Croatian Anchorages – Part 2 : Around Dubrovnic

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This area has a number of islands strung out between Dubrovnik and the Pelješac peninsula to the north. The islands are called the Elaphites which translated to the “deer islands”. We saw non of the deer that presumably inhabited these islands at some time ago..i think they have long since been replaced with the Dubrovnik day tripper…who now frequent these island on mass in July and August. One or two of the bays are beautiful, but most are quite developed and some not too easy on the eye…

  1. The Rijeka (“river”) Dubrovačka inlet is the home to the Dubrovnik ACI marina which is both busy and expensive. But on the plus side it has a great supermarket,  chandlery and a fuel berth. You can also get camping gas here – but you need to leave the marina and walk up the road past the garage to get it, someone will point you in the right direction. In the river channel downstream of the marina, the charts say no anchoring – but in practise there are usually a few yachts anchored here. We spent two nights here, about 100m from the marina entrance. Holding is a bit patchy, so make sure you dig in well, as even if the wind is light, the current runs at upto 2 knots in here. During the Bora, things can get interesting with the wind gusting down the channel at over 50 knots, if you can’t get in the marina i’d find somewhere else to hide if the Bora is forecast – although we spoke to a few boats who rode out the storm at anchor and were ok. Gruz Marina is also close by but we have heard no good comments coming form anyone who has been here, noisy, dirty, expensive seem to be the consistent feedback and if you believe some accounts its unsafe as well…avoid.
  2. Gornje Celo, Kolocep. This small town is worth a lunch stop, the anchorage is small and given all the boat traffic can get very rolly. There are short walks and plenty of sea caves to explore. You anchor over sand/rock in about 5-8m. Further out the sea bed is covered in thick weed and not good holding.
  3. Uvula Sunj, Lopud. This bay is one of the best in the area, with a lovely sandy beach and cordoned off swimming area. Sure, the beach is full of deck chairs, but it is lovely and the water warm and clear over the sandy bottom. The anchoring is excellent, lots of space and great holding – expect to drop over sand in 8-12m. There are two beach bars and some great trails over the island with fantastic views over the Elaphites.
  4. Uvula Lopud, Lopud. This is a good fair weather anchorage, its exposed to the north and is quite deep (12-15m)with average to poor holding. But once ashore the town is lovely. There are a heap of restaurants and bars, a bakery and small supermarket.
  5. Sudurad, Sipan. Ok so we were here when it was windy and rainy, but this little town, while looking cute from a distance felt like a tourist trap. I get the impression the whole town is set up to milk the day trippers from Dubrovnik, everything being at least twice the price of anywhere else. The bay has a small fishing port (too shallow for yachts) – we left our dingy here and the locals were not happy, telling me that only locals could use the fishing port, so i had to move it. There is also a wharf which accommodates about 10-15 yachts, but the night we were there it was booked out by Sunsail, so despite there being space we were not allowed on. Anchoring in the bay is prohibited (there is a sign that is obscured by trees) but there are  5 or 6 mooring bouys. The Bouys looked to be in reasonable condition, and we hooked up to one for the night –  No one came to charge us. They There is also a lot of ferry traffic, with boats coming and going all the time which makes it rolly. All in all, not a great spot.
  6. Luka Salno – Neprobic. A big, deep bay sheltered from the Bora. There are mooring posts to tie upto, but apparently the locals take offence and some yachts have been threatened with having their lines cut if they use them. Its built up and not a particularly attractive anchorage, but its a muddy bottom with good holding. Reckoned to be the best spot in the area to ride out the Bora. But i think Uvula Sunj would be better.
  7. Uvula Budima, on the mainland. Next to the main coastal road so there is some traffic noise but its not a bad spot. Shallow (5-8m) and good holding in Sand. Our friends on Calyxa were here for two nights and the wind topped out at 55 knots, but while their nerves were frayed their anchor held tight. As you are in the Lee of the land, even with big winds there is very little sea. There is nothing here at all, so come prepared!
  8. Broce. We didn’t anchor here, but sailed right up to Broce and then back down the channel again. It was a blustery day and the wind was incredibly variable in strength and direction off the surrounding hills. Some of the gusts were ferocious. There were plenty of yachts anchored at the head of the bay, if you can tuck right in close in you may be able to anchor in 10m or less. But the bay quickly becomes deep – well over 18m. Most of the yachts here were super yachts. But its a pretty spot and holding apparently good.
  9. Uvula Spilice – this is a wonderful spot with crystal clear water and plenty of fish. The  bottom shelves off quickly so you need to choose your spot carefully. It is also rocky in areas, but the water is so clear you can easily spot the big sandy patches and drop your anchor in them. We anchored here after a windy sail up the coast and it was flat calm and incredibly tranquil. You are close to Dubrovnik, but feel a million miles away.
  10. Luka Saplunara, Miljet. There are two restaurants here that have put out mooring bouys. Both are expensive. You can anchor here, over sand but given all the best spots have been filled with mooring bouys you will be anchoring in 12-15m. The beach is wonderful and while the bay is sheltered form the north, wind with any amount of westerly kicks up quite a swell. On the second night we were there  a forecast light north westerly became more of a strong south-westerly(?!)and we had breakers on the beach. The kids had a great time surfing in them but i was glad we were on a mooring bouy. In the right conditions it’s a great spot and well worth a stop. Restaurant “MS” was excellent and served 4 of us with fantastic Argentinean Steak, but at 800kuna it wasn’t cheap.

So, for us the highlights of this area were Uvula Sunj on Lopud,  Uvula Splice and Luka Saplunara.

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