Gates family San Francisco, USA


My wife and I have been traveling the world for many years and sometimes rent boats and spend a week or so on the water. We booked two, week long sailing trips into Croatia, exploring the northern and southern islands and towns of the Dalmatian Coast. First of all this stretch of the Eastern Adriatic has a fantastic mix of landscape, swimming, open waters, charming towns and a rich history of civilizations. It helped that the weather was in our favor on both trips as we sailed in May and September,avoiding the peak tourism season. We were also fortunate to have the same captain on both trips. Josip Drinovac has sailed this coastline for years and has proven a very savvy guide, mixing a true sense of the sea with local knowledge, good humor and an intuitive sense of understanding what you are seeking and then carving out unique local connections along the way.

Our first voyage into the northern reaches of Dalmatia we explored the pristine bays and channels of Kornati Islands National Park as well as touching into historic and picturesque harbors like Zadar, Sibenik and Primostan. Our niece and nephew joined my wife and I for this trip and it was stunning, especially aboard a 4 stateroom catamaran that Josip captained. We had excellent downwind sailing coming out of the Kornati Islands going to Sibenik. From Sibenik we motored inland on the natural waterways of the Krka River toward Krka National Park, 17 km from Šibenik. We anchored for a night near the town of Skradin and celebrated a landmark birthday, stern tied to a lush tree grove where thousands of cicadas serenaded us late into the night.

The next season we came back with friends from Seattle and Josip picked us up near Dubrovnik with another 50’ catamaran. This time we toured the southern islands of Mjet, Listovo, Vis, Korcula and Hvar. At Vis, we stayed on the farside of the island in the fishing town of Komiza and drove over to the more popular town of Vis for the day. We dined in the hills of Vis at Rocky’s - seated outdoors under large trees and a full solar eclipse, eating a traditional island dish cooked in iron kettles submerged in red hot coals. From Komiza we did a day trip to the island of Bisevo and the Blue Grotto, which is a cave with translucent blue water illuminated by natural reflections. After another excellent sailing day back toward Havar we chose to anchor in Stari Grad where we were the only sail boat in the bay. We’d by-passed the more popular Hvar City which was congested with boat traffic and tourists. At Stari Grad we toured a winery, tasting Plavac and Mali Plavac varietals. At the end of another extraordinary week of sailing, we ended up in Split, the second largest city in Croatia.

The Dalmatia Coast is an amazing must see corner of the world. And seeing it by boat is by far the most extraordinary way to experience the natural wonders, historic charm and local hospitality the region has to offer. It also really helps to have a top notch boat and captain who can navigate the foreign waters and ways. Our hats off to Josip for guiding us through two memorable voyages.