I’m clinging on for dear life. Well not my life but for my friends who is precariously positioned on the rock our captain skilfully steered us straight onto.
The boat begins to tip further with water almost breaching the side. With the initial shock passing it is nearly impossible to not find the whole situation hilarious even clinging here onto a rail. Soon our Captain dives into the water and joins my friend and begins to push. My grip loosens as I am consumed with giggles.
Now I am seriously in danger of dropping down on top of my friend who also is consumed in uncontrollable laughter as she helps push the boat back into the water. With success and a horrible scraping noise the boat is right side up. The deck is covered in sangria making it look like a scene from a thriller.
For travellers after a self-guided and self-determined adventure throughout Croatia’s many Islands; utilizing the ferry services is easy and affordable. Boat travel in Croatia is often a very safe endeavour minus the small hiccup above with only my friend and the boat receiving small, none life-threatening scratches. It was one of the most hilarious boating experiences of my life and a great story to share to family and friends back home. For me boats are a way of life and I’ve always enjoyed spending time out in the ocean and accessing islands and beaches that you can’t just pull up to in a car.
Ferries run daily through the summer peak season to most major Island and Mainland Ports. You can pre-book tickets online or show up at the Ferry’s agency on the day for a “walk on/deck” ticket up to 30 minutes prior departure. To get to Islands that are off the beaten path there are ferry/catamaran services which are more limited. If you’re headed to Vis it is easiest to travel from Hvar and booking in advance is advised. Please note that outside peak season (starting Sept 1st) the numbers of ferries on all routes are reduced drastically and planning out your itinerary in advance to match the limited schedules is a very good idea.
Travelling on a budget is easy in Croatia especially when you are travelling by ferry. On board you can always find a drink and snacks in the bar at an affordable price. Longer ferry trips such as the one starting in Dubrovnik heading all the way up north to Rijeka (stopping off along the way) will often have an on board cafeteria and/or restaurant. For those on a serious budget you are able to take food and beverages on board; so head to your local Spar and stock up for your journey. This is the same for all long ferry journeys I have experienced throughout Europe.
If you are worried that travelling through Croatia on your own rather than taking a Sail Croatia Tour will dampen your experience or will inhibit your exploration of smaller islands think again. In Dubrovnik I went on a one day boat tour provided by my hostel at a very modest price. This took us all around the islands visiting the Blue Cave, Green Cave and other various islands wrapping up at a beach side restaurant and a little cliff diving. Other great small clusters of islands to explore on your own are those off Hvar Town. Here grab yourself some new found friends from your hostel and rent one of the small boats from the Harbour (4-6 people per boat). With no boat license required it makes for a fun adventurous day out. Just don’t forget food and drinks as many of these small islands have no occupation. Another great thing about renting these boats is you can often barter your price down and many will include snorkel gear for the day!