For those that have not yet heard, I have had the pleasure of taking a holiday sailing cruise around the Dalmatian coast of Croatia with the delightful Med Sailing Holidays this June. You can read the details of how this trip came to be and all the wonderful people that made it happen here. Today, I wanted to go into some more detail on our first official sailing holiday destination during the trip, the beautiful island of Mljet.
Mljet is the southernmost island of the Croatian coast and boasts a large National Park on its premises. Like many of the islands we have come to see, it has a tiny population, which adds to its natural charm. This was to be our home for the first and second nights of the sailing cruise, with Okuklije and Polače playing hosts, respectively.
We boarded the luxury sailing yacht in Dubrovnik in the afternoon and set off on a two hour sailing holiday journey to arrive at Okuklije. Perhaps, it was the fact that this tiny bay was my ‘first’ but I was smitten by the scenery upon approach. The rich, plush and abundant greenery were soothing to the eye like nothing else. Throw in the aqua-green waters, prevalent in Croatia and your mind can’t help but descend into a state of zen that is near impossible to shake off. Not that you would try…And the sunsets we encountered en route to Okuklije deserve a mention of their own.
The beauty of places such as this is in the genuine hospitality that you will encounter from the locals and we got to experience both that very same night. We moored at Konoba Baro , a small traditional tavern, perched right on the water and indulged our seafood cravings thoroughly that night. Our skipper made the wise choice of picking this place, given its facilities for sailing yachts and his personal experience, and we could not have been more grateful. After an impressive meal and copious amounts of wine, we sat on our luxury yacht, admiring the bright stars, which looked close enough to touch.
Next morning, loathe to leave but excited to explore more, we admired the daytime view of Okuklije and contemplated our first tasks, as sailors. This was a first time to actually try our hands in some work and it went pretty smoothly, to my relief. I am sure that our skipper’s professional guidance had more than a little something to do with it but nevertheless, I felt a little smug ‘nailing’ my first line management exercise. And on that high note we left the bay for our next stop. And what a stop it was. The tiny village of Polače is also nestled on Mljet but unlike Okuklije, shows some more signs of civilization. It’s landscape is dominated by Roman ruins and is peppered with cute houses and stores. None of it takes away from its charm and if anything, it has a ‘Sleepy Hollow’ vibe of its own that is quite precious. Popular destination among sailors, it has given us some ‘neighbors’ and a chance to chat and socialize with others.
I am happy to report that sunsets in Polače match those of Okuklije and this is not only the raki talking (as we were greeted with shots of the spirit upon mooring). This was also the first place we went for a dip, so alluring was the turquoise water and the setting of my failed attempt to engage in physical activity (allegedly you should rent bikes here and explore the island, yet I thought that tying lines twice was sufficient exercise at this stage). More food and drinks ensued here, at the Konoba Sponga (or ‘Sponge’, if TripAdvisor is to be believed) and we actually were organised enough to pre-order some specialties, prepared ‘under the bell’, which were all worth the wait. Both the lamb and fish were delectable and naturally, I did not turn down copious amounts of wine, yet again.
The next morning, we explored the island a little more, lazily strolling through the tiny cobbled streets and enjoying the various beautiful life forms before sailing off into our next adventure. Stay tuned for the next installment of the blog series of sailing in Croatia and if my report has inspired your wanderlust, feel free to contact our gracious captain right here for your own little adventure.