Our plan is to head towards the Istrian peninsula in the north of Croatia so some longer passages were required, but before we set off we needed to do an oil change on the engine. The town of Murter is very well equipped with everything required to maintain boats including a Volvo Service Center (there’s always spare engine parts to stock up on) so we headed there first.
There are many small islands and rocks to the north of Murter which we had to navigate our way through. The sea was very confused as we started to weave our way between the islands with baby whirlpools rocking the boat, it felt like aeroplane turbulence.
Having not visited this bay before we had to be particularly careful, it was very shallow at some points so we had to keep watch from the bow for any hazards below the water. Luckily it was very clear so you could easily see the bottom. Murter is a small island approximately 6 miles long and 1.6 miles at its widest part and is connected to the mainland by a lifting road bridge. We arrived at Murter Town on the north of the island and anchored in the large bay.
Murter is a popular tourist resort with a large beach area, the town has traditional stone streets and simple buildings with lots of small jetty’s along the waterfront full of local boats.
Murter is also known for its traditional wooden boats, they are all different shapes and sizes and were used primarily for agricultural purposes. It was important for families to own one to carry out their daily business, going to the fields, fishing and visiting the local town or neighbouring islands.
The most common type was known as the Betina Gajeta, a 6.5 to 7 metre long wooden boat with a mast, boom, lateen sails and four oars for propulsion. The type of Gajeta was named after the place of origin, Betina is on the island of Murter. Nowadays, Murter and Betina are the centre of small wooden shipbuilding in the Adriatic and are proud to have the largest number of wooden sailing boats.
After a couple of days at Murter we watched the sun rise before lifting our anchor.
We motored out of the bay picking our way back through the islands and rocks before putting up the sails. The wind was blowing around 20kts, it was a perfect sailing wind. Unfortunately it was coming from the north west which was exactly the direction we wanted to go so we had a day of tacking back and forth to slowly reach our destination. We eventually arrived at Uvala Prtljug, on the island of Ugljan. The journey was due to be approximately 30nm but we ended up doing over 40nm because of all of the ‘ZigZaging’.
Again there was really clear water here, in a beautiful quiet bay surrounded by trees with just a few shacks and an abandoned house on the shore. It seems that the wasps also liked it here, we had to wait for the sun to go down and the wasps to disappear before we could enjoy any food or drink. We lifted our anchor the following morning (before the wasps woke up and attacked) and continued north west to Olib island, there was no wind and the sea was dead flat calm so we ended up motoring all of the way.
Our plan was to anchor in the bay of Baia Slatina but the sea bed was very rocky and our anchor didn’t hold so we continued a few miles around the island and anchored in Uvala Slatinica where there were still some rocks, but as the sea was so clear we managed to get the anchor set into a sandy patch between the rocks and the holding was much better.
We prepared to lift the anchor the following morning, we could easily see the seabed and noticed that our anchor chain had managed to wrap itself around a rock during the night. Luckily as it was really calm we were able to navigate back around the rock to untangle the chain without any problems and were soon on our way again.
The next island that we visited was Krk, the passage there was not very interesting, it was a really hot day with no wind so we had the engine on all of the way for the second day in a row.
The journey was 47nm and took us 8 hours until we finally arrived at the narrow shallow (less than a metre under our keel) entrance channel to Punat on the west side of the island. It is a large landlocked inlet connected to the sea by the small entrance channel.
Punat is a busy town with beach resorts and hotels, there is a small island within the bay, Otok Košljun which has a 12th century Franciscan monastery. We dropped our anchor just behind the island, once it was set and holding well we were looking forward to a nice cool swim but with the sea temperature now 28.5°C it was more like a bath (not complaining!).
We had read that there is often loud music playing at a bar in the town until the early hours but thankfully we didn’t hear anything and had a very peaceful night here surrounded by trees, woodland and another beautiful sunset.
A special ‘Brucie Bonus’ for the first person to spot this weeks random Hajduk sign!