The next morning the church bells woke me again at six o’clock and after a good night’s sleep I found it impossible to snooze away another hour or so, so knowing that Micky is an early riser and would probably be wandering about the village I decided to dress and go and see if I could find him. There was no sign of him in the streets or the coffee bars and it turned out that just like me the day before he was on early morning shopping mission to buy a new travel kettle to replace the one that Sue and Christine had somehow managed to blow up!
Although it was early there was quite a lot of activity preparing for the day as shops opened, cafés began to set out their tables and chairs and a few people were shuffling towards the bars for a first cup of coffee. In the back streets there were display boards which explained the history and the heritage of the little village which has a fragile economy based on the sea and fishing. Unable to find Micky I walked around the water and out along the harbour wall and all the while the sun was getting higher and warmer and it looked like another good day in prospect.
It was the day of the boat trip but that wasn’t until midday so after breakfast we set off on another walk out of the village but this time in a northerly direction. Not far out of the village we passed through shady pine woods that fringed the stony beach and then came across a camp site that was being prepared for summer visitors and beyond that was an abandoned holiday camp complex where the chalets were in a state of terminal disrepair and with a feel of the 1970s about it I think the kindest thing would be to demolish it entirely.
There was time for a drink now before the boat trip so we sat at our favourite bar and debated whether we had appropriate clothes for a sea going adventure and even though it was warm and the sun was shining we went in turn to the hotel to get some extra layers just in case.
We met Alex as arranged at twelve o’clock and he explained that there would be a short delay as the Capitan (this is how he described the owner of the boat) had been dissatisfied with the quality of last night’s fish catch in Fažana and had had to go to the fish market in Pula to get satisfactory supplies for lunch. We fully understood that because we had seen the catch coming ashore late last night and believe me it was not very impressive!
While we waited Alex explained that he didn’t think he could honour the five for four deal after all but we ignored him and Micky was especially determined that either he would or he would be going over the side later. It turned out to be quite a long wait because having gone to Pula to buy the fish the Capitan then had to cook it and prepare the salad to go with it and then we he finally arrived he had to go to the petrol station to get some fuel but finally after an hour delay we were finally on the boat and heading out to sea.
The boat trip was to be a circumnavigation of the island of Brujini and a scattering of smaller islands in a mini archipelago and as we got closer Alex passed round the home made wine served from a coke bottle and started to begin a narrative of the sights. Brijuni was the holiday home of the Yugoslavian President Marshall Tito and today is used by the President of Croatia. On account of this there was a lot of security and a few soldiers but they seemed quite relaxed so I don’t think he was there today.
Alex pointed out the golf course, the President’s mansion, the zoo where a couple of elephants live (apparently) and the hunting grounds all well stocked with game. To be honest after half an hour or so it all became a bit tedious because, quite frankly, one island looked very much like another and the wind was getting stronger and it was beginning to get chilly.
Suddenly however the tedium was broken when Christine spotted something in the water that turned out to be a dolphin and encouraged by the sighting the Capitan went off course and tried to pursue it. It turned out to be two dolphins and although they kept a safe distance from the boat they accompanied us for a while and entertained us by regularly breaking the surface of the water. It isn’t everyday you see dolphins like this, my last time was in Cephalonia in Greece in 2000, and Alex explained that we were lucky because this happened only infrequently on the Capitan’s boat trip.
The sea was a bit rougher now so Alex explained that we wouldn’t be able to stop and eat as planned but the Capitan would take us back closer to Fažana where the sea would be calmer and I for one was glad to be heading back to the mainland. Eventually we stopped and enjoyed a simple meal of fish and chicken with a nice salad and a couple more glasses of the dubious red wine. We finished, fed the scraps to the seagulls and then headed back to the harbour. Alex tried to charge the full rate but Micky was having none of it and after a word with the Capitan the original deal was honoured. It had been a good trip but I was glad to be back on dry land.
Some more of my boat journeys recorded in the journal: