Sailing in Croatia

Sailing in Croatia • Molat - Pantera


We're driving down the mountain Velebit under the gale force gusts of bora that we didn't expect at all when we decided that day to go to Zadar. And we certainly didn't expect that the catamaran to Silba won't sail and that it's uncertain when will the next ship sail. We were told that maybe the ferry will sail out the next morning. Just maybe. We find a hotel where we spend the night.


The ferry to Silba sails today! Number of passengers: nine. The ferry doesn't sail on its usual route through the Sea of Vir but rather turns after Ugljan in the leeward of island Sestrunj and than navigates through Sedmovraće ("The seven doors sea" - there are seven straights that lead into/out of Sedmovraće) behind islands Ist, Molat and Škarda. Behind Škarda we experience strong gusts of bora. The captain comes on the bridge and takes control of ship navigation. We pass through the strait of Premuda (the passage between Premuda and Škarda) and start riding the 3-meter waves coming onto us right from under Paška rebra (highest part of the island Pag, under which bora is particularly strong). We advance towards Grebeni, 3 steep small islands, SW of Silba. The ferry passes through the narrow passage between Srednji Greben ("Middle Rock") and Južni Greben ("Southern Rock") and arrives in the leeward of Silba. In 15 minutes we are in the harbor of Silba.

01.01.2005. - sailing out

As the wind didn't surrend in the last week of 2004, we have the New Yew party on Silba. The first day of 2005 starts with light bora so we charge our stuff in the sailboat and sail out to Molat. The wind remains light all the way to Ist, where it finally gets a bit stronger. We enter the Strait of Zapuntel, between Ist and Molat, and here we have some fun sailing between the two islands on gusts of bora. The days in this part of the year being so short, soon it starts to get darker, so we approach the small port of Zapuntel and dock in its interior part (the catamaran to Zadar docks on its exterior side). There's nothing interesting to see in this port, we just have a walk along the coast.



We wake up early in the morning and when it dawns we're ready to go. We pass through the narrowest part of the Strait of Zapuntel and sail out to the open sea. Despite the total lack of wind, in the strait there are waves due to a strong sea current. On the way among islets near Molat and Molat itself there is a light breeze and "dead" waves from NW. The sails are hitting hard from port to starboard and back, and the sailboat hardly moves at all. Once we pass the Cape Bonaster at the western entrance to Sedmovraće we find more wind. Here we head up to the Bay of Brgulje and the bay Lučina, where the port of village Molat is located. Molat is the biggest village on the island (the other two are Brgulje and Zapuntel). In the harbor we dock close to some fishing boats. In the evening the harbor is empty.





As I already know that there is no reception of the VHF channel Radio-Rijeka in the Molat harbor, in 06:35 we climb up in the village and listen to the weather forecast near the village cemetery! Only here is the reception good. And the weather forecast is good too. So we sail back around Cape Bonaster to the open sea and then further south to the lagoon Pantera on Dugi otok ("Long island"). We anchor in the lagoon. The spacious lagoon, full of sailboats and motor-boats in the summer, is completely empty in winter. In the evening, many small boats with local fishermen show up. They are fishing calamari. When the sun disappears, so do the fishermen. The lighthouse on Veli Rat ("Big Cape") lights up. From the exterior of the lagoon we can hear the sound of waves crashing on the coast. In the night we have light NE wind. We enjoy the sound of small waves hitting under the bow.



We are heading back to Sedmovraće with big "dead" waves from NW. First we turn south towards Zverinac but soon we give up because we expect the wind from NW, so, not wanting to close reach for too long when returning to the Bay of Brgulje, we set course to Tun Mali. Here we are suddenly hit by wild gusts of NW wind. We reef the mainsail and take off the jib. While taking off the jib on wavy sea I managed to hurt my hand and leave tracks of blood all over the sails and the deck. Under gusts of wind we sail back in the Bay of Brgulje. A big Coast Guard boat that in the meantime tried to pass to the outer side of Molat in direction of Ist, after waiting a while in the leeward of Bonaster, gives up and sails back. And we sail back to the port of Molat too, tired and exhausted.



As the weather forecast gave tramontana warning, we spend the day speeding with reefed mainsail through the Bay of Brgulje. Once we decide we've had enough and head back to the port the wind weakens and we very slowy arrive in the port under sails. The day it beautiful. Despite the winter we are enjoying the sun on the deck in T-shirts.


Bay of Brgulje



Early in the morning we find the bakery and buy bread. Because, in the winter part of the year bread can be bought in Molat only if ordered the day before! After the breakfast we sail back to north. NW wind forces us to close reach for a long time on the eastern side of Molat. We pay attention to the low black rock Sičica near islet Lušnjak. I almost crashed once on this rock! At high tide it's very difficult to spot, even when one knows where it is located. We arrive in the port of Zapuntel.



We pass through the strait of Zapuntel and enter the bay Široka ("Wide bay") on the southern side of island Ist. We approach the harbor pier and then head back to the Cape Benuš on the SW of Ist. Behind Cape Benuš we sail west to the islet Maslinjak ("Olive island") where we decide to turn back because of the big waves coming from NW. We pass once again through Zapuntel to the eastern side of Ist. We close reach between Ist and Olib under a NW wind that from time to time forces us to reef the sails. We arrive on Silba at dusk, after 10 hours of sailing.


nautical map

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Sailing in Croatia: Sailing in Croatia • Božava - Rava - Sali
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