Diomede’s Cape or Punta Planke

Two kilometers south-east of Rogoznica, near the village of Ražanj, Cape Planka (or Punta Planke as locally known) is located. This very unique spot is also known to be a a geographical and climate divider of the north and south Adriatic. It is a place of strong  collision of north and south winds and sea currents.

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Some of the biggest waves of the Adriatic crash there and it is really a great experience to see all those waves crash over the tiny warning sea light and spraying the salty sea dust over the chapel located there.

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It was jugo (wind blowing from the South – ESE to SSE)  in the forecast just around New Years when I headed from Split to visit and take some photos. One should just drive to Ražanj and head in the direction of this point to find a trail that will eventually end next to the chapel.

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http://loverogoznica.eu/

The Chapel of St. John is a protected site of national heritage. This is a very basic little chapel with no decorations mixing pre-Romanesque tradition with Romanesque and Gothic features. It is oriented East-West and is rectangular in shape with a semicircular apse. The interior is also very basic and is typical to our coast. It also served as a good shelter while I was there shooting 🙂

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One of the miracles attributed to the Christian saint John, the bishop of Trogir from the 11th century is related to Cape Planka. According to a local legend, after the shipwreck by Cape Planka he walked on the waves and saved the lives of King Koloman and all the sailors. In memory of him and his miracles, a votive chapel was built back in 1324.

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Behind the chapel
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I also managed to see a beautiful kestrel battling strong winds!

In the distance, beautiful lighthouse Mulo can be seen enduring massive waves.

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It was built in 1873 and it was continuously inhabited till most recent days when it was completely automatized. Generations of lighthouse keepers and their families lived at this very unique spot. Today, there is no one to listen to massive waves slamming against the walls…

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Cape Planka is also called  Diomede’s Cape as it was first mentioned in the oldest preserved descriptions of the eastern Adriatic coast. Homer, in his work ‘Iliad’ reveals that after the Trojan war Diomedes himself, who was one of the greatest Greek heroes of the Trojan war, sailed around it. A Greek historian Timaeus, as early as in 4th century BC described the unusual weather circumstances that surround this cape. This specific description of weather conditions over the Diomede’s Cape belongs to the oldest descriptions of a meteorology phenomena in all of Europe.

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Diomedes and Athena attacking Ares

Diomede’s Cape was also mentioned by Greek scholar Eratosthenes in the 3rd century BC as well as Pliny the Elder in his ‘Naturalis Historia’, which was envisioned as a book about the whole natural world.

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Interesting history and a beautiful spot, Punta Planke is definitely worth visiting!

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The Sleepy Silba

Many wonderful islands are still “hidden” from the masses of sailing guests enjoying the central Dalmatian archipelago all the way to Dubrovnik. And that is absolutely fine. It is not like these islands don’t get anyone, but that is far from the crowded shores of Hvar, busy bays of Brac or the lines in front of Blue Cave of Biševo.

One of such, less visited pearls is definitely Silba. Beautiful island paradise North West of Zadar and just a short sailing distance from the southern shores of Lošinj.

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(image from TZ Silba web site)

Silba is an island where one can only think of peace and tranquility when mentioned. There are no cars on the island and there are only 290 inhabitants year round. Summer is, of course, more lively but that is a very short period.

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The main pier and ferry harbor

History of the island and its only settlement is quite simple as it was always owned by some of the local noble families from Zadar or Losinj with “independence” bought only in the 1852. The rise of captains and ship owners from Silba started all the way in the 1600s but Napoleon burned down the entire fleet in the early 1800s. The second rise of Silba merchant marine was in the mid 1800s with an impressive fleet of 98 sailing ships. Orebić and Lošinj are more famous as their fleets were larger but the same fate got them all as they did not see the advantages of steamers…

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Silba harbor in the 1970s

Another terrible disaster was the arrival of Phylloxera and the death of all of Silba’s vineyards. The vineyards were never replanted which is a pity as Silba was home to one very special type of vine that would ripe earlier than any other grape variety on the coast: as early as July.

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Typical view of Silba from turn of the century

Today, Silba is best known as an oasis of peace. I had a rare chance to visit this May and enjoyed immensely walking the silent streets, enjoying the genuine tranquility and calmness. Almost a meditation.

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Silba is also known for its best known monument – toreta.

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It was built by a local captain Marinić who built it so his loved one can watch for his ship when returning. In those days, one would sail for years so the young lady could not wait and married another man. When he returned, he realized the sad truth but he also saw a young daughter of his former love and waited for her to grow up and merry her. They lived a happy life and had nine children!

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Before forestation

Silba is also a popular stop for fishermen fishing in this part of the Adriatic for many centuries now.

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With tourism getting to all islands and parts of the coastline, Silba seems to be escaping the faith of southern islands and enjoying the more relaxed atmosphere even in the peak season.

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But spring is the best time to visit. Very different from anything one can see south of Šibenik, Silba should stay a secret!

Beaches of Vis Island – Sandy Smokova beach

Vis is generally known as one of the most beautiful islands of Croatia. Culture, history, food, beaches…all that makes Vis  Island a very special destination. There are several very popular beaches on the island (Srebrna, Stončica, Grandovac, Stiniva…to name just a few) but some are only accessible by a boat as the coast of Vis is quite rugged and wild.

One of my favorites is Smokova for sure.

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Entering Smokova bay

This is not a small bay. It can hold dozens of boats of all sizes and and it is a perfect refuge from jugo (southern) wind or maestral (north western). It is a popular destination for all boaters but it was not crowded despite the fact it was August 1st which is usually the busiest month of the season.

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Smokova
In the bay
In the bay

The beautiful bay ends with a small sandy beach that is just perfect for families! Well…maybe not everyone likes it.

Great for families and (most) children
Great for families and (most) children

The beach itself is maybe a 100 meters long and it is made of a very fine, nearly white sand. The beach is open to northern winds and it is not the cleanest as some people have a custom of throwing stuff overboard… The Vis island tourist board should find some funds to clean these beaches and maintain it that way through the season (and after). Lots of driftwood as well but I like that and some folks built a nice shade.

White sands
White sands

It is also worth mentioning that, because of the high hills that envelope the Smokova bay, sun is lost fairly soon so, by 7 PM, it was already dark on the beach.

At the beach
At the beach

A curiosity of Smokova is that one can still see part of a WW2 bomber wing at the sea bottom. About 100 meters from the beach. It is part of a wing of an aircraft that did not make it to the Vis airport and crashed here. The airport for allied airplanes was created in the central part of the island as US and British airplanes were attacking Nazi targets during the last stages of the WW2.

Part of the wing
Part of the wing

And then it was time to head back.

Heading back to Vis town
Heading back to Vis town

Stončica lighthouse looked pretty as ever.

Stončica lighthouse
Stončica lighthouse

In general, nearly all beaches of Vis are quite special and very hard to pint one out as the nicest. Smokova is excellent for families as that sandy part makes it easily accessible and great for children. Smokova is part of our motor boat trip around Vis Island as one of the most popular stops.

 

Travel in Croatia