Back to Istra 2 "Prohibited for Catamarans"
Sailing through the dangerous Kvarner can be very peaceful. This time the sea was like a mirror. In this video, we tell the story of Kvarner, the wind, the island of Susak and how catamarans were banned from landing there.
We sailed into this beautiful bay yesterday. The night on the anchored Ariki was peaceful. Today is a beautiful and clear morning. From the bay you can see the sea. It's quite calm. There is no wind, no waves.
Today, the sails will remain tidy. We raise the anchor and sail towards the 5 NM distant Porer lighthouse. The lighthouse is 2 NM away from the extreme Istrian southern cape Kamenjak. From Banjole to the lighthouse is 5 NM.
The Porer lighthouse lies on a cliff with a diameter of 60 m. It was built in the first half of the 19th century during the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. The lighthouse tower is 34 m high. In the house under the lighthouse it is possible to rent an apartment and spend a vacation in solitude on a cliff in the middle of the sea, far from civilization. Guests are provided with a lighthouse crew that has a boat. The lighthouse has two piers.
On the north and south sides. The water depth at the piers is about 1.5 m. Ariki would have easily landed there, but we sailed on.
Our goal today is the 25 NM distant island of Susak. Between the southern coast of Istria and the islands of Cres, Lošinj and Unije is a 20 NM wide strait called Kvarner. This part of the Adriatic Sea is famous for its extremely strong bora wind. It is a wind that blows from the northeast in strong gusts. When it blows with a little more power, the sea becomes so dangerous that not even larger liner passenger ships sail on it. The weather forecast says the bora will start blowing tomorrow afternoon and will blow for two or three days.
So there will be no wind today and tomorrow morning. We are sailing with an engine for the second day. The Ariki has a 9.8 HP outboard two-stroke engine. At one-third of the gas and as calm a sea as it is today, and at 6 NM, Ariki consumes only 2 liters of gasoline per hour.
For the 90 NM long journey from the home port to the island of Susak, we use 30 liters of petrol. It's a really cheap ride. But the noise is unbearable. When you listen to this rumble for five hours, you have a whistling in your ears and a rumble in your head for the next five hours. Yeah, that’s the sound you carry with you. There is still no wind.
The sea is like a mirror. So what if rumbles . Experience such a peaceful Kvarner. Yes, it is also a unique experience. Ariki has sailed through Kvarner at least a hundred times, and the whole route has never been so calm.
In the distance from the sea rises an island. At first only as a barely perceptible outline, but it is rapidly increasing. The island of Susak is the westernmost island off the east coast of the Adriatic. Its area is only 5 km2.
At the highest point of the island, 93 m above sea level, a lighthouse is placed. The island stands exactly in the right place to spend the night or wait for a favorable wind to sail north through Kvarner or south through the Kvarner Gate to Dalmatia. Ariki has been on Susak many times. On each way south and back we stopped there.
We were there for the first time in the last days of September 2004. Our daughter was with us. We posted a video about this a few years ago, entitled “Tiki 26 Sailing 1000 Miles Across the Adriatic Sea”. The link to this video is here in the upper right corner. That’s when we moored in the harbor in the first gusts of a strong bora. The locals have warned us that it will be blowing so hard for a few days that liner ships will not run.
The one that is coming now is the last one. So my daughter and I boarded a ship, and on the island of Lošinj we took a bus and drove home. Matjaž waited on the island for 5 days for the weather to calm down.
Then he sailed for another 2 days to a 90 NM distant home port. During those five windy days in Susak, close friendships developed between Matjaž and some locals, which continue to this day. If for no other reason, we stop at Susak to say good day to the people we love to meet. Matjaž sailed to Susak for many years in the spring and autumn. Just him and Ariki. However, it happened that we spent several weeks together there.
We used to sail south. We had three weeks. Our goal was the island of Hvar, which is only a good 100 NM away from Susak. Even then, we sailed to Susak in two days.
The only difference was that at that time we sailed all the way, and this time we drove the whole way with an engine. That’s when we got stuck on the island. A strong south wind began to blow. The sea rose. Sailing south was impossible. It blew for 14 days.
In the middle of summer. In the peak tourist season. The island was full, company as much as you want. We didn't feel bad. We had a nice time. When the time came to return, the wind turned.
We went home with an engine. All the time against the wind. Yes, that's how it is in the northern Adriatic. If you sail south, the wind blows from the front.
If you sail north, it blows in your head again. It rarely happens that it blows in your direction. This time we intend to stay in Susak. Wait for the bora to stop blowing.
We haven't been here in the last few years. Three or four days of wandering around Susak, an island where there are no cars and roads, in mid-September, when there are no more tourists on the island. In the idyllic environment of a Mediterranean village, meet old friends, drink a beer or two with them,chat about fish and catch… Is there anything more beautiful in this world? Immediately after the inn, a path climbs steeply into the sandy bank. It's not ordinary.
It is different, special. When you step on it, the world changes. Just five steps and you're already on the other side of the planet. Yes, the island is changing.
This is a lighthouse. It now has a private apartment. All that lush exotic plant that adorned it a few years ago has been cut down, exterminated. Access to the lighthouse is forbidden.
Privacy comes first. There is no longer the friendly old lighthouse keeper who always opened the tower to the guests and invited them to it. Then he told old stories related to the island and the people. During that autumn hurricane in 2004, he told Matjaž this story: Between the islands of Susak and Lošinj is only 8 NM. The inhabitants of both islands did not understand themselves the most in the Middle Ages. It also boiled over several times and ended in real battles.
Thus, on one such occasion, the people of Susak made a wooden cannon at the monastery in Gornje selo. They poured a large dose of gunpowder into it, added a large stone ball, and fired it. The cannon exploded and a few fell. Others ran down the bank to the sea, jumped into boats and rowed towards 8 NM distant Mali Lošinj. When they entered the Lošinj canal and saw the town embankment full of people, they shouted in panic, "Turn, turn, let's go back quickly, the bomb has not yet landed." Only 100 people live on the island in winter and 1000 in summer.
Most of the inhabitants of this island today live in New York. As many as 2,000 are there. A few years ago we made a video about this island and the people who live on it and with it. The video was shot during the biggest holiday on the island, on August 15th. At that time, the Americans and their descendants also returned to the island for a short time. The link to the video is here in the upper right corner.
In mid-September, the village streets are lonely. Shutters on houses locked. The silence is disturbed only by our steps. We returned to the port on Ariki. On the pier was a young man, an employee of the Mali Lošinj Port Authority, who manages the port.
He said the port is now banned for catamarans. For all catamarans, even for those only two meters long. So they concluded and they are implementing it. But we can moor outside on the pontoons.
But it’s outside, there’s no protection there. There, in the bora as it comes, it will definitely break your boat. Nothing helps any persuasion. For catamarans it is forbidden in any weather and period! But, he knows us from previous years and will make an exception. We can stay in the harbor today. But we have to get out tomorrow morning.
He will charge us without a catamaran surcharge, as he would with a monohull. Now let’s go for another walk. Then sleep. We have to leave very early tomorrow morning.
30 NM of open sea to Istria awaits us. Once again across Kvarner. For the second time in two days. I hope we manage to get there before the bora blows.
We will tell you about how we sailed back to Istria in the next video.