Our morning starts off hazy but it's clear by the time the ferry pulls into Lopud, the Elaphite Island where we're spending the day. Lopud is known as a "living island" because about 200 people make their permanent residence here. Some folks produce their own wine or olive oil on the island and many have impressive gardens. However, not everything can be produced on the island. As we unload with our dry bags and sunscreen, men pass with crates of apricots and baskets of bread. Several large fish disembark alongside of us and later we watch as a man washes them in the clear bay water and guts them just ashore.
After a quick kayak tutorial and safety demonstration, we're cutting our way across the bay and around the western side of Lopud Island. It's not twenty minutes before a pod of dolphins surfaces to our right. Hawking swallows swoop from the cliffs nearby. It's low tide, so red sea anemones dot the rocks.
The Elaphite islands don't have many beaches. It's more common to find jagged cliffs and shadowy, rainbow-ed caves. But on the far side of Lopud, Sunj beach is wide and sandy and shallow. In July and August the sea is bathtub-warm, but even now, in June, it's comfortable for swimming. The sand in Croatia is limestone and bright white, so the shallower regions shine turquoise. Peering over the rim of a kayak, you can spot fish or the rippled sea floor.
After lunch at a shore-side restaurant, we relax. The island has no cars, and few inhabitants, and it's peaceful compared to mainland Dubrovnik. In the afternoon we'll paddle the east side of the island, finishing our circumnavigation. There's a Benedictine monastery to explore and a friendly town-front once we get back to Lopud port.
There will be ice cream to eat. Or maybe we'll drink some island-made wine while we wait for the ferry.
But for now, on Sunj beach, the sand is warm and the sea is breezy
and the conditons are perfect for a little snooze...