Nautical hibernation

Reason #125: some boats get to have a nap over the winter

Some on the beach, sunbathing their bottoms…

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Some smack in the middle of their owner’s olive grove. Why not.

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Not everyone takes their boat out for the winter, but most people do. It’s just easier that way and less maintenance. Plus, winter weather can be harsh and if your boat is not tied up properly a rough bout of Bura or Jugo can do serious damage.

Fickle March

Reason#85: you can expect just about any type of weather in March

March on Brač is awesome for people who like surprises and change. One day you could be wearing a t-shirt, enjoying a perfect sunny day such as this one…

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… and the next day you could be freezing, or even worse, running for cover from hail (like they did in Pučišća Monday morning). Yes, hail!

tuca_puciscaPhoto by Karmen Koljatić, thanks to Pučišća facebook page.

Check out the wind column in this 7-day forecast. Just about every possible wind direction Nature could come up with! At least I know which day is good for badminton.

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Source: meteo.hr

 

 

Olives and olive trees

Reason #72: olive trees are all around you

It’s estimated that there are more than 500 000 olive trees on Brač. That sounds grossly overestimated, but no matter what the actual number is, the impression you get when you’re here on the island is that they’re everywhere. No matter which way you turn, you will bump into an olive tree.

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Photo by Anton Whittle. Thanks, buddy!

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Photo: Masline by Vankufer

You could argue that olive trees are ugly, but I find them fascinatingly beautiful. Each tree is unique and full of character.

Some olive groves on Brač are hundreds of years old. The handy thing about old olive trees is that you can cut them down and let new ones grow out of them.

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A baby tree growing out of the old tree.

Even though olive trees are incredibly resilient, they still need some water and grooming in order to produce good olives. That means that in particularly dry years, or if you completely neglect them, the trees will survive, but there won’t be a lot of olive oil for your salads and grilled fish. And nobody wants that, no, no.

That’s why in early spring everyone goes to their olive groves to groom them.

You’re supposed to saw off some of the big branches and cut off lots of small ones. The aim is to control the shape of the tree for easy picking, and reduce the number of branches so that the remaining ones give you a good yield.

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To get rid of the piles and piles of branches you’re left with, most people burn them. This has to be done very, very, very carefully and in controlled conditions, so as not to cause the fire to spread. Always far from any trees, with buckets of water standing by. And no wind.

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Watch out for these buggers, though.  They can cause bad skin reactions. They’re normally around pine trees, but this one got lost and ended up on this olive tree. I didn’t touch him, luckily.

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Pine Processionary (borov prelac in Croatian) and we’ve seen them here before.

If all goes well, these olive trees will bear fruit and we’ll pick and press the olives in November. More on that in… well, November.

One of the most famous klapa groups in Dalmatia, named after olives – Maslina. Here they are singing about… well, olives :)

Jugo (the wind)

Reason #6: jugo weather is damp, dreary and makes you coo-coo

Jugo (you-go) wind blows from the southeast. It’s strong, rather warm and moist. In other parts of the Mediterranean Jugo is called Sirocco and it originates in Africa.

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The Makarska-Sumartin ferry braving the Jugo weather in January.

Jugo is one of the two most important winds in Dalmatia. The other one being Bura. You can’t live here without knowing everything about them and how they affect your life. And affect your life they DO :)

Jugo and Bura are in total contrast. I will be writing a separate post about that.

Jugo is part of folklore in Dalmatia. Similar to California’s Santa Ana winds, Jugo too has a reputation of making people go nuts. Not sure if official statistics support this, but people will tell you that suicide rates go up, as well as domestic violence incidents.

My Dutch friend Diana will tell you that if you’re having a bad day, or just not feeling like yourself, it’s probably the Jugo. And so she’ll just wave off and say, „Ah, Jugo!“. Even if she’s back home in Holland :).

Strictly speaking, there are two types of Jugo. There is also a less moist, less dreary version. This post is about the typical kind.

Pros of Jugo:

  • it’s a good excuse for not doing something properly,
  • or for picking a fight with your spouse,
  • the air is relatively warm (compared to the cold Bura air).

Cons of Jugo:

  • clothes won’t dry outside (Croatians don’t have dryers),
  • it’s cloudy and grey,
  • it’s likely to rain,
  • the sea is turbulent,
  • it can affect your mood and mental clarity,
  • it reminds you of old wounds, bad joints and many other ailments.

My first experience of proper Jugo weather since I’ve come to Brač has been worse than I expected. Apparently I’ve inherited this from my mom and her mom, Nona Jube – it’s a particular susceptibility to Jugo. I’ve been feeling almost flu-like symptoms: achy body, joints, headache, lightheaded, weak muscles. Yay!

Song Jugo by Guliano and Marijan Ban: