The Krilo Spreads Its Wings

Published in Highlights
As Mara of the excellent blog-website Go Hvar described recently, island hopping in Dalmatia can be "a bit of a challenge", to put it mildly, especially out of season.
It takes perseverance to overcome the obstacles, although it can be done. In Mara's case tenacity resulted in a memorable trip with husband Zdravko to Hvar's near-neighbour Korčula, recorded in a couple of equally memorable descriptions in words and pictures.

In the summer season, island-hopping becomes easier. This year the new high-speed boat service operated by U.T.O. Kapetan Luka linking Split with Milna (Brač), Hvar Town, Korčula and Dubrovnik has already proved a great success since starting on May 15th 2014. It is set to run until October 18th 2014, weather permitting of course. The boat on this route is the sleek-looking Krilo, which means wing in Croatian. The company name of Krilo derives from the place Krilo Jesenice, near Omiš south of Split, which is the home town of the Tomić family who own the company. Krilo Jesenice is famous for having the largest fleet of sailing boats on the Adriatic by long tradition.

The high-speed trip from Split to Dubrovnik takes something less than five hours. It is much quicker than the car ferry along the same route, so it is the best choice if you want to get to your destination as quickly as possible, and are not taking a car with you. The ferry trip, however, has certain advantages: you can be outdoors on the deck relaxing with a good book and a cool drink, and you can enjoy a reasonably good leisurely meal in the restaurant. And if you are taking a car, it saves you the drive down the coast. This avoids having to pass through the small stretch of land which belongs to Bosnia and Hercegovina. Although crossing these borders is rarely a problem, it is an area outside the EU, so the border authorities may perform checks on people and goods passing through.

On the high-speed boat, passengers have to have a seat inside the cabin. Once the boat is full to capacity there is no room for extra passengers. Tickets for the high-speed service can be purchased in Split on the pier in the middle of the port (Gat Sv. Petra, nearly opposite the entrance to the railway station), tel. 00 385 (0)21 645476; in Hvar Town from Pelegrini Tours on the pier, tel. 00 385 (0)21 742743; in Korčula from the kiosk on the western pier, tel. 00 385 (0)91 4770272; in Dubrovnik from the Elite Travel office (Tel 020 313 178), or in the Gruz passenger port office opposite the Hotel Palace. Tickets can also be booked online, but usually still have to be collected in person. We advise buying your ticket as early as possible to ensure you have a place on the boat. You are required to present a valid ID to travel on the ship.

For sailing times, destinations and prices, click here.

U.T.O.Kapetan Luka operates a number of high-speed services between Split and the islands to the south of Split, as well as charter possibilities. The company now concentrates on high-speed vessels, but previously it boasted an extremely fine cruising yacht, the M/Y Kapetan Luka. Built in 1990, when Croatia was just emerging into independence from former Yugoslavia, it survived the ensuing Homeland War (1991 - 1995), and was put to good use as a cruise ship when peace was restored. I first came across it when my cousin Maja and her husband Joži sailed on it into Jelsa harbour with some friends in June 2007. The boat was exquisitely appointed inside and out, and the passengers couldn't praise it highly enough. As Joži is a yachting judge of many years' standing, his wholehearted recommendation carried great weight, and I could see it was well deserved. The 'Kapetan Luka' was later sold to Jerolim Nazor, also from Krilo Jesenice, like the Tomić family from whom he bought this splendid vessel. Jerolim Nazor has for many years run beautifully renovated wooden sailing boats for daytime tourist cruises and night-time fishing. His main vessel in recent times has been the 'Otac Duje', which is also the name of his company. Now known as the 'Kapetan Kuka' the 'Kapetan Luka' is available for private hire through Dream Journey Yachting.

© Vivian Grisogono 2014

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