Heading to Velebit

Wednesday 2011/04/20

Right, I guess it was only a matter of time. After 14 days and more than 800 kilometres, including 200m at the sea, after two successful escapes from stormy to ideal weather, I have had a stormy experience. I surrendered almost without a fight. It was enough to just peep out on my kayak from the top of Pag, to feel the full force of our mythical wind, and the furry of the sea. I managed to run away and hide myself in the first secluded hideaway, where I got on a boat. I'm scared to think what would have happened if I had carried on.

Od prpe do Prpe

The morning on Silba started with an interesting search for a boat that would take Marko and Luka to Pag. We were left without the option we had previously arranged, so we had to figure out a new one. It was very amusing and intriguing meeting all the peculiar people and their unique approaches to the problem.

Apart from seeing the most amazingly beautiful sunset, which ended up swallowed by the sea somewhere near Premuda, and a promenade through the peaceful and quiet little town of Silba, we had the privilege of meeting our host, Edo Motusic (but since everyone on Silba has the same surname, it is really the nick name that matters Lustre).

This, at first glance very secretive and shy old man, used to be the captain of a tanker. Every year of Edin's navigating through the horizons of faraway open seas can be seen in his eyes and on his rough hands. Stingy with words, but sincere and willing to help, he amazed me with his care and concern and unspoken wisdom that just emanates from him.

In the end, the mayor of Pag himself sorted us out with a boat. A man we were so unsuccessfully trying to get a hold of for days. And while we were almost resigned to the fact that the guys are going to have to stay on the island (which Marko and Luka didn't seem to mind at all), the problem was sorted in a second. We still didn't get to see or hear the mayor, but he is obviously keeping everything under control. The next thirty or so kilometres I spent rowing on my own from Silba to Pag was the longest period I'd been on my own during this adventure. I was going from island to island(Olib, Planik, Maun, famous for the grant given by king Petar Kresimir IV, from 11th century, where the Adriatic is entitled for the first time as „our Dalmatian sea“) utterly enjoying myself.

I was a bit more careful and focused since I didn't have anyone with me.I found myself thinking about Sime and how he must have felt in his 6, 5 metres long sailboat at a solo-race over the Atlantic. Big respect, Sime!

I hurdled over to Proboj on the island of Pag carried by strong northern wind and waves. Marko, Luka and Cedo had long been feasting themselves on local food and wine provided by Blazenka, while Mladen decided to go look for me on his speed boat. He needn’t worry, but I was very thankful to him nonetheless.

Taking my bike down through the macadam paths on the south side of the Paska vrata, I knew I was going to have a hard time kayaking to Karlobag. Despite the stormy weather I decided to get in my kayak anyway and head towards cape Kristofor. Later on, finding shelter under some cliffs, I stopped and waited for a boat to take me on. I wasn't going to attempt going out there on my own. The captain of the boat informed me later on I hadn't seen how raging a storm can really get. Nonetheless, I didn't want to risk it, I'm sure I wouldn't have made it.

It was already getting dark when I started pedalling towards Baske Ostarije. If I had set off on time I would have chosen to take the old road Terezijana or the hiking route to Karlobag, which meanders through old, abandoned villages. But, I had to choose the quickest way: a road that links Karlobag and Gospic. Nearing the end of a 17 kilometres long climb, I could see a full moon shining down on small hills. I carried on under this magical moonlight. The sea looked all peaceful and wonderful covered with silver shimmer.

I arrived at the Prpa mountain lodge before everyone else. I put on some warm clothes and fell asleep by the fireplace. I'm on Velebit.