Yesterday we did an all day boat excursion to the Odysseus Cave on the island of Mljet which included two other stops. The trip was arranged by our tour operator, Bojan who has been very helpful to us during our stay in Korcula with good contacts, advice and recommendations. I highly recommend him if you are traveling to Korcula and need travel related information on the island. He can be reached on WhatsApp: +385-91-531-0877.
Our speed boat excursion started at 9am and lasted until 6pm. There were twenty of us going on the adventure, which was a comfortable number of people. The boat was very nice, offering shade and comfortable seats.
The island of Mljet was approximately an hour and a half journey traveling through the Korcula archipelagos. Upon arrival at the cave, our first impression was how beautiful the water was with a lovely shade of blue. Fortunately, we got to the cave early before the many tourist boats started arriving. We were able to swim around inside the cave and it was amazing to see the different colors of blue due to the sunlight striking the water from outside the cave. It was so clear you could even see the white sandy bottom.
It eventually became too difficult to swim in the cave because of people jumping from the rocky cliffs and boats blocking the entrance.
I did enjoy the snorkeling around the outside of the cave with huge rock formations and large schools of fish. For the first time since I've been here, I saw brown and yellow jellyfish that looked liked hamburgers between two buns floating around. Needless to say I was off in the other direction very quickly!
The legends surrounding the cave date back to ancient Greek mythology. The locals believe that the large rock at the entrance of the cave called Ogiran, when completely covered by high tide and strong southern winds, was a danger to sailors who couldn't see it. According to the legend, Odysseus was shipwrecked and swam to the safety of the cave for shelter. The island was ruled by the nymph Calypso and Odysseus was charmed by her and entranced by the beauty of the island with it's olive trees and vineyards. The gods finally released him after seven years. The locals believe the cave and shipwreck are mentioned by Homer in The Odyssey. It is pretty cool to experience a bit of Greek mythology up close and personal!
Our next stop within the Korcula archipelago was the island of Vrnik. Vrnik is famous for it's rock excavation that has been used to build the palaces of Korcula, Dubrovnik and even some parts of the White House. It has a lot of small pebble beaches along with the only restaurant, Vrnik Art Club. serving local cuisine. I had fresh swordfish that had been caught that morning and was delicious. The island has a few summer houses and rentals, but is mostly a day destination which can be reached by taxi boat from Korcula. It also has a church, an art gallery and a museum.
The final stop of our boat excursion was the island of Stupe, famous for it's Moro Beach Bar. It boasts one of Croatia's best chefs, Igor Gudac. The beach has swings in the water, lounge chairs and bean bags to rent for the day. There is a DJ and a bar so it would be a great place to hang out for the day. A little disco with your Adriatic Sea experience! Reachable by water taxi from Korcula old town, it's also a day trip destination only.
I have to say for me the best part of the trip was just being on the boat, speeding on the Adriatic with the ocean spray flying by and the ocean breeze hitting my face. We actually met a really nice woman named Claire, who is visiting from London. That's what travel is for me, meeting new people and experiencing all that life has to offer - wherever you are.
I do need to mention once again that map girl Jamie, did her due diligence this time without a map! She did get all the information and details of exactly where we were and where we were going! Gotta love her!
Stay tuned because our next adventure is going to be renting a small speed boat to explore some coves with a five hp engine (ok...think rowboat with a putt, putt engine). I will be wearing my captains hat for this excursion and I'm sure my first mate will have map in hand at the helm.