Monday, September 06, 2010

Kayaking in Croatia, Part 3

Ysabelle and I took a hike up behind Sipanska Luka. Lots of olive groves and great views.
This was looking out at the harbour from our B&B window.
We paddling southeast down the seaward side of Sipan. Marko and I stopped to look at some of the sea life.
Exploring one of the many caves.
Here is a huge archway on Sipan.
Paddling into Uvala Prtusa, we approached a blue cave. We knew this was going to be amazing!

Ysabelle swimming inside the blue cave. The entrace is below the surface of the water, so you have to dive down to enter. Once inside there is a "room". All the light comes in underwater, so it's blue. Very special!

Entering the harbour of Sudurad. We met a Scottish couple who had kayak the whole length of Croatia in 5 weeks. They loved it!
Ysabelle inside a cave with a skylight.

We paddled around Ruda Island and then continued on to Lopud Island. Here Ysabelle paddles past the wall of the monastery in Lopud.

On the beach in Lopud, where we spent the night. We were very lucky to eat supper at the house of a local chef. It was probably the finest meal of the trip. Fabulous seafood! Thanks Marko for taking us there.

The next day, Marko entering a big cave on Lopud.

Ysabelle inside the cave.

We stopped on Lopud for some cliff diving. It was high and scary but a great thrill!

Then we paddled out to the offshore island of Sveti Andrija (St. Andrew). Nothing but a lighthouse. We couldn't land as the island is now privately owned.
Exploring the cliffs on the seaward side of Sveti Andrija.

Our last island on the tour was Kolocep. Ysabelle paddling past more limestone cliffs. We stopped at a second blue cave here and enjoyed another swim.

We continued past this lighthouse at Rt Bezolanj on Kolocep. Dubrovnik is in the background.

Ysabelle and Marko heading into Zaton, our final destination. Both of us felt sad to be finishing our tour. It was such a wonderful experience that we didn't want it to end.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Kayaking in Croatia, Part 2

Back in Croatia, paddling north up Stonski Kanal. Another calm and sunny day.
Marko and Ysabelle are pulling into our lunch spot northeast of Przina. We had a good scoff of mussels.
This is the village of Broce, our first B&B overnight.
A relaxed breakfast at the B&B. It's common to grow grape vines over the terrace for shade at houses in Dalmatia.
Paddling just north of Broce, we came to the walled town of Ston. You can see the walls going up the hill and over to the next town of Mali Ston. It's the longest medieval wall in Europe and second only to the Great Wall in China. The walls barred access to the Peljesac Peninsula from the mainland. Tolls were charged to travellers and trade goods passing through the walls.
Ston is also famous for its old salt works. The salt lagoons are on the right in the photo. Stonski Kanal is on the left. The town was very pretty. We had a great supper of seafood!

A flower-lined alley in Ston.
A cooling lemonade in a cafe before we get back on the water and head south for the Elafiti Islands.
Ysabelle paddling past some beautiful geology on the north side of Olipa Island.

When we stopped for lunch on Olipa, Ysabelle practised her roll in the warm, clear water.

Here I am passing underneath the lighthouse on Olipa facing Veli Vratnik.

Ysabelle on a leisurely crossing of Veli Vratnik, heading south towards Jakljan Island.

Marko and Ysabelle exploring the cliffs on the seaward side of Jakljan.

Ysabelle cooling off in the narrows between Jakljan and Sipan Islands. It was 30 degrees C, sunny and no wind.

Approaching the town of Sipanska Luka on Sipan. This was one of the most beautiful island towns we visited.

Kayaking in Croatia, June 2010, Part 1

In early June, Ysabelle and I travelled to Croatia for a week-long kayak tour on the Mediterranean with Adriatic Kayak Tours. We chose their Paddling Dalmatia tour, which included boats and gear, a guide, meals, camping 3 nights and B&B accommodation for 4 nights.

Marko, our guide, picked us up at the Dubrovnik airport and took us to the first campsite in Zaton, just north of Dubrovnik. Next morning we packed the kayaks, planned our route, and set off. We would be paddling north from Dubrovnik for 3 days and then south through the Elafiti Islands 4 days back to Dubrovnik.

The weather was hot, sunny and calm. All week the daytime temperatures were 25 - 30 degrees C, with the nights around 16 - 21 C. The water was a luxurious 20 C, perfect for swimming! Our first stop was Daksa Island, the site of an old prison for political prisoners during the communist era of Yugoslavia.

The Dalmatian coast enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate: hot, dry, calm summers and rainy, warm, windy winters. The vegetation reflects the hot, dry climate.

This is the beautiful harbour of Trsteno, our second campsite. Everywhere you looked there were crystal clear, turquoise waters, old stone buildings, and towering cypress trees.

In Trsteno, there is a peaceful Renaissance arboretum, dated back to the late 1400s. A stone aquaduct carries water to this fountain.

The first two days, we paddled northwest up the mainland coast from Zaton towards Slano. It took a little getting used to paddling in the heat and the blazing sun. Lots of water, gelato and sunscreen!

A delicious shore lunch on a small island along the way. Paddling in just a T-shirt and bathing suit was fabulous!

Here is a new luxury hotel in Slano. There were only a few along this coast. For the most part, it is wild and undeveloped. We stopped here for a gelato break. Tough life!

Here was our camping spot the third night in the tiny village of Krucica. The camp site was just behind the buildings in the trees. Very relaxing.

We crossed to Sipan Island on our fourth morning and continued north. The sea was glass calm.

Ysabelle is floating in front of a deserted vacation resort on Jakljan Island. This once belonged to a large Serbian company during the communist era. Company employees enjoyed cheap vacations here with their families.

Marko Grubisic was our guide with Adriatic Kayak Tours. Marko was the best! A great paddling companion, who knew the best restaurants in each village, and all the remarkable sites to visit along the coastline.
More photos of our trip and Dubrovnik in coming posts.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Bellevue Peninsula -- What a Day!

This day is a perfect example of fabulous paddling in Newfoundland! Tony and Leslie organized a paddle around the Bellevue Peninsula in Trinity Bay. About a 90-minute drive from St. John's.

We started out in a calm lagoon behind Belluvue Beach. After a getting around a shallow gravel bed, we headed out through the gap in the beach into Trinity Bay. Below are Ysabelle and Leslie waiting for Dave Mac and Melissa to launch their boats.

The shoreline started out with rocky bluffs and stunted spruce. Below is Darren.

It was a warm day, so Ysabelle used my bow to cool off.

Soon the cliffs started to get higher.
Below is Tony Lee. He took some nice photos of the day, which you can check out on his website (

Soon after we started out, a minke whale came by to check us out. The whale came in for a close look. Then we started bumping 3 or 4 bald eagles up the shoreline. Below Darren takes a close look at an adult eagle.

And the cliffs just got higher. Brian provides good scale below.

When we rounded the north end of the peninsula, out came the sun! The day became even more beautiful.

We headed for lunch on a cobble beach, just southeast of the point.

Nothing whets the appetite like warm sun and an enjoyable paddle with friends.

Basking on warm rock.
After lunch, the rock hopping got better on the paddle south to Thornlea.
Towards the end of the afternoon, a bit of a head wind came up, which made us work a bit more to reach Thornlea. I highly recommend this location for a day paddle (25 km), when the seas are calm and the winds low. We saw whales, eagles by the dozen, mink, osprey, and lots of seabirds. Great rock hopping in a gentle swell, pocket beaches, high cliffs and clear waters. You just have have to love it!