Why Marina Mandalina in Sibenik is a great place to start your charter holiday?
There are seven larger islands and at least thirty islets and rocks between Sibenik on the mainland and Zirje Island. So, you could spend a week here lazily moving from port to port and anchorage to anchorage. On the other hand, the famous Croatian national park, Krka Waterfalls, is very close to Sibenik. You can quickly reach the canyon of the Krka River and its magnificent waterfalls.
First, you must pass under the arch of the concrete bridge of the Adriatic "magistrala" road.
The height of the bridge is 30 m in the middle. Shell farms will accompany you along the coast (you can even buy shells there). When passing, always keep to your right side of the waterway and the restrictions marked on the large boards along the canal. For 2 miles, the canyon's most stunning section continues sharply to the right. The large Prokljansko lake will appear after several sharp cape turns. The lake is beautiful, even though yachts cross it the shortest way.
In Raslina, for example, you can carefully dock (at the head of the pier, it is 2 m deep) or anchor and the local restaurant offers lake specialities, such as grilled eel, which is incredible. If you continue straight towards Skradin, you will see the bridge of the new motorway that crosses the Krka River above your head, and after you pass it, you will see Skradin and the ACI marina.
There's nothing like it in the Adriatic, and it would be hard to find something similar in the Mediterranean. It's a deep sailing adventure into the heart of the land that leads to the Krka waterfalls, which are so beautiful that words can't describe them. Unfortunately, you can't get there with your boat, but you can take an official boat trip from the Krka National Park that leaves from Skradin's marina. Skradin is an actual waterfront town in the middle of the continent. It is squeezed into a green canyon.
Summer afternoons can be busy at the marina, so it's best to get to Skradin as early as possible in the day. It's unsurprising because there aren't many places with ports so well protected from all winds.
The entire city centre is a protected cultural monument. You'll find a nice restaurant or tavern quickly. There are twelve of them, and they all serve delicious food from the sea and river. You should sign up immediately and reserve a table when you return from the national park in the evening.
The next day when you sail down the Krka River to Šibenik - it might seem uninteresting at first because you've already seen it from the opposite direction, but believe us: the winding canyon of the river and the calm expanse of Lake Prokljan will charm you again; now, from the opposite angle, it will all seem different and somehow new.
Again, you should stick to your right side of the waterway because you will meet many sailors sailing towards Skradin, just as you were sailing yesterday.
Four miles from Šibenik or 13 miles away from Skradin, you will find Prvic and Zlarin Island. On Prvic, the settlement of Šepurine is located on the island's Prvic western side,
and Prvić Luka is located in the eastern bay of the island.
Prvić and Zlarin have oppositely placed ports, so when the southerly winds blow, Zlarin is incomparably more favourable, while Prvić has a significant advantage in the Mistral (but also bura). Prvić Luka is somewhat protected from the south by a long breakwater, but it is not enough for strong autumn and spring south winds. Then the waves reach the bottom of the bay, and the sea can rise so much that it floods the lower parts of the waterfront and even the terraces of cafes right next to the coast.
All other winds cannot harm boats in the harbour, so Prvić Luka provides the best protection in these waters from Bura, Mistral, Tramontana, even from storms from the NW (and several smaller and larger storms can blow over the entire Šibenik water area in summer).
Yachts are moored inside the port, where a dozen vessels can be accommodated on the moorings. There are connections for electricity and water. If these moorings are full, you can anchor in the middle of the bay at depths of 5 to 7 meters (there are buoys in summer). In Prvic, walking along the main local street, you will find pleasant restaurants and cafes, and the fascinating memorial centre of Faust Vrančić awaits you a step or two away.
On this small island, there are as many as 16 km of well-maintained trails, which will delight everyone who likes to wander around on bicycles, which can be rented in a small office on the waterfront. Although there are several piers and one large outer pier, the inner part gives the impression of good protection from all winds, the facts say otherwise. The area is completely open to winds from the northwest.
This means that every stronger afternoon mistral will cause problems. The tramontana, which often follows the Bura, can be a powerful wind, and it will create a very wavy sea here. Only the deepest part of the port, the Mandrač behind the second and third inner jetties, is somewhat protected but shallow and full of local boats. But if the weather is nice and the mistrals are moderate, you shouldn't give up on Zlarin! Because the extraordinary beauty and peace of this settlement captivate everyone who has visited this place at least once.
The destination for the night is between Tijašćica bay on Tijat and Kaprije or one of the bays on Kakan. Which bay is the best to choose for the next night? In the selection, let two or three factors prevail: how much time is left until dark, what wind is prevailing (or expected soon), and perhaps whether you and your crew like an uninhabited bay or settlement, your anchor or buoy.
The deep bay of Tijašćica on the SE side of the island of Tijat is closer to Šibenik than the other three destinations. As it is completely open to the south, it is clear that this type of weather will not come into play, but it is perfectly protected from all other winds.
It is not a rare case that Tijašćica, next to Prvić Luka, is a refuge at the last moment for those who flee from the port of Zlarina before the storm's onset from the NW. It's good here after the storm, especially in the deeper part of the bay. Maestral partially skips the island and can sometimes blow stronger from the bottom of the bay, where the island is lower. The island of Tijat is uninhabited so you can enjoy the silence and stellar sky at night. If you continue to Kaprije or Kakan, which will mean another 6.5 miles from Tijat, expect slightly more demanding navigation. When you finally enter the Kakan channel from the south (between Kakan and Kaprije), you can choose between two anchorages under Kakan or the port of Kaprije.
Kaprije is a modest fishing village, although today, it has already been expanded with numerous cottages. In front of the centre of the village is a small harbour with a pier and moorings for local boats. Here you're unprotected only from the winds from the NW (maestral, tramontana). Several good restaurants are waiting for you in the town - if you still have the energy for an evening out at the end of an exciting day! Continue a little further along the Kakan channel on the left side. You will first find an anchorage in Tratica bay (there is a restaurant), then another, more spacious one, in the lagoon under Veli and Mali Borovnjak.
*photo: Moored sailboats in bay of Kaprije, Croatia.
Many yachts arrive here for the night so the buoys might be full in the summer. Both anchorages have buoys in the summer. There is good protection from the Mistral but not from the Nevera storm. If the wind blows from the south, it is better under Borovnjaci than in Tratica, but it will be best to go to Kaprije.
Just as in other specific maritime areas, observing special regulations and adhering to the primary navigation rules will be necessary. At the entrance to the canal from the seaside, a good landmark is the imposing fortress of St. Nicolas which seems to be swimming in the sea. Before it, in the SW direction, the Ročni rock juts out of the sea, and across from it, on Cape Jadrija, there is a white house with a lighthouse and a pillar on which there are light and day markers for large ships. Pay attention to the marked speed limit (10 knots) and sail into the channel. Night navigation is ensured by numerous red and green lights.
In the channel St. Ante, you will see numerous signs of an earlier military presence, especially secret tunnels for warships - Šibenik has always been of strategic interest to various navies. Fortunately, there are new times, and all these structures are mostly abandoned, and the entire peninsula is being turned into a city park. At the end of the channel, between Capes Burnji and South Turan, Šibenik will suddenly appear in front of you.
It is a beautiful city on a steep coast, with three imposing fortresses and a world-famous cathedral that you will immediately notice because of the white stone from which it was built. On the other hand, the city waterfront could be better for receiving yachts; its western part, at the foot of the cathedral and further to the NW, is too shallow for the draft of sailboats. Yachts can dock in front of the slightly more eastern part of the quay, from its break under the cathedral to the east, where about thirty moorings (2 to 4 meters deep) have been placed.
Someone might say: So why settle in Šibenik at all? Isn't it better to continue without stopping and reach the finish line earlier?
The short answer is that you need to see the Sibenik Cathedral, the most beautiful sacred monument on the entire eastern coast of the Adriatic, the Cathedral of St. Jakov, a masterpiece of medieval architecture. Furthermore, Šibenik has an extraordinary charm of a preserved medieval town, the old town centre is simply irresistible.
After visiting the city and the cathedral, there may be time left for lunch at one of the many restaurants.
An additional reason is undoubtedly the fuel station - it is located right next to the ferry pier - because it is the only station on this entire route.
However, it would be best to continue sailing on time so the night does not catch you.