So I think when I’ve seen one, I’ve seen them all and then it dawns on me, I couldn’t be more wrong. Every island is distinctive, has its own little industry and it’s not only tourism. Stepping off the ferry at Krapanj, you leave the worries of the world behind you.
Besides the fact that it has an industry of underwater sponges that scuba divers have to dive for and that have purportedly been used in NASA space shuttles due to its inability to burn, it’s just plain charming. The little museum with the enthusiastic lady behind the counter gives you a chance to bump up your sponge knowledge and perhaps buy one. The little stone harbours surrounding the mooring spot of the boats provide shelter from stormy seas and perhaps even serve as private little swimming pools for kids to play in. Service at family-run Konoba Kapelica is slow but the food is so tasty and prepared with such heart, it really just puts you into the island-time frame of mind. Try the octopus risotto with ink and what seems to be like barley in stead of rice. It’s smoky and creamy. The wine is a heady blend of Debit, Posip and Marastina, a little rough around the edges but so good with the food of the region.
And then there’s the Spongiola Hotel, a four-star gem with every bit of luxury and a good dose of friendly service thrown in.
But the real reason I am here is for the diving. I remembered these guys from when I was here in 2013 and had performed a disastrous dive, ok give me a break it was only my 9th dive and under filming pressure at that. I needed to ‘get over it’ as they say and so I got into the gear again and plunged into the Adriatic determined to prove to myself that I can do this! The visibility was 25 to 30 m, the fish weren’t big but small and colourful, the wrecks ghostly. Mediterraneo Dive Centre is situated in the Spongiola Hotel building and charges reasonable rates for the experience (€50 for on, €70 for two dives). Besides, Emil Lemac is patient and professional, not to mention really good looking. Dive instructors, ski instructors, they seem to have this thing in common.
But even if you’re not diving, here’s an island that’ll slow your step, nourish you soul and stomach well and even gives you a wilder, natural part to explore, just round the back.
Images of the tiny Sponge Museum
Konoba Kapelica – average price around 50 kuna (€6 – €10) for a main, wine and beer – cheap as chips.
Spongiola Hotel – half-board/person (not room!) high season €90.
Mediteraneo Dive Centre – Cost for full gear and dives: €50 for one, €70 for two dives.
How to get there – Bus number 5 from the open air market in Šibenik to Brodarica. Tickets from ticket office. Time: 20 minutes max. Cost: 24 kuna return. Then take the ferry that runs every 30 minutes from in front of the Konzum where the bus stops. Time: 5 minutes max. Cost: 12 kuna (€1,75)