The season continues on Hvar, as a weekend of music, wine and competitive squid fishing brings the season to a close.
In trademark bright sunshine on November 6, 2015, Croatia’s premier island of Hvar lived up to its reputation as the sunniest island in Europe, as it hosted the annual Peskafondo squid fishing championship, an end of season event initiated by luxury fish Restaurant Gariful in 2011, with the aim of extending the season.
The two-day event, which involves small teams fishing for squid for two afternoons, with the winner the team who catches the most, has steadily grown in importance and size since its inception and is now supported by various sponsors, including the tourist board and local hotel group, Suncani Hvar. It has also steadily increased in number of competitors, and this year’s competition welcomed a record 62 teams.
While some were local from the island, there were many from mainland Croatia, as well as several international teams from Italy, Slovenia, Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, where one team member caught the first squid of his life.
As well as attracting late season tourism, the event is an opportunity for locals to relax and let their hair down after a busy tourist season, and there were several concerts and other events, of which the headline attraction was Croatian singer Thompson (above), who performed at nightclub Pink Champagne to a small audience.
The joyful atmosphere in the town was mirrored by the competitiveness on the high seas, and more than 70kg of squid were caught in all.
Peskafondo 2015 was won by the same team who triumphed in 2012, Doce, with a 8,48kg (G. Vučković, S. Pavlović, I. Tudor, S. Jeličić). Their catch included the largest squid, at 35cm. They were followed by Ležero (4,33kg) and Laganini (4,16 kg), while the youngest team, Vukovi (Wolves) consisted of several of the island’s children.
Once the squid business had been concluded, it was time to party at Hotel Riva on Hvar’s exclusive waterfront, which is filled with luxury yachts and the occasional A-lister celebrity during the summer.
“I am glad that many people have recognised the potential of the tourism product, which we have worked hard to establish,” owner of Gariful, Ivan Gospodnetic (pictured below, centre) told Total Croatia News. “It is a fantastic event, and it is great to see people enjoying themselves with this great weather in November. I hope that we will receive further support to make it even more popular in the future.”
The event was widely covered in the Croatian media, and Slobodna Dalmacija produced a video report of the event, below.