A week long tour packed full of laughter, adventure and alcohol, because what else do you do when you're 22 and travelling solo? Living on a boat for a week sailing the Adriatic Sea sounds pretty good... you travel during the early hours, learn and explore by day and party by night, there's no need to worry about purchasing alcohol for pre loading as the on board bar has you sorted with cocktails by the litre.
I chose the Navigator Tour; return to Split heading east. We visited 3 Islands and 2 towns on the mainland, as well as breakfast and lunch being served to you every day, each town came with its own activity with plenty of sights to see and experience, and of course each destination had it's own party culture along with it.
The port of Split is lined with boats ready to take the next lot of adventurers out for the coming week, we boarded in the early afternoon and set sail later that day, each destination is not far from the next so travel time is only a couple of hours but it's all done during the early hours of each morning when you're sleeping off your hangover.
Our first destination was Hvar, which we reached just in time to check out the town in the late afternoon and early evening sun, there were gorgeous buildings and amazing views from the Spanish Fortress on a nearby hill which had panoramic views of the city, islands and sea. As summer was coming to a close so was the good weather and just before it started pouring with rain we were lead back down the hill to our first taste of island night life.
We spent our night in a club which was only 3 metres from the waters edge where a small dinghy was moored, as the night progressed the weather got worse and I remember looking out the door and seeing the dingy almost doing barrel rolls in the rough water. The rest of that night I remember buckets of Moet, a special order of bottles of vodka accompanied by lit sparklers and multiple drinks being set a light on the bar counter top. We clambered back on board and set sail for our next destination at 6am.
Our second morning on board we stopped off in a secluded bay for a swim before we arrived in Korcula for the day; a group of us ventured onto the island and found an abandoned outdoor bar, for the most part everything had been stripped out and cleared apart from a number of decorative items, crates of energy drinks still in their plastic wrapping and bottles of spirits. I don't have to say much more than that we didn't head back to the boat until the sun had long set and a couple of people had to be herded back to make sure they weren't hit by any passing cars on a road with no footpath or street lights. The night continued on the boat and I added a couple more cocktails to my tab.
Dubrovnik was swarming with tourists, and that's no surprise as it is one of the most popular destinations in Croatia and is popular among Game of Thrones fanatics. Dubrovnik is also famous for its distinctive old town enclosed by massive stone walls which were completed in the 16th century.
Todays activity was a walking tour through the city and a buggy tour around the hills and fields that tower over old town, a 20 minute to half hour drive each way along dirt roads bordering cliffs and through mud puddles, and yes we did get to drive the buggies ourselves which made the ride that bit more terrifying!
The night started with a few modest cocktails with some of the girls at a bar in old town and ended at one of the more popular clubs on the island Revelin, everything from light shows to Go-Go Dancers and fire breathers, you didn't need to be trippin' balls to see some amazing things here. At the end of the night some of us congregated outside a corner store and had a few 'classy' beers at a nearby playground before clambering back on the boat, the beauty of these sails is all tourist sail boats link up together at the port so sometimes you'll be walking across 4 other boats before you get to yours. I was making my way across one of the boats when a woman in her 50's swung open her door and scolded us telling us to be quiet, I couldn't help but snigger when I saw her hair standing on end and wearing a t-shirt just long enough to cover her bottom half.
Another morning stop off in a secluded bay for a swim before our next stop, Mljet and this was probably the most tamest of days, we moored on the Island and walked to the nearby national park where we biked around the lake and rode a questionable dinghy to an island in the centre to check out the 16th century Monastery. Two of the Australians on our tour opted to kayak over to the island, we all had a great laugh watching them struggle to get in sync with the paddles and fight whatever wind there was.
I went to bed at 7pm that night as my body was falling apart at the seams.
The next day we arrived back in Split and all said our goodbyes, some of us found a bus and headed towards Krka National Park for a swim. That evening I crawled into bed at a quiet hostel not far from old town and I spent the next three days hibernating and only venturing out for pancakes and street side mojitos.
Sail Croatia was definitely a great time and one I would recommend for anyone wanting to experience the most Dalmatia has to offer in a short space of time, my one piece of advice is to not do back to back boozy tours unless you enjoy the feeling of your body slowly shutting down with every night out. I finished my Contiki the day before I was due to board and my body was not coping, however persistence beat resistance which only made my liver and lungs despise me more.
Top Tip: The wifi on the boat isn't the greatest at the best of times, you can purchase a sim card on the mainland which offers unlimited data for 7 days