Kornati National Park

Croatia has 5 major national parks, but the one that seafarers head to is the Kornati NP. It is a chain of islands lying NE-SW about 15NM off Croatia’s coast. As with everything in Croatia you need to pay and for a yacht its 600Kuna (85 euros) for 3 nights or 900kuna for 5 nights – and – word of warning you need to buy the pass in advance from a national park office or and ACI marina. If you don’t it costs 600 kuna a night!!

We had heard rumours that within the fee you got to use national park moorings in designated bays, but that turned out to be a fallacy as the national park is planning to install buoys, but as yet hasn’t. All mooring buoys are owned by restaurants and if you use them you need to eat at their restaurant and once again, these places essentially have a monopoly and are expensive!

That aside, the national park is nice, it’s not spectacular like the madellana islands in Sardinia or the activities of the Aeolie Islands, but it’s a nice spot. The islands are quite baron and during the day looked a bit harsh, so for me the best time was at sunrise, or particularly sunset when the colours of the surrounding landscape were incredible hues of brown and blue. The moon was in its waxing crescent phase, so the nights were dark and the kids and I spent time in the cockpit, with Ben’s star chart checking out the constellations with two eager astronomers.

The islands making up the Kornati group essentially form a long and narrow lagoon which again, during the strong northerly Bora would be a place to shelter – it would be windy, but the sea state not too bad. We had no luck anchoring in the southern Kornati islands, all rock and boulders, but further north things were much better. Our friends Wayne and Greta, Aussies from Melbourne aboard another Moody yacht called Northern Navigator were a day or so ahead of us and kept us informed of some great spots. Thanks guys!

As we left the islands, we had arranged to meet Heather’s cousin Mel and family 25NM back down the coast in Sibenik, so with the prevailing northerly now a 15 knot southerly we had a suberb 5 hour sail back towards Sibernik. The locals will tell you that after a southerly there is always a strong northerly due and the forecast confimed this with a strong Bora forecast – gusting 50 knots. The night it hit we were anchored off Murter. The wind wasn’t too bad, maybe gusting 25knots. But we experienced the most incredible lightning storm I could imagine. Between 2 and 4 am, it was on. Every conceivable type of lightning was thrown at us. The thunder was intense and the rain powerful. Yes, the storm tracked right over head – why wouldn’t it? Were we scared, yes. Were we in awe yes. Do it again – no thanks, not that mother nature gives you much choice in these things.

We got up at 6am to complete our journey to Sibenik. We were lucky, the Bora had eased a bit and we motored 3 hours down the coast as the wind gauge showed 30-35 knots in the gusts. As we navigated back up the channel into Sibenik it was gusty, grey and pouring with rain. It was a tough morning in the office.

Milly was on the foredeck getting blown about in the wind and was struggling to sort out mooring lines and fenders I shouted “are you alright” she looked back, smiled and said, “Dad, I’m ok! Sometimes you’ve just got to get the job done!” In the cold, gloomy conditions my heart melted. I was so proud. My daughter is turning into a confident young woman before my very eyes. Sometimes it takes these moments for a Dad to realize that his little girl is growing up….fast!

11 thoughts on “Kornati National Park

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  1. Again some amazing photos and experiences. The awesome power of nature should never be forgotten. Great blog.
    Ruth and Peter


  2. Hi guys, hope you are all well. We were wondering for sailing around the Med, how you are working around the 90-in-180 day stay requirements in the Schengen countries? We understand Aussies don’t need visas for these countries but we still are limited by this limitation. Any tips? Cheers, Fil


    1. Hi Fil,

      It can get a bit tricky…the kids and I have dual UK/Aussie citizenship. Heather doesn’t have uk citizenship so needs to follow the 90 day rule. Last year was easy as we balanced our time between Greece(schengen) and Croatia/Montenegro (non schengen) so that was easy. The previous year we winged it and got away with it. Heather arrived in Spain by plane in feb. We arrived in Greece by boat in July and only “checked in” to Greece in sept. The Greek system is pretty chaotic and they were not interested in where we had come from….so when we flew out heathers passport showed she had only been in Greece a month (sept- oct) …clearly not above board! This year we have found out that as heather is married to an EU citizen she can get a long stay visa for Greece and Italy fairly easily, and this is where we will be cruising so all good. Lots of Aussies just wing it… but it’s not ideal.


      1. Hi Rich, thanks, that helps with our planning. Didn’t want to just wing it as can’t afford a red mark in our passports as intending to sail in US waters and that may compromise it. We’re going to try a similar strategy, I have a Polish passport so we’ll use that to get an extension for my wife El and son Aiden when we get to Spain. That’s what the Sydney Spanish consulate suggested. By the way does the Italian long stay visa extend to Schengen or just Italy? Cheers, Fil


        1. Hi, apparently it is in addition to your 90 days. So theoretically we could sail in Greece for 3 or 4 months then only when we leave do we officially enter “Schengen”. But it all seems a little vague! It’s our third season this year so i hope its not going to be third time unlucky 😉

          The visas just apply to the host country..greece/Italy or spain. I think the same thing also applies in France but it is harder to get the visa.

          We will be arriving in Preveza and setting sail mid may…if you are in the vicinity for a catch up let us know!




        2. Hi Rich, we’re going to be in the Northern Adriatic in May, leaving Slovenia around 10th May and then sailing south along the Croatian coast. We’ll be in the Ionian mid-June and then heading across to Sicily and up the western coast of Italy in July. What’s your plans after Preveza?


        3. Pretty similar to yours 🙂 basically, Sicily, Malta, Sardinia and Italy 🙂 let’s keep in-touch and catch up somewhere..maybe we could get a few boats together for the crossing to Sicily and have our own flotilla 😉


  3. Hello, are you guys still in the Med? Around Preveza? We are a small sailing family starting out from Preveza, bobbing about that area for a month or so, before we head west – Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, Balearics. We have a 7 year old son, and are keen to meet other families for cruising in company and shore adventures. We will be on s/v Intention, currently at Cleopatra Marina, Preveza. Drop us a line or watch out for us!


      1. Hi! Thanks for getting intouch! Amazingly we are also in cleopatra’s…We arrive on 10th may and will launch on the 13th…or at least that is the plan 🙂 our overall route plan is similar to you..we will spend a month or so In the Ionian then will head towards Sicily, Malta, Sardinia and Italy. Let’s catch up early may! Richard & Heather


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