Karie on May 25th 2008 08:54 pm
If you’re not familiar with Gilligan’s Island, I recommend you have a listen to the theme song before proceeding. It was stuck in my head the entire time we were in Hvar, so I feel it’s important that you understand my inspiration in order to grasp the full experience here. If you’re lucky, it will stay with you for the rest of the day (or week).
Hvar is the self-proclaimed “Queen of the Croatian Dalmatian Islands.” Ironically, the Dalmatian coastline resembles the Dalmatian dog… but then again it’s believed that the breed of dog is native to Croatia, so maybe not so ironic after all. Anyhow, think tons of islands dotting the coastline, some big, some small, some inhabited, some not. Hvar is one of the largest islands, and the Pakleni Islands are scattered about nearby.
I had originally wanted to kayak to the islands, after reading about how fun that was. However, after seeing how far it was, Scott & John (who, let’s face it, would be doing most of the kayaking anyway), convinced me to take another approach. We were able to get a good price on our own small boat (about $75 for a full day, including gas). We couldn’t have rented anything larger even if we wanted to, as a boating license is required for anything over 6 horsepower. Perhaps we were better off putting anyway.
We quickly settled into position on the S.S. Minnow (the boat needed a name so we took liberty), with the Skipper (Scott) at the helm, Gilligan (John) helping to navigate, while The Professor (Mary) and the Movie Star (me – hey, this is my story I get to pick my own character) enjoyed the ride from the bow.
The guy we rented the boat from told us that another group had recently ignored his advice and… you guessed it… “the weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed…” They ended up stranded in the middle of the Adriatic sea after the waves bashed their boat and literally ripped off the motor. Needless to say we all listened very carefully and heeded his advice about where to go or not go.
First we headed around the far side of one of the islands. Being on the opposite side leaves you exposed to the open sea, without the protection of the other islands. We followed our boat owner’s instructions and went to a lovely cove, but made sure we were out of there by 1:00pm, as the winds were expected to pick up in the afternoon, and then the Minnow would be lost. The Minnow would be lost.
A couple of stops later, we decided to break for lunch, so we followed some signs down a path lined with vineyards. The restaurant was basically in a covered patio, with the owner’s home off to the side. The main dining area (consisting of about 4 tables) was full, so we were seated on another terrace that only had one table. It was all arranged through gestures, so we weren’t really spoken to, nor given menus. A few minutes later, the owner returned and said, “hello,” to which we responded, and then there was silence. He just stood there and looked at us, while we all sat there smiling.
John (breaking awkward silence): “Uh, do you have a menu?”
Waiter: “No, there is no menu. I have not turned the generators on yet this year, as there are not many people, so we only have a little food.”
Mary: “Ok, do you have anything we can order?”
Waiter: “We have an octopus salad”
Mary: “Mmm. Ok, I’ll have that.”
Scott: “Do you have anything else?”
Waiter: “Um, we have an aubergine pie”
Karie & Scott: “I’ll have that.”
John: “Nothing for me, thanks.”
I’m still unclear as to whether or not these people actually live without power during the off-season, but our aubergine pie (aka, eggplant lasagna) was served nearly cold. It was tasty, but I’m guessing they turn on the generator once a week and make a batch or something. Apparently Croatians refuse to accept the fact that tourists actually arrive before June. It’s not overrun, but the weather is beautiful and there are certainly enough people around to warrant having food at a restaurant. I’m curious what everyone else in the restaurant was eating, but we couldn’t tell from our secluded table. Luckily I think most people were there more for the scenery than the food anyway.
For the rest of the day we just hopped from cove to cove, usually stopping for a drink and/or snack while we admired the view. The water is the most beautiful aquamarine color, and in most areas you can see at least 20 feet deep to the rocky bottom. We had one of the smallest and least impressive boats around, but Mary and I liked to lay on the bow and look out. From there, you felt like you might as well have been lying on top of the most beautiful yacht. The view was so spectacular, even a dinghy would feel luxurious when floating (ok, bouncing) from island to island. It was the kind of day that I’ll never forget.