2012 April 16 – Day 36 – Korçula, Croatia

We anchored off the coast of Korçula and tenders took people to shore.  We woke to heavy, dark clouds.
Croatia’s western border lines on the Adriatic Sea and is partially comprised of the so-called 1000 islands of the Dalmatia Coast.  It has many historic sites and sunny beaches.  Korçula is one of the Dalmatian’s most interesting and historic gems.  The island is 46.8 km (29 miles) long and 7.8 km (4.8 miles) wide.  Residents claim Marco Polo as a native son (not definitively proven) .  He embarked on a remarkable Asian odyssey with his father when only a teenager (he was born in 1254). Polo was not the first to visit the east but he was among the few to document his journey.The horse-shoe shaped Old Town is situated at the tip of the narrow island making it easy to explore.  The town is all rock roads, rock buildings, rock walls.  The area is famous for it’s stone masons and sea captains.

The tour we had selected was  a boat trip along the Dalmatian Riviera, a 20-island archipelago.  Our first stop was the town of Orebic on the Peljesac Peninsula.  Orebic is famous for its Trstenica Beach with lovely jade green water. Our friends Charles and Evelyn, coming from southern California as they do, did not like the cold wind as we crossed the water. It was a nice place to wander around.  We had about an hour and then had to head back to our boat.

On the walk back to the tour boat the sky opened and it began to rain heavily. We keep hotel shower caps in our camera bags to protect our cameras during rain but they became our head gear as we made the walk back to the dock.

As we set off for our next island the boat captain kept checking the winds and clouds.  All the guests on the tour crowded under cover.  John and I climbed up to the top deck and the skipper said we could share his cabin or, if we would rather, we could stand outside under the roof overhang; which is what we did.  The captain finally told our Holland America rep that it would be too dangerous to navigate the boat to the next island as scheduled due to the severity of the storm.  He slowed the speed to a putt-putt across the bay to one of the more sheltered islands and cruised past the coast so we could have a bit of a look at things, then headed back to the ship.   This island is owned by the church and the building has recently been renovated.

Our tour ended over an hour early, but everyone was wet and cold and no one complained about the early return.  We all headed for hot showers and hot soup.  John and I read in our cabin and kept an eye on the sky.  About 3 o’clock the rain stopped so we grabbed a tender ride to shore and walked around the old fortified town, doing a long loop all the way around the tip of the island.         A monument to the contributions of the skilled stone masons   These beautiful figures of Christ and the apostles were all carved from wood.

The house that is part of an on-going archaeological study as to whether or not it is the home of Marco Polo, as it claims to be.                                         No shortage of rocks that is for sure.

Last tender back to the ship left shore at 4:30 and the ship raised anchor and set sail across the Adriatic Sea for Italy.

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