How do you tell the story of a glorious summer, a fabulous vacation, or even of one perfect day?
As I work to find the through lines in my film scans, phone images, video clips and the photos taken by my traveling companions from a recent trip, I have struggled to find one way to combine it all. I want to make all the disparate bits of media fit into one tidy chronological structure, born, I think, of my childhood experience of the row of numbered photo albums that could take you through the decades of my family, but there’s so much more media now. And it doesn’t all fit in a book.
I had an aha moment while working on this story of a truly perfect day, a sail from Ičići on the Istrian coast of Croatia to the island of Cres. I didn’t need to limit myself to just one story. So today I’m sharing a photo essay of the day with film images here on Viewfinders, and another, made with phone images and video clips, on Steller.
We met Captain Edo at Ičići Marina and boarded The Iver for Cres. He was very generous with the helm. All the kids got the chance to steer.
The wind wasn’t with us on the trip to Cres, so we motored through calm seas and after a while we stopped the boat for a swim.
When everyone had their fill, temporarily anyway, of the water, we all got back on board and finished the trip to our destination. As we neared the island and travelled along the coastline we spotted wild goats along rocky hillsides and boats that had gotten an earlier start than we had and had claimed tiny coves with private beaches as theirs for the day.
We docked at Beli Beach, and as soon as we hit the ground, the kids were off to explore the cove and it’s small pebble beach, some of the adults staked out a table at a beach front cafe and I went to check out a row of curious stone sheds. I never found out their original purpose, maybe ship building or repair, but they’ve been repurposed as beach cabanas for rent.
I followed the butterflies and an incredible aroma to the last hut in the row.
From here the cove gave way to a rocky path up the side of the island. I climbed and looked, down and back towards the beach.
We had a delicious fish lunch and then more swimming for the kids. My husband and I were encouraged to walk the main road up the opposite side of the beach, pictured here, above the marina, to see the view.
The road was steep and narrow, and the going was slow, because we had to stand flush against the hillside every time a car passed, but the views were every bit as amazing as promised.
We found a marker for a Heritage/Eco Path, and followed it. The path was lined with stone walls that seemed as though they had been part of the landscape forever. On either side olive trees grew wild in a pattern that suggested that they had once, long ago, been tended. We shared the path with butterflies – moving so frenetically in and out of the dappled light – that they were everywhere all at once. The path took us right up to the edge of the rock face. There was something ancient and sacred about this place – it felt as though we were walking through a Greek myth. Later, when I learned that this island was first settled 4000 years ago by the Illyrians, I was not surprised.
The walk down to the beach was considerably faster. We stopped to watch our kids from above, they had grown fearless with a few days of pier jumping under their belts.
Then down to the beach to meet our party and head back onto The Iver for our return trip. Again, Captain Edo chose a beautiful spot for us to swim in the ocean, and then, just as he had promised in the morning, we had good wind for a sail back to Ičići.
It was an absolutely perfect day, one I will remember for all of mine, and definitely worthy of more than one telling.
Many thanks to our friends at Proper Croatia travel agency and Captain Edo of The Iver for everything.
If you are interested, the Steller version of this story can be found here