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Clockwise from bottom right: stunning Hvar Town, with nearby island anchorages; the wolf pack, looking spiffy; a young woman drags through the water; Croatia has countless idyllic anchorages like this, and many young people; Rimi and son; adorable Millie at the helm; foam party!

up the Sea of Cortez after the 2006 Baja Ha-Ha. They live in Europe and are boatless now, but we've rendezvoused several times since in the Med. The wolf pack sailed down the Dalmatian coast to Korcula before turning back north and becoming stuck in Hvar Town for three nights. It's easy to get stuck in Hvar, a town that's as fun as it is picturesque, and easily the most happening spot along the entire Croatian coast. While there last year, I crossed paths with Bay Area rapper M.C. Hammer, who was part of billionaire Jimmy Lee's entourage that also included 50 supermodels. The après-beach party at Hvar Town commences at around 6 p.m. at Hula Hula Bar and lasts well past sunset. Prime time in town each night is 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., after which the water taxis outside Carpe Diem take folks out to an

island for the 2-to-6 a.m. session. None of the wolf pack, now all in our 30s and 40s, managed to make all three sessions. With the wolf pack gone and my liver in recovery mode, I continued my adventures with several other crews, reaching as far north as Novalja on the island Pag. Novalja is where people stay when attending the massive Ibizalike parties at Zrce Beach, intentionally placed far from town. Novalja is one of the few places in Croatia where I bother to lock the dinghy. Except this time I didn't. Anchored out, we took a quick evening trip to shore and tied up to the busy quay. I checked on the dinghy a few times while ashore, but when darkness fell and it was time to paddle back to Geja, the dinghy just wasn't there. It was a

sickening feeling, and my mind raced to determine the culprit. Such crimes are very uncommon in Croatia. Maybe someone on a charter boat borrowed the dinghy to return to a boat, or did somebody fiddle with the painter and allow it to float away? A small fishing boat approached the nearby quay, so we approached him and asked for help. We hopped on and motored around the quarter-mile-diameter bay on a moonless night, checking neighboring boats and the shoreline. Nada. About to give up, I asked that we drive around one more time, expanding our search a bit beyond the confines of the bay. As we motored farther out than I ever thought it would be, the dinghy appeared through the darkness, drifting a third of a mile from where I'd tied it up. And there were two guys in it. I was enraged! I screamed and swore at the two beer-drinking German tourists who had decided to 'borrow' my dinghy and leave us stranded. I demanded that they jump out of the dinghy immediately and swim back to shore, despite the fact that they were fully clothed. The fisherman intervened, knowing that he might be on the hook if the Germans were run over. We towed them and my dinghy back into the bay. Surely there was steam shooting out of my ears. On the way in, I asked how much money they had. It was $80. I had them hand it over, then gave it to the fisherman. Once we reached Geja, I told them they'd have to swim to shore. Somehow they found another $15 for the final stretch to shore. As they stepped aboard the fishing boat, I further admonished them for wearing shoes in my dinghy. "Arschloch!" I repeated over and over, it being the German word for 'asshole'. A week later, down in the Kornati Islands, my crew and I rescued a boat from certain disaster. As we approached the Helpful Uncle Andrew is seen here guiding Chase on his way to manhood. Chase seems to respond enthusiastically to the sailors' life. GEJA

ALL PHOTOS COURTESY GEJA

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Latitude 38 Nov 2017  

The November 2017 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.

Latitude 38 Nov 2017  

The November 2017 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.