Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sea Kayaking in the Elaphite Islands

Alas, one of the challenges of waterproof cameras; you don´t have to keep them dry. We spent five days of sea kayaking in the Elaphite Islands, in the Adriatic just north of Dubrovnik. We took the evening ferry over to the island of Lopud, where we stayed four nights. The original plan was for six days of kayaking, but we took one day off because it was too windy. Just as well, that gave us a chance to do a hiking lap around the island. We did a paddling circuit around Lopud, a circuit around the island of Kolocep (including a lunch stop at a small restaurant for the best fish dinner I´ve ever had).

After the day off for winds, we crossed to the island of Šipan for the next three nights. The crossing was short, perhaps a kilometer to a smaller island that gave us some shelter, but all of us agreed that it was no fun at all. We had four-to-six foot swells coming in from the sea on our front left quarter, and a stiff breeze with wind-driven waves on our back right quarter. We all gritted our teeth, paddled hard, and everybody manged to avoid capsizing; but it was a white knuckle adventure for a good half-hour or so.After that crossing, we had shelter from the swells and some of the wind, so we paddled around to the far end of Šipan. The next day we completed the circuit of Šipan. For the final day of kayaking, we paddled over (and back) to the mainland village of Trsteno where there is a very nice historic botanical garden. We had sunshine and glassy water on the way over; on the way back some light rain moved in but without any wind or lightning. It was very cool to be paddling across and listening to the sizzle of the raindrops on the calm seas.

The islands are beautiful. There were some interesting caves, a few beaches (that we didn´t stop at, unfortunately), and amazing clear blue waters. The water temperature was a little bit too chilly for me to do any comfortable swimming, perhaps 17-18C. Oh well. The weather pattern seemed to be sunny mornings with afternoon showers, but our guide Đivo said that was not really typical. There were eight people in our group: another couple from the US, a couple from Scotland, a guy from England, and a woman from Scotland originally who now lives in Switzerland. The group got along very well, everybody was an experienced paddler, so it made for a great trip.

Elaphite Islands photos on Picasa

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