June 24, 2022

Some weeks ago, I met Bura. Then, while on a sailing course, I met another Croatian giant, Jugo. I had heard about him, and in theory, I had felt it, also in the mountains. Now, after my experience in the sea, I have a better understanding of his character. While Bura is a cold and strong wind that comes from the mountains to the sea, Jugo is not cold and goes from the sea to the mountains. Filip, our skipper, told us Jugo starts in the south of France, blows around the Italian peninsula, and ends up in the Adriatic Sea. I am so impressed by giants here, so let me tell you about them!

Let me start with when I first met Jugo. We were on another hiking trip with Hiking & Adventures Croatia, this time in Čikola canyon. Totally different experience from Bura. Jugo did not make my bones get cold and left me to walk by myself. He did not push me like Bura, nor did he stop me from falling. He was more like a companion than a master. I felt his warm hugs all the hike. I met him there, it was Jugo, nevertheless, Jugo is also a giant and that day he was not showing all his temper.

Sailing with jugo

The second time I experienced Jugo was a little bit more challenging. The forecast indicated good sunny days during the weekend. We were going on a three-day sailing course with Marlin Sailing. Our trip started on Friday; after grabbing some of the fantastic bread, bureks: cheese, meat and spinach, we got on the boat. Hubby and I were exploring the Croatian sea. We had wanted to do a sailing course for a while, so a friend recommended this one. It took us more than one month of waiting, but it was worth it. I loved the ambience and the learning. I am no expert in sailing and please do not trust me with your yacht, but come on, I can dock a boat and I am super proud of it. 

After three days of learning, it is a great deal. Thanks Filip, you have shown me how to do a great job! First of all, the forecast was not accurate.  We had a lot of rain during Friday. Again, as with Bura, I was not totally happy with Jugo’s strength. I mean, winds are not something I had worried about while in Mexico City. Totally new giants here. Friday was rainy and we ended up soaked. Luckily for us we had accommodation in Zaglav just a few steps from the Marina. The apartment was comfy and with more than all the necessities. Damir, thanks a lot for it! The hot soup and the fresh fish that night really helped a lot. 

Meeting the jugo

On Friday we went from Zadar to Dugi Otok, the rain was light but constant. We had enough Jugo to open the sails and enjoy. Jugo that day had a long face towards our adventure. He did not seem impressed. On Saturday Jugo favoured us giving clouds and some hugs. In the morning Jugo was watching silently. We were allowed to practise our skills. First we practised docking. It was harder than I expected, I guess I have never thought of how easy it can be to hit something with your boat… With barely no wind it was still challenging. Please keep your fingers safe! They don’t grow back!

At noon we went to Telašćica. There we had a short hike to the cliffs and to the salt lake. I had forgotten to say it was a tiny group: my hubby, a new friend of ours, me and Filip. Our Bosnian new friend did the guiding part and showed us amazing trees. The cliffs were breathtaking. The clouds dominated the sky and Jugo blew caressing our steps. 

In the evening, we were able to sail for hours from one side to the other of Dugi Otok. And we had the most practice that day. It was an amazing experience. At night we had ukusna peka. Jugo still was around, but more like the face of him I knew the first time. Not like Friday, with rain and lots of wave movement. Just there, a gentle giant that whispers to your ear.

Life at sea is different than on land. Sunday started with sun and light Jugo. We saw a pod of dolphins. Two of them passed under the boat. We also saw a turtle, I am afraid I could not recognize the species, it was slightly underwater. A turtle expert friend told me it was probably a loggerhead. Seems right, loggerhead turtles are the most spread species worldwide and also have some of their most important nesting sites close to Croatia. That was our last day, we were tired but delighted. I was super happy with the trip, the company and the food. So we started to head home, ending the tour in Zadar. We saw other sailboats with their sails open, nevertheless we saw extremely dark clouds behind us. Thus, Filip told us the best idea was to get home as soon as we could. We did all the motor power and waited. We tried to race the storm. We ended up soaked again. This time I helped dock the boat under the rain, and I managed to do the knot perfectly! Call me captain! I was thrilled, I had not only enjoyed myself during the weekend but I also learned tons!

Navigating through jugo

Three days in a sailboat with an amazing and knowledgeable guide. I totally recommend Filip as your guy! Then nights sleeping in Zaglav. The accommodation was excellent and the food was even better. Getting to meet another invisible giant was wonderful. I have also been informed that there are more Croatian winds to meet. The more I know the more curious I get. Perhaps I will get to meet them soon, who knows?

Text and photos by Alejandra Gotoo

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