Saturday, 24 July 2010

Safely Sailing Croatia

Crotia Cruising Companion - Omis Pirates

Those who have read our Croatia Cruising Companion and other writings on Croatia, will know that Croatia is a relatively safe place, on land and sea. At sea, you are never very far from a protected bay, and on land, you are surrounded by the people of a nation that, on the whole, need ASBOS as much as they need to learn about organic produce, ie not at all. Of course you need to observe the proper precautions, and the big cities hide a few reprobates, but compared to other European destinations, you can relax in this respect.

So why,  you may ask, are we reporting on pirates?!

The town of Omiš, about half an hour’s drive south of Split, on the way to Makarska is one of Croatia’s undeservedly unsung destinations, as you will see on the latest posting on sister site,  Croatia Online. It’s the heart of Croatia’s "Klapa" folk music, has magnificent mountain scenery, and perhaps most importantly of all, a fascinating and unique history as a haven for pirates, who greatly contributed to the wealth of the town.

Since our Croatia Online posting on Omiš, we have been reminded that the annual reconstruction of the Pirate Battle takes place on 18th August this year on the sea front, and it’s an occasion not to be missed.

Get a taste of it by following this link on YouTube.

Many thanks to Mr Joško Stella for the photo and information, and, readers, please rest assured that the risk of finding modern day pirates around Croatia’s shores is extremely remote!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Cruising Croatia With A Difference

Croatia Cruising Companion - Yacht Week

Six months is a long time in blogging and as you’ll see from sister blog, Croatia Online, we’ve not been idle. However that’s no excuse and apologies to our readers for the unusual gap in postings. The mountain of news and excitement to report has made our return to regular postings a little daunting but, as seadog and  Croatia Cruising Companion co-author, John Nash, would say, just take it one step at a time.

So we’re bridging the gap with an extract of one of our latest nautical articles for Time Out’s Visitors Guide To Croatia 2010.


Croatia’s lovely Venetian cities are best approached by sea, its azure waters so much more refreshing in remote deserted bays, and its islands most revealing when you can come and go as you please, rather than be a slave to ferry timetables. To explore Croatia by boat is the perfect antidote to the stresses of modern living, but if you’re in Croatia to party that’s possible too.

Google on charter in Croatia and you will find plenty of top quality charter companies offering everything from standard sail boats, through motorboats and traditional gullets, to superyachts. Get into the fine detail and you will discover that it’s not as expensive as you might think, and it’s an opportunity open to all – from novices, with a skipper, to experienced sailors joining autumn regattas.

Ivica Benić, or Johnny as he is known to everyone, grew up in Australia but returned to Zadar, to pursue his dream. Some years and several thousand kuna later, his classic wooden gullet, MSY Dolin, has been loving restored. Built in 1946, Dolin was originally used for bringing wines from the islands and became one of Jadrolinija’s first passenger ships before returning again to cargo duties. Under Johnny’s watchful eye she was refitted from the deck up in 2008, leaving the glorious hull in tact. She’s now the perfect floating home for groups of up to 10, with 5 comfortable en-suite cabins, air conditioning and spacious well fitted common areas, plus a live in chef, skipper and guide (normally Johnny) who have separate accommodation at the other end of Dolin. For a cost of between €540 and €910 per person per week, depending on season and including half board, a group of 10 can live in relaxed comfort, with their itinerary and meals designed specially for them, and share in as much local knowledge, or enjoy as much privacy, as they like. For more information on MSY Dolin phone Johnny on + 385 (0) 23 331 340 or email

There are many entrepreneurs like Johnny, exploiting Croatia’s natural assets in a style that suits modern travellers, but in harmony with its heritage. Some of his guests just want to mooch from bay to bay, some prefer to hang around the Garden’s annual summer festival and, last year, Dolin served as mission control for another exciting adventure, The Yacht Week Croatia. The Yacht Week now runs event based sailing holidays for all levels and in a number of destinations, but it all started in Croatia in 2006. Founder William Wenkel describes Croatia as “the mother of yachting…. few places, if any, can compete with Croatia, with its mix of climate, prices, culture and beautiful surroundings.” Up to 50 yachts, of all sizes and styles for every conceivable type of group and budget, follow an itinerary which includes after beach parties, live bands and DJs, regattas and much more. Price per person starts around €300 and heads steadily upwards depending on the yacht and amount of space and luxury each group requires.

And if you’re not ready to party all night but want a little bit more than idyllic bay after idyllic bay, try your own gastronomic tour or maybe a themed tour designed for you by specialist companies such as Hidden Croatia, Exclusive Sailing,  or Secret Dalmatia.

Many thanks to The Yacht Week for today’s photo.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Happy New Year

Fishermen at Solta

We hope all our readers had a great Christmas and we wish you a very happy and successful 2010. The “Christmas Decorations”  in the photo were provided  by the fisherman of Šolta Island. Regular postings back again soon!