This was DLL’s first diving trip to Croatia and we headed out there to explore the waters with 11 divers.
We started with a horribly early morning start at Stansted airport. We had all just about managed to find our way through the maze which is the Ryanair website in order to book our flights. No thank you, we don’t want car insurance, travel insurance, priority boarding (well Tim might)….we just want to simply book a flight and print our boarding passes…oh, and a bit of good customer service would have been nice, but you can’t have everything!
As we queued up for the flight we counted our numbers, counted again, and realised that two people were missing – Adam & James! Once we’d landed we realised that they hadn’t made the flight at all. We all had a lot of fun coming up with theories as to why they hadn’t arrived (gimp mask anyone)? But it turns out it was a very innocent reason…Adam had enjoyed a few too many pints watching the England Euro 2012 game the night before and had slept through his alarm.
Rather than miss the whole holiday, they caught a flight to Venice and then arrived in the early hours, so they only missed one dive. Impressive work!
We settled into our apartments and quickly enjoyed lounging by the pool with a beer. We met Maurizio, the dive centre owner. He’s a bit like Shrek in stature and friendliness. He took us all under his wing and showed us what Croatia had to offer, both underwater and on land.
The Krnica dive centre was great and we were boat diving everyday. The water was crystal clear and blue, just like the Red Sea. We had a lot of fun between dives swimming around the boat and diving off the top. We discovered the Dean is a true water baby and likes to be in the water at every given opportunity.
So a bit about the diving. Well, for starters it was my first time diving in the sea for a very long time. I won’t bore you with the details but my ears have been giving me trouble, but I thought Croatia was the time to jump back in. And I’m so glad I did. The wreck called the Lina was incredible and really reminded me of the wrecks at Scapa Flow. It was quite deep, 27 metres to the top of the wreck, and so we couldn’t spend too long down there, but we were able to do a bit of penetration. It was sitting upright and had sunk because it had crashed into the reef, as such, once we’d reached our no decompression limit we were able to swim over to the reef and make our ascent on that.
It turns out that where we were in Croatia is probably more suited to tec divers as the wrecks are all pretty deep. So we spent the rest of our time diving on reefs. These were still interesting as there was some swim-throughs and caves to discover. On one dive, we all meet up in a cavern which you could surface in so we had a quick photo!
So a bit about where we were staying. The village has a population of 250 people. The main high street consists of two bars – interestingly the one playing dirgy music was favoured by the younger generations and the other one with the disco ball and UV lighting was full of old men! There’s a bakery where we bought chocolate croissants (or rather liquid chocolate with a hint of croissant) for breakfast and ate it at the bar restaurant with a cup of coffee. We’d then be picked up by Maurizio to drive to the boat. It was a lovely way to start each day.
We were lucky enough to be there for the Croatia Euro 2012 match and so we headed to the bar to support the locals. Unfortunately they lost but that didn’t stop them from partying hard. We staggered home, some more than others, at 2 am and the party was still in full swing. I won’t say too much about the evening to save red faces, but basically a lot of beer was consumed, an accordian played, a table danced upon, croatia shirts worn and a drum set played in the street (at 2 am)! I think we can safely say that the locals will remember DLL when we return. But luckily in a good way…as the next morning they said how much they’d enjoyed our company…and Mike had become their local hero!
The next day, Alex and David joined Maurizio for a tec dive on the Vis wreck. They went to 55 metres and said the wreck was in pristine condition. They’re really looking forward to going back and we think this location will be great for tec qualifying dives and gaining more experience.
Back on land, Maurizio organised a group meal out at an Agriturismo. We fed like kings on a four course feast which started with a grappa shot (seems to be the Croatian way)! We drank lots of wine and this was all for the sum of about £20 each! We’ll definitely be heading back there on our next trip.
We all had a great time and I don’t think anyone wanted to leave. To sum the trip up I’d say it was great company, good diving, good food, brilliant weather and lovely locals. As I’ve already mentioned, we think this particular part of Croatia is probably more of a tec destination and Krnica dive centre is brilliant for that. They have 25 twinsets! You just wouldn’t expect to find that in such a rural location. We will be on the hunt for another Croatian dive centre more set up for recreational diving…so watch this space for future trips!