My paddle’s keen and bright…

It wasn’t even a real conversation. Catherine: “Dad, do you want to join us for the kayaking tour? I can paddle a double kayak if you want to go.” Dad: “Are you out of your mind?”

I am not out of my mind.

The Elafiti Islands, made up of Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan are tiny islands off the coast of Dubrovnik, accessible by boat only. Two of the islands don’t allow vehicles and Kolocep is inhabited by only 150 people.


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We boarded the ferry in the Port of Gruz for the one hour trip to Lopud, the most “developed” of the islands. There we met our paddling guide Iva who gave us the basic instructions of sea kayaking and pushed us into the Adriatic.

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From Lopud we paddled for about an hour to a sea cave on the island of Sipan. The nine of us on the trip disembarked our kayaks… some of us more gracefully than others… I sort of “fell” out of mine… and swam into the enclosed cave. Normally I’d be quite claustrophobic in a place like this, but it was too enchanting to be uncomfortable. Something about the turquoise water of the Adriatic, the sandy bottom and the little bit of bright light streaming through the cave entrance gave everyone a blue water halo. Quiet, calm and so peaceful, it was a magical discovery.

Outside of the cave we were encouraged to cliff jump. And three of us did…including me, who jumped from one of the lower ledges and screamed like a little girl on the way down. I did have enough sense to shut my mouth and take in some air before hitting the water…

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We paddled on, around the island to a sandy shore, docked the kayaks and went for one of the most impressive fish lunches I have ever had. I don’t normally eat fish (outside of sushi), but the sea bass was so fresh, delicate and perfectly grilled that I think I’ve been spoiled now. I’ll never be able to accept mediocre restaurant fish again.

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Full and a little tired, we made the final paddle back to Lopud Island. Iva said we were one of the fastest groups she’s had for the 15 km total journey. This, despite Erika and Ed enduring rudder troubles that, for a time, allowed them only to turn left… which was at least not the direction that would take them out to sea.

We caught the 7 pm ferry back to the mainland and, tired from the unrelenting heat and sun, and still damp and salty from the paddle, we picked up a Croatian pizza and headed back to the guest house for a well deserved dinner and sleep.

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