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Hvar, Brač and Pakleni - Sailing from Split

The early get-up at 6:30 am is not something loved by those who are heavy sleepers. However, in this case, I manage to persuade myself to get up and get myself ready to sail from Split, Croatia's capital city.

After slapping on the sun cream and getting my beach towel, sunglasses, and cap sorted, I make my way down in a taxi to the port of Split. The twenty-minute taxi journey ends with me arriving at the port, and I then stroll along to the departure point for the ship.

The docked-up ship that boards its passengers

The ship itself appears minuscule. However, this big adventure won't stop it from sailing about 120 people to the islands of Hvar, Brač, and Pakleni. It loads up the voyagers ready to embark on a journey of Croatian discovery, including myself. While these passengers are boarding, I look around and notice how tiny the ship appears on the inside.

Although it may be tiny, it's equipped with a kitchen for the staff to cook all passengers' burgers for later on. It also doubles up as a bar offering drinks for those who want to treat themselves to a cocktail. As well as this, an upper floor reveals the benches which passengers can use and also get away from the scorching sun.

The American skipper introduces himself and the team providing the hospitality for the day's sailing. Once the introductions have been and gone, the ship slowly begins to depart from the port of Split for its voyage to the three floating islands surrounding this city. The skipper offers donuts to those who may have skipped breakfast to get to the port before departure.

To the front of the ship, the passengers begin to make use of the hammock. I join them while topping myself up on sun cream and admiring the vast blue ocean they are sailing on. Other passengers relax on the seats in front of the windows that give the captain a view of the correct sailing course.

Some of the gorgeous views of the Croatian sea

The ship sails onwards towards its first swimming spot, a short distance from Hvar. As the ship nears this destination, all keen passengers, including myself, get motivated and ready for our first swim, or paddle, of the day. The ship weighs anchor, and I know this to be my cue to dive into the oceanic-blue sea and get my strokes in. The other passengers follow suit, some of whom are supported by a floating device or a paddle board.

After this first session of swimming finishes, I climb back on board and dry myself off while the ship lifts anchor and sails towards Hvar. Arriving at this picturesque island, I depart from the ship and follow the American skipper to Tvrđava Fortica at the peak of a hill. The steep climb up a hill takes its toll on me. However, the bottle of water in my hand hydrates me and boosts my excitement in reaching the hill's peak.

Tvrđava Fortica, sitting and relaxing on top of a hill

The gorgeous views overlooking Hvar are revealed to me after reaching Tvrđava Fortica. The beaming sun accompanies me as we both overlook the central city area of this island. I also treat myself to one of the available sun loungers at the top of this hill for a quick snooze before heading back down to the ship.

The main city of Hvar Island

After boarding the ship and the anchor is lifted, lunch is served to all famished passengers. The items available consist of either a beef burger, tuna burger, or vegetarian burger, along with a portion of fries. Something simple yet very filling, and our departing view of both Hvar and Pakleni delightfully adds to the relaxing meal.

This cruise's second and final swim spot approaches once lunch has been consumed. All passengers, including myself, sense that we are approaching this stop, so we head to our seats to prepare for another round of swimming. Once the anchor is weighed down again, I head to the back of the boat and leap into the blueness of the water.

Our original departure point can be seen very far in the distance as I attempt to swim towards it briefly. I realise, however, that I shouldn't stray too far from the boat and become lost at sea. Instead, I relax on an available paddleboard while working on getting my tan sorted as I float past the island of Brač.

A far-away view of Split, Croatia

It feels like a long time that we are all spending at this second swim stop, and it isn't something that anyone wants to have ended. The time does come, though, for us to clamber back on board the ship, ready for the final leg of our journey back to Split. I dry myself off in my seat and then head towards the hammock area to observe how close Split is getting as we head towards it.

The passengers on board and I are treated to an unexpected spectacle of dolphins swimming alongside the ship. It is practically a convoy that escorts us for part of our journey back to Split, and what an extravagant sight this is, as the video below shows.

One of the dolphins escorting the ship back to Split

The ship finally arrives back in Split, where this journey began. I am disheartened to see that the adventure has ended; however, the thoughts of everything I have seen make up for this. There's no question that these three Croatian islands will be worth visiting again, given that I could only properly explore Hvar more than Brač and Pakleni.

The Travelling Foodie's Facts and Figures

  • This day cruise can be booked with Gray Line Croatia, where they have a wide range of other island tours. This tour can also be booked via Get Your Guide for £64.60, which is the booking method I used.

  • The fortress in Hvar requires you to purchase tickets, which are currently being sold for around €2.50.

  • Even though I was fortunate enough to see dolphins on this cruise, the chances of seeing them on this cruise are still very slim. So don't get your hopes up too much on the day!

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