Yesterday we made a last minute decision to delay our sail to Split and visit the Kornati National Park. The receptionist at our marina in Murter was insistent that we could not leave the area without visiting the park, saying that even as a local she would be very sad if she didn’t visit a few times each year. When I asked if there were any animals in the park, she replied ‘wild sheep’. That was enough for me!
I have been learning to sail Izabela and we decided this was a good day for me to skipper the boat from start to finish. I managed to steer her out of our very tight marina berth, with a little help from the bow thruster, and we were away.
As we sailed into the park about two hours later, we were struck by its stark natural beauty. The Kornati Islands are the densest archipelago in the Mediterranean, with 89 islands and hundreds of smaller islets, stretching for 13 km. Most of the islands are covered in rocks, and many have stone fences stretching down to the water’s edge. As we sailed past, we wondered why the fences were there. We still hadn’t seen any of those sheep and there didn’t seem to be anything else that needed fencing in.
After a few more hours of sailing around the many islands, we found a small cove with some mooring buoys and I had my second big test of the day – to steer the boat close enough to the buoy so the crew could pick it up with a hook and attach it to the boat. Not as easy as it sounds! I managed on the second go and completed my very first point to point sail.
We rowed the dinghy to nearby Bistro Quattro, one of two restaurants in the cove, for what was to become a long Sunday lunch. We ordered a bottle of local white wine and the daily specials – a huge meat platter of grilled pork neck, cevapcici and chips, a large pot of spaghetti with scampi, and some salad. It was all very delicious and cooked by mama in the kitchen, while her sons and granddaughter worked front of house. The food was delicious. We ordered a piece of Mama’s house made chocolate poppy seed cake and coffee, which arrived with a small glass of local grappa – compliments of the restaurant – a tradition we’re starting to enjoy.
We took the dinghy home and swam and snorkelled off the back of the boat before enjoying a late afternoon nap. None of us were hungry after our long lunch so we skipped dinner and stayed on the boat to watch the world go by. We even spotted some sheep! As we sat there taking in the stunning view and sunset, the song ‘One Perfect Day’ came to mind. I’d been feeling a little melancholy, missing loved ones, and this perfect day was exactly what I needed.
This morning we were away at 5.30 to make the long sail to Split. Sailing out of the Kornati islands at sunrise was so beautiful and the perfect end to this very special journey.