"Let us put the bikes on a boat and discover Croatia by boat and bike!“ Once the idea was born, we couldn’t stop thinking about it.
The adventure already started at the check in on our boat "Susak“, because we knew that we are not allowed to take the bikes on the boat. We decided to leave the harbour and land at the gas station next to it, to do it secretly. You have to be an advanced Tetris player to store five bikes in a small berth on a boat.
The siblings Tim and Nina Fahrner are both experienced sailors and so they were our skippers. At the beginning of the journey, they introduced the rest of the crew composed of Karin Pasterer, Markus Purner and Philipp Hopfgartner to the most important maneuvers like "man over board" to be prepared for the worst case.
We started the first stage right away, with the destination Vis, which is about 10 hours boat ride away. After we sailed into a beautiful sunset, the night was about to start and nearly halway to Vis, a thunderstorm forced us to do a stopover on the island of Kaprije.
On the next day we continued our journey early in the morning. With the help of our navigation tools we made our way to Vis, where the first mountain was already waiting for us. We didn´t knew any trails there, so it was very interesting to explore the island on our own. We started in Komiza and after doing a nice uphill ride, we arrived at the top of the mountain where we were rewarded with an epic scenery. That was definitely a good compensation for the rain the day before.
The storm was howling in the evening, so we decided not to leave the harbour as it was too dangerous, and continue our trip when mother nature is on our side again. We tied our swimming home with belt and braces, but the whole crew did not sleep very well. It's a really cool experience to be completely exposed to the forces of nature in a world where you can usually do anything anytime.
When we woke up the next day, the sun was already shining and we were able to sail on. After five hours we arrived in Starigrad on the island of Hvar. The island offered us a six hour tour of biking in a breathtaking environment. In the end, as the cherry on the top of the cake, we hiked to the summit cross with the bikes shouldered. It's such a pleasure to ride bikes with a permanent view over the whole island and the sea surrounding it. A technical but funny trail, containing everything a biker heart desires, was leading us back to the boat.
On the next day we knew it - rain is chasing us! But our motivation to bike was big enough to sail towards the next island - Brac. We hadn´t even arrived our destination, when we all started to put our bike clothes on to start right away. Today´s tour led us through tiny villages to the top of the highest hill we could find. At some point, we didnt expect to find trails anymore, so we decided to do some urban riding. At the end of the day we even found a little trail which was really fun to ride.
The next day, there was no biking planned anymore. We spent a windy sailing day with the destination Zlarin. While we were landing in the port, we saw a trail which was winding straight from the top of the mountain to the harbour we were in. We decided to get up at 4 o'clock the next morning to do a little sunrise tour. Despite we were not able to see any of the sunrise due to clouds, it was a nice good morning ride. After a refreshing breakfast on the boat, we headed back to Sukosan, our home port.
It was the last day, so it was definitely time to do something funny. We wanted to do some wakeboarding, but of course, nobody brings a wakeboard to a sailing trip. Best alternative: The door of our toilet. We removed the door to bring it outside, attached a rope to the back of the boat, and started to surf with the door beneath our feet. We didn´t think that it would work - but it worked very well!
Later that day, we anchored in a small lovely bay, to have lunch on the boat and enjoy the turquoise water. In the evening we arrived our home port Sukosan and we had a nice last evening on our faithful Susak, before we started our homeward journey back to Austria.
To put it all together: Croatia is not only great for a vacation on the beach! Bring your bike and discover the islands on your own, you will surely be rewarded. But if you are looking for downhill tracks with a shuttle service, you probably are at the wrong place. We will never forget this trip, and we will definitely do it again!
Karin Pasterer (YT Industries)
Nina Fahrner (YT Industries)
Tim Fahrner (SlowTV)
Philipp Hopfgartner (SlowTV)
Markus Purner (SlowTV)