“Inexperience is an asset. Embrace it”


151. Island Vis and shipwreck snorkeling in Mojito Bay

The adventure of sailing in Croatia continues. After the vibrant and elegant island of Hvar, we decided to explore an island that was again completely different: the island of Vis.

I was triggered to visit this island because it is one of the inhabited Dalmatian Islands furthest from the coast. And Vis was only opened to tourists in 1989. How is that possible!

Island Vis

Like many areas in Croatia, it was the Greeks who first settled the island due to their urge to expand. The island and the city of the same name were called Issa in ancient times. Afterwards it fell into Roman hands and then during the Venetian rule of the island it was called Lissa, which is still the Italian name of the island.

In 1944, Vis was the main hideout of Josip Broz Tito, the leader of the Yugoslav partisan resistance in World War II. After the war, the Yugoslav army used the island as its main naval base. When, during the Yugoslav Civil War, on September 29, 1992, Montenegrin naval commander Vladimir Barovic on Vis was ordered to bomb the towns on the Croatian coast, he refused, resigned his position and committed suicide. A memorial was unveiled for him on September 12, 2022.

Vis was opened to tourists in 1989 after years of isolation as a military base. It is therefore also unspoilt.

We really liked the sailing trip along the island, the rugged walls with lots of greenery appealed to us.

The town of Komiža was the first place we moored our boat in a nice quiet harbor.

Mamma Mia!

When I looked at what was showing, I noticed that there were many references to the movie ‘Mamma Mia! Here we go again’ (2018) starring Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Meryl Streep, among others. It turned out that the filming of the film was partly done on the island of Vis. So we watched the film that evening and to our astonishment we were looking at places that we had sailed past that afternoon, in the town we had seen such as a small square and the island in the sea behind our boat, which we also saw in front of us. on the TV screen…!

It turned out that Vis was an attractive place to shoot a film because it was much less expensive than Greece and more pristine. The Greek colors and flags could easily be applied to the houses and in the streets.

We especially enjoyed cycling around in the nature here.

Mojito Bay

After visiting Vis, we wanted to sail back to the mainland of Croatia again, it was quite a long sail, so we stopped on the island of Šolta, we noticed on the map a very sheltered bay called ‘Mojito Bay’ and we stopped there. Because of the name of the bay, I thought it was nice to pour ourselves a glass of mojito on the boat 😉.

And for dinner we ate at konoba Mareta which was nicely situated on the hills looking over the bay. They served great black risotto (because of the ink of octopus) and we had a quite night at anchor.

Shipwreck Kontesa

The next day we noticed tourist boats in this bay stopped at a specific spot and people started looking at the water, sometimes swimming, but most of the time leaving again. It turned out that there was a shipwreck called ‘Kontesa’ which sank here and could easily be seen just below the crystal clear water!

The ship was built in 1943 and served as a cargo vessel during World War II. After the war, it was sold and converted into a passenger ship, carrying tourists along the Croatian coast. Its sinking in the 1980s was due to a storm, and fortunately, all passengers and crew members were rescued safely. Today, the Shipwreck of Kontesa serves as a reminder of the island’s rich maritime history and provides a unique opportunity for visitors to explore and learn about underwater ecosystems. Over the years, the sunken ship has become a habitat for a wide range of marine life, including colorful fish, octopuses, crabs, and sea anemones.

So I got my snorkeling gear and getting closer to the area you could see the top of the ship, it was only 1 or 2 meter under the waterline! Gilles filmed me with our waterproof Go Pro camera, while I was swimming towards the shipwreck.

And I also found out why the bay is called Mojito Bay, there is a guy who will make and deliver fresh mojito’s on your boat. Of course we had to try that. It reminded us of the Pizza Boat in the waters of Cannes that delivered fresh pizza’s to your ship!

I enjoyed the island Vis and the Mojito bay, for me it underlines the variety of Croatia, the beauty of nature and the fun the Croatians bring to there visitors!

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