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Workin the World The 4 month trip that lasted 5 years .. all the adventures from Workers final year o/s and the trip back to Oz.

Croatian Cruising

CROATIA | Monday, 27 August 2007 | Views [2712] | Comments [2]

At the beginning of this trip I had stared down death in the form of Peter Elliott and Pamps. Fortunately for me, Pete had been struck down with a flu and I escaped with a few minor injuries, but pretty in tact. I was not planning to fare so well over the coming week, as the Colonel and Amanda (aka Miranda) were due to touch down and that can mean only one thing … trouble. Two will enter, one will leave.

During my time in London, just about all my friends, at one time or another, has managed to fit in a Croatian Cruise; J-Lowe for her 30th (sorry luv), O because he is loose; Cork for J-Lowe’s party etc etc. Every person, bar none, has come away raving about the experience, so when Ange said she was looking to organise our very own cruise, I jumped on board quick smart. The cruise itself runs for a week sailing from Split to Dubrovnik and back, the days are spent lounging on the deck drinking warm, flat beer (but beer all the same), stopping periodically in some sheltered cove to jump off the boat into crystal clear, amazingly blue, water. The evenings are spent docking in small towns along the coast or on Islands, eating sensational food and wandering marble clad old towns to drink in cool little bars. Not a bad way to while away a week of ones life.

Driving into Split to complete the Cannon Ball Run I was immediately struck by how busy it was and the beauty of the old town, my the first impressions:

1) It is hot, and by hot, I mean melt your thongs hot
2) Everything is white marble, reflecting the sun at you from 360° (see point 1)
3) Every second person is Australian and not just young backpackers, from middle aged, young parents to retirees, it would seem Split is to summer what Whistler is to winter for the Aussie tourist. As the Colonel said, it is a tad ironic that the inhabitants of a country surrounded by beautiful coastline, feel they have to pay thousands of dollars to see pebble beaches on the other side of the world!

Boulevard in Split



As I mentioned earlier, the days onboard are spent doing as little as possible allowing you to either; a) read, or b) recover from the night before. As a result, each stop, and indeed town, tends to blur into one, however, there are some real trip highlights. Firstly though the members of Team Ange:

Flange
Andrea (all the way from the good ol’ south)
Chesty
Mouse
Ruiksop
Colonel (RIP)
Miranda (my BOB – best on boat. An inspired performance drinking pints of what is quite possibly the worst white wine ever, for an entire week)
Chad
Naomi
Worker

Flange and Andrea ... all the way from the USA!



Day 1

On any trip this is always the biggest. With a boat of 22 strangers (19 of whom were Aussies), everyone is a bit nervy, using the ‘confidence building beer’, to break down the barriers, as well as happy to be out of work for a week. We could see from early on, it was going to be a big week, especially with Scotty too Hotty setting a cracking pace. The trap in all of this, however, is the ability to charge drinks to your room and at the price of £1.50/pint who cares if they are warm and flat. This boost of courage of course also lead to people jumping off all vantage points of the boat, although the craziest diver, Jodie, would not come into her own until the last day when, upon attempting a somersault from the top deck, she gave herself 2 black eyes.

Arriving at our first port we immediately lost everyone, as wandering drunks tend to do, so ended up in a fantastic night club. The Cave Bar, a name surely conjured by a marketing genius, was built in a cave, right on the water, overlooking the port. It came complete with g-string clad, podium dancers (for pictures see Ruiksop) and was going completely mental, so mental in fact, that Chesty fell off the wall and onto the rocks below and Amanda tripped over the stairs in, cutting her foot open.

Adam Boat Jumping Day 1 as Chad & Abby look on

Petrified Mouse

Another tough day at the office

Colonel ... Maggot much?

Sunset day 1


Dubrovnik

Everyone who has been to Croatia raves about Dubrovnik, how its beauty, food and nightlife set this city apart from others in Croatia. I can now confirm these are not rumours. The city itself is absolutely amazing, to think 80% of the buildings suffered shelling damage during the conflicts of the early 90’s is even more bewildering, as everything has been completely restored to its previous condition. Winding your way slowly through the marble streets it is like you have stepped back in time, to when the great civilisations of the world were forming. Amazing architecture set on cliffs overlooking crystal clear water; ensure Dubrovnik rates as one of the most beautiful old cities I have visited. A little tip for those going, if you walk to the water side of the city wall you will find doors, which lead you out to bars set on the cliffs over looking the ocean, to sit here and have a beer and watch the sunset is a must. You may also like to jump off the 22m cliff that Adam and myself did, but of course this is optional.

Main drag Dubrovnik Mouse, Flange & Ruiksop

Dubrovnik Harbour - completely shelled during the war

Bar outside city wall rock where people are standing below is the one Adam and I jumped off ... for more info see facebook profile pic

Soccer Dubrovnik style

Dubrovnik @ Night ... as you can see, pretty quiet!



The Storm

Leaving Dubrovnik we were to make our way to Hvar, unfortunately Neptune was not smiling on us and whipped up a frenzy on the sea. There were a few big waves and hairy moments, however, the highlight would have to be the sensational show put on, with water spouts (which look like small tornadoes to me) whipping up one after the other for about an hour. We enjoyed a rare insight into the power of nature.

It is difficult to describe how beautiful these spouts looked and the pictures below can not really do them justice, though I will try; imagine a whirlpool of water on the surface begin to stir around then rise toward the skies, simultaneously the clouds above begin to circle and, what looks like God’s finger from Michaelangelo’s famous fresco in the Sistine Chappel, slowly the clouds begin to reach down to the water, eventually they connect. Then for some reason the power is lost and the show is over as quickly as it began, until it all begins again in another spot. It made for incredible viewing and in hindsight should have perhaps been more worrying, as our captain continued to plough on toward them undaunted, however this only served to provide us with the confidence all would be ok. The papers the next day would tell a different story, houses were destroyed and many boats reported trouble as a result of being struck by the storm.

A boat sails beneath the beginning of a new spout

Storm clouds circle

Chasing the storm

The finger of God



Rock & Roll with a Random Italian

The night spent on Hvar Island, we stumbled across a local rock concert being held in the open-air theatre (read: open area with one side wall of a building painted white). Colonel, Miranda, Ruiksop and I sat for 4 hours drinking rocket fuel vodka, until that ran out, then warm beers, listening to local bands play originals with a smattering of their unique take on classics like the Stones and Beatles. Although their lack of English speaking ability did hamper their covers, they gave it a fair crack all the same and after 2 vodkas from the bar, anyone would have sounded good.

Upon returning to the boat the Colonel and Ruiksop promptly crashed, so Miranda and I thought it would be a good idea to venture onshore in search of a dart, or light, or both, I can’t really remember. Anyway, we did manage to procure ourselves a nice Italian bloke, who had 4 hours to wait for his 6am ferry, doing the hospitable thing we invited him, complete with massive case of which I am sure he was using to traffic dead bodies, back to the boat. This of course involved carrying said case through the 3 boats docked closer to the port than ours. Once back on deck I also fell asleep leaving Miranda to continue drinking and entertaining our Italian guest. I am unsure what they managed to talk about for 4 hours, given the extent of Miranda’s Italian is ‘scusi’ and our friends English finished with ‘yes’.

Colonel before the concert

Dinking the rocket fuel

The big stage


Dress up/Naomi’s B’day

For this night, which began as a toga party and ended with a dress up theme, we were supposed to drink and eat all we could, whilst wearing whatever costume you could fashion. Unfortunately I was hit with the ‘Croatian Belly’ that swept our boat and spent the entire night below deck (in the sauna that was our cabin) trying my best to not vomit. I did, however, manage to see the costumes early in the night and special mention must be made to; Colonel, resplendent in the bikini Miranda wore for their honeymoon; Ruiksop, who managed to carry off one of Miranda’s dresses with far too much flair and; Johnny who, in his halter top, white pants and multi coloured sombrero, provided a rare insight to the life of a gay Mexican.

The Crew

As with any situation, where you are placed with strangers in an enclosed vessel for a substantial period of time, you are at the mercy of the God’s as to how you fare with the quality of people you are to spend said time with. We could not have been more lucky with the boat load of drinking, diving, watery soup eating, cross dressing, part animals we were placed with, sure there was Colonel and Miranda, who I knew would either be sleeping, swimming, drinking or all three at the same time, however, the score a boat of 22 where everyone got along and had a great time must be rare. To the guys on the boat; thanks for a sensational trip and the abuse, by some, on the second to last night when I was struck down by the dreaded ‘Croatian Belly’ (when will I ever learn that peer pressure always comes back to bite me in the ass!).

The girls (and I mean all women, hence Ruiksop's addition)

Champagne anyone

This is how you do a footy photo

Thats better



So there you have it, a round up of a sensational time in Croatia, an amazing country, even if it is a bit over run by tourists. If you are planning to head there I would suggest spending at least 2 weeks as, whilst the cruise is unbelievably relaxing, I felt we missed much of the ‘real’ Croatia. There are amazing lakes inland and many cities you don’t see on a boat, in fact it would have been nice to have more time at the ones we did visit. But if you are looking to spend a week doing nothing but sunning yourself, eating great food (when you dock) and drinking cheap booze, then look no further.

Best on Boat

Tags: Beaches & sunshine

Comments

1

Outstanding. You captured everything I could remember and more. Mercifully, you didn't include any photo's of blokes in bikini's, but then that's what Facebook is for.

  Colonel J Purnell Sep 20, 2007 2:59 PM

2

Finally a Mad Max reference. Your work here is done

  Max Rockatansky Sep 21, 2007 6:28 PM

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