Many digital nomads enjoy Split’s climate and working with a sea view, which are among the best perks of being here. If beautiful blue water, fresh air, and sunshine are your thing, you can satisfy your inner nature-lover while working ON the sea, with the right yacht and the right skipper.
I grew up by the beach and I love being in, on, and near the water. When friends invited me to join their week-long yachting vacation I didn’t hesitate to say yes. It’s been a goal of mine to experience this beloved Croatian pastime and pre-season was an ideal time of year—not too hot and not too many tourists. We were going to sail around the islands and our sights were set on Vis, Brač, Hvar, and others. Was it warm enough to pack a bathing suit? Check.
This is why you yield to the Croatian wind, it makes trees literally grow parallel to the earth. All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.
The ideal remote work
I was a little concerned about getting behind on work because I wanted to relax on the trip without being tethered to a device. I found out there was reliable Wi-Fi onboard and I could login anytime and check my business. Thankfully, that turned out to be true and I never had an issue getting online when I needed to follow-up on a project or check-in for a Zoom meeting. Once I tested the connectivity I relaxed—I’d be able to work and play this week. My vacation wasn’t a digital nomad charter, but it was a good opportunity to see how hard or easy it would be to work when sailing.
Morning view from my cabin, somewhere in the Adriatic Sea. All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.
Our yacht was a Lagoon 40 and with the four of us plus the skipper and his wife the space was comfortable enough, although I’ll never get used to cooking in such a compact kitchen. Good thing I have experience with a shoe-box size NYC apartment, it was practically the same thing, although the yacht had much more room to move about than my place back home.
Born on the water
Our skipper, Danijel Razi, was game to hit the islands we mentioned but he hesitated a few times when we asked about the itinerary. Vis today? Maybe later, he replied. I noticed that he kept looking up at this little pointer thing on top of the main sail (a wind vane). He watched the weather and the wind and every nautical detail with his eyes and his instincts, but he didn’t really watch the fancy equipment. His main concern was the viability of the trip and safety. I was curious, what did this guy know and how did he know it?
An homage to the Beatles and Yellow Submarine; public art on Šolta. All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.
It turns out Danijel was born in Viganj, a very windy village on Pelješac that’s a popular sailing destination. Viganj is part of Orebić county, a former maritime center known historically for traditional sailing and navigating, where all the men go out to sea. These guys have lived on the water for centuries before marine electronic systems were invented—working on commercial boats, trading goods, and traveling the world. Danijel comes from a long line of sailors, including his grandfather and earlier generations, and he inherited their skills and their lifestyle. Sailing is in his blood and he clearly loves it.
A typical bay and a small village could be any Croatian island; where there’s water there are boats. All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.
Viganj is the second most famous windsurfing location in Croatia, after Bol.
The sound of full sails blowing in the wind and the feeling of gliding across the water makes you want to sit quietly and fully experience it. All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.
Sailing to the island destinations we hoped for, including some bays for swimming, was amazing and there was only one day when the Bura wind adjusted our plans. Skipper Danijel followed nature’s direction and everything worked out. I got in my first swim of the season, which was a tad bit cool but so refreshing.
We’re here and we know
If I do this again, and I hope I do, I learned that a little research can help you get the trip you expect and avoid getting hit with unexpected costs and disappointment.
Danijel preparing to tie up at a mooring buoy. All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.
So who are the best skippers and hosts? Without a local presence, charter companies are missing things that people would appreciate knowing. Booking a boat is not like a hotel room—there are lots of details to know about each yacht, itinerary, and destination. Danijel and his crew are based in Croatia. For more info on things you need to check, go here.
A beach near the Franciscan Monastery and Church of St. Mary of Grace, Hvar. All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.
When to go
As far as I’m concerned, any day on the water is a great day. For digital nomads who are in Croatia year-round, I suggest that you consider traveling before and after peak season—April to June and September to November. Prices are lower, destinations are less crowded, you can see the islands better, and service is more attentive with fewer tourists. If you can only go during the summer, just do it!
A quiet street in Vis. All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.
For thrill-seekers who want something a little different, regattas in Croatia are underrated. It’s possible to join one just to sit on a boat as a counterbalance when a team needs extra weight. How cool is that? Danijel collaborates with some of the teams and I’m already on his list to be notified when my bum is needed, haha. You can be too, contact him by email.
Danijel confirming our mooring buoy. All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.
Story and photographs ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt. https://photo-diaries.com
Learn more at TCN’s Digital Nomads channel.
TCN now has a new resource in Total Croatia Sailing Page. Get answers and information about Croatia’s favorite pastime on the water.