There are almost two thousand islands in Croatia and we set out to see three of them near Dubrovnik on a day cruise. This has been the summer of the boat for us in many ways and Mozart has become an old hand at boating and being on ferries, so this was another opportunity to learn more. We caught the boat right near our campsite at my favorite, more primitive rocky beach, that has a small wooden pier.
I was surprised at first at how much it reminded me of the Turkish Turquoise Coast, but then someone reminded me that the Ottoman Empire extended to this part of the world too. We met a lovely couple from Switzerland and a collage age couple from Austria who joined us on our cruise. The Swiss couple were on vacation in a rental near by and the young couple from Innsbruck were staying at our campsite as backpackers in a small tent.
We also met a woman from Ireland that was on a holiday at one of the nearby hotels in our complex, with her grown daughter who lives in London (who was also an “only” child). It added to the fun that we had some great people to talk to and we got into interesting conversations about travel and even a little on politics. Mozart was thrilled to be able to converse with others in English and soon became fast friends with these people.
We visited the three largest islands in a group between Dubrovnik and Korcula, called Sipan, Lopud and Kolocep and it was just good to be on the sea again and get a feel for the boating life here. We can see the boating life from the shore, but it just gives a different perspective to be on the water. We came by this same area in the large ferry when we arrived, but it all looks different from a small boat and after knowing the area a little bit more.
There were lots of sailboats and similar boats to the gulet that we were on in Turkey and when we saw a small group in the water nearby a boat, we knew exactly what that experience was like. The water is not as turquoise here, but it is pretty and the islands are much more lush than most of the Greek islands.
We got out and clambered up the wooded slopes looking at ruins of former patrician summer residences, tropical plants, churches, rustic homes and beautiful views to the sea and pristine sandy beaches below. There were small restaurants and souvenir shops, but mostly they were unspoiled fishing villages, despite small groups of tourists arriving via boat. Mostly it was just a simple life going on as usual and few people around.
Instead of getting anything at a cafe, we wandered until we ran into a native selling some grapes and figs for very cheap next to his little vineyard on the second island. They were succulent and delicious and made for a yummy mid morning snack.
Each island had something unique and gave us a clearer impression of what island life is like in Croatia and also how boating and fishing life is central to the lifestyle of this country. A few highlights for Mozart was getting a close up of some crabs at one of the docks, seeing a mermaid on a ship and she brought her bucket along to enjoy the sand beaches which she loves.
We had a great fish lunch on beautiful Lopud Island which was the most populated of the three, at a small cafe overlooking the sea. We grabbed some lounge chairs and an umbrella at the nearby beach afterwards and Mozart dug in the sand to her hearts content making castles, holes and drawings. She was also thrilled that the whole family got to swim at once as she often just swims with one or the other of us, as the other one takes the pictures or rests.
The water was REALLY delightful, clear and just the right temperature with that perfect buoyancy. I could have stayed there forever just blissfully floating with my hat and sunglasses on in the cool water. I floated past our Irish lady friend and she seemed to be in the exact same frame of mind.
Of course, Mozart had other ideas and soon we were all playing catch with a little ball that she brought with her bucket and things. Towards the end when she missed, a little old lady nearby started playing with her even though they did not speak the same language and she was not with our boat. It was a cute moment.
Mozart decided that she wanted to become like a mermaid, so her father covered her legs completely in sand which she just loved. She is quite fussy though, so she did not like the sand in her bathing suit that she had to live with the rest of the day, despite washing off in the sea and a nearby shower. Our friends on the boat laughed at her as she diligently tried to remove all the sand between her toes as we rode back.
She also got to ride up front which she enjoyed with the breeze in her face and we continued our conversation with our new friends. We hung out at the little rock beach near our campsite where the boat let us off, for a little while and Mozart played a few card games of Uno with the Austrian couple. It was a very satisfying day at a very cheap price (just 20 euros each for us adults) and we were glad that we made this choice.