We were back in Pula, one more time. It is one of the most convenient charter bases, due to the proximity of the airport. Cheap flights and short taxi drive to the marina are always a good start. Add in excitement to check out what's on the other side of the Istrian peninsula, this was a fail safe choice.
We had more reasons to be excited - we also got tickets to a concert in the fantastic Pula Arena at the end of our sailing holiday. According to our friends who have attended concerts there before us, this was going to be a unique and truly spectacular experience, to finish off our Croatian adventure.
On Sunday we set sail from the marina, towards the Kvarner archipelago which is off the eastern coast of the Istrian peninsula. We pass by the Porer lighthouse and the southernmost point of the peninsula. We made a short swimming stop next to Levan island, which we extended into a lunch stop too. After approximately two hours of sailing, in moderate, steady breeze we dropped our anchor just off the eponymous town on the island Cres. It was late afternoon so we all went ashore for a spot of sightseeing before dinner.
Our next destination is in the direction of Ustrine and Martinscica. Ustrine is one of the safest coves if you are running for shelter from bora (strong gale like wind, which typically blows during the winter). We couldn't sail past Lubenice Cove without stopping. This is one of the most popular beaches in Croatia. The village is situated 378m above the sea level. It can feel a bit challenging climbing to it, especially in hot weather, but the effort paid off and we were rewarded by most magnificent views of Istria and Kvarner.
Just after lunch we continue our journey along the coast of Cres and after some 30 minutes we arrive at the “Blue Cave”. We are anchored nearby, so we could swim into 30 m long cave.
We finished the day in the small resort town of Martinscica. There are pontoons and moorings available but anchoring is strictly forbidden in this area.
On Tuesday decided to leave Cres behind and head towards Rab. Rab is an island with eponymous old town encircled by ancient walls. The town’s 4 prominent church bell towers include the Romanesque tower at the Cathedral Svete Marije (St. Mary) and the tower at the ruins of Sveti Ivan Church (St. John the Evangelist). The monastery at the 16th-century Church of St. Justine (Crkva Svete Justine) is now a museum of sacral objects.
However, we didn't arrive to Rab town until later in the afternoon. Our first goal was to leave early enough and make it on time to Osor. Osor is known for its rich history but also a bridge which opens only twice a day - at 9am and 5pm. By going through this narrow channel between Cres and Losinj islands, we have substantially shortened our journey. This allowed us to make a swimming and snorkeling stop at the Rajska Plaza (Paradise Beach). CNN named it in its World’s Top 100 best beaches list. There was no way we were skipping this!
That evening we picked up a mooring in Rab and went ashore in search of freshly caught dinner. By pure coincidence we stumbled upon a 'Fishermen's Night' which is kind of a street food festival organised by the local fishermen where they are selling freshly caught and cooked fish. There were other street vendors selling drinks, sweets as well as street entertainers. We were so glad to be there for this as the food was excellent, reasonably priced and everyone was extremely friendly and welcoming. We also tried Rapska torta (Rab cake), a dessert made of almonds and Maraschino liqueur baked in the shape of a spiral. Hmmm, delicious!
The following day, we continued our journey towards Losinj island. After about 40 minutes of sailing we just off the small island called Delfin (Dolphin). We dropped the anchor and waited for the dolphins to arrive. This is a famous spot for dolphin watching. Once they arrived, we realised that they were well worth waiting for.
Afterwards we sailed towards Mali Losinj, which is the largest settlement on Losinj island. We had to make sure that we are at Privlaka bridge, which opens at 6pm to pass through the 8m wide channel. Once in Mali Losinj, we checked into the marina and headed out for dinner. The town's offering didn't disappoint - we found abundance of restaurants serving fresh, delicious food at reasonable prices.
The next day had us slightly deflated as our sailing holiday was coming to an end and we were planning our trip towards the yacht charter base. Sun Odyssey 54DS we chartered this time provided us with more comforts than we really needed, and we were going to miss it.
After breakfast, we headed north-west towards Unije island for a short swimming and lunch stop before we continued on towards Medulin.
Later the same afternoon we landed in the vibrant and busy tourist spot on the southern tip of Istrian peninsula - Medulin. We spent the night in the newly built marina.
On our last day of sailing, we pottered around small islands in the Medulin Bay and caves of the Kamenjak Nature Park. We had to return to Pula before 8pm for our last night on board and 9am check out.
After check out from the marina, we headed to our boutique hotel in Pula. We spent the day wondering the cobbled streets and reminiscing about the sailing trip we just did. Once again, Croatia did not disappoint us! This was to be our last sailing holiday in Croatia, since we have sailed all popular sailing regions, but it felt like there was more to see and do. We agreed that we just haven't had enough of it, which probably means we would be coming back.
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