Category: Excursion Tips

Venice and its sourounding islands

Overview

Port calls: Aprilia Maritiima- Venice - Aprilia Marittima

Days cruised: 3

Difficulty of sailing route: suitable for beginners

Timeplan: relaxed

Self-sufficiency needs: daysail

Route

Logbook

There are around 45 nautical miles to sail from Aprilia Marittima to Venice - an ideal daily route when the wind is good. The trip leads past Caorle, Bibione and several fish and mussel farms, which are characterized by numerous tons and buoys. Except for a few recreational athletes like us and maybe a few fishermen, there are few other ships at this time of year. Major shipping in particular has no destinations here and is therefore hard to find as close to the mainland. Everything is different right in front of Venice, apart from cruise ships, there are also tankers and freighters to be seen here.
For this year's Easter trip, we planned to test and calibrate the newly installed instruments including the autopilot together with a REBO technician. Only then did we set off in the sunshine, but unfortunately no wind to the south. So we motorized the entire route, which gave at least a constant speed of 6.5 knots. We used the time to test our new cockpit pillows, to cook, to take photos and I practiced using the radar.

Shortly before we arrived in Venice, I called Marina Sant'Elena to inquire about a berth. Fortunately there was a space available and we were asked to report via VHF channel 77 shortly before arrival. So it passed the mighty Moses Project and Forte Sant'Andrea, a 16th century fortress.


After it was quite late in the afternoon, we moved the route over the Canale Guidecca and past St. Mark's Square to the day of departure and moored in the marina. Here, as is customary in the Adriatic, Roman Catholic (with the stern to the jetty) is moored. The marina is equipped with floating docks and large dolphins. Nothing witchcraft. The actual shower cubicles and toilets are still not finished. There is a provisional in containers and that is bad rather than in good shape.

The next morning we took the vaporetto to the island of Burano, one of the neighboring islands of Venice. This place is known and famous for its colorful houses. We got off a station in front of the ferry terminal and discovered a small hotel restaurant with a wonderful garden, right next to the jetty. Herbs smell here and wine thrives in incredible silence and tranquility.

As soon as you pass the ferry terminal, you dive into a lively pedestrian zone. The splendor of colors is really indescribable and despite the fact that we strolled through the alleys and streets here alone, this was as varied as it was nice.

The next stop on our island hopping tour was Torcello. If you are looking for magnificent palazzi, villas or Burano's colors, you are completely at the wrong steamer. Historians assume that Venice began to settle here around 452, but today nothing is left of the glory of the old days. Probably, within the framework of the "move" to Venice, everything that was somehow possible was really recycled. After stones and even timber in the Laguno were rare and therefore precious, everything was taken away and used for the construction of Venice - so the historical theory. There is no evidence of this, however. Today there is still a tower and a cathedral to visit.

Two of the few remaining houses dominate excellent restaurants, and with another Heuriger-like eatery and evening bar, almost all of the island's buildings are listed. We enjoyed nature, tranquility and the excellent cuisine.

At the end of our day trip Murano was still on the program. If you want to watch the glassblowers at the large ovens, you are too late with the procedure described here. Then you should visit Murano in the morning. We, on the other hand, enjoyed an afternoon coffee in one of the numerous ice cream parlors and strolled through Murano's alleys and tasted in front of the glass artists' shop windows.

Back in the marina, a small kiosk had started operating. In addition to Aperol, there were the usual Italian drinks and warm snacks. Perfect to end the day!

We didn't want to leave without visiting the center of Venice. Despite the expected mass rush of visitors, we dared to walk towards St. Mark's Square. While there was actually a lot going on up to the Rialto Bridge and there was hardly any room to breathe, things got quieter after the train station. To relax, we booked a gondola ride through the artist district "Accademia" and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the long belt.

 

Since we only know a few good restaurants in Venice that also offer quality at reasonable prices, we have remained true to the "Osteria Al Ponte". There are local specialties with friendly and brisk service, and not cheap, but not outrageously expensive either.

Our tour of Venice then ended in the marina. At dusk was the best time to try the lensball and check the weather for the next day. We reached the entrance to the Laguna of Lignano at dusk and the children used the great play of colors to take pictures on deck.

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Brijuni National Park – Safari Adventure in Croatia

No, this photo has not been taken during a Safari in Africa, it is indeed showing a Zebra feeding on the island of Brijuni. This piece of land is part of the Brijuni Islands formed by a group of fourteen small islands in the Croatian part of the northern Adriatic Sea. The largest island, Veliki Brijun Island (also known as Italian: Brioni Grande or Croatian: Veli Brijun), lies 1 mile off the coast, in close proximity to Pula. Today, the islands are a holiday resort and a Croatian National Park.

The history of this place is as fascinating as is its fauna and flora: In 1815 the islands became part of the Austrian Empire and a naval base was bulit nearby, in the harbour of Pula. Until today, you can visit the remainants of fortress, "Fort Tegetthoff," on Veliki Brijun Island Island besides other fortifications. The pictures below show the fortress in the city of Pula, where you can also visit one of the biggest roman theaters that are still preserved in Europe.

In 1945 Brijuni became part of former Yugoslavia and President Marshal Josip Broz Tito made the Brijuni Islands his personal State Summer Residence. Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik designed a pavilion for Tito. According to Wikipedia, almost 100 foreign heads of state visited Tito on his islands, along with film stars including Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Sophia Loren, Carlo Ponti, and Gina Lollobrigida. Tito died in 1980, and by 1983 the islands were declared a National Park of Yugoslavia and access was restricted.

In 1991 Croatia gained independence and made the Brijuni Islands an International Conference Center (see Brijuni Agreement). Four hotels on Veliki Brijun Island were re-opened, as well as a Safari Park, which holds animals given to Tito, including Indian elephants. However, there are a lot of further animals like donkeys, rabbits, peacocks, ostriches and many more.
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But that is still not all, what the islands offers: besides the stunning scenery, you can see stone formations that look like dinosaur footprints. And the National Park claims that these are actually real footprints - I can't still believe it.

Apart from the younger history, this was also a settlement at the time of the Roman empire. Thus you can see former buildings, like houses, churches or pools. Parts of these are under water today and you can view them with your snorkel gear. There is also an underwater snorkel trail located in one of the beautiful bays. And the water is refreshing and cristal clear.

Last but not least, just beside the lovely boat-house, which hosts a museum of the National park, there is the Hotel "Neptun". It hosts a Restaurant, which we love to visit. Great local specialities are offered at top level service quality.

You can visit Brijuni simply by coming wiht the ferry from Fazana, a small port village just in opposite of the main island. Or, preferably, you come on your own keel. The smal harbor hosts a hand full of yachts, even at bigger sizes. The fee to stay over-night is charged for 24 hours and it includes the tickets for the national park. Still, staying here has it's price and this is maybe the most expensive docking space here in the northern med. However, we feel those 200 Euros are well spent, given the uniquness of this island.
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Marano Lagunare – Lagoon town in a nature park

 

Marano Lagunare, often referred to as a "small fishing village," is actually a small town with a fishing port and belongs to the province of Udine. Founded as a legion city, it was conquered by Venice and the buildings created under this influence are well preserved in the city centre and often very lovingly restored. A small piece of city wall was preserved, otherwise, only the city centre is reminiscent of the former fortress of the Patriarch and Venice.

Cistern Fountain
The centre of Marano is the main square and called "Granda." It is named after King Emanuele II of Italy. There are two cistern fountains here. In addition, from here the landmark of Marano the "Torre Millenaria," in English the thousand-year-old tower, thrones over the houses. It is five floors, or 32 meters high. It is said that its construction was commissioned by Popen, the patriarch from Aquileia in 1031, but written evidence of this is missing.
The millennial tower
Next to the tower (pictured right), there is the 15th century "Loggia Comunale," a typical building in cities under the rule of the Republic of Venice. You can see the Venetian archways on the bright, almost white building, next to the tower. One could easily confuse it with a church, but in fact it is the former center of the economic and political life of the fortress. The Palazzo dei Provveditori is also located just off the Granda. It was built immediately after Marano's annexation to Venice and served as a seat of government.

We reached Marano through a passage way through the lagoon. We passed fishing huts and fishermen and enjoyed the rich wildlife around us. As the waterway follows an old river course, one approaches the current fishing port rather laboriously and meanderously instead of driving straight ahead. The driving channel can be pretty and sometimes shows water depths under one meter. With appropriate caution, good view of the deep sounder and best at an incoming tide, the driveway is safe and fun to do.

Right next to the city is a nature reserve and part of the lagoon can be explored here on foot. One finds, among other things, a small wooden hut to observe the birdlife.

Overall a really rewarding excursion and even if we got stuck in the mud on the drive home and thus came back into the marina in deep darkness and fog it was a very nice experience.

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Kornati Island National Park

 

Kornati is the name of a group of islands in the Mediterranean. It consists of a total of 152 islands and reefs, 98 of which 1980 were placed in the National Park Kornati under protection. The archipelago is divided into two groups: Gornji Kornati (the upper Kornati) and Donji Kornati (the lower Kornati).

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View to the south from the island of Kornat

Archaeological findings from the ancient Roman period (remains of buildings, a water basin for captive fish from the 1st century) suggest that this area was settled at that time. When the Romans settled here they created, channels into what was in their your opinion too long and bulky islands. The fact that today the island of Katina no longer belongs to Kornat or Dugi Otok is an example of this: Two waterways were carved into the bottom rocks, and even if they were only 2 meters deep, they changed the scenery sustainably. It is particularly good to see the Mala Proversa, where ruins of the same building can still be seen on both sides. This dominated the ancient canal like a customs house, but was finally destroyed with the extension of the ship Road in the year 1987 to 25 meters wide and 5 meters depth. However, there are also younger testimonies of settlement, e.g. The fortification Tureta on a hill above the field Tarac, which dates back to the Byzantine Emperor Justinian and in the 6th. century. Tureta is the only fortification on the Adriatic from this period that is still intact.

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Tureta, above the field Tarac

Today, the Kornati are not permanently inhabited, but fishermen's huts, which can be found in the protected bays of the islands of Žut, sit, Kornat, Levrnaka etc, testify to their management.  Nowadays, seasonal restaurants are often used in these bays.

What immediately catches the eye from afar are their cross-sectional walls built by previous generations because of the wind and the heat, also to distinguish the individual plots and pastures from each other. To this day, the Kornati are privately owned, mainly by families from Murter who have built 300 houses in the national park to live and live there during the season.

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Stone walls fences on Kornat island

in the national park itself, the systematic Rohdung by older generations has changed the landscape so much that it seems to us today to be "characteristic", but not to the Original condition. Reforestation experiments took place over and over again, but did not achieve sustained success. A special tragedy occurred on 30 December. August 2007, when a group of firefighters on the island of Velika Kornat was the victim of a fire. They tried to erase the sparse trees, but the 13 firefighters were trapped by the flames and there was only one survivor, the 23-year-old Frane Lučić from Tisno.

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In commemoration of the injured comrades, 12 crosses with a length of 25 metres each and a width of 15 meters were built only with bare hands and without the use of machine help. 2500 volunteers, were needed to complete the work. Each cross has three fields with engraved text, which includes, among other things, the name of the firefighter who died at this point.  The ceremonial opening of the memorial site took place on 30 October. August 2010 instead of 3. Anniversary of the tragedy.

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Welcome to Olib

Olib is a small Dalmatian island in the Archipelago of Zadar.
In the small town harbour, you will find ferries and private fisher boats on the outer side of the pier, whereas cruisers usually dock on the inner side. The pier offers a space for approximately 15 yachts, partly alongside and partly with moorings. The harbour is open to the west and does not provide protection against swell under windy conditions from this direction.

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Outer pier for liner ships and locals

Olib is built from limestone rocks; the water supply is therefore very limited—there are no fresh water sources on the island. The water provided in the small port is therefore mixed with sea-water.
The present place Olib arose from several smaller towns, which have grown together over the centuries. There are currently about 140 permanent residents (according to Wikipedia by comparison: 1920 were 2000). This figure doubles to triple in the summer months, as many exiled Croats—especially from the USA—visit their home island at that time. Chakavian dialect is spoken in Olib.

According to online sources, the reason why so many left the island was the vine fretter. After the destruction of the vines, many tried their luck in the distance. To this day, there are strong ties across the Atlantic, especially the USA.
A very vivid example of this is the port master who receives and instructs navigators in best New York English. He lives on the island to support his high-aged parents, as he has informed us. The contrast between the restless world metropolis and the lonely island in Croatia must be enormous for him. He supports all sailors with great skill and unbelievable calmness and helped us to get a place at the pier, which was only slightly larger than our overall size.
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