Wonders of Kornati

Tuesday 2011/05/10

Official forecasts and predictions of local weather-experts had announced a very big storm. But fortunately for us, it turned out yet again, that somebody up there likes us. It was a perfect day for kayaking around Kornati.

Kornatski brevijar

I got to the Mir bay at Telascica on an old bike I borrowed from Motka. I left my Cube on the shore with Cedo, so I had the opportunity to ride through the island on a real, old, salt corroded, creaky bike. I was enjoying all the peace and quiet of the surroundings, whilst breathing in heady scents of pine trees, looking at amazing views which thrilled me at every new meter of the road. I was already able to tell by this prologue encircling the Telascica bay that this day was going to be special.

Little coves and capes, beautiful little islands perfectly arranged all along the bay, and peaceful, calm sea, such a tame scene opposite imposing hundred meters high cliffs from both sides. A few years ago, the National Geographic Adventure magazine declared as the adventure destination of the year, and our sea as the most desirable for kayaking. If this is all true (and it has to be since National Geographic stands by it) then Telascica and Kornati are the best of the best. I haven't even started rowing and I was already blown away... I was meandering in between islands, from bays to cliffs, from sandy shoals to deep, dark waters under vertical cliffs. Literally every stroke offered some new views, new experiences and emotions. I could see Marko and Luka were getting totally overexcited as well, aboard our escort boat of Nature Park Telascica, and later on the powerful speed boat belonging to the supervision service of NP Kornati. They were all over the place, from stern to bow, taking pictures and recording everything like crazy. Quickly after the photo session under the longest cliffs, those on the island of Mani, I must have become too boring for them, among all that gorgeous nature, so they left me on my own. I think someone called them for lunch in a nearby village, too… The thing that’s most beautiful about rowing at Kornati is how diverse these islands are. Almost each one is unique and with its own story. Some of them are tame and easily accessible, some are unable to take visitors on, some are completely bare, some are totally luscious and green, some flat and some rocky...

There are also amazing looking dry walls, fisherman's cottages, shepherd’s shelters, remains of Illyrian ruins, olive groves... Wherever you look, wherever you go, there is something new ready to completely amaze you. It all seems to be at hand's reach, and you can really be rowing for hours and not feel a strain. But, you really shouldn't forget at any moment that you are at sea, which is changeable and moody. I am happy though, that I've managed to avoid the storm everyone was predicting, so I was rowing in perfect conditions and was able to just slide in the marina in Piskera. And now I suddenly found myself in a very tricky and unpleasant situation. The wind turned to tramontane which then lifted the waves onto the stern. Knocking against the cliffs I'd been rowing along, the waves started splashing back. The sea was knocking me all over the place. I didn't like the idea of getting turned over in my kayak here. On one side there were hard rocks, and on the other nothing at all before Italy, with dark black unknown sea depths all underneath me. I had to get very focused to get into a narrow strait and enter the protected bay of Piskera.

I was finally OK again after a very nice meal prepared for us by the crew of the National park's speed boat. So, I carried on in between Kornati and the outer row of islands. Waves are much smaller here and I was able to enjoy surfing on them all the way to my lodging, on the island of Skrizanj Veli. Marko and Luka had already boarded off and I was able to joined them. I was very excited to be in a place where you can walk over the entire island and back again in 10 minutes. Since the wind was getting stronger, we hid from the cold air on the leeward side of the island. Deep in our thoughts, we gave our last salute to the sun. Or dinner was very much Robinson Crusoe style, and so were our beds. I was now lying down in my warm sleeping bag in the exclusive billion star hotel. Does it get any better than that?