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LateSail team member Kyle, recently took some time out of the office to visit Croatia on a short but sweet getaway. Here, he shares his experiences with us.
Having had enough of hearing about ‘Brexit’ every morning on our daily commute and to celebrate four wonderful years together, my better half and I recently decided to book a getaway for a romantic weekend full of fun and frolics. But where to go?
We racked our brains to think of a unique location that would cover all the basics that any getaway should but also cause as little damage to the bank account as possible. Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, Palma – they all found their way into the mix, but with less than a week to go, we decided to fulfil a long-standing desire to visit Croatia.
Even though, as an Englishman, I was still slightly bitter (very bitter) from the World Cup, I really wanted to see what ‘The Country of a Thousand Islands’ had to offer.
We flew out from Luton Airport to Split Airport on a Friday morning, bound for the lovely Marina Boatic where our Sun Odyssey 439 was waiting. After two and a half hours, we landed in Split. The flight was surprisingly bearable, sitting in Seat 1B, I had a tad more leg room and watching Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Inglourious B******s’ made for a painless experience even though the movie of choice wasn’t quite appropriate when seated next to two strangers! We touched down at around 4pm local time, greeted by the welcoming sight of Croatian landscape, which most certainly beats the view of the multi-story car park in Luton!
We had no transfer arranged, and my LateSail colleagues advised taking an Uber. Having not used Uber before I completely ignored their advice…and then paid double the price for a rubbish taxi. Speaking from experience, I would recommend grabbing an Uber, where the cabs are much nicer (as are the drivers) and it works out at just under half of the price, costing around 40 Kuna (approximately £5) and takes 15 minutes. We boarded the boat that evening, dumped our bags.
That first evening, we decided to head along the beaches in hope of finding a nice restaurant by the sea. A romantic walk of around 20 minutes or so brought us to Zule, where we treated our inexperienced paletes to cultured cuisine only to be found on the Croatian coast. By this, I of course mean Croatian beer. Dinner was just pizza!
Shingle Beaches, Narrow Streets, and a fishy handbag
We didn’t have much time in Seget Donji, not as much as I would’ve liked anyway, so we tried to squeeze as much as we could into a couple of days on both the land and at sea. We awoke on Saturday morning and watched from afar as the many charter companies worked to get more than 100 sailing yachts ready for the following week of charters. Eventually, we clambered over hoses and abandoned inflatables to reach the showers.
To continue my ongoing review of marina showers (check out my blog ‘A first timer’s experience on a Competent Crew course’), Boatic’s washing facilities were top notch, especially the outdoor showers, which, when leaving, reveal an armada of yachts floating on the sparkling blue water.
That day we decided to head to the beaches and also visit the old town of Trogir. Croatia’s beaches are shingle, so you do miss out on the ‘sand between your toes’ feeling, but what you gain is beautifully clear water. When mooring at Marina Boatic, you’re no further than a 15-minute walk to amazing beaches on one side and Trogir on the other.
The UNESCO world heritage historic city of Trogir was a treat and the architecture was astounding. I did try and take a few snaps but couldn’t quite do it justice. It’s a maze of 17th century narrow streets,churches and palaces and proved to be a lovely place to go for a spot of food and an ice cream.
That evening, we actually decided to eat at the yacht club back in Boatic, not before taking advantage of the on-site swimming pool. The food was fabulous and the service even more so. Upon our arrival, we were seated poolside and then greeted with a plate of sardine fillets.
Now, it looked great, however, I’m not really a fishy kind of guy and my other half, well she’s vegetarian. The appetizer was free, so we couldn’t really say no, could we?! So with nothing to lose (except perhaps my earlier beers), I stomached a piece! It was then that we decided it was best to turn to the ever successful ‘handbag’ method. If you know, you know!
That evening we watched the sunset in the distance, and lay on the bow of the yacht, watching the stars twinkle in the clear night’s sky in complete serenity. It’s moments like these that you simply can’t get in a holiday resort – we were still moored up in the marina, yet it felt completely private and the silence was bliss.
Is the Blue Lagoon really so Blue?
We went out to sea on the last day of our trip and planned to be back for dinner at the marina before flying back to England. To start things off, we headed over to the Blue Lagoon. You read things on travel websites and feel that they seem a bit exaggerated, a bit too good to be true. So, when I read that the Blue Lagoon was supposedly a ‘snorkeller’s utopia’ and has ‘mesmerising crystal clear water’, I thought it was complete poppycock! I can now confirm that the Blue Lagoon, Drevnik Veliki, is indeed a snorkeller’s utopia, and does have mesmerising crystal clear water – frankly, the place is outstanding. As we dove off of the stern of the boat and headed below the waterline, I could pretty much hear David Attenborough himself commentating over what I was seeing. I felt like I was in a BBC nature documentary.
We spent quite a lot of time in and around the lagoon and didn’t have much more left. We decided to head over to Duga Bay on the island of Čiovo. It’s actually where some of the tourist boats go, so it’s a pretty safe bet that it’s going to be worth a visit. Luckily, when we arrived there weren’t too many people around, and what we found was a lovely, quiet little bay. The water was beautifully clear, and rather calm – a perfect place to go for a swim.
Upon jumping in, you’re greeted by schools of fish, big and small. We didn’t spend much time here as our time in Croatia was coming to an end. We anchored up, chucked some spaghetti in a pot and enjoyed a nice meal whilst watching the sunset over the mountains in the distance. The sky turned pink and reflected off of the calm sea, beautifully picturesque and a worthy goodbye.
We returned to Boatic, packed up our belongings, and headed back to Split Airport. After landing in London, we were greeted with a two-hour queue through customs, and the M25 full of roadworks! Boy, it’s good to be home!