Biograd, Zadar, and Sali, Croatia

Biograd and Zadar had very similar feels to them, both towns are about the same size, and displayed the more European influence that I am starting to equate with the more northern part of the Dalmatian coast.  Zadar had some interesting history in that it had been bombed quite extensively on two occasions during various wars, and so lost a lot of its old buildings and history.  During the last bombing, it’s residents were locked within their own homes without adequate food or water for 3 months during the conflict.  It is yet another example of how war is so destructive, not just of physical landscape and the immediate impact on people’s lives, but also on invisible things like history, and a sense of place, and trust.

We had a very wavy spot here, so much so that we completely modified the show to eliminate the more technical flying sections, which shortened it by at least 20 mins.  But the exposure was westward, so we had lovely long sunsets, and also great swimming here off of the boat, due to being right on the open coast, and not tucked into a little bay like in most places.  The bays shelter us from waves, but also trap all the scum from the water, and foster the growth of algae, etc. making the swimming not as nice.

Zadar’s most amazing features were an organ built into the seawall that made sound generated by the wind produced by the passing waves.  It was quite a long stretch of the seawall, and collected groups of people at all times of the day who would sit or lay with their heads against the openings and listen to the sighing swells of notes and sounds.  It was quite special, but it would have been nice to see more of the inner workings of the organ.  Also at this location was a giant solar panel built into the sidewalk.  It generated enough power not only to produce a fun light display at night of moving patterns of different colours across the panel, but also to power the street lights along the waterfront.  Also in Zadar were the remains of Roman columns from the forum at the centre of the town right near, of course, the church.  These were a very cool thing to see.

Biograd did not have many distinguishing features, other than offering us the first hot shower we had had since leaving Tivat, Montenegro on July 20th.  The marina facilities were clean and spacious.  We were all blown away, and used them extensively to scrape away unwanted body hair (no shaving on the boat, due to finicky filters, etc.), soothe sore muscles and just generally pamper ourselves.  What a treat!!  I also finally bought a mask and snorkel here, which I had been deliberating on for a while, so that was exciting, and bought a sarong to use as a curtain on my bed in my shared room with three people.

The island of Sali was I think my favourite stop on the tour so far.  The town had a small, country feel without the overblown tourism of the other islands we have been.  The water was beautifully clean, the best swimming right off the boat that we’ve had, with the colour so magnificent and clear.  We had a lovely group dinner here, compliments of our sponsor and this place showered us with donations, given spontaneously by the residents.  They brought by baked goods, a big bag of potatoes, and wine, as well as a huge pot of cooked spaghetti.  How lovely!!  Somehow it is so much nicer to receive something that has been made for you, than just money, it really feels like it comes from the heart.  And isn’t it interesting that the country folk, and those with usually the least money, are the most giving.  There was an absolutely gorgeous seaside walk here on a dirt trail around the point, and the setting was just so peaceful and beautiful, it was idyllic.  None of us wanted to leave, but onward we sailed to our next port: Novigrad.

This was the longest sail we have had so far, 24 hours.  The moon was nearly full and absolutely gorgeous, casting milky light into the sky and it’s cool clarity on the sea.  The amount of light cast by the moon made staying up for the night watches much easier.  We played music, and laid in a heap star gazing and sharing stories.  At one point we saw some strange lights in the sky, which we chocked up to military activity, but of course at first we thought it might be a UFO.  The night was so moist that the water was beginning to pool on the decks, but I slept out anyway.  I just couldn’t bring myself to go inside after the fresh beauty of the night.  When I woke up, we were just arriving at Novigrad.

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