Lastovo Archipelago - nature park
21 June 2010
Dobar dan from Croatia!
We left Brindisi a week ago and just over 24 hours later arrived at the beautiful island of Otok Lastovo, part of the Lastovo Archipelago Nature Park which consists of 44 islands, islets, rocks and reefs with numerous hidden inlets and bays.
We checked into Croatia via the Police and Harbourmaster, handed over a month's worth of Tourist Tax and then looked forward to our stay here. For many years Otok Lastovo was out of bounds for foreigners; with foreign yachtsmen not even allowed within 300m of the shore, let alone land! However in 2006, it was granted the status of a natural park and since then the archipelago has been called 'Park Pirode Lastovo'.
We spent two nights in a most beautiful anchorage in Veli Largo, one night being the only boat there and then the rest of our time at a couple of different anchorages, swimming in the crystal clear waters. You cannot help but relax in the tranquil surroundings of this island. The feeling of calm welcomes you as you arrive.
Deciding that we needed to see more inland, we rented a scooter from Neyno (ex secret policeman who lost his job after the war when a new government took power) and set off to see whatelse we could find. Spending most of our time at sea level, it made a nice change to be up high, seeing the views across to other islands. We visited the sheltered harbour of Zaklopatica on the north of the island and then explored further along the coast where small fishing settlements are being renovated with beautiful cottages for tourism. Many homes on the island offer B&B or apartment accommodation but their season is very short, only 1 1/2 months. The main settlement on the island is the village of Lastovo, which is set on a hill in the form of an amphitheatre. Narrow stone-paved streets, alleysways and flights of steps wind their way around the village. Many of the houses are inaccessible by car and many of the houses are now abandoned but it has a charm and is worth a visit. On the way back, we stopped off at a local vineyard, sat beside the vines and sampled the wine. We returned our scooter to Neyno who then invited us onto his terrace for beer and wine and a chance to practise his English, which was very good.
We did make the effort to go ashore to the local Hotel Solitudo to watch England play Algeria in the World Cup and afterwards wondered why we bothered! Hopefully, the match against Slovenia tomorrow will see a different side emerge.
During our stay we have had some superb weather but the forecast for early yesterday evening was for thundery showers and rain so we weren't surprised when the sky suddenly turned black and a cold chill fell upon the bay. However, we were very surprised a few minutes later when we were showered by heavy rain and hail - yes HAIL! I have never seen anything like it before. It sounded as if a 10 tonne lorry of shingle was being dropped onto the boat, the hail being the size of shingle too. I really thought that the windows would not survive but they did. It lasted for no more than a few minutes but in that time visibility was almost nil and one of the boats in the anchorage dragged it's anchor and hit another. No damage was done, luckily. For the rest of the night, it rained and we heard thunder for a while. Today the boat is beautifully clean, thank you for clean rain for once, and the sun has been shining.
Tomorrow we are heading over to the island of Korcula, birthplace of the famous explorer Marco Polo.
If checking in at Ubli, first stop must be the police quay, to stbd as you enter the port. The office is not manned full-time so either call number on door or walk around to harbourmaster office and he will call them.
ATM machine next to harbourmaster office for Kunas. You can also buy a Vodafone top-up at the ATM too.
No water in port. However, you can go across bay to Hotel Solitudo where you can moor for an hour at a time for 15 euros and use water/electric. It is cheaper to stay overnight as boats up to 15m pay approx 50 euros.
Hotel has a small shop with fresh bread in mornings. Supermarket at Ubli too. Fresh stock depends on ferry delivery - Saturday seemed good.
Park wardens will come around to collect 20 krs (less than 3 euros pppn) each night, though they don't stop and collect if you've been there a few nights.
We paid a one month Tourist Tax upon entry. Boat length dependant. Cost 600 krs approx 80 euros. You can also buy 1 week and 3 months (which wasn't much more).