We have arrived at the entrance to the Sibenik Channel in drizzling cold rain (also known as St Anthony and believe it or not, some references call it the St Ann Channel! Haha – anyway, I will stick to the Sibenik Channel). What a dramatic entrance! St. Nicholas Fortress, a 16th century late Renaissance style fortress dominates the entrance that provides the only access by sea to the city of Sibenik. It was built to protect the city from Turkish attacks from the sea.
Sibenik itself is pretty impressive with a few wonderful Renaissance buildings, forts and churches visible form the boat! I wish we had more time to visit and explore this place, but we are pushed for time and could only enjoy the little bit we could see. The most impressive is the St. James Cathedral. Apparently Sibenik is the city with the highest organ and stairs in Croatia! It has suddenly found its way to my list of places to visit next time.
The beautiful channel is snaking its way around hills and cliffs for about 13 km before getting to a small lake with a few protective bays. At some stage the canal narrows down to 300m wide and 30m deep. It is a wonderful peaceful journey and we were lucky not to have had too much traffic (being early in the season) – which is just as well because again we found that most boats have no idea about the rules of the road, and a few interesting comments were made on those close encounters!
We found a small bay in the little lake to overnight (which we like to call the “Swan Lake” as we were entertained for hours feeding two swans that adopted us as their new friends.) Too many pictures were taken of the two new friends – they are as graceful and pretty as ballerinas – I could not stop clicking away! It was just wonderful being the only boat in sight!
It was only about 6km to the bay of Skradin from our “Swan Lake”. We have decided to make it an early start and even before the sun has risen were we on our way. Entering the bay underneath the massive 391 metres (1,283 ft) long concrete arch bridge(The Krka Bridge) spanning the Krka River at a height of 65 metres (213 ft)! The longest bridge on the A1 highway and the 4th longest bridge in Croatia certainly impressed me!
We usually avoid marinas where we can for two reasons: cost and privacy. (We are self sufficient in many ways having a generator and water maker on board). We were just in time to find the perfect spot in the bay (as another boat was pulling up anchor). In all our time on Scolamanzi, it was the first time that we had to start the Genset to run the air-conditioner for heat! It was still raining on and off as it was on our way through the channel. We were freezing – I somehow think it was the lack of a good meal/ proper food that was taking its toll on our energy levels! Neither of us feel like going into town while it is raining – So we had hot polenta porridge with sugar and cinnamon for breakfast and went for a morning nap.(The early start was catching up with us!) Well! What a surprise when we got up finding the sun breaking through and the rain gone!! In no time we were dressed and in the dinghy, armed with shopping bags!
A quick stroll through town (Skradin is a small town), an ice-ream and caramel tart later we were heading back to the boat for lunch (a fresh baguette, ham, cheese and tomatoes as is the Scolamanzi customs, topped with a cold beer) with shopping bags filled and smiles all over! By the way – there is a lookout at the back of the town with a fabulous view of the Krka Bridge over the town and marina. We could get a good one of Scolamanzi sitting pretty in the bay!On our return to the boat, we realised that we have THREE new Swan friends – Mum,Dad and two baby Swans! … which means even more pictures! 😛
That night was our special treat (at a carefully chosen Restaurant) – we are going to have an entrée each (!) and a main and a bottle of red wine! This meal is way overdue! Our introduction to Black Risotto did not disappoint. (Black Risotto is a popular Croatian seafood rice dish made with cuttlefish and sometimes squid. The risotto is dyed black by breaking the cuttlefishes’ ink sacks onto the rice near the end of the cooking process. Hence the colour!… and yes … it is pretty BLACK!)
We have decided to make the most of the “good” weather and hoped onto the ferry to the Krka Waterfalls that same day just after lunch. We often talk about our good luck with the weather… and it is true what Johann says: When it really mattered, the weather was supper kind to us! The waterfall visit was one of those times!