Sailing in Croatia: Scedro
Today I share another installment in the blog series about sailing in Croatia, introducing the beautiful island of Scedro. It is actually properly written, as Šćedro, but those accents are mistakes waiting to happen, so I will stick to the English-ized version of the name for this post.
This was to be our stop on the fourth evening of our island sailing holiday, after we took an exhilarating island cruise from Korcula, which included rescuing an accessory from the sea, and in the process practicing the ‘man-overboard’ protocol.
I do not use the word ‘protocol’ loosely, since there is an actual set of rules and actions to be taken that extends over and above simply yelling “Oh my God!” at the top of your lungs, believe it or not. I know. I was surprised, too.
Luckily, we never had to use any of those skills but it was interesting to know nevertheless. Having successfully saved the said accessory, we proceeded to learn how to ‘tack’, as we encountered some really good winds on the way and then I, having exhausted myself with all that exercise, napped several times, as we approached Scedro.
Scedro is a tiny island in Croatia, whose population does not exceed 50 people at any point through the year and is a place that does not have either running water or electricity (power is provided via solar panels, as I understand). This also means that the nature of the beautiful island is pretty much unmarred by human activity. In fact, except two restaurants along the bay we have stayed in, I did not spot any commercial or residential buildings during our approach to Scedro.
I guess this raw nature appeal is what makes Scedro extremely popular with the sailing crowd, as we spotted no less than 20 sailing yachts in the bay we set out eyes on, too. Considering the lack of population of the island itself, the number of visitors was staggering. But the minute I looked around me, I understood what draws people in.
The coast is covered with lush greenery, of such true emerald hue that staring at it in bright sunshine stings your eyes. The waters are the truest shade of azure and are so clear that you can actually spot the fish, darting around the boats. I took an inordinate amount of photographs of the sea, to try and show the inhabitants on film, to mixed success, I believe. Yet, if you look at the photograph below, the little white marks are actually all fish of some form. If that is not suitably impressive, the cleanliness of the water also allows you to see the water bed, which, given that the anchor was dropped at something like 60 meters, if I recall, is mind-boggling.
Once we scouted a suitable anchor point, came the next sailing lesson: how to moor and anchor a boat. I must admit that I participated very little in this endeavor, doing my best to look busy taking photographs. Yet, from the corner of my eye, I understood this is a pretty labor-intensive process, as simply dropping the anchor is not sufficient. We had to send a Med Sailing scout, lovely Ally, to swim to the shore with a line and tie us up to the nearest tree to ensure the sailing boat does not actually turn around. All this came handy later that very night, but at that moment, I recall noticing an inordinate amount of work for something I previously took for granted in my ignorance.
Having finalized our mooring exercise, we partook in another wonderful activity, that is judging other people’s expertise in the task of dropping anchor. Now, the fact that I barely participated in it in the first place, did not preclude me from taking an active part in passing judgement on others. Not even in the slightest. I thoroughly enjoyed comparing their mooring targets and methods to ours and felt pretty confident that sailing team “Serial Nappers”, captured above, would nab the top prize, should there be a competition there and then.
With all that hard work behind us, it was time to grab dinner and we boarded the dinghy (also to mixed success, surprisingly) and decided to scout the offerings. Having ruled out two of the three restaurants available, we made our way to Grill Rato, mainly lured in by the very interesting choice of interior design. The waterfront tavern is decorated to resemble a pirate ship, complete with derelict vessels that host tables, scary shark-themed chair backs, etc. Although what struck me as most outlandish is the obvious desire to represent the various exotic types of vegetation in the world, which resulted in one lone palm tree and a unique cactus being planted on the premises. After all was said and done, we ordered our respective dishes and went to town on them. As a matter of disclosure, if I had to pick one poor food option in Croatia, this was probably it. The squid I chose was a little tough and was not cleaned out, which is not my personal preference at all. Yet, the rest of the party was happy with their choices, so maybe it was only that one dish. We did not stay to find out and having drank copious amounts of local wine, proceeded to get back to our sailing boat.
Our plans to snorkel in the turquoise waters of the quaint bay were shattered a mere few hours later, when we got caught in an electric storm that came out of nowhere to disturb the idyllic peace of the place. I have never seen such a quick change of setting, as I witnessed during those dawn hours in Scedro. Turquoise waters were no more and the sea was menacingly steel gray instead. The mirror-like surface of the bay turned into a sloshing chaos, threatening to knock the firmly moored boats together like rattle toys.
However, none of this curbed my enthusiasm for sailing, as I never felt scared for even a second. If anything, I was a little disappointed that I did not wake up earlier to see it all begin. Having done an immaculate job at mooring the previous afternoon, we were ready to go in no time and our skipper demonstrated absolute heights of self-control and professionalism in this difficult situation, which is the main reason why I felt so comfortable with the turn of events.
And so we sailed into the morning fog towards our next destination, Hvar and Pakleni Islands. This is where my story of Scedro ends and I will leave you with some photographs of the beautiful bay that housed us on day four.