The Pakleni, also spelt Paklinski, are a group of islands in the Adriatic Sea, directly across from the Hvar (city) harbour entrance of the island's southwestern coast in Croatia. The most common term for the islands among native speakers is skoji. However, hells' islands (pakleni) is a direct English translation of the term "Pakleni" from the ancient word paklina. The islands were historically a primary source of the tar used to coat ships, and the name "Paklina" comes from the word for this substance, pine resin.
What are the Pakleni Islands, and why should you go there?
The Pakleni Islands are a group of small, rocky islands right off Hvar's coast. This beautiful group of islands is only a short boat ride away from Hvar town. On the Pakleni Islands archipelago, which is on the other side of the Hvar, you can find beautiful coves, beaches, bars, and nature. The Pakleni Islands, also called the Paklinski Islands, are a great place to soak up the Mediterranean sun, swim in the clear Adriatic waters, explore new bays, and have a good time. They have some of the most popular bays for the anchorage of sailboats, and it's easy to see why. An excellent alternative to docking in the port of Hvar is the ACI marina on the North side of St. Klement, the largest of the Paklinski Islands. It is 2.4 miles from the town of Hvar by sea. It is a seasonal marina, open from spring to autumn. Unfortunately, like most ACI marinas (especially the smaller and seasonal ones), it is pretty cramped, with narrow spaces between berths and piers.
It was constructed when 10-meter sailboats were considered large, which was many years ago.
Fast taxi boats run from the marina to the city port during the summer. Unfortunately, the price is not cheap, and the last return connection is usually too early for a night out on the island of Hvar. However, don't even think about crossing the canal with your dinghy boat because the Paklinski Canal can be windy, wavy, and busy, especially in the afternoon.
In addition to securing your boat to a mooring on the marina, you also have the option of finding a secure anchoring in one of the Paklinski Islands' secluded bays. Boaters almost always head to Vinogradišće Bay as their destination of choice. On the southern side of Saint Klement, the bay is the most easterly one, and it is both deep and well-sheltered. It is directly opposite the islet of Stambedar. You are shielded here from all winds except those coming from the southwest, which is highly uncommon during the summer. The anchor can maintain its position on the sandy bottom, contributing to the water's beautiful pale blue hue. If there are a lot of boats nearby, in addition to the anchor, you should tie a rope or, better, two and tighten it to the coastal rocks. There are several restaurants to select from around the bay and surrounding area. Another favourite anchorage is the one in the passage of Ždrilac, a narrow channel closed on the WNW side by the islets of Borovac and Planikovac and on the East side by Marinkovac. Many boaters anchor here mainly because of one of the island's restaurants. In the summer, several moorings are placed on the small pier below the restaurant. The bay in the SE part of the channel is shallower than 5 meters, so be careful if you anchor here. It is best to anchor under Planikovac, but in such a way that you do not disturb the traffic in the canal. Again, be careful, the sea current can be stronger there, and the protection from storms is poor. You will have more privacy in the slightly more western bay of the island of Saint Clement. These are the coves of Taršće, Soline, Okorija and Studeni Bok.
Shoals and Reefs around Paklinski Islands
In addition, sea currents have an average speed of 1 to 1.5 knots in the passages between the islands. Still, in strong Jugo wind, they can make navigation and manoeuvre quite difficult (up to 3 knots). We list the most dangerous obstacles, and you find them on the map so that you can sail safely and carefree. You should pay particular attention to the reef-shaped shoal (4.5 m) about 500 m West from the islet Vodnjak Veli (there is a light on it: B Bl 6s 9M).
Then the shoal (2 m) NE of the same island, in the passage between the reefs of Travna and Lengva (the latter is dangerous because it can only be seen from close range!). West of the Travna reef is the dark and low Karbun reef. Lengva reef is also extremely dangerous and hard to see. Yachts have already run aground on it!
The reefs in front of the low Cape Razanj (Bibiča Razanj) are difficult to spot, especially in gloomy weather. Furthermore, pay attention to the low cliffs of Pločica, 270 meters from the islet of Stambedar, and to the shallows of the same name (4.5 m). The low and dark reef of Baba at the entrance to Palmižana bay (image below)
(in which there is a marina); is shallow around the rocks, and the reefy bottom reaches farthest towards the NNE. Finally, the shallows (3 m) south of the islet of Gojca (approximately halfway to Planivac) can be recognized by the greenish colour of the sea in good visibility. Unfortunately, there is no way to pass between the following islands: Vodnjaka Veli and Mali; Borovac (there are two - the one at the West end of the archipelago!) and St. Clement; Vlaka and St. Clement; Borovac (eastern!) and Planikovac.
But, on the other hand, it is possible to sail between Dobro and St. Klement (depth 6 m); Jerolim and St. Klement (but carefully – 4 m); Borovac (the eastern one!) and St. Klement (7 m).