Latinsko idro 2009 – Traditional boat regatta in Murter

Murter Island has been known for it’s boats for few centuries now. Especially gajeta and leut. These traditional wooden boats were used by the Murterini to reach their olive groves and pastures in the area of Modrave (a narrow strip between Pakoštane and Pirovac) and Kornati which were owned by the nobility of Zadar. Later, they purchased the entire archipelago (and more than it is now called Kornati) in late 19th century. Grandsons of the original group of buyers from Murter still keep their copies of the contract!

So, traditional boats played a major role in this island’s life: sheep, fishing, olives, grapes, wine… all had to be transported by these boats due to poor roads. Since most people that inhabit Murter now are originaly from Turkish Dalmatia, it took them centuries to start fishing! Much later than they learned how to sail…

LATINSKO IDRO (The Latin Sail) is the regatta that was started in memory in those days and Dalmatian traditions.

The preparations...
The preparations...

This annual event is getting better year after year with numerous cultural events promoting the tradition of this wonderful region. This year the event started on September 18th with exhibition of graphics and photos of old gajeta boats from Zagreb and Vienna archives. It continued during the week with several interesting events and my favorite was the screening of “The Stormy Sea” – a German movie shot on Mana island 50 years ago! The scene for that movie is still visible on the island.

But the main event is definitely the regatta.

Getting on starting positions
Getting on starting positions

Our “forces” of Pašman canal were several boats strong and this one is our family’s with my brother as a captain. We were there not with gajeta but with kaić – even smaller boat for our usually calm waters. And this kid on the boat was not part of our three member crew…

Kaić Babac
Kaić "Babac"

The regatta starts at 3 PM and sails to the nearby islands of Murter archipelago just like in the old days and the beauty of this regatta field is that even if you have a good start, the better navigation and the better boat still win. The sail is about 2 – 2,5 hours long but that depends on the boat. There are several types and sizes of boats and each is in it’s own category: leut, gajeta and kaić.
The most dramatic part of the event is the start where, after a siren, captain and the crew must release a short rope, pull up an anchor and release the sail.
This is what it looks like:

Anyway, our “Babac” – named after our home island – was first in it’s category after the start!

The regatta!
The regatta!

In the end, out of 78 contestants this year, our boat finished 32nd which was a good success considering that some teams “live” for this event and my brother prepared for 3 hours :)))
The event ends with winner ceremony, lots of music, wine, food…

Latinsko idro is one of the best celebrations of traditional life in Dalmatia and well worth visiting. With this kind of enthusiasm and the ever growing number of contestants, the future of gajeta and traditional Dalmatian boats is secure!

The future!
The future!

The event has it’s own web site (in Croatian) – Latinsko Idro

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Sunset over Korcula

Late September is so melancholic… Everything is “dying” but the weather is still gorgeous. Bura is rarely strong like in the winter months but quite common in this time of the year clearing the clouds from the skies and opening views all the way to the Italian coast.

On the road from Ston, down the Pelješac peninsula, a small panorama point is located on the hill just above Orebic town. You can’t miss it. At this time of year, sunsets are amazing…

Panorama point over Orebic
Panorama point over Orebic

The entire archipelago of Korcula opens up as well as the views of beautiful and distant Lastovo Island.
The sound of bura playing in the trees and with the waves makes the perfect background sound.

Lastovo in the distance
Lastovo in the distance
Sunset
Sunset

Quite romantic!
Combine it with a walk in Korcula Old Town and a great meal at “Adio Mare”, and there will be only a few more things you can ask from life…

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Skradin – The eternal charm of traditional Dalmatia

Probably the cutest little town on the coast is Skradin. Only 20 or so kilometers from Šibenik, this town is the “capital” of some other Dalmatia. Relaxed, easy paced, traditional… Although many things are changing and the modern elements like the new building of Krka National Park headquarters are ruining the picture perfect feeling of traditional Dalmatia, here, more than anywhere else, the old facades still shine with that sleepy feeling of easy life in the distant provinces. No hustle and bustle despite the thousands that board the boats to the waterfalls right here, only few dozen meters away from the city center.

Skradin
Skradin

If interested in history, plenty of links on the web will tell a tale of once important stronghold of Romans, medieval Croatian nobility and the times when this was the seat of a bishop of Skradin – a powerful figure of it’s time.
You can also learn about the recent war that hit Skradin hard as it was very close to the first lines of fire in the nearby Velika Glava and Rupe villages…

But for me, Skradin was always about easy living, good food and wine and charming traditional architecture.

The main street
The main street

My aunt was married to a local guy, my uncle Božo. They are both now in the shades of the cypress trees… Left us too early.
Both were very colorful characters who run one of the most prestigious local restaurants “Zlatne Školjke” – still a favorite to many.
I still remember my late aunt Marija preparing grilled meat for us while my father was taking tourists to the waterfalls of Krka… The fishermen would bring fish and eels, sea shell and squid, and my uncle would take care of all that while running the rest of the place that was always filled with tourists. The times have changed and there is a lot of competition in Skradin nowadays but “Zlatne Školjke” still keeps the tradition going as one of the most reputable restaurants in the region.

The promenade
The promenade

Skradin was an important harbor in the Roman times since the fertile hinterland was producing some of Empire’s finest olive oil along with great wine, honey, fish, sheep and cattle… The rich town became an important stronghold nicely positioned on the banks of Krka river. It stayed that way up to the Turkish conquest in 1492. Everything after that was just a sad history Skradin shared with many places in Dalmatia torn between Venice and Turkey and staying a provincial little town till the early 1900s…

Now, Skradin is waking up. A center of local gastronomy with it’s famous risotto, great olive oils and wines…Although Skradin is an “entrance” to very popular Skardinski buk waterfalls, part of the success owes to the marina that attracts hundreds of tourists and hardly any mega yacht comes to Croatia without making it’s way through a very scenic Krka canyon at Prukljan all the way up to the very town. Even bill Gates visits every time he is around. This year again.

Sunset
Sunset

It is simply a beautiful place worth visiting and definitely don’t leave without eating at local restaurants or at least having a glass of Bibich Riserva at lovely Alante wine bar on the main street…
Something to remember for good!

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