Ist … tuck this little island away cause you never know …

We fell in love with little Ist.

ist

From the moment we spied that tiny church high on the hill.

ist harbour

It’s out of the tourist river. No cars. Quiet. You can walk from one side to the other in minutes.

ist panorama

If, you don’t dawdle.

bbq area ist

But you know me, I’m a dawdler from way back.

flowers on its

Can you smell the wood smoke?

fish under the bell

blue rope ist

wharf ist

wharf at ist tiles

Just stop for a moment. Stop, don’t rush … and enjoy the golden hour …

ist old port

It’s all so fleeting …

ist foreshore

old port its

Magic is found in the most unexpected places.

Close to home or faraway…

In the tiniest of corners.

keyhole

the church at its

We are a long time gone.

cemetery

So grab this day.
And hug it and bend it and squeeze it and call it George.

x

 

    4 Comments

    Sailing northern Croatia – Solta to Uglijan

    Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved maps. Pouring over pages in the atlas, trying to pronounce names in foreign countries, imagining what those places might look like. I still do it.

    The internet has taken away some of that magic. Google any of the places below and you’ll see better photos than I could do but I’d like to try to take you behind the photos. If you want to see this map in more detail, just click on it – I’ve uploaded a large version.

    sailing northern croatia map

    What a photo can’t reveal are the scents of a place. The breath of salt water. The strange plants and herbs that reveal themselves as you crunch your way along the shoreline. Everything you/I imagine a Mediterranean island might smell like. And sound like. Crackly under foot. Sharp to the touch. The little rush of excitement as a snake slithers away before you. Imagining what it might be like to live in that low slung stone house, over there on the right, the one with the grape vined pergola.

    solta gouache

    The unexpected joy of sailing through low isles, feeling like you’ve stepped onto a page of Ursula LeGuin’s Earthsea Trilogy. Who builds these places??

    hrid malo

    hrid milo

    Heading inland to the city of Sibenik. Walking ancient forts, blown away, yet again, by the extent of the Roman empire.

    sibenik

    View from the fort of Sibenik

    Feeling my age. Thinking wistfully about when our own were little and needed guidance.

    kids on a rope

    Still pinching ourselves that that boat on the far shore is home for now.

    the boat from the fort

    Heading home in the dinghy after an afternoon spent walking Sibenik’s winding streets, forts and cafes.

    sibenik at night

    Imagining what it might be like to own that yellow house in the old town of Sibenik.

    Sue's yellow house

    Heading up river towards the little village of Skradin, gateway to Krka National Park. You will have to google that because sadly I forgot the camera that day. One of the most beautiful national parks we’ve ever visited. Stone walled waterfalls of turquoise and shaded wooden walkways over crystal clear water spilling with fish.  Plitvice National Park is world heritage listed. It must be really something because Krka was a highlight. We rented bikes in Skradin and did the easy 4km bike ride along the river. A really special day. Especially when we left my swimmers drying in the sun on a wall at the entrance to the park and they were still there three hours later when we flew back to retrieve them.

    skradin

    A skinny dip under a Croatian full moon.

    And on to Muline on the island of Uglijan. Pronounced Ool’yarn.

    muline from the boat

    Muline uglijan

    Lunch under a red umbrella

    Lunch under a red umbrella

    Realising that that’s our chef gutting our lunch.

    chef cleaning fish

    sea bass bbq croatia

    Marveling at everything really.

    muline uglijan

    clear water croatia

    Hoping that these glimpses might help life the names off the page and bring them to life for you, wherever you might be in the world. xx

      2 Comments

      Reflections on sailing northern Croatia

      Apparently in winter the islands of Croatia are a depressing place to be. The wind blows hard from the north. The shutters are pulled tight and all the ex-locals who return to the islands to summer with friends and family, retreat to their permanent bases in Florida, San Francisco and Perth.

      But in June that’s hard to imagine.

      first mooring Solta

      This trip came about so quickly we had little time to build any expectations. One minute we were pouring over maps. The next we were sitting in a little cove on Solta, two hours out from Split … dipping into watercolours … swimming in turquoise …

      Solta water colour

      Enigma. Home for the next two weeks.

      boat

      Captain Harrie aka Good Spot Harry setting the tone for the trip.

      harrie

      Vicky, first mate and cook extraordinaire.

      vicky

      Mutual friend Sue adding a note of glamour.

      Sue

      Hogie ticking off a bucket lister.

      steve up high

      steve

      And me, assuming the position up front.

      marg

      Vicky calls the boat their Waterbago and I understand now why that is. Sailing is a lot like camping. Or caravanning. You’re in a relatively small space but you have the freedom to move wherever and whenever you want. I love the simplicity of it all.

      reflection 1

      You can spend your time in marinas which are the watery equivalent of caravan parks or you can drop an anchor wherever you wish (within local limits) – a bit like camping in national parks.

      reflections2

      We were in a marina for the first and last day of the trip only.

      reflection 3

      The rest of the time we let the wind be our guide. Spoilt with two weeks of perfect weather we’ve come away with a totally unrealistic benchmark of what this sailing business is about.

      reflections 4

      The water is so salty on the Dalmatian coast you barely have to swim to stay afloat.

      reflections

      Nearby Europeans would pull up and peel off. Wandering their boats doing the Full Monty or the Full Fritz as we termed it. By day two we reckoned if it was good enough for them …

      cossies

      A trip like this could go horribly wrong and so easily turn into an episode of Survivor. A confined space. Different personalities. But our five happily clicked. Good campers all. 14 days and not one voted off at Tribal Council 😉

        8 Comments
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