Flying chickens and free spirits. Sailing with Naleia. Week 24- 250+ islands
I never thought this city girl would fall so completely in love with sailing as much as I did. Staying on a 47ft yacht called Tequila Sunrise with fellow sailors from Argentina, France, Germany and my dear old friend Marc (a skipper in waiting) has been truly phenomenal.
We quickly bonded over the first night’s electrical storm on the horizon at Biograd port. As the sky flashed pink “Have you sailed before? Where are you from?” quickly turned to jokes and stories and as the week progressed, a desire to learn from our fantastic skipper Barbara, whose sense of fun was only rivalled by her commitment to teaching us to sail.
During the week we mixed up secluded bays with gorgeous small port towns and a larger marina. The towering, vertical cliffs at Telascica were just stunning. The second night we moored and trekked up a hill at Vrulje to watch a red sunset as the light danced on the waves creating millions of tiny diamonds, cascading them across the tens of tiny islands scattered below us.
We buoyed at three different bays- at Tribunj we had to change plans and fled an oncoming storm so the cliffs provided a dramatic backdrop as we learnt how to play an Argentinian card game on deck. At Podkacina we jumped in dinghys to a great grill restaurant that let us plug in our music and create an impromptu dance floor with great wine flowing. Perhaps my favourite bay was Tatinje where in total seclusion, we moored the three boats together (by creating a ‘spring’ don’t you know) and woke early, jumped from the boat, spotted fish and swam in water that shone a deep blue green shade I had never seen before.
We rounded off the trip at Primosten a stunning isolated little town, only connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land and separated by a former defence gate. We had a great pizza and sat on wooden benches drinking wine and exchanging plenty of laughs.
So many things happened aboard Tequila I can’t begin to describe the antics. We miscalculated the food and had to send a chicken (gone bad) overboard so we temporarily became the Flying Chickens (complete with flag) we even had a send-off ceremony for the poor thing. On deck we adapted drinking games that didn’t translate well but were all the more hilarious for it and further cemented us in the bonds of sailing. As someone who is surrounded by noise and concrete, I loved the way that you have to be so in tune with the elements and what’s happening around you- feeling the wind, watching the waves and responding with smooth and steady movements. We had really calm waters for a lot of the time but we practised manoeuvres and really got a feel for the boat and sailing.
I bought my love of baking aboard and challenged skipper Nico (on fellow boat Mojito) to a bake-off! “Great” he said accepting my challenge, “I’ll make a cake in a frying pan”
This bringing of our passions to the journey perfectly captures the spirit of Naleia. I had many fascinating chats with Dominik, one was on the stone pier wall on a balmy night in Primosten he said “I want people to bring themselves to this trip.” Later, on his birthday as we sailed along I asked him about his vision for Naleia and what the highlight was for him so far "I loved climbing that hill and seeing the sunset together on the first night. Also the bake off as it really was people bringing themselves and their ideas to life. I’m not a tour guide, it’s the people who come onboard who make the trip what it is. This is the chance to sail and bring ourselves to the journey”
What are you waiting for? Get your shimmy on, book for the remaining two weeks and get sailing!