October 8, 2020 – Croatia offers the best lifestyle in Europe, and with a digital nomad visa imminent, remote workers are sensing the healthy lifestyle opportunity – a lifestyle which comes with a daily dose of Vitamin Sea. Continuing our look at Croatia through the eyes of a digital nomad with Cyndie Burkhardt.
What do two Scots, two Koreans, and two Americans have in common? Love for turquoise water, spectacular coastlines, and great food—while sailing in Croatia.
When a friend mentioned sailing as his single agenda item in Croatia, it struck me as the perfect opportunity to indulge both his request and my desire for an elegant sea excursion. Walking past mega yachts docked just past Split’s Riva, I’d had numerous fantasizes about how cool it would be to board one, sail grandly through the Adriatic, and sip champagne for days, all the while following Beyoncé’s footsteps through the Adriatic and channeling my inner fabulousness. Oh yes, a trip would be booked.
A friendly greeting awaits Nera’s guests.
Our day sail began on a ferry, in Split. The plan was to meet John and Lyn McMorland, the Scottish couple who own Sunburst Sailing, on Brač and set off from there on their 42-foot yacht, Nera. Adventure began before we ever met them. As the ferry pulled up to Brać I noticed people standing on deck. I had wanted to ride outside and I went to investigate. One of the crew said, “If you’re getting off, go now.” What? Where were we? There was no announcement. I looked up and saw a sign—Milna. Yikes, this was my stop! I told the crewman I was getting off but had to go inside and get my friend. “Hurry!” he barked. I ran inside and the boat started pulling away. We raced to the ramp, watched the gap growing between us and land, and we jumped. The crew yelled and we giggled. We were stunned at the close call but glad to have averted a second casualty this morning. The first—the friend who originally suggested sailing overslept and completely missed the ferry. We were supposed to be a threesome and now we were just two.
Setting sail to cruise across the Adriatic.
The Nera was docked a short distance away and Lyn greeted us as we walked over. We hopped onboard, met our companions—a newlywed Korean couple, and the yacht left. After setting sail, Lyn offered us Prosecco then went below deck to prepare fresh canapes for a mid-morning snack. Not a single cloud dotted the sky and a light wind seemed ideal for sailing. This is what I’m talkin’ about! That silly smile of sheer bliss started creeping onto my face and I wasn’t even into my swimsuit yet.
Lyn discusses a day in the life of sailing.
We stopped at several coves during the day and swam in crystal-clear water that was every shade of turquoise, sky blue, and green. Reflections from the sky and warm streaks of sunlight added gorgeous nuances of color and depth. I brought my goggles but jumped at the chance to trade up for John’s snorkel gear. Below water, a teeming bed of sea life and a rocky terrain was captivating. Above, different sounds of water and waves blended in with sightings of butterflies, bees, and seagulls.
Refreshing sips of Prosecco fill the morning ride.
Shifting from underwater explorer to sun worshiper, I settled onto a raft and felt the sun warm my body. Before long, a miniature unicorn-shaped floaty came toward me, it was holding a cup of cold Prosecco. Yesss! John grabbed my camera and captured the scene while we all laughed out loud. Back onboard, an amazing smell wafted up through the galley. John, who is a trained chef, was preparing vegetable risotto topped with Dalmatian ham for lunch. The table was silent as we all enjoyed the meal. Dessert was tiramisu followed by a finisher of rogač. Everything was fresh and delicious.
Snorkeling in a small cove.
Throughout the day we sailed past different places of interest. Mrduja is an islet that sits between Brač and Šolta. It holds a charming history concerning an annual tug of war over ownership rights to this tiny, uninhabited land. Fishing boats from both sides line up with ropes tied between them and to Mrduja itself. The spectacle is seeing who pulls the hardest. The Three Sisters Tower at Bobovišća sits on the family residence of Croatian poet Vladimir Nazor, who built it in 1937 to memorialize his three sisters.
A classic Dalmatian coastline—limestone and pine trees.
Talking with John and Lyn, it’s clear they’re in love with Croatia and this sailing life. They go the extra mile to treat guests like VIPs—thinking of every detail (hot shower and fluffy towels), making the experience memorable (fully catered, Croatian food and wine), and creating an easy atmosphere (relax under the shaded canopy or on the open sunny bow). Beyond being excellent hosts, they’re a good team. They’re also people you want to share stories and a meal with. I could get used to this.
The author is served.
Lying on deck beneath full sails that blew us back to Split, I closed my eyes, filled my lungs with fresh salty air, and rocked comfortably in the undulating rhythm of the sea.
The captain in the galley preparing lunch.
A rough wave pushed us to one side and my leg shifted in the opposite direction to brace me. With that movement, my phone slid out from between my legs and tumbled toward the sea. The only thing that saved it from the depths of the Adriatic was a small lip on the edge of the boat. From his captain’s position, John immediately saw what happened and yelled, “Quick, grab it!” I was already on my feet and my heart skipped a beat as I leaned down hoping to make the catch before the next wave. I can’t even think about the alternative…
Vegetable risotto topped with Dalmatian ham.
Back in Split, John and Lyn dropped us at the yacht dock and we waved goodbye as the Nera headed back home to Brač. The yacht may be (slightly) smaller than Beyoncé’s but she’s mighty. I felt spoiled rotten and I loved every minute.
Mrduja inspires a famous annual tug of war between Brač and Šolta.
Learn more about Sunburst Sailing and schedule a tour.
Three pillars make up the Three Sisters Tower on Bobovišća.
Story and photographs ©2020, Cyndie Burkhardt. www.photo-diaries.com.
Captain John commands the wheel.
You can follow the latest from Cyndie’s column, Croatia Through the Eyes of a Digital Nomad here.
For the latest news about digital nomads in Croatia, including that sought-after nomad visa, check out the dedicated TCN digital nomad news section.
Crystal clear turquoise water twinkles.