Transitions, change, progress… whatever the name we give these events in our life, the tenderness is the same. Experiencing these things as an adult is challenging, but with the experience of age, they are easier. I can easily remind myself of the many instances in my life where the hardest “transitions” reaped the greatest rewards. Leaving a miserable marriage, leaving the best and most lucrative job I ever had for the promise of a great adventure and time with my family, leaving the comfort and security of an “ok” life as a flight attendant for the hope and dream of a better life as a pilot, are just a few of the heartrending decisions I have made in my life, each fully believing in the wisdom and “rightness” of the decision, but nonetheless, suffering because of the tearing that must accompany each one.
Watching your child, as each of his cruising friends depart, making the right decision for themselves is a challenge. We are, of course, on a path that is perfect and right for us. Each of our boat friends are on their perfect path. Though we are each making the best decisions for ourselves, it comes with a little “ripping” (if you will) when it is time to say goodbye. As we just yesterday, said “so long” to family friends who came to visit from America, I was reminded of 2 truths, which gave me comfort, as I explained to Jack the difference between a friend and an acquaintance. I have heard it said that people come into our lives “for a reason, a season, or a lifetime”. Letting go of the people who arrive in our lives for a “reason”, or a “season” is tough – but a necessary and good part of life. Jack learning this as a child is right and good also. But as our friends left for America, I was reassured – and happy to remind Jack, that sometimes relationships which we worried might just pass away, re-emerge, after long distances and absences, to be rekindled as quickly is the softest breath of wind. I was able to remind Jack of the special relationships we have with friends who have stood the test of years and thousands of miles reminding us once again that friendship is not determined by proximity.
So, it is with profound love, admiration, and respect that we bless the journeys of the beautiful families aboard SV Gambler, SV Aihe and SV Bella, and say that we truly hope our wakes cross again. And remind you that we are merely a Whatsapp message away xo. We will miss you.
What a week it has been! Collecting our friends from Zadar, Croatia, we set out for an early passage the next day for Mali Losinj. Probably my favorite site to see in Zadar was the Sea Organ. Fashioned with tubes underneath marble steps, the force of waves both big and small create sounds and notes similar, I think, to whale song sounds. The sound was lovely and worth a listen if you are so inclined. Just google Zadar Sea Organ on YouTube. Nearby are solar powered light blocks on which children love to dance and play at night. Zadar has a few more communist block construction type buildings than I prefer and for this reason, it’s not the highest on my list of must-see Croatian destinations. But the Cathedral and some ancient roman ruins nearby are easily worthy of a day trip.
It is interesting to note here that 2000-year-old columns and roman bits are in nearly every city we have visited, and the children are free to jump on and play with them. This is in stark contrast to every other country where they are behind fences or enclosures. The tour guide who was showing us around said it was “because the Croatian people want their children and citizens to be able to live among, and with, their history – not apart from it. “Besides, “he continued, what is a 70 lb child going to do to this rock or marble column that hasn’t been done by 2000 years?” The inadvertent damage that might occur with a child playing on the columns is one thing, but the intentional damage done by graffiti or theft is something altogether different. How lovely that the government can trust their citizenry to respect and hold as sacred these special remnants of history as much as they do.
My other favorite piece of history in Zadar was the “Rowing Men” who operate row boats back and forth from the Zadar Marina (where we stayed) to town across the way. There is a bridge – but what could be more fun than getting a ride across in an authentic row boat for 6 kuna (about a dollar)?
We left Zadar and, with our friends aboard, made a 6-hour passage North to a lovely anchorage near a town called Mali Losinj. We enjoyed 2 days at anchor here swimming and relaxing. In town, we ate lunch and gallons of ice cream, and bought as many groceries as 5 adults and 1 11-year-old child could carry.
The Bora blew and at 40 knot gusts and after a couple of sleepless nights, Alec and I decided that it was time to move along. Not sleeping well combined with weather not conducive to swimming and paddle boarding made it an easy decision. We knew that it may be less than perfect passage conditions north, but the tradeoff was a simple one. We gave our guests anti-seasick medicine and off we went. While we hadn’t planned this next stop, we are so delighted we made it.
Recommended by Wolfgang from the anchorage a couple of weeks ago, Brujuni National Park is a part of the Brionian Islands off the coast of the Istrian peninsula adjacent to Pula. Now a holiday park, this island in its most recent history, was once the summer home of the Yugoslavia President Marshal, Josip Broz Tito. Nearly 100 heads of state, as well as American Film stars visited the islands and many brought gifts of wild animals, as well as flora and fauna which are a part of the Safari Park. In addition to the marina at which we stayed, there are 3 hotels on the island. Except for these residents, all day- trip guests are off the island at night, and we were free to explore as we wished.
One of the hard dates on the calendar was the International Film Festival in Pula. We were luckily only 45 minutes away by boat from Pula and we only arrived on the date for which we already had purchased tickets. We spent the day sightseeing but honestly, Pula is a city which deserves far more than the 1 day we have allotted so look for a Pula 2.0 post soon. The film festival was in a spectacular setting. This was the first film festival we have ever attended so I was unclear how this worked. If we had it to do over again, and we weren’t with friends, I would have probably purchased tickets for the week and tried to see as many of these shows as possible and take in the amazing city of Pula. As it was, we only saw 1 show and our tickets allowed for us to see 2 (though I didn’t realize this). The cost of these tickets was only about 3 Euro.
After saying “so long” to Bill, Wendy, and Kapri from the US, we raced to catch up with SV Gambler who were on the way to an anchorage a couple of hours away near Medulin (with our child aboard). Jack spent the night on Gambler with his friends, to make the most of their final night together, as Sophie and Megan will be heading South, and we are heading West to Venice. To say that this goodbye was difficult would be a gross understatement, but we have fingers crossed that these are friendships that will last Jack a lifetime. At a minimum, 8 months with these lovely “boat schooled” kids have taught us so many valuable lessons and filled our hearts with joy. The SV Bella family left for the UK before we ever saw them this summer to deal with a family crisis, so that “goodbye” has already, in many ways, happened. It is our fervent hope that we will reunite with all these families again soon.
So here we are- still at anchor, 3 days later, at Medulin. We haven’t even made it to shore yet, but the laundry is finished, boat is clean and we, as a family, have hit the “reset” button before more family arrives in a couple of weeks. We can’t wait to see you, Kelly!!!
Our plans for the next week are back to Pula in hopes of obtaining the second shot of the Astra Zeneca vaccine, then North up the Istrian Peninsula to Rovinj, then Vrsar, and then across the Adriatic to Venice. We plan to be in Venice for the month of August, hoping to make a few overnight trips to Milan, Verona, and the Lake Como, Maggiore and Varese.
Thanks for reading!