Saturday 10th September
Oaza Mir – Drage
We are back on the coast after our brief sojourn in the mountains. With the sounds of cicadas ringing in our ears at the lovely campsite Oaza Mir, on the outskirts of Drage, just north of the island of Murter. Boy it’s hot!
An uneventful journey south west from Plitvice was only marred by a brief sat nav glitch where I almost led us down a very steep and narrow lane, but enhanced by wonderful scenery, pretty clouds and good coffee and pastries at a service station.
Oaza Mir is in the village of Drage, which is sandwiched between the sea and Vranska Jezero, the largest natural lake in Croatia. By the side of the lake we stopped to buy fresh fruit from a roadside stall and a visit to the bird reserve on the lake. We were welcomed by two delightful women, who spoke good English, gave the dogs a good scratch and us a discount on the entry fee for being retired!
At the campsite we were just too late to get two pitches next to each other as a Dutch couple, who were regulars and are staying for a fortnight insisted on having one of the pitches that were set aside for us. Rather than being miles apart, the four of us have chosen to share a pitch as they are plenty big enough, and we are hopeful that when we come to pay tomorrow, Wendy can negotiate us a good deal!
The Dutch couple are now our neighbours and turn out to be very pleasant. They come to this campsite every year at this time and have never seen it so full. Normally it is very quiet. This backs up my theory that after two years of ‘lockdowns’, Northern Europe is back touring with a vengeance.
This morning (Saturday) I was up bright and early to take Bryn for a walk around the headland the campsite is on, but not as bright or as early as Andy and Lesley were outplaying the Germans as they had already bagged us a spot on the beach and it was only 0730! This isn’t as crazy as it sounds (well, just a bit perhaps?) because on the two beaches here, dogs aren’t allowed in the water. Last night we had taken the dogs for a swim off the rocks to the side of a beach, when a German guy, launching his speed boat, shouted at us to get the dogs out of the water. We were just about to argue that we weren’t on the beach, when we realised he what he was really saying was warning us about sea urchins and the danger they presented to the dogs’ paws. And sure enough, when you got your eye in, looking through the crystal clear water, you could see loads. He explained that they were only found where the sea bed was rocky but not where it was sandy – and sandy bottoms around here are in short supply. Hence the reason for A & L’s early start. They had managed to grab a tiny little gravel beach in the rocks that was just big enough for the dogs, and us, to swim safely.
So that was the rest of the day sorted, a leisurely day of swimming, reading, sunbathing and paddle boarding (and blogging and listening to the cricket for some – well, me). Wendy even managed to coax Bryn on to a paddle board; and things were going very well until he spotted a sea gull bobbing nonchalantly on the water about 20 metres away. Despite Wendy’s best efforts, Bryn dived off the board and was off in quick pursuit. Enzo, sensing something was afoot, or at least afloat, dived off Lesley’s board as well, and together they ploughed through the water towards the gull, who realising he was outnumbered, quickly flew off. But the dogs didn’t stop. They kept on swimming towards where the gull had been. Suddenly we realised. It wasn’t the gull Bryn was after, it was the gull’s dinner! He plucked the fish from the water and turned towards the shore with this big fish hanging out of his mouth like a long silvery tongue, much to all the other sun bathers amusement. As he reached the shore, he finished the show by swallowing the fish, whole, in one gulp!
Later in the afternoon, it began to cloud over, so it was time to go exploring. We biked over to the lake and then took a cycle path towards the next village. The path turned out to be very rocky and bumpy and must have loosened most of Bryn’s teeth while he was sitting behind me in his chariot, so Wendy and I decided to take the road back to the campsite. Meanwhile the Fozzies, went a more adventurous route back, including a detour to the lake, when they came across three big cats in the distance. Were they wild cats, were they pumas? They were at least the size of Bryn apparently! Alas, we will never know, because before a photograph could be taken the three cats had slunk off into the undergrowth!
We have had some marvellous meals this trip. As usual we alternate with the cooking duties, but I lead on the washing up! Tonight’s tacos by Wendy were worth a special mention.