Saturday is a very busy day in Dubrovnik marina. We come ready to face the crowds and bustling port. Our goal is to arrive at Lopud island 8 NM from ACI marina in Dubrovnik, and, more precisely it's southern bay Sunj, and get a first swim and refreshment there. It's a big sandy beach with two restaurants, and it's good to spend the night on anchor if there is no south wind. For those with demanding taste buds, there is also a great restaurant on island Lopud called 'Obala', but it's on the other side of the island in town. From Sunj beach to town it's about 10-minute walk.
We head to Mljet island, and we suggest to start earlier because there's a long way to Pomena on the northern part of Mljet. As soon as we reach Mljet there are a few nice bays around its southern peak for breakfast or brunch and a swim. Saplunara bay, for example, is one of the nicest bays, a big sandy bay with a few great restaurants there, the place just made for anchoring and swimming in a crystal clear sea.
Mljet is the most forested Croatian island. The northern part of island Mljet, where we are headed, is a National Park. Anchoring is permitted only in bays in front of Polace and Pomena villages. As this area is a National Park, the entrance ticket must be paid for the boat as well.
Tickets to National Park Mljet for the boat cost 600 kunas (about 90 €) for boats from 36 – 58 feet in the period from June to September.
In addition, if you are not on the anchor, in Pomena and Polace village, you have the possibility to dock for free and spend the night in front one of the restaurants, as long as you eat your dinner there.
If you plan to go the National Park itself and it's the main attraction the Big and the Small Lake you will pay an additional entrance ticket to the Lake 125 kuna (about 18 €) per person.
Don't let all these charges spoil your pleasure in discovering the Park's beauty. It's main attractions, Big and Small Lake use to be sweet water, but nowadays it's salt water. Big Lake is 46 meters deep and Small Lake 29 meters deep. Both attract different and various scientists from around the globe. On a small island St. Mary, in the middle of the Big Lake, there is a Benedictine monastery with a church, the trademark of Mljet. The area is simply beautiful and made for long walks, jogging or bike riding.
Lastovo is an off-shore island, isolated, wild, forested and very special. Sea is rich with fish, lobsters, corals. Skrivena Luka bay (Hidden Port in the Croatian language) holds about 30 buoys, and is one of the biggest and most beautiful bays on the island, made for short walks and swimming. On a high cliff above the entrance to this bay is a famous lighthouse Struga. Beautiful scenery, wonderful view to the open sea and a simple approach through the woods of pine trees made this a perfect little hike.
Still remains the story from the beginning of the last century, how the local fishermen caught an 18-kilo lobster and immediately sent it to Vienna to Emperor Franz Joseph as a gift. The lobster made it to Vienna alive, and the Emperor answered with cases full of sugar and coffee.
In the morning we head around the island to a bay on the northern side of Lastovo – Zaklopatica. We can make a little stop and visit bay of Ubli, or have a swim and a lunch break on Mrcara island on the way. There are many bays and places to explore around here. Once we arrive at Zaklopatica, we should know to enter we need to take the eastern entrance as the western is too shallow. Eastern entrance is 8 meters deep. You can anchor in the middle of the bay on depths from 4 to 14 meters. In Zaklopatica bay there are dockings available, free of charge if you eat in restaurants which own the docking place. Same as on Mljet island. From Zaklopatica, you can rent a scooter or a car, and go around the island to explore. Also, you can have a 25-minute hike to Lastovo town in the middle of the island, not visible from the sea, as it was built so the pirates would not see it.
Restaurants in Zaklopatica are great for fresh fish and lobsters, but meat as well. It's a gourmet experience, especially in Triton and Augusta Insula.
We are leaving Lastovo and crossing the Lastovo channel towards Korcula island. Our goal is Lumbarda, a town just behind the most prominent cape Raznjic. Lumbarda is a picturesque village with characteristic houses – castles, nice sandy beaches and numerous small islands for a Robinson swimming. To the east of the settlement lies the Lumbards field, covered with reddish and yellowish Pleistocene sand, which successfully grows the grapevines for the noble Korcula wine sort called Grk. In Lumbarda, you can visit one of the 8 local wineries and enjoy Grk.
Lumbarda town is quite close to Korcula town, so one can choose to visit Korcula town too. This time we choose Lumbarda because the docking fee is much more economic, and Korcula town is so busy.
It's not close, from Korcula to Elafiti islands, about 27 NM to Olipa anchor spot. Following the southern shore of Peljesac peninsula, we will not make any stops, but we will go directly to Olipa and anchor in one of the most beautiful places on the Adriatic sea. Right by the small Elafiti island Olipa, close to where it almost touches Peljesac peninsula. The smell of pine trees, rock, and salt. The warm, soft and tender sea which caresses the body. Utter peace and quiet. The place is fully protected from the Mistral wind which can be quite strong in Mljet channel.
Sipan island is the largest and the nicest island of the Elafiti island group. We will visit Sipan early in the morning, so we could have enough time for a short walk, a good lunch and an afternoon sail to Kolocep.
A wonderful scenery occurs when you pass through Harpoti passage between Jakljan island and Sipan, and when the view opens up towards Sipan's port and wonderful houses in the bay. Inland the island Sipan is Sipan field, where Dubrovnik's gentry use to build their summer houses because it's located in the basin where it's quite cooler than on the coast. Sipan is an island of grapes, olives, figs, almonds, rosemary etc..Full of historical monuments, it has 33 chapels. It would be nice to take a bike ride or a walk through the interior all the way to Sudurad cape or Skocibuhe castle or climb Sutlija, the peak of Sipan from where the view opens up the whole Sipan island, Dubrovnik city, and islands Lopud, Mljet, and Korcula.
It's a pity to spend only 7 or 8 hours on Sipan, one should stay here 7 or 8 days. But, we can make it to the peak above Sipan port from where we can have a wonderful view to Jakljan island and Kobas bay on Peljesac… Nautical magazine Motor Boats has claimed this to be one of the most beautiful views in the Mediterranean. One thing is important to mention about Sipan – restaurant Marko. Not to miss. But, let's head towards Kolocep island and find a place for the last night.
Waking up in the Donje Celo, the main bay of Kolocep, where we spent the night on an anchor, and moving back to the starting marina in Dubrovnik, just in time to return the boat…