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Undiscovered Dalmatian Treasures – the Island of Scedro

The southern views from Hvar are mostly of uninterrupted sea views of the pristine Adriatic, but the closest island of Scedro, some 2.7 km from the resort village of Zavala, is one green and picturesque imposition in sea of blue.

Foto: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/342395

Having lived on Hvar for a decade, I am ashamed to admit it took me that long to visit the islands close by. For many tourists to Hvar Town, the number one destination was the Pakleni Islands, that collection of emerald jewels in front of the island’s main town.

It took me ten years to finally get on a boat out there, where an afternoon at the Meneghello estate made me quickly realise what I had been missing. And so too with the island of Scedro, off the south coast of Hvar.

The southern views from Hvar are mostly of uninterrupted sea views of the pristine Adriatic, but the closest island of Scedro, some 2.7 km from the resort village of Zavala, is one green and picturesque imposition in sea of blue. Although I had admired it from afar for years, it never occurred to me to actually visit, until a January invitation for a fish lunch had me going to explore what turned out to be rather an exquisite island.

Let’s face it, the chance of lunch anywhere on Hvar in January is appealing, with all the restaurants closed. And so it was that a group of four headed to the jetty at Zavala to be collected by a pipe-smoking boatman called Vuk (The Wolf).

Foto: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/342395

I knew little of Scedro. It was a natural paradise for sure, with just one family living there full-time (Vuk’s); some of its rosemary honey came fourth in the world at the 2011 Apimondia in Argentina; it had some great deep bays which were loved by sailors; and there was a beautiful monastery, which had seen better days.

The tone of the day was set on arrival, as an elder man sat by the water quietly gutting fish, freshly caught, and part of our lunch today. Pleasures were simple – no electricity and running water here – but for peace and quiet and the chance to escape the modern world, it was heaven.

To the monastery we must, and I wondered once again at these religious communities of centuries ago, and how they had found such hidden and inaccessible places. As with the roof and the windows of the ruined monastery, the door had long gone, although there was a quaint legend to explain it.

The religious community on Scedro comprised nuns and monks, and towards the end of their time there, the community became very small until there was just one nun and one monk left. When the nun died, the monk did not want to be alone on the island, so he hauled the heavy church door to the water nearby and used it as a raft to escape.

Foto: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/342395

Apart from tourism visits, the monastery’s main function these days rests in its water tank, which is still used today to provide water to the few houses in the bay which provide extremely comfortable Robinson tourism. It did serve as a wedding venue last year however, the first wedding certainly in living memory as Vuk’s son tied the knot with his lovely young bride.

Lunch was a delightful combination of natural simple pleasures, all provided by nature and the toil of the family. The home-made bread was probably the best I had had in Croatia, and the freshly gutted fish were now undergoing that very Dalmatian tradition where a fish swims three times in its life – firstly in the sea and now in the excellent Kordic olive oil and thereafter washed down by the home-made Kordic wines.

Heaven.

There was time for a walk through the pristine fields of Scedro, with scents of pine, rosemary and a host of others, when we met that rarest of things, a car! One of the beekeepers from the ‘mainland’ of Hvar. As there are hardly any visitors in January (and not that many in peak season), there was time for a chat. That i one thing which Scedro has in abundance – time.

Finally, the time came to return to real life, a visit all too short, and Vuk and impressive pipe steered us home, but not before we saw dolphins playing in the distance.

I will return.

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