HEADING INTO A BIG sea on a small sailboat unleashes the nautical poet in a man. That, anyway, is my justification for leaping to the foredeck and bracing myself against the rigging, Master and Commander-style, to bellow lines from Coleridge’s “Rime of The Ancient Mariner.”
“Water, water, every where/Nor any drop to drink,” I manage, before memory fails me. I crawl back along the bouncing deck to the cockpit, where my wife has the helm. “Too early for a beer, then?” she says.
We have chartered a 33-foot yacht out of Kremik Marina on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast and, within minutes of casting off, the nerves associated with commandeering somebody else’s $100,000 vessel have been swept overboard by a wave of euphoria.
Between Rijeka in the north and Dubrovnik in the south, Croatia’s 250-mile-long slice of Adriatic coastline boasts more than 1,000 islands—jewels large and small, some barren, others lush with olive groves, pine forests or lavender fields, scattered over an aquamarine sea.