Scott Farquharson went on his first Sunsail holiday. He writes an honest critique and recommends a breath-taking sight to see.
After a little over a year, I finally took my first Sunsail sailing holiday. Please do not confuse this with not having taken sailing holidays in the past, my life and memories are taken up with sailing holidays, some more successful than others.
This holiday was different, this holiday was with my wife, not a seasoned sailor, and my oldest and dearest friends and their three young adult children, the oldest of which is my Goddaughter. I say my oldest and dearest friends, because Joanne and I have only been married a little over two years, and her life has changed manifestly with the move to England from the USA, and not only is she getting used to a new country, but also to some of my friends and their families. So asking her to spend a week in the close confines of a boat with people she has only recently gotten to know was a daunting thing. Of course, I shouldn’t have worried, she not only survived the week, but our friends are even closer, not necessarily a guaranteed thing on a boat!
Fast forward to our first few days sailing from our base in Marina Agana in Croatia, near Split, the weather was all you could ask for, low 30’s, mid 80’s for those of you using old money, but little breeze. This turned out to be a good thing for those with unsure sea-legs, but a little frustrating for those of us with visions of nautical endeavours more challenging than sunning ourselves and getting to the juicy parts of our books, but hey ho, we are on holiday, and it is grand!
After a crew meeting in Vis Town we decided to head as early out as possible the next morning to the small island of Bisevo to the south of the island of Vis to visit the Blue Caves. We arrived at about 10am, and went to the mooring balls set up to avoid anchor damage to the sea floor, and awaited one of the three very, very, busy small motor boats to collect us to take us into the caves so we could see what the fuss was all about.
The wait was interminable, a little over an hour, and was compounded by the fact that the mooring field was crowded and filled with sailors of varying abilities trying to secure their boats properly so they would swing with all the other boats. The tightness and ‘interesting’ mooring skills were compounded by the complete lack of wind which meant there were interesting bunchings of boats perilously close to each other. Fortunately before we were finally picked up by the little motor boat enough of a breeze picked up and the boat was laying to the mooring well enough that we could all enjoy the cave without too much concern for the boat’s wellbeing.
The little motor boat came alongside our boat, already groaning with 9 people before they collected the seven of us. Sitting low on her lines we chugged over a very shallow rock bar to the obscure and low entry to the cave. Once we paid our small fee to the park ranger our boat was allowed to enter the cave behind two other boats already inside the cave. The engine was killed right at the entrance and the skipper of the boat polled us into the cave and gave a little discourse on the origins and discovery of the cave as well as all sorts of interesting statistics.
The cave is at its most beautiful between 11 am and 12 pm on a sunny day, which does not appear to be an issue in Croatia at all. The natural entrance to the cave, located on its southern side, is so low that we all had to lie flat in the boat to get into the cave. The bright blue glowing effect is created when the sun's rays enter through the water and reflect off the limestone floor of the cave. The sun lights up the water, and the glowing sea illuminates the cave walls a brilliant blue, creating an ethereal glowing blue tinged grotto. The effect is simply magical, the colour of the water is the most staggering almost cobalt blue and absolutely crystal clear, you can see 60 or 70 feet to the bottom as if there were no water there at all!
Even though there were three other boats inside the cave it did not feel crowded or touristy at all. The overall effect of the cave on our crew was one of amazement, all thought it was well worth the wait, the concern about the other sailors and their mooring skills, the heat and the cost of entry.