CROATIA + MEDSAILORS

Our main reason for travelling to Croatia was to sail the Croatian islands with a company called MedSailors. We choose the “Discovery” route which starts in Split, goes around some islands then finishes back at Split. We booked the Catamaran that holds up to 9 guests with 4 double bedrooms + the skipper. As this was the first experience we’ve both had staying on a boat, we wanted it to be as enjoyable and comfortable as possible and the catamaran has more room than the other options of boats. We chose MedSailors as others I know have sailed with them before and recommended it, they’re also NZ owned and thinking back, we didn’t even look at other companies before we booked.

We flew into Split the day before we started a week on the water and checked into a hotel for the night to re-charge. We booked in for a massage at the hotel spa and ate dinner in the restaurant and the only downfall was that the wifi didn’t work in our room. I kept busy by doing a bit of maintenance like cutting my nails, plucking my eyebrows and doing a face mask to prep for a week on a boat. We were getting on the boat at a marina about a 40 minute drive from the “town” of Split so the hotel we stayed at was out of the town, only a 5 minute drive away from the marina.

On Saturday we checked in with MedSailors at the marina at 1pm and brought some snacks and alcohol to take onboard from a nearby shop. After meeting our skipper Sam [who we named throughout the week as “Skipper Sam on the catamaran”… good ring to it] and the others on our boat, we got settled in and set off for an island called Necujam where we were staying the night. It was about a 2hr sail and we spent that time getting to know each other. There was another couple, she’s from Australia and he’s from the UK now living in Australia, siblings from South Africa and a friend also from SA but now living in Luxembourg travelling with them so 8 of us all up including Skipper Sam. We all got along so well and by the end of the week we were all so grateful we got put together, any different and the week wouldn’t have been the same. Once we arrived at our destination for the night, we anchored in the middle of the sea and went for a swim before getting a dinghy to land for dinner at a family run restaurant called Paris. Paris had a beautiful view of the sea and all the food is fresh and cooked basically in front of you in an open oven. We had earlier chosen between a fish or meat dish, I got the meat and Ihaia got the fish and we planned to share. After eating while watching the sunset go down, us and the 6 or 7 other boats travelling together went for a couple of drinks at a sand bar, although I recall just having water and a cheeky ice cream. I didn’t want to risk being even slightly tipsy for my first night sleeping on the boat!

The next morning Ihaia and I both slept an hour-ish into sailing to Vis and then had to abruptly get up because we were not feeling well at all! After a lot of fresh air, water and sitting at the front of the boat we started to feel a bit better and as soon as we docked in Vis, we went and got some fresh juices to settle our stomachs. Sam made us lunch on the boat [cold meat sandwiches with salad] and we had a little stroll around the port of Vis before giving in and having an afternoon nap as we still felt a bit off. I regretted that pretty much immediately once we woke up, I wish we had hired a scooter and explored the island. That night we had a punch party where all the boats came together over a few glasses of provided punch and got to mingle. After that our boat had dinner together at a restaurant called Charly and I ordered the lasagna that Sam recommended and it did not disappoint! We continued our night where all the boats met again at a bar for a few drinks [I was on the water again, whats new] before heading back to the boat for the night in hope of feeling 100% again tomorrow.

In the morning I started a new plan that was carried on for the rest of the week to combat any motion sickness, I took a sea legs pill before bed and when I woke up and was outside as the engine started for fresh air while we were moving. We sailed about an hour to the green caves which we paid 70kunas to enter [about 9 euro]. The boat wasn’t allowed in the cave so we jumped on our floaties and paddled over. We unfortunately didn’t see any green and it was not nearly as exciting as inside the blue grotto in Capri but it was a nice swim and we had breakfast on board after our swim. We then sailed to where we spent the night which was Komiža and the boats got tied together in a circle where we swam, had paddle board races and relaxed in the sun all afternoon. I remember this as my most enjoyable day, just chilling, swimming and no plans to be anywhere. As we got hungry, we caught a water taxi across to the town to have dinner. Our boat ate together at a place called Fabrika where the menu had lots of options, I choose the Wok Chicken and enjoyed it. We had shooters before dinner and an ice cream after dinner and if that isn’t a perfect night, then I don’t know what is!

Morning three, we had a big 6 hour sail ahead of us which I wasn’t looking forward too! I was up and outside at 6am as we took off and slept on the net at the front of the boat until 9.30am and it was surprisingly comfy! We anchored at the famous Bol Beach where we swam and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. It was another 90mins on the go to reach our destination for the night, Zavala Luka and once we arrived we had blue cheese risotto on board for lunch and then got ready to head to Hora Vineyards for wine tasting and dinner. Hora Farm is family owned and everything you consume there is grown and made onsite. We were greeted with honey, fig and cranberry shots which are common in Croatia, I had a honey and cranberry and they were so tasty! We tasted 4 wines, 2 whites, 1 red and 1 rosé that were all nice and then had a delicious dinner of meat and veggies. The farm is beautiful, covered in lavender fields with donkeys and dogs walking around! We really enjoyed the few hours there. As the sun went down, we headed to the bus that took us back to our boats and had a couple more drinks on the boat then took it across the road to a cafe for awhile. At the cafe I switched to water and I tell you this because its ok not to be drinking all the time, I had just as much fun and didn’t feel pressured to drink. I’m not a huge drinker and if I do drink at all I’ll usually only have a couple before I get on the waters again. I only had one big night this week [this whole holiday to be completely honest] and that happens tomorrow…

Day four started with a morning sail and swim then we docked at Stari Grad. We had to be ready by 4.30pm to get a bus together into Hvar town and I was annoyed with this timing as tonight is the “big night out” of the week yet we were leaving the boat at 4.30pm. For a non partier this pretty much confirmed that I’d be knackered by 9pm! We stopped at a castle on top of a hill for pictures over the town then walked downhill into the town. It was a slow start of drinks and dinner and I was feeling super low and tired so I had my first ever espresso martini to get me up and it sure did its job! The nightlife in Hvar starts around 9pm and when we got to Kiva bar around 10pm it was heaving and getting busier by the minute. We were served a free shot of something [?!] to start then I was on the vodka shots for the rest of the night. Ok so, Hvar has been hyyyyped up for its nightlife and I’m so glad it pulled through because I honestly had one of the best nights out! It was so fun, everyone was on such a good vibe and the music was GREAT, a huge mix of Drake, Snoop Dog, Jonas Blue, old school bangers… the list goes on. It kept me dancing until 2am when our group decided to taxi back to the boat together. The night was more than I thought it’d be, I had fun and felt safe the whole time. Lots of water + a painkiller before bed and thank God the water was super still that night!

Waking up feeling surprisingly good, we set off around 10am headed for Supetar. We stopped on the way for a swim in more crystal clear waters and had blue cheese gnocchi for lunch, Sam has been making us super nice lunches on board! We docked and had an hour to get ready before all the boats came together and did this thing where each boat chooses a dress code and song and comes off the boat to it, kind of a group choreography thing. I dunno, wasn’t into it! But our boat dressed in white and as the sailing route we were on is called “Croatia Discovery” we took the disco out of discovery and walked out to Bee Gees “Stayin’ Alive” while our skipper Sam ripped some serious dance moves on board! After that we went to a beach bar for a drink and then to dinner at another family owned place. The restaurants we’ve been to in Croatia have been really family orientated, homemade food and all really delicious. Maybe not something I would’ve picked had Ihaia and I been travelling around on our own but I’m so glad we were put in places to eat as we had some great meals. After dinner our group got an ice cream and walked around the port before calling it a night.

Last day on the water! Set off around 8am, had crepes on board for breakfast and stopped at a port to fuel the boat before stopping again for one last swim in the stunning adriatic sea. We got back to Split at 1.30pm, said good bye to the awesome group we had on our boat and caught an Uber into Split town to our accomodation [that I’d highly recommend, spacious room, lovely host, in-house masseuse, very central] for the next two nights. We were so ready for a proper toilet, shower and spacious bed! We had a nap before rolling out the hotel in search for food where we found Silk which is Asian fusion and then for a little walk to a supermarket. From the small amount we’ve seen of Split, its already so cool! Its more developed than I thought it’d be, good vibes, lots of cute eateries, little juice and ice creams stalls and mainstream shops like Zara. I booked myself a full body massage for tomorrow with the hotels masseuse and I’m so looking forward to it.

We had some wet laundry from the boat to wash so I went to the laundromat when I woke up and Ihaia had a sleep in. At 11am I went for my massage and it was probably the best massage I’ve ever had. This is my third massage of our holiday [Ihaia has had 2 as well] and if its in your means, definitely make time for them. Holidays are relaxing, absolutely! But also tiring and straining on your body and mind in more ways then one with all the walking, moving around, sleeping in different beds, being alert, planning days etc. Getting these massages helped me have time out, relax and mend my body. We stayed really central which was good so went for a walk around the town and got some lunch while we were out. The afternoon called for another nap before getting up, walking to the port and getting dinner which was actually really average so that was unfortunate for our last dinner of the holiday!

On our last day in Croatia we hired a car and drove to Krka National Park and headed straight for the main waterfall called Skradinski Buk. It took an hour to drive there then caught a ferry into the national park that was about a 20 minute ride and then a short walk to the waterfall. It was stunning but there were a lot of tourists everywhere. We looked around and ate some food but didn’t end up swimming and left earlier than we anticipated. I wouldn’t say I was underwhelmed but coming from NZ where there are plenty of beautiful waterfalls too, we weren’t super blown away. Maybe it was because we were hot and tired or just all the people. But we’re glad we did it.

Thank you beautiful Croatia, we went into the week with no expectations and not even sure what to expect but we were blown away by the beauty of the country. So much greenery, history, lovely people, delicious food and don’t get me started on the colours of the sea.

We literally went to sleep with dirty feet, messy hair and sparking eyes every night. Pure magic.


MEDSAILORS TIPS:

Bring a sleeping mask! It was my life sleep-saver. There was no curtain over the window we had in our room and it gets bright super early like 5am and I slept soundly through with my mask on.

Be prepared to explore every island you go into, you don’t get long at each place as you are somewhere new every day so make the most of it. The Medsailors staff have good recommendations for food and things to do in the islands we stopped at.

I was told there is a photographer that comes on your route for a day each week and takes cool professional photos and drone shots… there isn’t. I was also told that floaties from previous weeks would be left on the boat if they didn’t want them but the staff actually re-sell them when you check in so still be prepared to buy a floatie.

You put in a lot of work on the boat, from arriving at and leaving places to breakfast and lunch prep and dishes. There was 1 skipper and 7 of us and in my opinion it’d be ideal if MedSailors had another boat full of chefs or staff that followed the troop, jumped on each boat in the morning and at lunch to make and clean up the food as the Skipper already has so much work to do which they then need us for. In no way am I complaining about helping out as Sam was so busy and we actually needed to help, it wasn’t optional, but MedSailors don’t put that anywhere in their advertising or information.

We’re on the go a lot and there’s definitely no where near as much time swimming as I thought there would be. Ideally timing needed to be better as swimming spots are limited and short and on the last full day we actually missed out on a “water sports day” as we docked so late.

The catamaran was more run down than I expected, its quite dated inside. The bathroom is what I struggled with the most on the boat. The toilet is a “pump” toilet where you pump water into it with the leaver on the side, do your business and then pump it back out & put your used toilet paper in a bin that is emptied twice a day… lol. Our boat agreed no number 2’s on board! The shower is also the tap head, so you drag the head out and Ihaia had to shower with me every time so he could hold the shower head as I washed my hair. It did work out fine like it could definitely be worse but it also wasn’t fabulous [there were 2 or 3 ports where we could shower on land].

Though those sound negative, they’re just so you’re aware – FYI. Our week with Medsailors is a week we look back super fondly on out of our month away. We had so many good times and have so many good memories that Ihaia and I talk about together often! During the week I honestly thought that this would be my first and last boat trip like I’m glad I’ve done it but maybe its not for me but since getting off the boat and thinking back on the week, I’d definitely do it again!

“SEAS THE DAY”

Watch the short Youtube video of our time in Croatia here.

See the “Euro Summer” highlight on my Instagram for more pictures and videos.

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