Words & Photos by Merijn de Waard
Fraser Yachts and the owner of Orlando L invited me for a cruise onboard the 24 metre charter yacht to explore the Croatian Dalmatian Coast. It was a Sunday afternoon that I landed at Split airport. After collecting my luggage, I was greeted by the yacht’s captain, Ivo Erceg, who had arranged a limousine pick up to the nearby Le Meridien Lav Hotel & Marina. Orlando L was moored on the main quay, and I was just in time to join the owner and guests for lunch.
Our first stop was Hvar, one of the most popular destinations in Croatia with its crystal clear blue sea, green hills and beautiful traditional buildings. After a short cruise from the Marina in Split, we moored Orlando L stern to on the main quay of Hvar Town. The centre is characterised by the beautiful main square with terraces, beautiful buildings and narrow streets with shops and restaurants.
The evening brought us to the Carpe Diem, a favourite club for celebrities, which is the ideal place to enjoy a few drinks in a relaxed setting; big cushions, sofas, and mood lighting. Hvar truly lived up to expectations and early next morning, with the streets still empty and the sun low on the horizon, we walked up the hill to the fortress which provides an amazing view over this romantic town and the surrounding islands.
The sun was heating up and with a clear blue sky we decided give the water sports equipment a whirl. Captain Ivo anchored the yacht just of the coast of Hvar between two smaller islands; Borovac and Marinkovac. For a yacht of her size Orlando L offers an incredible amount and variety of toys; a 3.60 metre Avon tender with a 60hp engine, a SeaDoo jetski, water ski’s, a donut and snorkeling gear, among others.
We could have spent all day in the water, but the next port was calling; Vis, which is the farthest inhabited island from the mainland. Again the crew secured a great mooring, right in the centre of the old town. There are two main towns on the island, Vis and Komiza. The town of Vis is stretched along the waterfront in the large bay. Each day boats leave and arrive, but during the high season every evening the lively quay is full with boats of all sizes.
After exploring the old town of Vis, a surprise awaited us back at the boat; Chef Ivan and Stewardess Martha had prepared a wonderful dinner, which started with a small appetizer, Scallops as a starter and Lobster as the main course.
We left the port of Vis early next morning as we had a busy schedule ahead. Cruising out of the bay we passed on old military base. The island of Vis has fought many naval battles in its past due to its strategic location in the Adriatic. After World War II the island became a military base which was under strict control, it was only in 1998 that the island opened to foreign tourists.
Our first stop of the day was a small island just a few miles South/West of Vis, called Bisevo. The island is well known for its caves, particularly one very special cave, the Blue Cave (Blue Grotto). On a calm and sunny day sunbeams reflect through an underwater opening and illuminate the cave with a blue light and objects in the water reflect in silver. The cave has been open to the public since 1884, when a small entrance was blown into one of the sides of the walls, but it has been known for much longer by local fisherman who would swim into the cave through the underwater opening.
We were dazzled by the amazing beauty of the cave as we set course back to the boat. Orlando L cruised at a steady 24 knots along the South coast of Vis to our next stop, Ravnik, another island just under Vis, and best known for its Green Cave. As the name suggests the cave lights up with green light, however contrary to the Blue Cave, the light comes in through a hole in the ceiling and turns into shades of green. Although not quite as beautiful as the Blue Cave, the Green Cave is certainly worth a visit, especially around noon when the sun is right above the hole in the ceiling and a ray of light shines beautifully down into the cavern.
Our last stop of the day would be Korcula, where we would spend the night, but before we left the anchorage we were treated to a delicious lunch of seafood; a squid salad as a starter, followed by fried calamari filled with rice and served with potatoes and vegetables, and chocolate cake with ice cream as a desert.
Korcula, which according to a legend was founded by Trojan Hero Antenor, is the second most populated island of Croatia after Krk. Instead of mooring in the marina we opted to dock the yacht along the quay of Korcula Town, which is surrounded by huge 13th Century defence walls with towers and bastions.
Traditional buildings, small narrow streets, restaurants, terraces and jewelry shops dominate this beautiful old town. Although there is no evidence, the island is also the birthplace of the Venetian merchant and explorer Marco Polo. As Korcula was part of the Venice Republic during that time, it could very well be possible and in the centre of the town is the house where Marco Polo is believed to have been born.
The last day of our cruise along the Dalmatian coast brought us back to the main land to visit one of the most well known towns of Croatia, Dubrovnik. Since 1979 the city has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the Middle Ages Dubrovnik was well known for marine trade and it was the only city in the Adriatic to rival Venice.
A must do is to walk around the world famous 2 kilometre long City Walls, which provide great views of the old town. The walls also give access to numerous forts and must sees are the beautiful Minceta Fort and St John’s Fort from the 16th century, which houses an aquarium and maritime museum.
After a day in Dubrovnik, Orlando L set sail again to her home port in Marina Lav, near Split. We said goodbye to the wonderful crew; Captain Ivo, Chef Ivan, Stew Martha and Deckhand Darko, who had pampered us during this amazing trip exploring the Croatian Dalmatian coast.
If you want to explore the Croatian coastline in style onboard one of the most luxurious charter yachts of the Adriatic, then contact Jennifer Howarth of Fraser Yachts about the availability of Orlando L.
More about M/Y Orlando L
Yachts built by Ferretti are well known for their well thought out lay-outs to optimize the usable space, and the Ferretti 780 Orlando L is no exception. One of these innovative solutions is the design of the access ladder to the flybridge, which has been integrated in the wall structure of the yacht, thus enlarging the aft deck entertaining area featuring a large alfresco dining table seating 8 people comfortably. Entering the flybridge there is another dining table aft with a steering position and large sun lounging pads forward.
The interior decoration is characterised by light colours, natural light which floods in through the large windows, contemporary furniture and the interior is stylishly finished in teak wood.
Orlando L can accommodate up to 8 guests in a Master Stateroom, VIP Stateroom and twin guest cabins. The luxurious full beam Master Suite has a large king-sized bed, walk-in-closet, lounger, and bathroom with a large shower and double sinks.
Onboard entertainment includes a Questron on demand music and video library in English and Russian with over 4,000 titles. The system can be accessed from the main saloon, but also from each single cabin. There is also a Bose hi-fi system with surround sound, wireless internet throughout the yacht and digital satellite television.