There was a day to kill whilst waiting for the 6pm katamaran to Split. For this I was grateful because I was secretly dreading city hustle and bustle. To be honest I wasn't sure I was ready to leave this tiny world of quiet greens and blues. After an early walk around the smaller lake, a ramble into the village of Goveđari, I was desperate for a coffee and natter with my new friend. We had arranged to meet at konoba Barba Ive and as promised she'd brought her own gorgeous dog out for a stroll. He had the broadest smile and was happy to be fussed over. It was strange talking about stuff with a stranger, and we took turns in listening, offloading all our worries with no fear of judgement. I really hope we meet again.
As we talked, the weather was turning darkly interesting. And weather means serious business here. The promised storm was brewing. Sailing boats were hastily making an exit, whilst other boats were making themselves more secure. Still, I wasn't too concerned, after all the katamaran had come through Mljet a few weeks ago in terrible conditions. I paid my bill, left my rucksack, and ambled off to the beach for a pršt sandwich lunch, to enjoy a 10min nap, and finish my book. There was also an encounter with a noisy chicada.
The waves were now definitely alarming as I meandered back to the café a few hours later. With perfect timing, the rain arrived with my pint of beer, and it started to dawn on me that there was a distinct possibility I wouldn't be able to leave the island. I had another beer, watching sailing aficionados lash their yachts tighter to the jetty, turning them to face the storm. A Finnish couple played tug of war with the wind, whilst the white horses frolicked...
Putting as many clothes on that I had available, I left the bar and quipped to Dažen that I might be back. He agreed calmly *gulp*
The local large hotel acts as a ticket office for ferries and the first problem was my ferry was sold out. The nice receptionist doubted that it would arrive in any case, but no one could be sure. The atmosphere was getting more tense as it got closer to the arrival/departure time. It came and went with no katamaran in sight. The rain lashed down outside. I joined a panicked Spanish and French couple who were anxious about accommodation. Hm. I wondered if there was still space at Barba Ive's - logic would dictate that if I couldn't depart, people couldn't arrive.
We all gave the ferry up as a bad job, departing to various places, and taking advantage of a lull in the rain, I hurried back to my konoba. The usual group of people were there and unsurprised to see me. Yes, I could have my own room back! There was nothing I could do apart from have another beer, chat to the intrepid Finnish couple, sing happy birthday to the resident dog, and order a massive dinner of grilled pork and vegetable with chips. Which was presented to me 'on the house'. What a place!
Sadly it also meant contacting my friend in Split to tell her the bad news. There was nothing I could do, and I was told that even the famous Ultra festival had been delayed due to the rain. As the evening went by, it got colder and quieter, and the contrast to the previous night couldn't have been more marked. This island was growing on me. Then world events intruded again...this time Turkey erupted. It's hard to contemplate such a crazy man-made world when you are watching the tail end of a perfect storm, leaving only natural chaos in its wake.
In an unusually decisive fashion I opted to head home instead of Split. I have family to prepare for next week and perhaps the forests of Mljet and chance dog encounters was what I needed; the circumstances had perhaps read my mind. To my relief I was allowed on to the packed Dubrovnik bound katamaran, and meandered quietly back across the sea. I knew I was home when I opened the biscuits and had a cup of tea.