When we arrive in sunny Croatia we try to play it cool but don’t succeed: It’s almost like a bit of Tuscany has been dropped into the Balkan Adriatic: vineyards and olive groves carpet the steep hillsides, cypresses stud the coastline and tiny, traditional terracotta-roofed villages peek through the thick forests. You don’t notice how built up the world has become until you’re moored up in a tiny harbour with two other yachts, one building, no traffic and a carpet of stars above you.
And sailing on a catamaran means this island paradise is so easy to reach. Apart from powering all the way to Lumbarda from Dubrovnik in one day (about 43 nautical miles), we managed to get from stop to stop in usually no more than a couple of hour’s sailing. Great when all you want to do is step ashore at every interesting spot!
Our stop at Trsenik is accompanied by a visit to the famous Grgic vineyard, perched high above the village. We sampled the native Plavic Mali red wine accompanied by a view of the sea. Perfect!
(Wine is food, isn’t it?)
Dubrovnik is the obvious answer, isn’t it? Well, my proper answer would be Lokrum. Just a short trip away from Dubrovnik, you might miss this island on your trip but it’s well worth a visit! There’s a great botanical garden full-to-bursting with Mediterranean flora (and the local peacocks) and a stunning abandoned monastery, but your main aim will be the old fort. Climb to the top for the best view of Dubrovnik. Don’t forget your camera!
If you stop by Ston, climb up the 14th Century walls that run across the hillside over to Mali Ston – you’ll get amazing views across Ston and the Peljesac Peninsula, including the traditional salt pans and oyster farms still in use today. This is apparently the second-longest defensive wall in the world, behind that one in China.
We’re lying on the cat’s trampoline, my book repurposed as a sunshade with the genoa quietly flapping overhead and the only other sound is water against the hulls as we ride the waves. There’s a shout from the cockpit. One of us lazily pops out an earphone: ‘What’s that, Duje?’
The answer jumps out of the water by the bow. Dolphins! And suddenly, we’re all reduced to children again, watching a pair of Croatia’s own bottlenose dolphins dance about in the wake of the yacht. It’s one of those moments you’ve heard about but never thought would actually happen.
That, or the moment when we realised that our last bottle of wine was about to roll onto the floor during a quite rough passage. You’ve never seen four people move quite so fast!
By Rachael, copywriter at Sunsail
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