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A tour around Dalmatian islands: with local friends

Written by Renato Matiolli

On our first day out again we went to Lucice bay, just a few hours away, located in Brac Island. The locals say it is a plain vanilla location and I will let you judge by the pictures. We thought it looked pretty incredible.

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DSC00397Anyways it was an adventure for us, since it was the first time Sarah and I moored (park the boat on a buoy together) and the first time I dove from the boat, used our new super cool diving equipment from Cressi and filled the tanks in the boat with our own dive compressor that works out of a 7.5k Onan generator.

The dive in Lucice cave was quite unique for me as it was crystal clear water, yet deep and dark. You enter through a small hole in the sea bottom and suddenly there is a drop off that seems it will take you all the way to Japan. The water was very clear, yet little light gets in, so I went down maybe 10-15 meters, did not see the end and came back thinking that a Megalodon was going to come from that deep dark water and eat me alive.

Later that morning Sarah used our SUP and tried to look for her morning coffee somewhere in the bay, but apparently there are no Nespresso machines around. She came back empty handed, but still happy… as always.

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We left Lucice Bay and had a great sail, with about 15 knots towards Vis. This was our best sailing day so far. At some point we had all three sails out, including gennaker and manage to sail at above average engine speed. We for the first time manage to reached double digit speed! Above 10 knots at some points and Sarah was all “jumpidy” about it.

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At Vis we found a little bay, which sort of protected us from all that wind and than it was finally time to put and end on the barbecue saga. So this was the time for me to get all excited, since we were finally managing to do a “soft opening” of our barbecue! It was hard work to find all the pieces of the puzzle, but at the end it worked perfectly… even a few seagulls watched the event closely thinking they would get some love toward the end, unfortunately for them it was not the case this time. We ate it all!

Next stop… more food! We move the boat to the city of Vis, anchored it and got a van to a restaurant in a charming winery called Roki. P1100292Vis is known for having a traditional of cultivating wines for hundreds of years and as soon as the communist regime was over and Vis was open to the broader public, Roki started to share with visitors not only their great wines but also some dishes of the local cuisine. They prepare the food using what they call “Pekas”, a quite heavy ceramic pan which cooks the food at very high temperature… To be honest I don’t know exactly what happens in those pots, but the result is very tasty! Since our good friend Fabijan was a great mate of the owner, Oliver, and his first mate, Mario, we got some special love, with lots of wines, special drinks and endless food.

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One of the highlights of the restaurant is a 130 years old mulberry three that covers all the tables and a cool host dog, named Pico, the butterfly eater. He is a true Jack Russell, as many others from this breed,  he seems to be on 24/7 and was all over the place, including hunting and eating butterflies 2 meters high up on the walls.

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Next day we left the city of Vis to visit some stunning places around the island. First, the Green Cave and then, Stiniva Bay. Easy to see that Croatia has been a VERTY STRONG start of our adventure, we are thinking that it will be difficult to find something so amazing down the “road”.

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This night we anchored in another super charming city called Komiza, it is also located in the island of Vis. Again seagulls came to visit us and this time around we gave them some love. In Komiza, we took some time and visited Saint Nicholas church, which is the town’s patron and protector of sailors and travellers, so we went up there to be grateful and ask for his blessing and protection during our journey.

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Next morning we were off to Bisevo island, just north of Komiza, and we took our dingy out and visited the Blue Cave. This place is really amazing, similar to the one in Capri, but in this one, once inside you don’t see the light coming from the entrance anymore, just the light coming from the bottom, so the blue seems to glow even stronger and more beautiful. There is also has a lot less people than its Italian cousin.

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We continued our trip around the island of Vis and the next stop was a super cool submarine bunker from World War II, this scenery could certainly be part of a 007 movie. We took the drone out for some pictures and SUP out to explore the place, again, the water is crystal clear. If you like to hike, there are a lot of bunkers around Croatia to explore, this submarine one, it is possible to walk inside, and also there are some really dark tunnels that you can walk inside and they will take out to other tinny entrances.

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We went back to Vis so that Sarah and our friends could have one more coffee before we left this paradise and I used the time inland in a place with a few meters of asphalt to skateboard as surfing action is still very far away from us.

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On our way back to Split, to close our day with a strong finish, Fabijan found a nice bay in the island of Brac to get Sarah and I wake boarding for a while.

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DSC00509We have spent a few incredible days sailing around some of the Croatian islands and we were completely amazed by everything! We have been to just a hand full of islands and the country has more than a thousand! One needs a few years just to quickly stop by each one of them. I reckon that to get to really know them it will take a few life times.

P1100342During our time in Croatia, we have realized that while our journey around the world will last a few years (which seems a lot), yet we will only be able to briefly scratch the surface of what exists to be seen in each destination we visit. We will have to leave Croatia in a couple of weeks (to meet friends scheduled down the road), but we will departure with that feeling that it was amazing… but there is still A LOT more to explore and that we want to come back with more time.

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We had been in Croatia before a couple of times, but mainly to the classic destinations… Hvar, Split and Dubrovnik, but we have to tell you… there is A LOT MORE to Croatia than these well-known places. As Brazilians we don’t understand why tourists in Brazil mainly go to Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and maybe Iguaçu Falls as there is a lot more interesting places than these in the country. Now we understood that Croatians feel the same way about their country.

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Finally, we can’t end this post without thanking Fabijan “the local islander”, for being such an amazing friend, so patiently teaching us so much about sailing and also for taking us to such special places close to his heart. And thanking Vicky and Marina for being incredible guests, friends and cooks!! Sarah is so happy to have learned a few local recipes from them. We will miss you all A LOT. Please come and visit us some where in the world.

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Renato Matiolli

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