and would serve his needs very well.  Mike unable to combat Serena’s sexy demeanour vowed to write a letter to someone. Euroyacht’s other swarthy representative, who looked more like a Croat builder than a yacht instructor, came aboard to give captain and crew a briefing, the briefing was very brief and he took the first opportunity to disappear to find a hand held compass which was missing from the inventory rather than answer the list of the captain’s questions.

 

Following a visit to the local store to stock up on provisions the crew re-assembled and set off to find something to eat as the BA breakfast had long since given up all it’s energy.  The decision had been made to stay on the pontoon in Split for the first night as all crewmembers felt the need for a period of reflection and relaxation before planning their first voyage.  A nearby restaurant supplied copious amounts of lasagne, red wine and even included a fine view across the bay, captain and crew chatted excitedly about what the coming week might bring.

 

On the return to Lambarda cabins were allocated with Bob J (like the captains wife Mabel) opting for the kitchen table.

 

The following morning after cereal and a cup of tea made with the saucepan, Bill settled down at the chart table and proceeded to spell out the options, Bill fortunately had visited many ports in the area on previous trips and was able to advise on the route to take, which was just as well as the others hadn’t a clue as to the meaning of Hvar, Brach, StariGrad, Trogir, Vis, Supetar or Korcula.  ‘Sounds like a bunch of Chelsea footballers’ to me says Bob P ‘ I’ll settle for Meusli’.

 

Mike’s list of shortcomings grew:-

 

Sink plug for heads.

Cover for engine instruments.

Engine handbook.

Hand bearing compass.

Deviation card.

Fire blanket by cooker.

Dish cloth.

Tea towels.

Face towels.

Kettle.

Bedding.

 

Mike made yet another call to Serena, she promised to have the kettle delivered to the boat in 5 minutes, 30 minutes went by, ‘poke your kettle’ was the joint response and Bob P fired up the 27HP Yanmar the crew hauled in the mooring lines and Lambarda headed out of the marina minus one kettle.

 

After a short run on the engine on a heading of 220 degrees (compass) the wind sprang up from the south west, sails were hoisted, engine cut and a beat to windward was demanded of Lambarda, she didn’t disappoint, she clocked 9.2 knots in a moderate breeze, the conclusion was reached by all – shagged speedo as well – another for Mike’s list.  Bill decided to go below and attempt some sustenance for the crew but complained bitterly to the helmsman ‘can’t you keep the bloody thing still’ he asked as he struggled with his salami sandwiches.  The skipper threw her across the wind bringing Lambarda into a heave to position, she rocked gently beam on to the wind allowing Bill to complete the lunch.

 

Lambarda and crew drifted steadily westwards leaving little hope of tacking up the channel to StariGrad before nightfall, which was to be the port for the first night.  The donkey was ordered back into harness.

 

Approaching Starigrad using the engine the crew made ready for their first mooring stern on to the town quay using the ‘lazy line’.  The lazy line requires someone on the quay to hand a crew member a line, one end of which is attached to the quay and the other attached to a large concrete block sunk into the harbour.  With Bob P on the helm a successful mooring was achieved without smashing into the quay, getting the lazy line hooked round the prop’ or anyone making a fool of themselves all under the watchful eyes of fellow mariners moored nearby.  Mike was so pleased with his expertise that he offered his services to the crew of a yacht attempting to moor next to Lambarda, his offer was rejected much to his disappointment, ‘bloody Germans – ungrateful bastards the lot of them’ was hardly discernible through his teeth.

 

The town quay at Starigrad is a delightful mooring, stubby palm trees line the quay, a variety of ancient buildings including the town clock atop the disused swimming baths (previously the town hall) the pavement of well worn flagstones glistening in the afternoon sun all conspired to be a welcoming site.

 

Following £8 phone calls to loved ones in far off places, regulation stiff vodka’s, bacardi’s and beer aboard, a necessity on such occasions, ‘the plank’ was unlashed from the guard rail and ceremoniously laid from Lambarda’s stern to the quay, one by one the crew stepped ashore feeling like a bunch of ancient mariners on some far flung treasure island.  The natives looked friendly enough although their dogs didn’t. Led by Bill the crew set off for a stroll around the narrow alleys leading in all directions from the quay.  Notes for future reference were made as to the location of bars, restaurants, banks, supply shops and ice cream parlours.  Bill was keen to visit a fish restaurant with no roof, which he remembered from a previous visit.  The search up and down the alleys for the restaurant was successful and all crew members returned to their ship planning to visit later.  On the way Mike spotted shoals of tiddlers in the water amongst the hundreds of small fishing boats, being a keen fisherman Mike decided that he would buy the necessary tackle in order to catch tomorrows evening meal.

 

The visit to the restaurant with no roof did not disappoint, Bill fell in love three times during the meal, once with the waitress and once with his guilt headed bream and once with the red wine made by the proprietor.  A short stroll back to the quay via the ice cream parlour for coffee and ice cream rounded off a very satisfying day.

 

The night was not very satisfying, the wind picked up during the night and increased steadily to force 6 gusting force 7, Lambarda lurched from side to side on her moorings, loose halyards drummed on masts, palms thrashed to and fro and the town clock cavorted through port holes but remained steady on two minutes to eight.  At three in the morning the skipper clambered up on deck and lashed his halyard, he was tempted to lash his neighbours halyard but considered that the Germans might not be best pleased with some English crawling all over his foredeck lashing his halyard.

 

In the morning the wind increased to force 8, rumours spread that the ‘Bora’ had arrived and could be in for 10 days putting pay to any hope of leaving the port.  Thoughts turned to abandoning the boat and catching a ferry back to Split – if the ferries were running.  The search for reliable weather information commenced.  Before leaving Split the captain had been told that Channel 67 would give regular forecasts, Channel 67 was monitored all week - diddly squat - another complaint for Mike’s list.

 

The only downside of Starigrad is that having only a town quay and not a marina there are no shower or toilet facilities (yet), what appears to be this facility was under construction next to the fish market adjacent to a small stream, ablutions were completed on board and at various coffee shops.

 

After discussions between captain and crew it was evident that the forecast precluded sailing that day although conditions seemed not quite as bad as the forecast.  Plan A for the day switched to plan B, which was to catch a bus to the island’s main town Hvar.  Busses ran infrequently so Mike as Chief Asker of Questions did a deal with a taxi driver and for a mere 200 Kuna (or £20) the crew were transported over the hills to Hvar by the local Stirling Moss, the taxi remained glued to the road despite Stirling’s best efforts at driving it over the edge, Bob P being the youngest was not quite ready to die yet and clung on hoping that Juan Fangio was not coming the other way.  On arrival in Hvar a search was made for the fishing tackle shop, Mike being fluent at asking questions nipped in and out of supermarkets, novelty shops, coffee bars and toyshops hoping to find a line and a hook.  Finally they arrived at a tackle shop only to find it had closed 5 minutes ago.  Undeterred and following a coffee on the quay Mike did another deal with another taxi driver and the crew were transported back to Starigrad, the search continued.  Finally a tackle shop was located and after a couple of hours haggling Mike did yet another deal on a line, ledger, hooks and lures.  

 

Back aboard Lambarda Bob J was ambling around the deck checking on things and eyeing up the inflated dinghy which had been towed from Split, the crew had agreed to pay for an outboard which was clamped to the pushpit, Bob J couldn’t stop himself hopping into the dinghy, clamping on the outboard shipped the oars (just in case), fired up the engine and shot off under the bowsprit of a neighbouring yacht nearly decapitating himself.  A small inflatable can be highly unstable and totally uncontrollable for anyone who has not had plenty of experience or anyone who has had experience but has had a glass of Pivo.  Bob had a little experience and large glass of Pivo, the others by this time were watching the spectacle from the yacht.  Bob was just getting the beast under control when the engine packed up, his decision to take along the oars saved the day.  Bob P also decided to have a go and again following a near loop the loop managed to reach the far side of the harbour and return without mishap. The outboard had seen better days and most parts that should have moved didn’t, so, without further ado all crew members (being trained engineers!) set about fixing it.  After much discussion as to the way forward the engine was laid out on the quay, taken apart and kicked, all the tools in Lambarda’s tool kit were rusty and useless (another for Mike’s list) and a friendly? German from a neighbouring yacht who by this time had taken an interest in the proceedings offered his gleaming tool kit.  It was agreed that despite the new tools this particular outboard was another candidate for Mike’s list and unceremoniously clamped back onto the pushpit.

 

Friendly foreigners from another yacht advised the crew of a restaurant across the water that shouldn’t be missed.  They were not wrong and apart from Mike being unable to explain that lemonade was not bitter lemon and a couple of owls trying to get in on the act a pleasant evening was enjoyed by all.  Bill fell in love again.

 

The weather forecast for the following day was not a great deal better but a window was forecast for early afternoon.  It was generally agreed that an attempt should be made to sail to Milna a port some 15 miles away. The conditions were decidedly choppy for most of the way but with gentle but firm handling Lambarda arrived at the marina in the early afternoon sun pleased with her performance.  Milna looked from the harbour entrance to be a very pleasant small red roofed town nestling in the hills with the prospect of a variety of restaurants and bars to chose from.  Not so, the search for a decent restaurant by the crew took them up cat-infested alleys and through building sites.  At last they came upon a spanking new restaurant but following a couple of beers unease set in at the lack of ambience and the crew left without eating.  The Palma restaurant back on the quay turned out to be the best of the bunch.  Bill again fell in love with his octopus and the waitress in that order.

 

Next morning the crew were awakened by the nearby town clock striking 94 ‘o’ clock – a tradition in Croatia which takes place at sundown and sunset.  The forecast was once more of a Bora, which is a wind of force 6 and above from the North East coming off the mountains, virtually unpredictable, coming straight down and scattering in all directions.  The morning was one of warm sun, bright blue skies and no wind, yachts and gin palaces, some adorned with ladies with legs akimbo, started to leave port for far off places.  One of the options for today’s journey put forward by Bill sat at the chart table was to sail to Trogir a much larger town nestling in a well protected harbour further north.  The course was to be generally on a bearing of 315 degrees (compass), which took Lambarda right through Bora territory.  Captain and crew by this time were confident that together with Lambarda they could handle anything that the weather could throw at them, Bora or no Bora.

 

Ships papers were collected from the office, fees paid, copies of the synoptic charts taken and lines made ready to be slipped, ‘I don’t wish to be a nuisance’ said Mike ‘but I think I’ve left my passport in Starigrad’, the initial reaction from the rest of the crew was ‘what a plonker’ but concern quickly replaced annoyance as suggestions as to what to do came thick and fast, return to Starigrad and waste two days, catch a ferry to Split and then another ferry to Starigrad and back, meet you in Trogir, hire a speed boat, phone the police, call the coastguard , phone the Embassy or look in the fridge.  There are no prizes for guessing which of the options produced the passport.

 

Lines were finally slipped and Lambarda joined the other yachts leaving the harbour heading for Trogir.  The donkey was soon put back in it’s stable sails hoisted and the heading required dialled in on the AutoHelm - a clever device which automatically steers Lambarda on any desired heading – it promptly fell apart – another for Mike’ list.

 

The wind slowly but surely increased from the north east (Bora direction) as Lambarda diced with the odd yacht and catamaran, crews exchanged waves (except the Germans) as competitions as to who was the best to windward came and went. The wind increased further, the order went out to reduce sail and don wets as white horses began to appear on top of the waves, Mike on the helm didn’t have time to don wets as Lambarda launched into the teeth of the Bora.  Sails were further reefed and despite some confusion on board due to the now violent rocking and rolling, spray hurtling horizontally over Lambarda and crashing of plates below captain and crew finally got their charge under control.  Other yachts nearby cavorted in all directions sails a’flapping, one skated by Lambarda’s stern on it’s beam ends, still under full sail, keel nearly out of the water, either the crew were caught with their pants down or they were showing off, just managing to avoid a broach the yacht popped up went into an involuntary gibe – obviously the former.

 

The strength of the wind was now a good force 6 gusting force 7 and more, Lambarda with a couple of pocket handkerchiefs for sails continued on course comparatively well balanced as many other yachts in the distance had obviously given up and were trying to motor through the swell, not a comfortable option.  The wind direction despite its ferocity allowed Lambarda to make progress towards Trogir.  Very gradually the wind eased as Lambarda tracked north west and allowed the crew to increase sail settle down and lunch was prepared below by those who were able to go below.

 

The final run into Trogir required a spot of delicate navigation by Bill dodging the rocks, at one point Bob J on the helm suddenly disobeyed the navigator’s orders and went beserk throwing Lambarda around in all directions ‘what the **** is going on’ Bob J, keeping a close watch on the depth gauge suddenly saw 53 metres disappear to 2.5 metres, Bob expected Lambarda’s keel to be ripped off any minute ‘depth gauge shagged’ Mike added another to his list. Lambarda rounded the green buoys and motored up the channel towards Trogir. Another successful stern on ‘lazy line’ mooring was completed by skipper and crew in the large marina.  

 

The other side of the river the main town of Trogir beckoned.  Trogir is a much larger port than those so far visited and seemed to have much to offer.  The castle battlements opposite, the long town quay, the tall church spires all seemed to speak of a long history and vibrancy. The crew now fully ablutioned and Mike sporting his black, finely pressed three quarter length silk effect evening trousers set off across the bridge in search of a restaurant and maybe some entertainment.  The myriad alleys produced a myriad of bars, parlours of one sort and the other, restaurants and designer gear shops.  The crew settled down in one of the bars with contorted wooden furniture and waited to be served, and waited, and waited, and waited and walked out. A further venture into the alleys produced a market square, dirty postcard shops and more bars and restaurants.  Skipper and crew settled down in another bar with no roof and ordered a carafe of the house red, ‘bloody disgusting’ says Bob P ‘crap’ says Mike ‘I’ll put it on the list’, ‘you do that’ says Bill, all four left without ordering anything to eat as the smell from a nearby sewer vent helped make the final decision.

 

Eventually a friendly waiter waiving his arms about up one of the alleys persuaded the crew that there was no finer place to eat, after a reasonable meal he was awarded 3 stars - he would have got 5 if he was a waitress.  During the stroll back along the quayside Bob J spotted a yacht moored alongside the town quay adorned with flags from stem to stern, obviously a proud visitor from many foreign ports he thought, on closer inspection the ‘flags’ turned out to be a hundred pairs of brightly coloured knickers and thongs fluttering in the breeze, Bob and the crew were unable to guess at the meaning of this nautical message.

 

The following morning Mike and Bill struck up a relationship with the German skipper of ‘Paula’, a fine looking yacht moored next door.  Horst invited the two aboard and proceeded to impress them with the finer detail of his pride and joy.  The two Bob’s were more impressed with Helga spread-eagled in her white bikini on the yacht moored on the other side of Lambarda.

 

The morning was bright but a cool wind had set in from the west, Bill once more at the chart table studied the options, which was getting increasingly difficult as the charts supplied with Lambarda had seen better days and were beginning to come apart at the seams – another for the list.  After much indecision the decision was made to set sail for Drvenik a small island, which according to the chart had a small anchorage ‘sheltered from winds from all directions’ and then re-study the options.  Mooring fee’s were paid, papers collected, good byes to Horst and Helga, lines slipped and Lambarda and crew motored down the channel to the loud voices of a thousand school children singing Croation folk tunes on the town quay opposite, a delightful send off!

 

The course required was slap bang into a breezy westerly which necessitated some slick tacking through the rock strewn channels but captain and crew were up to the challenge and saw off a number of attempts by other yachts to head them.  Nosing around the final rocky headland the little port of Drvenik came into view, the decision was taken to drop the anchor in the inner harbour as the few moorings on the newly constructed breakwater were already taken.  Lambarda was driven round and round in circles, like a dog before it settles, trying to find the right depth and position, finally the order was given to drop the hook, Mike was not at all happy with the situation as he thought that Lambarda wasn’t ‘swinging’ properly and the chain would be in the way of other yachts should they wish to anchor, the skipper felt fairly confident that the anchor was set and it was OK for all to relax and break out the lunch.  Other yachts came, tried to anchor nearby in the increasing wind, gave up and disappeared.  After no more than half an hour Lambarda had drifted uncomfortably close to the stone ferry quay, a hasty decision was made to up anchor and get the hell out of this exposed anchorage (a letter to the chart makers thought Mike).  The next 20 minutes was a period of much frustration, with Bob J on the helm motoring around trying to hold Lambarda in the correct position for anchor retrieval, the rest of the crew fought with the windlass.  Despite the best efforts of all, the 60 metre chain disappeared over the side placing the yacht into a difficult position, luckily the end was secured to Lambarda.  Bob P being the youngest and fittest laboured at the manual winch for many minutes and with a fine effort managing to get all the chain including the anchor back on board.

 

The wind by this time was again gusting force 6 straight into the exit channel throwing up many white horses and an uncomfortable swell, the 27HP Yanmar did it’s best to propel Lambarda and her crew into the teeth of the near gale, Bill and Mike suggested that the best option would be to do a 180 and hide behind the breakwater rafted up until the wind dropped, the skipper having experienced far worse conditions at night off Gilkicker Point, The Lizard and also off the Ushant lighthouse considered that unless the donkey died the best option would be to motor around the headland into open water, and even if the donkey died he was confident of bringing Lambarda back into harbour under sail and kissing the quay – some hopes!

 

Out into open water with beam on to the swell Lambarda rolled and rocked for some time until clear of the rocks, with the wind now up the stern sails were hoisted, donkey killed and Lambarda surfed along at ? knots.  The destination suggested by Bill was to be the marina in Marina which meant a zig-zag course around another headland and back into the wind, once again a long motor against a stiff breeze up the approach channel to Marina brought Lambarda and her crew on the approach to the pontoon. Expecting a stern on mooring as per usual, lines were rigged on the stern, a lesson was learnt here – always rig a bow line in case a side on mooring is requested at the last minute. A figure on the pontoon waved Lambarda into a side on mooring, the skipper gave credit to who ever it was rushed forward with a line and secured Lambarda on the quay in difficult conditions – especially when another German is in close proximity trying to do the same thing.  The pontoon at Marina sports some nasty cleats which are made from scaffold poles and lie in wait for hulls to puncture if moored side on – so beware.

 

The figure on the quay introduced himself as Simon from Suffolk, a likeable lad who had sunk his life savings into his 50 foot yacht the Lazy Penelope and offered skippered cruises aboard including full chef and waiter services. Check him out on www.lazywinch.com (website disappeared) .  Simon lives on his yacht and being familiar with the bars and restaurants offered to show the crew around later that evening.

 

Marina, being only a small community, has very little to offer compared with the previous ports, although there was evidence of a new roundabout going in alongside the quay.  The shower facilities were reasonable but Bob J returning from the showers had to report that the showers weren’t connected to the hot water.  Mike incensed at the cheek to charge the same as other marinas with hot showers decided to write a letter to someone.

 

Later that evening Simon ushered the crew around the quay to a small restaurant tucked away up an alley, at first sight not an unreasonable looking place.  Simon obviously knew the Croation proprietors and alarm bells should have been ringing in the ears of the crew saying ‘ripoff’ ripoff’ unfair?.  The red wine appeared which was hardly drinkable along with Myrko.  Darting eyes Myrko was the local diver, terrorist (IRA trained), captain in the Croation Army at 17, mercenary, politically motivated and promised to kill anyone for a Kuna, he was also high on something, unease settled on the table as he sought bids to kill the President the Prime Minister or anybody else.  Mike immediately threw up.  Myrko was, he said, a reformed family man who no doubt had his business reputation to think of but Lambarda’s crew were happy to pay for his wine and Simon’s meal as a ransom. The crew enjoyed another knickerbocker glory and coffee on the way back to the boat.

 

The final days sailing dawned, the sky was crystal clear with a gentle breeze from the north west was just what the doctor ordered.  Cold showers, breakfast, goodbyes to Simon and Myrko behind them Lambarda and crew with Mike on the helm slipped moorings and headed down the channel.  The destination was back to Split and a debrief, Mike was well pleased with his ever growing list:-

 

Instruments- Wind, GPS, Log, Depth (shagged).

Outboard bracket useless (either side of bimini anchor point on the pushpit rail).

Mooring lines too big, caked with salt and frayed in the centre span.

Autohelm kept falling to pieces.

Charts, out of date and badly torn/worn from over use. (We had to purchase new ones)

Tools insufficient and rusty.

Flares a few years out of date.

Man over board Dan buoy and beacon tied such that it could never be activated in a hurry.

Lifejackets were from out of the arc.

Safety harnesses very old and difficult to see how they were worn.

Anchor chain jammed in slots of windlass making it impossible to raise the anchor without manual help to free the chain.

 

Somebody was in for it but all the shortcomings weren’t going to spoil the final day. Bill plotted the course back to Split via the Isolated Danger beacon.  During the initial run Mike finally got his lure dangling over the stern in the hope of catching dinner, dinner tried to bite but the lead weight bouncing along the surface frightened dinner away and put pay to any chance of a bite.

 

There were far fewer yachts on the horizon that day as it was Saturday, which was changeover day at the marinas for most charter companies.  The final long run into Split was mostly under ‘gull wing’ sail setting (jib one side, main the other) Mike on the helm expertly warding off the ever-present danger of the involuntary gibe. The rest of the crew enjoying the final hours under a warm sun doing their best to polish off the remaining 12 bottles of beer, bacardi and vodka – unfortunately they were still unable to make tea at sea without a kettle.

 

Half a dozen ferries decided to leave port as Lambarda approached the harbour entrance, Bob J tuned to Channel 16 on the radio expecting to get a few instructions - diddly squat - again.  The final task before berthing was to top up the diesel at the fuel berth which was achieved without too much difficulty.  Lessons were learned during mooring and leaving the fuel berth in the swell.  Leave mooring lines slack.

 

The final mooring back at base with the ‘lazy line’ was expertly achieved with all crew members now a well oiled team. Satisfaction for a job well done was the overriding feeling before the pangs of hunger set in.

 

Refreshed by warm showers and clean socks the two Bob’s, Bill and Mike set off in search of another restaurant.  They hiked a mile or so into the main town of Split along the harbour wall.  Care was taken in choosing the right spot amongst the water front bars for a pre-dinner glass or two.  The warm evening, the red wine together with the local talent parading on the Cannes like waterfront conspired to add to the intoxication.  A stroll once more into the alleys of Split to find a restaurant initially proved fruitless. The four emerged onto a large square not unlike St Marks square in Venice (well sort of), in one corner of which was what appeared to be a restaurant on the terrace of an hotel.  The place seemed full of locals so the crew thought that this must be the place. Following Mike’s enquiry to the waitress they were ushered to an empty table underneath the arches.  A fine bottle of the local red was ordered and menu’s studied.  It became apparent that the locals were all guests at a wedding feast which was going on inside.  A trio of craggy faced Croation musicians dressed in traditional costume burst into jolly Croation rhythms.  Mike as Chief Asker of Questions forgot to ask if he could take a picture of the proceedings and was politely asked to put his camera away.  However the trio serenaded each table in turn and Mike got his pictures.  The chef got 5 stars from the crew at this restaurant

 

The following morning as an apology from the charter company for all the shortcomings all crew members received 4 tins of sardines in a sack.

 

Lambarda waiting patiently in the hot sun for her new crew said her goodbyes to captain and crew and looked forward to their return.

IMG_3696

Bill, Bob P, Mike and Bob J aboard Lambarda in Split Harbour.

 

More pictures to follow. Maybe.