Krk Island! No matter how many times I have sailed around that island, it still surprises me with something! Yachtsmen are familiar with the more popular southern side of the island, where they most often start from the marina, Punat through the Kvarnerić channel to Rab or Lošinj.
It’s unbelievable how many people plan ahead with an ambitious intention to go and see as much as possible in seven days and rush past the islet, Košiljun - an island upon which a Fransiscan monastery is situated and which has exceptionally rich flora. The anchorage, overlooking the monastery and sheltered from all winds, is a story in itself. Especially when the crickets sing in the shade of century-old pines. If one of these crickets moves into your boat’s cabin, it’s a bit of a different story, but I'm sure you'll laugh about it with friends once you’ve had a good sleep.
When sailing out of the inlet, there is no such thing as a wrong direction! If you head west, just beyond two miles you will find the the town of Krk. Historic Frankopan city, bell tower of the Diocese of Krk .. if you peek through one small door in the walls, you will see a hidden garden, now turned into a bar! Don't stop there. The owner didn't have a clue, while digging up the basement, that he would find the remains of Roman altars, even the port foundations of the first city!
The city of Krk, church
Located just four miles to the south is the islet, Plavnik. The anchorage between Plavnik and Mali Plavnik will surprise you with the turquoise colour of the sea, the smell of sage, and if you are an early riser or, even better, lover of a morning walk, move slowly and quietly and the island will reward you with a view of the deer and roebuck that abound there.
On the southern side of the island, inbetween the bays of Krušija and Jabucina, there is a cave, well-known for it’s name, “Love Cave“. You will recognize it by the dwarves guarding it! A narrow, 50 cm high channel leads you to the cave, and at the end of it is a small beach that’s lit up by the light coming through the opening at the top of the cavern. When you lie on that sand, illuminated by the rays of the sun that burst through the leaves of the fig tree growing in the opening of the roof, you will understand why it is called “Love Cave”.
If you continue in a northwesterly direction, you can see on the cliffs the nests of "Griffon Vultures", a highly endangered and strictly protected species of carrion scavengers.
After Plavnik, you enter the Silent Channel. If you are ever caught just once in a storm in the Kvarnerić Channel, and if you later enter this channel between Krk and Cres, you will understand why they call it silent. On the Krk side, there are many small bays in this channel where you can anchor and be the only boat in the bay – a rarity in the summer months.
On the western side of the island, there is Glavotok, a monastery and a long pier where you can moor your boat. I will always remember the morning when I sailed to this pier on a small yacht and just wanted to take a peek into the church. It turned out that I had arrived in time for the dawn mass so I stayed until the end, along with a few old grannies from places located a little further away on the island.
A little further on is the bay of Čavlena. Protected from the bura and jugo winds, turquoise sea, conifer forests, peace!
Moving on to Malinska and Njivice, which are tourist sites with everything a modern man needs - a yacht dock, shops, restaurants and crowds.
Njivice, island of Krk
I most frequently continue to Omišalj. Let’s ignore the industrial complex that disfigures it. Focus only on the old city situated on a cliff above a deep sheltered cove. Climb up and walk its narrow streets. Return to the past, to Roman times when the city, situated along a Roman road, played the role of guardian for the important routes from land to island. There is also the legend of Duke Ivan, who the Venetians captured on a pretense, thus conquering the island.
Just two miles north, your passage would be below Krk Bridge, formerly Tito's Bridge. An imposing structure which was the longest concrete arch in the world at the time of construction in the late 1970s.
Pass under a small arch into the bay of Voz, an excellent anchorage and shelter from the bura wind. From there you will get a view of both arches, the entire span of the bridge and the island of St. Marko, and sail into the past. Into the very place that has played an important role throughout history. There in the year 49 BC, a naval/ land battle between Caesar and Pompeii played out.
The head of Caesar’s army, General Anthony, who was suppressed by the head of Pompei’s army, Marcus Octavius, on the Bejavac peninsula, was saved by escaping on a raft made of barrels. Still today there are legends circulating about treasure buried somewhere in the area.
Sailing further east, another Silent Channel, this time quiet during the southern winds. Sailing Cape Bejavac, just two miles southeast, is Slivanjska Bay. Interesting because it leads to the cave "Biseruljke". It was also called the Vitezić Cave, but according to legend, after pirate treasure was found in it, it was renamed Biseruljka. The treasure was later moved and the exact location is known only by "Ive Gospodin", whose house is at the entrance to the village of Rudine.
A little further on is the bay of Soline, which penetrates deep into the land, and is famous for its salt pans which date back to the pre Roman period. In the bay are the town and port of Klimno and villages Soline and Čižići. The bay has excellent anchorage, protected on all sides. Healing mud is found under the wavelets in Meline, between Soline and Čižići, and even if you do not suffer from rheumatism, the best and funniest holiday photos originate right here.
There is no place that is not worth mentioning, such as Šilo. Although I somehow bypass it regularly, especially in the summer because of the hustle and bustle of boats and taxi boats from Crikvenica. I often remember that it more than once provided me with a safe haven from strong storms. Yet for skipping it often, Vrbnik is to blame.
A place that even in winter days, I often visit, at least by car. Situated on a cliff above a sheltered harbor and several beaches that can only be reached by a passageway recessed among the high cliffs. Encircled by walls, houses wrapped tight around a bell tower from which sage grows, painting it in spring with a blue-pink flower. The cobbled streets, of which one is the narrowest in the world; The place of the autochthonous Krk wine, Žlahtin. How long the tradition of winemaking exists in Vrbnik, perhaps could be best told by the story of Caesar’s soldiers escaping on a raft of barrels, which it was thought the local Liburinians, inhabitants of Krk, built for them.
It has already become a tradition for sailors upon departure to supply wine and oil to Vrbnik Cooperatives, located in the port with an imperative tasting.
Below are some beautiful bays, suitable for anchoring, St. Juraj bay or my favorite, Srščica! Casting an anchor and tying the rope to the shore so you have your own beach on which figs grow, is a rare privilege.
We arrive at an area looking onto the town of Senj. As the navigation continues, the landscape changes slightly. The trees are completely missing and green grass is becoming a rarity. The reason is the wind, the infamous Senj bura. The wind that should by no means be underestimated and for which, especially in this area from Cape Glavin to Stara Baska, you should be on the alert. In addition to the weather forecasts, which, I must admit, are quite accurate, the Velebit Mountains are an excellent forecaster in this area. When you see a swirl of clouds on the mountaintops, it's time to find a safe harbor, and only then check what your favourite internet application says about the weather.
As though carved out of the rocks, on the east side of the island, are the coves of Mala and Velika Luka. Cove, beach, anchorage! An essential destination on this part of the island. There was a Roman settlement between Vela and Mala Luka, and some pottery and Roman coins were found there. To fuel the imagination of sailors, and I know from experience that all of us are in spirit children and seekers of hidden pirate treasures, some gold Byzantine money was also found there. Also on the hill above are the ruins of a Byzantine fort.
If you drop anchor in Vela Luka, just before the fishing hut, and tie the stern with a rope to the shore, you can have your own little beach at the end of the bay.
Vela Luka, Krk
Unfortunately, I mostly just pass through Baška, avoiding the crowds of a classic major tourist spot. However, if you sail through the waters in the spring or late fall, the place has quite a different atmosphere and a walk along the long beach or the view of the bay from the citadel or from the cross of the church of St. Ivan, leaves you breathless. For those who want to take a stroll, a little way beyond is the viewpoint, Zakam panorama, or to Jurandvor’s church of St. Lucija, where you will find the Baska Tablet, significant in the history of the Croatian people, the language and especially the Glagolitic script.
The “Senjska Vrata” (the gateway of Senj), the passage between Krk and Prvić, if you hadn’t understood what I was saying about the bura wind, it would now be too late. It's best to just go downwind and seek shelter in the western bay of St. Grgur Island. But during good weather, this is the right place for sailing. Also, you enter an area where dolphins are usually found.
Prvić Island, seemingly deserted and inhospitable, will surprise you with the scents of Mediterranean plants and beautiful beaches, from Cape Stražica to Cape Pip. From Cape Pip to the Njivice Cliffs, my favourite diving spot. Especially if you are an earlybird, lie on the water above the shallow reef and let the sea do the rest
From colourful, small fish to large deep-sea urchins and sea snails, that move like a dancer in a long red dress, timid seabream and infrequently from the depths, a somewhat larger predator briefly comes by.
Only two miles further south, St. Grgur Island and port! Somehow, when sailing with either guests, friends or even by myself, it has become an imperative destination.
In addition to being a fairly safe anchorage, this evergreen island has ruins of buildings, which speak of the time it was once a prison for women. Even though I am not especially attracted to the ruins, they hide a small secret.
In the summer, when excursion boats and day boaters depart, the deer and does, which flourish on the island, descend into the forest of figs on the southern side of the anchorage.
If you are there a little earlier and prepare some sweet fruit, be still, and the usually timid animals will come very close, a few meters away from you.
Sv. Grgur island - deers on the beach
Let's head back in a northwesterly direction towards the isle of Galun. Here I often meet those wonderful playful mammals that I admire so much, especially in the morning or early evening. Responsible for the landscape of the southwestern side of the island of Krk are the jugo waves and the blasts of the bura. With the help of the sun, in addition to the barren landscape full of fragrant Mediterranean plants, they have created some of the most beautiful beaches on the island.
Gold Coast Beach, in the shape of an amphitheatre, sometimes anchored in the middle of the bay you hear someone talking on the beach, just so you know, because there have already been, let's say, funny situations.
Just a little further away, hidden from view behind the Biskupici rock, lies Mala Rajta Bay. The worst place to visit on the last day of sailing, when you need to return the boat, get ready to return to some everyday routine, because you simply don't want to leave. And by that I do not mean, “I would rather not leave”, “I do not want to”. I mean the decisive one would say, “That's that. I remain here no matter what happens”.
Zlatna obala beach
A mile beyond, behind the bay of Negrit, a view of the entrance to the inlet, Puntar, opens up. Maybe more swimming in the Konobe Bay, or somewhere further. Cautious sailing into the channel, let the green light be on your right and behold, we closed the circle, we sailed the island of Krk!
Author: skipper Robert Gal