When the offer to take part in a sailing trip comes again, I don't hesitate for a moment. Due to the complications associated with 2020 (limited travel), the choice falls on a nearby location in northern Croatia - Kvarner Bay. Even so, the trip is not completely certain until the last moment. It is only in the marina of Novi Vinodoslki that the upcoming cruise becomes a reality. And since the Orion is in a bad marina without a shop, we set sail at sunset to replenish our supplies at the marina at the other end of town, where the shop is located. In vain do I recall ever having experienced anything so absurd as going to the store by boat...
Vela Luka bay.
Vines and ropes of the mainsail, with Prvić Island in the background.
In the morning we sail along the eastern coast of the island of Krk. Although (or ironically because) the forecast promises virtually zero wind, winds of up to 35 knots are picking up here, sending us into a heel for the first time. We sail into the long bay of Vela Luka, anchoring here for a while. Later in the afternoon we sail between Krk and Prvić to the eponymous capital of the island of Krk.
Orion in the port of Krk.
Streets of Krk.
The sail continues around the northern tip of the island of Cres again to its capital. Here we anchor for 2 nights, using one day to cross the island on bicycles. Somewhere in the climb, however, I totally destroy my very worn out rented bike and return with part of the group. We use the afternoon to explore the town of Cres.
Night in Cres.
With a colourful sunset, as the orange rays shine against the darkened sky long after sunset itself, we take Orion out of the harbour and out to sea. Another crew member and I go to bed, the captain relentlessly sends us below decks, "At midnight your shift begins!" Life at sea is hard. Except I'm looking forward to this responsibility and I can hardly sleep.
At midnight, we take over the boat just before the island of Unije with our destination still hidden somewhere in the distance - Mali Losinj. The sky is full of stars, we get acquainted with the map and the situation. We see lighthouses on Unije and on the starboard side a miniature island, otherwise only one boat somewhere in the distance. The captain is going to sleep. There is no traffic, the wind is light and the boat is moving forward only reluctantly. We make a few tacking turns ourselves, depending on the wind and direction of sailing, otherwise the night shift is perhaps too calm. Still, it is again a powerful experience.
On the way to Rab.
We only stop in the marina Mali Lošinj to refill the water, which is a pity, because the town, situated on the surrounding hills, seems extremely beautiful in the morning sun. We sail through the canal to the north side of the island of Lošinj and head towards Rab. We stop in the bays around Punta Križa, where the fish are abundant. In the evening, we sail at a lazy pace to Rab, which already seems to shine with its ancient towers. We walk through the town and climb to the highest of the towers. Here in Rab, it almost seems as if the tourists have not diminished this year. Yachts are arriving in the marina one after the other and the restaurant gardens are often full.
Arrival to Rab.
Night in Rab.
We return to the island of Krk with a planned stop on the island of Plavnik. Finally the wind is blowing, and we are heading northwest on a head wind. The closer we get to the coast, the more obvious it becomes that we are not sailing slow at all. After changing course to the northeast towards Punat, and thus on a crosswind, Orion is flying along the sea at speeds of up to 8 knots.
Orion speeding towards Krk.
We return to Krk again, this time along the west coast. The wind is blowing quite strong. However, not long after leaving the harbour, there is a complication. The genoa is falling, make a wish! A few seconds of utter paralysis follow as we watch the headsail slowly slip into the sea. We haul the sail up on deck and find that the rope that pulls it up has been cut. With no chance to resolve the situation in the strong winds, we sail into a nearby bay and anchor for repairs. Using a spare rope, we haul the genoa up again, but for a change, the bow anchor gets upright during the haul and we have to hammer it out with an axe.
Heeling with the head wind.
Under the Krčki Bridge.
With the repaired boat we sail around the island of Krk, with a tailwind we finally try a butterfly sail, with one sail hoisted on the port side and the other on the starboard side. We stop at the village of Omisalj, situated on a prominent hill but somewhat marred by nearby oil depots. As the sun sets, we pass under the large bridge connecting the island to the mainland and slowly make our way back.