Whilst we've been exploring inland Croatia (see sister site Croatia Online), we are once again indebted to Ian Shaw for putting the Croatia Cruising Companion through its paces and supplying us with some incredibly useful and detailed updates. Below is Ian's report on his travels to Hvar, Korčula and Mljet, as well as an update on Marina Frapa's progress with its underwater restaurant and a new Wireless Internet System. Thanks also to Ian for the photo of one of his favourite restaurants - more information below.
Leaving Marina Frapa (the new, underwater restaurant is under construction adjacent to the superyacht transit pier) on the Friday, we stopped over in Maslinica before heading to Hvar Town. Very picturesque; the harbour is a plethora of cafés and restaurants, but the lazy lines were a real spaghetti. We checked before leaving the following day and found a line around one of our props, so yours truly had to go over the side and cut it off.
The mooring rings are not well secured and with a very heavy swell from the East, our boat managed to pull one ring and spike almost out of its drilled hole on the jetty. A number of sailing yachts to seaward nearly touched masts and rigging on numerous occasions. The overnight mooring fee for a 15.60m boat was 840 kuna; wow, these are top South of France prices, and the harbourmaster's office weren't too keen to give the change for 850 kuna either!
I don't know what time the clubs turfed their customers out, but most of the noisy drunks seemed to be English and Scottish!
I am sure a lot of people will like Hvar Town, busy and bustling, but I don't think we'll be visiting again.
We then headed to Korcula Town for two nights. A fascinating town with plenty to see and several internet cafés for those who are wedded to the internet. One can just wander and there is a surprise at every corner. The ACI marina is excellent, with a reception manned by a formidable lady who warmed to us greatly when we told her how much we had disliked Hvar Town and that Korcula was much nicer! It is a very pleasant marina, on the ball staff, and a nice restaurant-we ate there one evening and were not disappointed. Well recommended. We also ate at Pizzeria Doris (turn right out of the marina entrance and it can be found 250m on the left. Pizzas and wine for five for 400 kuna and it was all good!
Our next stop was the island of Mljet and the bay of Okuklje, as you say a well-protected anchorage. We arrived at lunchtime to two locals waving and offering a mooring. We moored at Konoba Maran, the first restaurant to starboard, and the place where most of the yachts seemed to make for. It was blazing hot, my wife went straight for a swim and the rest of us for a beer or a glass of wine. We liked it so much that we returned two nights later. The mooring is free on the implicit understanding that you eat at the restaurant. We did on both nights and the food is excellent, especially the black (squid ink) risotto. As good as the other restaurants we have eaten at on our trips to Croatia, and the chips are also good! Bearing in mind the mooring is free a three course meal for six (on the second visit) plus wine a gogo and coffee came to 1200 kuna, brilliant. One tip, book your table as soon as you arrive, the restaurant was packed both nights we ate there. Contact details: phone +385 20 746 186; +385 98 931 96 01. Website: http://www.okuklje-maran.com/
After our first stay at Okuklje we headed for Cavtat to pick up a passenger arriving from the USA. We picked Cavtat since the CCC advised clearing in formalities were much quicker than Dubrovnik. Nevertheless this did entail a certain amount of toing and froing on the day. Like Korcula, we were charmed by Cavtat and found all the harbour staff friendly and helpful. We moored at Cavtat Luka. The quay moorings are rope passed through holes drilled in the stonework, no lazy lines you have to drop anchor. We were very doubtful about the holding ability of these lines and passed a short length of spinnaker line through the holes on the quay to give us some comfort, especially since the Bora was causing some swell.
As regards the formalities we caused some confusion at the harbourmaster's office, who were fully expecting a list to which amendments for incoming crew/passengers would be made. Not so in our case. In the confusion we were given a new list bearing the names of only the passengers/crew aboard. If it is any help to others this is the way we set up our cruising and this is what we have learned:
-we set up our list of crew/passengers at the beginning of the season, some 20 in all. This list bears the detachable part of the vignette. When we sail from Marina Frapa we take the original list with us. The marina issues us with an A4 sheet for each person aboard (foreign visitor), showing passport details. In effect, the marina is carrying out the duties of the police registering the foreign visitor. You must sail with the original list and the A4 sheet for each person aboard. So long as the persons aboard are on the list of crew/passengers no visit to the harbourmaster's office is necessary. If the original list needs to be changed, then a visit to the harbourmaster's office to effect that change is necessary. Where there is no facility for issuing the A4 sheet above at the marina, then visit the local police station with the incomer's passport and they will complete the formalities. The incomer need not attend the police station personally, but you shouldn't sail with that person aboard until formalities are completed.
PS Marina Frapa is now a wi-fi zone.