Just when we think it can't get bluer than this, the Adriatic delights us with yet another natural gem. 'Plave Grote' also called the Blue Cavern on the island Cres is a true paradise for all types of holiday-goers whether you travel by yacht charter, your grandpa's boat or on foot, all the way from Lubenice. Before immersing yourself in the cerulean charm of the Blue Cavern depending on your means of traveling make sure to spread your beach towel, tie up your boat, tug your beard (if you have one), oil up with sun protection, tighten your bathing suit and splash into the sea. Don't be shocked if you see ‘the hag’. Not the wrinkly monster from nightmares, but the spiny spider crab (Maja squinado) locally named ‘the hag’ – a loyal guardian of the Blue Cavern. Besides gleefully protecting the cavern, this sea creature is also in charge of cleaning the area.
First Destination: Island Cres
Holidays on the Adriatic should most certainly include a visit to the biggest Croatian island - Cres. This island has enough urban content to keep you entertained but also a plethora of untouched natural locations which hold the key to the best souvenir you can take home – a unique experience. If you’re sailing your way to Cres it is useful to keep in mind that Cres has an ACI marina settled at the south part of the island with 450 berths including water and electricity hook ups. This marina also includes a reception, exchange office, restaurant, sanitary facility, grocery store, nautical equipment store, repairs shop and suite accommodations. At sundown, when the crickets’ song dies down, turn your eyes to the rocky hills and start counting sheep. This is how Cres wishes you a good night.
Sailing Along the Coast of Cres
If you set sail south of the marina, your attention will be captivated by the beauty of the alternating blue shades of the sea, thick greenery of the forests and flittering white of the sailboats. Sea, sun, capes, bays and with a bit of luck, dolphin’s dance and the flight of the griffon vulture; these are the riches that Cres bestows. Set sail towards Pernat cove and about 20 miles ahead you’ll reach the bluest location on Cres. Thanks to the depth of the coastline you can sail relatively close to the shore. Along the way you’ll pass by Valun, a beautiful seaside town known by its thick, forested hills. After Valun you’ll come by capes Zagalv and Miračine that give shape to three bays. After a sequence of capes your view is bound to land on Lubenice, located 378 meters above the sea line. Legend states that this magnificent location got its name by a young maid Ljubica who settled on this hill after being exiled from Osor by her father for loving a man he didn’t approve of. If you’re lucky, this fabled location may become even more enchanting by the majestic flight of the griffon vulture. If you’re still not out of breath, brace yourself, for you’re nearing the bay Žanja which houses a unique natural phenomenon – the Blue Cavern.
Fifty Shades of Blue
After sailing into the bay Žanja, drop anchor at about 10-12 meter depth, somewhere in the middle of the bay. In addition to the main anchor it is advisable to use the additional anchor as well. After safely anchoring your vessel, tug your beard (if you have one), oil up with sun protection, tighten your bathing suit and splash into the sea. The Blue Cavern has two entrances. You can swim through the first entrance even during high tide; during low tide you can even enter in a dinghy, just make sure you lower your head to avoid any bumps. The other entrance is completely submerged and you need to dive through it. Take note that this is easier to accomplish when diving out of the cave. This entrance is 5 meters long at the depth of 2 meters. It is thanks to this entrance and the light it transfers that the cavern is painted in such distinct shades of blue. The longer you stay in the cavern, more accommodated your eyesight becomes to the dark, enabling you to see a whole new range of bluish hues. Within the cave you can find a small landing with perfectly rounded pebbles where you can rest. Best light show can be experienced during August, around 5 PM, when the sun enters the cavern at the best angle for painting this location cerulean. You can’t find the souvenir that can measure up to the experience of the wonders hidden in the Blue Cavern.
Did you mention a hag?
Granceola, grancigula, granzo, bogdan or simply the hag is an arthropod belonging to the species of migratory crabs. Red as a crab! Well… in this case we can say red as the hag. This crustacean’s body is painted in a red hue and its legs are red adorned with spots. Its shell is spiny and hairy and these slightly startling features are amplified by four long legs and two strong claws. It might not be the Miss of Adriatic but its appearance generates awe and its ‘shield’ reminds of a fearsome warrior protecting its dwelling. This makes the hag a perfect guard of the Blue Cavern. By the way, this fearless sea creature is protected by The Decree on the Protection of Fish and other Sea Organisms. If you decide to dive through the submerged gateway of the Blue Cavern, make sure to wave to the hag on your way out. Thankfully it still hasn’t started charging the entrance so you can enjoy all the shades of blue completely free of charge!
If you value the symbolism of colors, blue is the color of the sea and sky and it represents trust, wisdom, truth and haven. The Blue Cavern on the island Cres truly can be considered heavenly so come here and bask in beautiful shades of blue while being caressed by the golden rays of sun.