M!!! Many magical moments!!!
As soon as we left the protected bay of Loviste and got out to the cape of Korcula channel, the wind blew and the sea became all white from foaming crests of playful waves that were coming to us from the left side. Nothing too dramatic, but we had to be more careful than on calm sea. „Let's stick together just in case“, was our deal before we set out towards the nearest part of the island of Korcula. A few minutes later, our kayaks were scattered all over the channel. I kept turning left to where I last saw Sajko, and right where Tea was. I was relieved to see both of them safe and relaxed, rowing along towards the shore. About hundred meters before the shore I was thrilled to come across a real sea turtle, probably a glavata želva. It was floating on the surface of the rough sea, so I thought it was maybe even sick or hurt. I stroked it a few times, and then, when it got bored of me, it dived in. I stayed around for a bit to look at this beautiful but unfortunately endangered species, very unhappy about the fact we'd forgotten to take all of our cameras.
After a short break and a swim on a small beach on Korcula, we went off to Babina, a small village situated in a beautiful bay. Sandy bottom dotted with patches of sea grass, playing with the sea and sunlight seemed pretty unreal. At the end of the bay, there were only a few houses and a huge canyon rising above them.
In all this greenery, there was a very neat and nicely maintained olive orchard there, separated with cascading dry walls. Our arrival and preparations for switching to bikes was being observed by a few quiet and fairly uninterested locals. Cedo found out about a few possible routes from them, which made for another change of plans. We are not going to take our kayaks any more, but we are to spend our last bit of the letter „M“ on our bikes. I just adore riding around Korcula.
This is the first time for me to be going further into this island. We were all commenting on how it's amazing to see so many hills and kilometres on our islands. Apart from being very steep and long, Korcula is very beautiful. I do not know whether I felt more delighted with its wasteland, vast green areas of macchia and forests or beautiful old villages we passed through. Luka, who’s better half is from Korcula, insisted we go through Prvo Selo, to the place called Kocja. I humbly admit that I have never even heard of this natural phenomenon before, and of this hidden, less famous Croatian pearl. Kočje is a combination of impressive limestone rock, well hidden from view by dense vegetation. Twenty-meter-high stone blocks scattered around in some strange logic of natural forces, in an unusual way, so you suddenly find yourself in a real maze of narrow passages, caves and tunnels.
It’s strange to see rocks all covered with moss, they look so soft and green. The landscape is completely different from anything else I've seen on this and other islands, and looks like it could be from a story about fairies, elves and other magical forest creatures. It’s no wonder that the water spring that never dries up is called Vilino korito – “Fairy’s basin”. It's also no great surprise that Kocje has been declared protected area and special reserve of forest vegetation since the 60s. The only thing that’s surprising is that only a few have actually heard of it.
After this amazing nature, our next stop was Korcula, city of amazing beauty built by man. We were having fun exploring the streets of Marko Polo's home town, centuries old beautiful facades of buildings and Korcula’s characteristic towers. One can really feel all of its history still present, filling you up at every step, with every look and every breath.
The last few kilometres took us to Lumbarda, a peaceful little place on the very eastern end of the island. From the hotel Borik terrace we could see a quiet bay with a small port, scattered islands of Korcula Archipelago, with the highest peak of the Peljesac peninsula, Sveti Ilija, in all its grandeur in the background. There are luscious olive groves and vineyards of the special vine sort Grk bijeli, which doesn't grow anywhere else but here. Our happy Welcome team gathered around the table recounting stories until late in the night. Tea, Mislav, Davor and Marijan are leaving tomorrow, so it will be just the original four of us left. We have finished the letter „M“, with numerous comments and critiques about the calligraphy... But I reckon that with a little imagination and good will you will recognize the letter „M“ there, and if we had done it any differently we would have missed out on so much of the Welcome adventure.