Continue WIND SURFing The Croatian Coast with Peter Knego in part four of his latest Sea Trek with a visit to the scenic Dalmatian town of Korcula aboard Windstar Cruises handsome, yacht-like cruise ship.
All photos by and copyright Peter Knego 2011 unless otherwise noted. Please click on image to view a larger version.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
It was well over 90 degrees on deck at 8:30 AM, so we ate in the air conditioned comfort of the Verandah even though the view of Korcula was so enticing. Korcula is a 29 mile long island off the southern coast of Dalmatia that is home to an enchanting town of the same name.
Since we had been once before, our plan was to tender ashore and have a leisurely walk through the town center. Luck was always on our side when tendering with WIND SURF; whenever we needed a ride ashore or back to the ship, a boat was always ready to go.
Like Rovinj and Trogir, Korcula town has an impressive mix of Romanesque, Venetian and Baroque architecture. Its long and complex history dates from the cave dwelling Mesoliths and Neoliths (10,000 — 5,000 BC). It was eventually conquered by Antenor of Troy, then fell under the rule of Illyrians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, Genoans and many other cultures through the ages. The walled town, often called “Little Dubrovnik”, has streets laid out in a herringbone pattern to protect against strong winds that tend to roar down from the barren ridge across the narrow Strait of Peljesac.
Korcula was the first city to ban slavery — way back in the year 1214 — but its main claim to fame as the birthplace of Marco Polo is contentiously disputed by the Venetians. On our prior visit, we went to the Dalmatian version of Marco Polo’s house and visited most of the cathedrals. Today, we would avoid the thrust of tourists and meander less traveled, shaded alleyways.
We settled at a small cafe atop the eastern wall with a view of the crystalline turquoise water beneath the fortress walls.
Once back aboard, I visited briefly with WIND SURF’s Montreal-based hotel manager, Henri LeMay. Prior to joining Windstar in 2001, he was employed in land-locked contracts with Radisson and Sheraton. Henri crossed over from being the executive chef aboard the WIND SPIRIT to hotel management and has done numerous contracts on both ships. He noted that while WIND SURF has more people and dining options and activities, on the smaller ships, there is just as much work since duties tend to be shared.
In the Veranda, lunch featured tempting Indian curries, basmati rice, papads and a large selection of chutneys in addition to my usual garden of salad delights.
On prior visits to Croatia, I have so much just wanted to jump into the spectacular water but logistics (finding a beach, having enough time, what to do with cameras, etc.) have always intervened. With WIND SURF’s marina being open in all but Trogir, fulfilling my wish could not have been easier.
We also had to have another go at kayaking and Mike joined a small group of fellow water ski enthusiasts for a ride through the strait.
At 7:00 PM, WIND SURF hoisted anchor and serenely slipped past the walled town and several small islets into the Adriatic. From the gym windows, I watched the tranquil seas turn from turquoise to gold. With our next destination, Dubrovnik, only a few hours away, WIND SURF would basically drift for most of the evening.
Another casual evening unfolded with dinner in the Restaurant, followed by an enthusiastic crew show in the Lounge.
Afterwards, we spent some time under the stars in the balmy breeze on deck and a paid visit to the bridge where one of the blips on the radar screen was revealed to be the northbound VOYAGER OF THE SEAS. Dubrovnik ahead…
End Of Fourth Post: Much More to Come…
With Special Thanks: Vanessa Bloy, Martin Cox, Henri Lemay
Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea. With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications. Knego also runs the www.midshipcentury.com website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India. He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."