It's challenging, unpredictable and often quite dangerous. By riding the Rib on the sea however, each one of us will find his shelter either in its vastness, or in a lonely inlet. The sea hides a heaven for everyone, a small Ithaca for all of us…
We left Dubrovnik, which filled us with incredibly beautiful images while afterwards we had a great desire for new adventures. Very cheerful and with a great mood our bow was heading the islands of southern Dalmatia that lies from that point and on.
Elaphite islands consist of 14 islands located northwest and very close to Dubrovnik. The most important are Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan, which are the only inhabited with a total population of about one thousand people.
All of these three islands have accommodation of rooms and hotels as well as small travel agencies working only during the summer period.
They are characterized by lush vegetation as it is almost completely covered with maritime pines.
It is the first island we encounter and is located just 3 miles north of Dubrovnik. It is the smallest of the inhabited ones and extends only at 2.35 square kilometres. The vegetation is tropical, with pine trees, cactus and palm trees, and there are many fragrant flowers. An ideal destination for those who want to escape from the crowded tourist islands and enjoy pleasant walks in the countryside, beautiful beaches and small isolated inlets.
It is a very picturesque Adriatic island with two villages located at both homonymous large bays: Gornje Celo, at the eastern side of the island, and Donje Celo at northwest. The first one is 4 miles far from Dubrovnik and is a quiet place to swim and eat, with few houses in the bay and a small fishing port. The second one, where the main village is, with special colour, is much more interesting. There is a small pier at the east of the bay, a café and a few old two-storey houses literally stifled with vegetation.Tall pines through which cypress and palm trees emerge while some wonderful bokamvilies seal with their colour the beauty of the landscape. In the bay there is a large sandy beach, ideal for swimming and relaxing.
Located 7 miles northwest of Dubrovnik, between Kolocep and Sipan covers an area of 4.63 square kilometres. The tourism is very developed and there are many interesting churches and monasteries of the 16th century, while the old houses of aristocrats from Dubrovnik are still very interesting buildings. The only village is located on the large bay on the north side of the island, where 220 people live today.
Stoned houses in the lush vegetation, with beautiful gardens, decorate the coastal cement road that runs alongside the coast.
Lopud, which essentially consists of two hills that a lovely valley unites, hosts on the south side the Sunj beach which is considered as one of the most beautiful beaches on the Dalmatian coast. On the beach there are two wooden structures that serve food and drinks to the swimmers. Many people arrive here continuously from the path of one kilometre that connects the beach with the village.
It is the largest of Elaphite islands, located 9 miles from Dubrovnik, and the only one on which cars are allowed. Still, it remains a quiet place where you easily chat with locals who willingly give you information about their place.
The island has two villages with beautiful large stone buildings, villas and many churches. The main settlement is Sipanska Luka and is in a very deep and beautiful bay on the north side of the island. It is a quiet fishing village where the stone houses are built on the edge of the verdant slopes reaching the sea.
Many large palm trees along the coast are giving the impression that you are in a tropical place. After our brief tour, we arrived at a three-story stone building that operates as a cafe in the middle of the east side of the bay. The outstretched nets and small fishing boats in the queue give a picturesque image to this peaceful corner of Southern Dalmatia.
The first large island we meet with a length of 20 nautical miles and an average width of 2 nm. It is one of the most fascinating islands of the Adriatic Sea with many attractive places worth visiting them, and many small villages. It is one of the many islands in the Mediterranean that claim the tradition that Calypso was keeping for 7 years Ulysses here. The ancient Greeks called the island Melita, from which originates its present name. Almost half of the island in the western part is a national park since I960, where lush greenery and calm bays remain untouched by tourism development.
The main attraction of the park is the two salt-water lakes that are joined to the sea by a narrow channel, and any kind of boat is forbidden. The large lake covering 1.5 square kilometres is called Veliko Jezero and connects to the north with a narrow channel to the small lake Malo Jezero, while in the south, through a long canal joins the sea. On the western side of the big lake, on a small island, there is the imposing Church of St. Mary and the impressive monastery built in the 12th century the ground floor of which nowadays operates as café- restaurant.
The SW wind that was blowing that afternoon did not worry us especially since from Sipan we had to cover only 5 miles to the southwest end of Mljet. Therein the bay Saplunara lies where we tied up our rib to one of the two small pier that exist on the south side, which we preferred because it was the only place that protected us from the big waves. Inside the bay, literally surrounded by pine trees that descend to the sea, there are three sandy beaches with green waters. It is a quiet place with few people and few houses at the feet of the hills that it would be worthwhile for someone to stay a day or two for peace and relaxation. There are two restaurants next to the sea, with beautiful views, where we tasted the authentic Dalmatian cuisine together with the very simple and pleasant owners. Due to the weather but also because the place was very nice and quiet we decided to spend the night here, relaxing and enjoying the wonderful nature.
In the next day we were at the northern point of the island, the port of Pomena, which is among the most developed ports of the island, with several restaurants and hotels, and one of the few ones of the Dalmatian coasts where the small depth allowed us to throw anchor.
We started walking the beautiful path through thick vegetation which led us to the small lake Malo Jezero. We walked along a large part of the lake reaching the channel which connects the small lake with the big lake Veliko Jezero. At the beginning of the great lake we were waiting for the small boat which guided us for a while in the salty waters and landed us to the small island where the beautiful monastery and the unique church of St. Mary are. The environment of the lakes is breathtaking and people seemed to enjoy it either swimming in the green waters or by hiring the colored plastic canoes for a ride at sea or simply sunbathing on the rocks next to the pine trees touching the water.
It is the sixth largest island in the Adriatic Sea and covers an area of 276 square kilometres. It stretches for 47 km. with the greater width at 8 km. It is 7 miles from Lastovo and 9.4 nm from Mljet.
Korcula is one of the most beautiful and greenest islands in the Adriatic, and one of the most popular destinations of southern Dalmatia. It has many things to offer to the visitor, as it is rich in history and culture, has magnificent nature, many beaches with crystal clear waters and numerous coves. It has very nice beaches, such as Bili Zal and Przina close to Lumbarda, at 6 km. east of the old town of Korcula, and very beautiful mountain villages. At the eastern side of the island there are 19 islands called «Skoji islands» where tourist boats arrive continuously. They have beautiful beaches and emerald waters and certainly deserve our visit.
Of course, the biggest attraction is the homonymous medieval town surrounded by impressive walls. Many people call it as little Dubrovnik due to its beauty and amazing stoned buildings. It is built in the north-eastern point of the island, on a strip of land protruding into the sea and is a typical medieval Dalmatian town.
Protected by high walls and round towers it looks like a town 'fortress'. It is a real jewel that decorates the Dalmatian coast and definitely worth spending a lot of time walking the lovely cobbled streets, among the beautiful grey stoned houses.
The shops and taverns that are scattered through the narrow streets, which are full of flowers and wonderful bokamvilies hanging from house to house, they create beautiful scenery. And of course taking a coffee at the eastern side of the castle, beneath the shade of the pine trees overlooking the deep blue sea is a memorable experience.
Another reason that makes the island so famous is that according to locals, this is the birthplace of the great writer and explorer Marco Polo. They claim that he was born in the old town of Korcula in 1254, where there is the house that nowadays operates as a small museum in honour of his fame and his travels.
We tied up the rib at the wonderful Aci marina, which is ideally located just a few meters from the old town. In five minutes we were in front of the main gate on the south side of the castle.
In the 14th century there was a wooden drawbridge, but was replaced by stairs leading to the tower VeliW ReVelin. We went up the stairs of the tower from where the view of the red roofs of the houses in the castle and to the marina is breathtaking. Just in front, there is a small square from where the main street, which leads to the highest point of the city where the imposing Cathedral of St. Mark is located, starts. It is built in the 15th century, by Italian architects and locals who used local stone for the construction.
Without haste we were sailing close to the verdant slopes and explored the northern part of the island. After 23 nm about we reached the western cape of the island, where the deep bay Vela Luka lies, which is the second port of Korcula. It is a very safe anchorage, as it is protected by four small islands located in the entrance. We preferred to anchor at Proizd islet separated by a narrow channel from Korcula. Crystal clear waters and an oasis of untouched nature characterize this beautiful island. There is a restaurant just on the south coast, with local wine and traditional Dalmatian cuisine. After we enjoyed our swimming in green water, early in the afternoon we left behind our southern Dalmatia with the best impressions.