Canoeing around Dalmation IslandsNovember 8, 2016 in Croatia
Over the water from the campsite we could see Murter and several smaller pimple shaped islands. There were a few spots of rain as we launched from the little campsite jetty but the wind was light and the waves small, so after we'd skirted the shoreline for a while we turned to cross the channel and explore some Dalmatian islands! Looking northwards there were layers of hills, the ones furthest away appearing as faded grey silhouettes. A mirage effect caused some island hills to 'float' above the sea, adding a magical quality to our Adriatic adventure.
The rain came down heavy as we approached the first island. It had a small solar powered light to warn craft of rocks and we docked Little Green (our canoe) on the stone jetty this was sited on. Wide, dry stone walls provided shelter from the wind as we picked our way over the rocks and long grass to reach a dry area under the old pine trees. Rocks jutted up in lines parallel to and slanting towards the shoreline. It looked like a natural amphitheatre and a perfect place for a picnic! A smell of pine pervaded the air and it was wonderfully quiet and still. As we ate our sarnies we checked Maps.Me and found out the island was called Tegina.
We spent several hours circling round three more islands, only seeing a couple of boats and two hardy snorklers the whole time we were out. The islands were all pale rock topped with a thick covering of verdent green trees. Most were surrounded by dry stone walls with a few homemade stone jetties jutting out.
Underwater we saw shoals of small fish flitting back and forth under the canoe. Long black blobs (that on closer inspection turned out to be sea slugs) occupied the deeper water while hundreds of little red anemones populated the shallows. We again saw some large moluscs reaching up from the sea bed. Vicky used the paddle as a makeshift hockey stick and manoeuvred an empty shell to a depth where she could reach down and lift it from the water. We sent photos to our good friend Suhaine and her knowledgeable husband Malcolm, who kindly identified them as 'noble pen shells' or 'fan mussels'. Suhaine told us that a crayfish often lives inside and pinches the mussel when it spots danger, causing it to close up and protect them both. Thanks for enlightening us!
On our way back, we touched ground on the large Murter island and we paddled round a stone shrine that sat in the water. Back on site, Will foraged samphire for tea, it was a little woody this time of year but still yummy.Read more