The Postira Ferry: Sea Kayaking Croatia
All our daily tours to the Elafite islands start by boarding a small ferry called Postira. This old member of the Croatian state fleet is the only daily line for the three inhabited Elafite islands: Kolocep, Lopud, and Sipan. Built back in 1963, the ship is the only one of its class still alive and running, and over the years Postira has become part of Elafiti islands tradition in many ways. It was built in times when convenience and comfort did not matter, when ships were simply built to last. While some might find Postira a little unattractive, it is surely sturdy and functional. Croatians love tradition more than modern, charm more than comfort, and Postira keeps the tradtional way of life on the islands going, even on board. Elegant food and beverage service - inside on the second level, a small cafe bar serves drinks and snacks. Order a beer or a coffee, and you will be served with a glass or china cup – no plastic or styrofoam here. Reminders of war - behind the bar, a small medal and graduate comemorates Postira for its service in the Homeland War because the ferry served both the islanders and the navy and sustained heavy damaged while doing so. Everyones's business is everyone's business - in the high season of July and August, when large number of tourists join the locals and fill up the ferry, it is hard to find a comfortable place to sit on the open topside passenger deck, but it is easy to hear people speaking Croatian, German, English, French, and other languages because private conversations are impossible.
Early in the morning, Postira starts on Sipan (having spent the night at there at the end of the pervious day) and ferries the islanders to work and the children to school in Dubrovnik and brings them back later in the day (its daily schedule is definitely geared to locals, not tourists). It carries the mail and, most importantly, all the necessary ingredients and materials for households, restaurants, and hotels. In Dubrovnik, all the cargo is manually loaded onto the ferry's large cargo deck, and at each island stop, the islanders work together quickly to unload their supplies. Everything is so well coordinated that, regardless of the size of the cargo, the ferry is rarely late for another island port. Those who travel regularly know the habits of the two crews, especially the captains: one captain always seems in a good mood and the other in a bad one; one captain is an excellent docker while the other often scrapes the ship against the pier and becomes an object of laughter for the islanders; one captain will wait for passengers who are late and run towards the ship while the other leaves the dock a minute before the departure time (everything in Croatia can be so contradictory).
In the last couple of years, even AKT guides and kayaking groups have become a part of the Postira tradition as our backpacks, paddles, and bikes (and once in a while even kayaks) have joined the rest of the cargo. Morning coffees, evening beers, and plenty of kayaking and biking stories together with outstanding views make the Postira ferry a perfect way to start and end our tours.