Island Living Nightmares: Oversleeping and the Early Ferry

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Island life is great.

Island life has its positives.

Island life has its negatives.

Island life has one nightmare which prevents sleep on a regular basis.

Will you wake up for the morning ferry?

When I lived in Somalia, our neighbour was a mosque who managed to get me out of bed at the crack of dawn. No bad thing, as I had to be in the office for 07:00, but not before I had to survive the seven-minute walk with Somali kids throwing stones at you. Lesson one – don’t react, their Dads can be really scary.

I have never been one for getting up early, but Somalia was followed by island life in Croatia, where it seems there was a competition each day to get up earlier than your neighbour. I am sure the practice has something to do with working in the fields before the midday heat, but I am still trying to understand the logic of a 06:00 catamaran from Jelsa, which arrives in Split at 07:30. And they when you arrange a meeting with a Split partner at 09:00, they arrive at 09:25 complaining about the early hour of the meeting…

Life on an island, especially in winter, is determined by ferry schedules. And if you happen to miss the ferry through oversleeping, your life could be over.

I learned this the hard way in my days of real estate, when I had sold a property in Vrboska, on condition that I appear by 17:00 in Zagreb the following day with a deposit of 10%, some 15,000 euro. It was the only time I have every missed an early boat from Jelsa, as I woke at 07:13, an expensive lesson. 

Since then, the fear of missing the morning boat dominates any thoughts of sleep the night before. A time check at 1, 2, 3am, and then the relief of being able to rise at 5, knowing you will make the boat.

Sundays are funny days in the usually unchanging Jadrolinija calendar. I have my first meeting for a year with my only boss in 13 years in Split today, so I wanted to make sure I made it. Turning off the computer at midnight and confirming the catamaran was there, I was just about to sleep when I realised that the Sunday timetable in winter for the catamaran was 13:00, about two hours after my meeting. 

Bugger. Alarm set for 04:30 for the 05:30 ferry from Stari Grad, an 8 kilometre drive. 

All would have been fine if I had heard the alarm. Waking at 05:16, I threw the household into panic, threw on the first things I could find and drove like a maniac (within the speed limit of course…) to the jaws of the ferry. 

05:29 and a few seconds. No time to buy a ticket and make the ferry. 

An agreemnent was reached, the ferry departed with me on it. Will my boss appreciate my heroic efforts?

More importantly, will I ever sleep again before a morning ferry?

The realities of living on the most beautiful island in the world… 


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