Saturday, August 31, 2019

Plans Changed

After a day out in the boat with our JV friends, we dropped them back off in Hvar Town last night, and then motored down the island and found a little cove to spend the night in, before we take our boat out tomorrow. 

We both feel so rested and energized after our vacation down here!

This morning's view was even prettier with the sun shining into the cove. Oh how those colors, smells and sounds infuse life into us.

In our minds, we had our day all planned out after we finished our last breakfast on the boat.

We'd meet up with the crane guys to take our boat out of the water...

Still amazes me that two belts can hold our boat and spin it around to drop it back on the trailer!

...and then go to our house, which has been rented out all summer, and do some yard work for the day.

But when we arrived it looked like guests might still be there (you can't see it here but just after I took that picture I started up the stairs and saw towels and swimsuits hanging over the edge!).

After a quick phone call to our house manager, she confirmed that these guests had indeed asked if they could spend an extra day. yard work today! With that part of our plan changed, we decided to walk down to the marina because it's so nostalgic for us.

And then we took a walk down to the beach here in Sveta Nedjelja...because it's so beautiful!

And then we continued on with our plan, which was to get on the Hvar to Split ferry at 5.

Normally at the end of vacation we drive down to the other end of the island and take a different, smaller ferry across and then drive up the coast towards home.

But this year we had car trouble before vacation even started, just as we came into Split. So Dave had made an appointment at the service center to have the car looked at. We didn't want to chance driving it down the island and back up the coast so planned to take the shortest way back from Hvar to Split.

Dave had figured out that it was something to do with the car computer that needed to be reset (it had gone into "safe" mode so the problem was that we couldn't drive very fast.

But as we were leaving Sveta Nedjela, it reset on its own! So then we said to each other, "Let's do our original plan!" So we started out on the drive down the island.

Only to have the car go into safe mode again half way there! Since we were already that far, we decided we'd just go slow and continue on with the original plan.

We got there just as the ferry was about to leave, and were the last ones on for the 30 minute ferry ride across to the mainland!

It was a spectacular view of the sunset, leaving Hvar.

Once on the mainland, we began to slowly make our way up the coast. The car reset again, and then went back to safe mode again. We were doing a lot of praying, that we'd actually make it to Split.

Because it was getting late, and dark, we decided to stop along the way for the night so Dave found what looked like an empty parking lot.

We pulled in and he walked down into it, finding out it was a gravel quarry! But since it was Saturday night, we figured they wouldn't be there on Sunday morning. So we backed in to a spot with the boat and spent the night in it.

I don't have pictures of what happened later that night. And it WASN'T that anyone came to kick us out.

It was that we were inundated in our little boat cabin by mosquitos!!

At 2 AM we ended up crawling into our car and spending the night curled up in our front seats. It wasn't very comfortable, but it was MUCH better than enduring those screaming mosquitos in our ears and getting more bites!

We had a good laugh about it in the morning, saying to each other, "Well, at least it was free!"

Friday, August 30, 2019

Vacationing Together

Several months ago we were talking with some of our single JV gals and realized that we'd all be on vacation in Croatia at the same time. Dave and I would be at the end of our vacation, and they would be at the beginning of theirs.

They have all been to Hvar before, but only ON the island...not out in a boat BY the island! We thought it would be so fun to experience a day together with them on our boat so arranged to meet them today!

While the air was warm today, it started out completely cloudy. But by the time we came to pick them up, there was starting to be a little bit of blue sky.

We pulled up to the main dock in Hvar Town, where the big ferries come in to drop off and pick up people. We were a *little* bit smaller than those ferries. But it still worked to pick up passengers from there!

We headed out from Hvar Town, so happy to be with the girls!

After touring around the Pakleni islands, a group of islands just off of the main island of Hvar, we came into a bay on Palmižana.

Yes, we're definitely the little guy here.

And there are much bigger boats out beyond us! We kept wondering if anyone famous was here!

We brought the girls here to have lunch!

The Meneghello family began developing this island over a hundred years ago. Their story is pretty fascinating if you want to read about it HERE.

What they created, and are still creating, is a little bit of paradise.

We had an amazing lunch in one of the cabana's at water's edge. Normally you have to pay to be in them for the whole day, but since it was a slow day, the waitress let us eat here for only the cost of lunch. What a treat, in every way!

We wandered a bit afterward, up into the botanical gardens that are famous on this island. Found some real beauties there!

Found a few characters there as well. 🤪

After getting back onto the boat, Dave motored us out to take the girls exploring.

We brought them to the cove where we slept last night, which is very quiet and almost no one else around. How much fun it was to swim and laugh and play together there!

And then for about an hour, Dave and I sat on the back of the boat while the girls were in the water, and we had the best conversation you can imagine! Truly a magical afternoon, where it felt like time stood still as we enjoyed each other and God's beautiful creation.

All too soon it was time to head back to Hvar to drop off the girls.

And this time we actually took them right to the cove where they come down from their rental apartment to swim! Despite the sign, we dropped them off...we weren't really docking, after all!

What an incredibly sweet day with these precious ladies! They are faithfully serving in Slovenia, Czech and Ukraine so it was wonderful to get this time together on vacation!

It's rare Dave and I get a picture of us in the boat, so this one is a keeper, taken by Gwynne!

She captured a video of us motoring off into the sunset too, which I took a screenshot of to remember the ending of our special time with Stephanie, Gwynne, Amanda, Christy and Shelby!

We can now say that we not only love serving together, but vacationing together as well!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Island Visitors

When we're vacationing on our little boat amongst little islands in Croatia, our spot to anchor each day is completely determined by the direction of the wind.

You can have a sunny day one day where a cove is completely still; and you can have another sunny day when that same cove is completely wavy! And it's all due to shifting direction of the wind. So every day Dave takes a look at the wind map app to see where we can go.

Today, the wind switched direction so we had to go to the other side of the island to find a calm cove.

We motored around the north side of Lastovo and came into a cove we'd never been in before, dropped our anchor and spent the whole day there.

Both of us were in the middle of good books today, and while we chatted with each other a little bit, it was, for the most part, a very quiet day out there, with not one person in sight the whole day.

So, in contrast to what our day had been, maybe that's why I found this so very funny just as we were getting ready to leave the cove at 7 PM.

Do you see what came all the way out onto the rocks to see us??

As Dave was pulling up the anchor I thought I heard a sound that was out of place for the spot we were in. Who expects to see GOATS in the middle of nowhere?!

There were actually three of them out there, on this last little spit of the island. And I couldn't stop laughing about them!

Even as we motored off, after a while of observing them (while they were observing US!), I just couldn't get rid of the giggles over them appearing out of nowhere!

As goats go, they were actually quite handsome (maybe pretty? Who knows if they were male or female), each with different coloring. So I'm assuming they belong to someone...though how far away that someone lives is rather incredulous! Is there such a thing as wild goats?

I'm not sure I'm ever going to get an answer to that question. So for now, I'll just keep laughing about the goats who came to visit us today. 🤣 🤣 🤣

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Restful Days

After a busy season of ministry and life it has been so good to slow down with Dave and enjoy each other and God's amazingly beautiful creation out here on the island of Lastovo.

Our souls and bodies are being refreshed each day.

And our souls are being fed by the magnificence of what God created on this island!

With our little boat we pull into these kinds of coves, with water so clear you can see to the bottom through meters and meters of aquamarine loveliness, and sometimes do nothing but soak in the glory of God here.

Our mornings begin so peacefully, with a certain type of quiet in the bay where we moor overnight.

Other boats moor here too, but everyone (for the most part!) is respectful of each other's need and desire for privacy and quiet.

I cook our breakfast on the back of the boat, hearing nothing more than cicadas chirping and water gently lapping at the side of our boat.

We've spent much time reading God's Word and books for personal encouragement; and hours in prayer together. We're both feeling more refreshed as the days go by.

As each day comes to an end we find ourselves more thankful for each other, for the privilege of being God's children, and for this special time to pull away.

I'm especially thankful for how God's refreshing Dave! Being out here nourishes, refreshes and gives him rest like few other things.

The wind is blowing today so we're on land, at a restaurant, with wifi, taking care of the things that need to be done. But soon we'll be back on our little boat, soaking in all the Lord has for us during these days on Lastovo!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Lighthouse on Sušac

We woke up on Hvar, here, in our "room with a view".

🤣I should have taken a picture of our boat and car in this parking lot, where we spent the night! 🤣

We needed to get a boat permit this morning (each summer we're down here we have to do that), and get a bite to eat for breakfast, which we enjoyed on these steps in the narrow streets of Hvar Town, before putting our boat in to head out for vacation.

By noon we were on our way!

Since we bought our boat in the States in 2008 (that's quite a story! You can read about HERE), we've taken it on vacation each year.

In the beginning it was used for fun excursions with our three vacation families, as well as knee boarding and wake-boarding. But after our kids were off to college, Dave and I began using it as our "mobile home" for vacations. It's just big enough for us to sleep in it, as well as enjoy beautiful coves tucked away on islands in the Adriatic.

There's always a certain kind of joy to saying goodbye to even our beloved Hvar, and venturing out further for rest and refreshment.

A few years ago we discovered the island of Lastovo, about a two hour trip in our boat from Hvar. We love the quiet and virtual solitude we find out there.

But on our way there today, we decided to take a little detour to the island of Sušac.

It is uninhabited, except for a lighthouse with a keeper.

As we drove around the island, getting a view of that lighthouse, curiosity got the best of us!

Dave figured there must be a cove where the lighthouse keeper comes and goes from; and from where he picks up guests who come to stay in the rooms that are for rent there.

So we went in search of the cove to see if we could dock and walk up to the lighthouse.

A fishing boat was at the mouth of the cove, and an Italian family was actually moored at the little dock! We talked with them to ask if they'd been up to the lighthouse, to which they replied yes, and "The view is amazing! But be sure to take water! It's a hot hike."

We used the little fishing boat in between us to carefully pull up to the dock and moor. Then began our hike up to see the lighthouse.

Even just a little ways up the trail and the view was spectacular!

But as the Italians had warned, it was HOT with little shade as we hiked up.

A bench was conveniently located in the one spot where there were trees big enough to give shade. I was happy to take a break for a few minutes!

We continued our climb, and soon the lighthouse was in view.

As we walked up over the rocky path we kept saying to each other, "How does he get supplies up here? Or suitcases of guests who pay to stay at the lighthouse?"

Here's our answer!

Once we reached the lighthouse it gave an absolutely spectacular view down the island, and a 360 panorama around it.

I'd already read that the lighthouse was completed in 1879, but here was proof of what I'd read online!

From the other side, you could actually see all the way to Italy! But it was seriously so very hot that we didn't linger long, except for a few quick pictures.

The doors were open from both sides of the lighthouse building, so we walked through, peeking into the lighthouse keeper's office. Somehow it perfectly lived up to what I'd imagine it would look like!

We did meet the lighthouse keeper and...there's a reason he's there and not on the mainland. Let's just say he's not the friendliest sort and likes his privacy. 🤪

The hike back down was amazingly beautiful; I'm so glad we stopped to visit!

We motored over to Lastovo afterward, finding a cove to be in for the rest of the day, and then headed into the interior where's there a fully protected bay we like to spend the night in.

We arrived just as darkness descended, but that didn't stop us from having a late dinner under the stars, with the blue lights of our boat providing a beautiful ambiance to our first evening of vacation!

A few years ago our son, Caleb, suggested we use backpacker freeze dried meals to make food easy on the boat. It was a brilliant suggestion as all we have to do is heat up water. It makes meal prep and clean-up so easy!

We're so happy to be here and are praying for the Lord's restoration of our bodies and souls during these vacation days.