We were pretty excited when we heard that our niece, Moriah, wanted to visit us on Berkeley East in Croatia. She had sailed with us on BE in the Caribbean, and also aboard a charter boat in Sydney Harbour when she was just three years old. But now she is an adult, in college, and surely has better things to do than vacation with her aunt and uncle. Then again, what smart 20-year-old wouldn't want a holiday on a beautiful yacht in exotic Croatia with awesome, fun, young-at-heart people like us?
We often sail Berkeley East, or motor, 50+ miles a day just to get to a desired port. But when we have guests on board, we like to slow down and show them as much of the country as possible during their stay. So rather than traveling north to explore new territory, we made a cruising plan to return to some of our favorite places in Croatia while Moriah, Tim and Teresa were with us. It is impossible to see everything with only eight days in a country as large as Croatia, so we focused on the Central Dalmatia region.
Since they had all been on BE before, we knew they were seaworthy and up to the challenges of two stops per day in order to cover the necessary miles. Tim and Teresa joined us in Greece just last year (Blog update - "You know you're relaxed when...")
so they even remembered the boat and the routine. Luckily, the weather was perfect to move a lot.
Before their arrival in Split, we got Berkeley East ready to accommodate three additional people. After living on BE for nearly 10 years, we have managed to use every inch of her 54 feet, so there was a lot of moving, shifting and hiding of gear. It's not difficult given BE's massive storage capacity, the hard part is remembering where we put things when we need them later. We also did the provisioning, making sure we bought catsup for Moriah, as we remember very clearly that without catsup in Australia, she would not eat, which in turn made her very cranky. But luckily, her eating habits have improved and she enjoys trying new things. She even learned how to debone a fish.
First stop on "Mary and Larry's Excellent Eight-Day Croatian Adventure" was the famous beach, Zlatni rat (Golden Cape) on the island of Brac. The stark white peninsula with a backdrop of dark green pines made for some great drone pictures. The number of people on the beach proves that it is one of the most popular spots in Croatia.
Moriah began her quest for the perfect "jumping off the boat" photo, relieving each of us, one by one, of our photographer status. The anchorage was deep, and exposed to the weather, so we found a spot on Hvar for the night.
In the morning we headed to Klemmet, where we could anchor Berkeley East, hike over the hill and take a water taxi to Hvar Town. In high season (which this was) the harbor at Hvar Town is packed with charter boats, super yachts, day-trippers and water taxis creating constant chaos. The town is equally wild and bursting at the seams with vacationers in cafes and trendy bars. We walked up to the fort to take in the view and fly the drone over land for a change.
On day three the wind came up and we did what sailors do, we went where the wind would take us, the island of Vis. Otok (island) Vis is the largest, most westerly island in Croatia and has been inhabited for thousands of years. During the second world war it was a main military base and until 1989, foreigners were not allowed to land on Vis, or even navigate within 300 miles of the shore. These restrictions, and the island's location, it seems, have helped Vis retain a more relaxed, less touristy atmosphere. We spent the night on the town dock and explored the two settlements of Vis Town and Kut.
The photo does not do this local favorite dish, black cuttlefish risotto, justice. It was excellent, as was the traditional konoba (restaurant) atmosphere.
While Moriah isn't old enough to drink in the states, the legal drinking age is only 18 in Croatia, so she tried the local wines.
From Vis we were off to Solta, with the drone in hot pursuit. The wind made for an exciting flight and catch, with a few moments when we thought perhaps we would not get the drone back on board.
CLICK PLAY ABOVE TO SEE A VIDEO OF US SAILING FROM VIS TO SOLTA, CROATIA>
A lunch stop for swimming and more flying, then it was into Sesula for the night.
Sesula is a long, narrow inlet with mooring balls that belong to restaurants. As long as you eat at the restaurant, you can use the mooring balls. Unfortunately, one chartered catamaran wasn't with the program, tried to anchor and tie to shore, and ended up wrapping their line around one of the boat's props, which sent them drifting into BE. So after some kayaking, our guests got to experience the joy of fending off another boat, which was good, we didn't want them to think everything is always cocktails and sunsets.
Day five of "Mary and Larry's Excellent Eight-Day Croatian Adventure" began with stop for kayaking and lunch at our own private island.
It was difficult to leave such a beautiful place, but our cruising route called for BE to navigate bridges and power lines, up the river to the Kyrk National Park for a visit to the waterfalls and another drone flight over land, and water. Just as we finished our second flight, a park employee came up requesting our permit. When we told her we didn't have one, she said we could not fly and urged us to go to town, get a permit and come back later. We think she wanted to be in a drone video.
Look closely at the center of the picture to see the drone hovering over the water.
A dinghy ride to our favorite riverside restaurant for scallops and clams, then it was off again, to Tijet for the night.
Day seven was a full day of sailing, and flying, to Dvrenik, where we introduced Moriah to Cava Sangria and chilled one last evening before having to go into the marina.
And the final stop was Trogir, a beautiful little town on the mainland, just six miles from the airport for an early morning departure.
Eight days in Croatia, the Berkeley East tour of some of Mary and Larry's favorite places.