It was the middle of October in 2015. We had 16 guests on a private bike tour. The tour logistics was the same as on our Dalmatian coast classic bike tour, only the hotels were upgraded to the luxury ones. A great group, if I could say, really my kind of a group – they were all up early in the morning ready for good cycling and they were all early for dinner, enjoying a nice aperitif (or two) before an evening meal.
The end of September and October are our busiest months. Being a guide and responsible for most of the guided tours, and due to the fact that I really love windsurfing I check the weather forecast regularly. The summer of 2015, especially July and August were extremely hot, without any major summer storms. I like to think that the weather system is very simple – what goes up must eventually come down. And coming down usually means having a lot of rain and wind, which on Dalmatian coast does not last for more than two days. Normally when this happens in August (and it usually does), then we have a really nice fall, and the end of September and October are sunny, but not too hot. A real Indian summer or as we call it in Croatia – Bablje lito (literally translated as grandmother’s summer). And this is just perfect for our bike trips, not very busy during August and fully booked and ready for our highest season is in September and October. But this year, there was no rain or wind in August…Not even a sign of it.
I got back to Hvar, with a group of 16 wonderful guests. I was checking the weather forecast for the next four days and it said rain, but I also noticed 30-50 knots of headwind, on a day when we have a private 40” boat transfer from the island of Hvar to Korčula Island. The night before that day, I did not sleep well. Actually, I fell asleep when my alarm rang at 6am. Ups.
The big passenger catamaran line and some of the most frequent ferry connections were cancelled due to the strong wind.
After maybe making five or six phone calls with the boat company’s manager during that morning and the night before, he kind of convinced me that the transfer is doable, but he would prefer to cancel it, as it might be “dramatic” and very unpleasant. I stood in front of the group and told them the options – the first one was spending the whole day on big ferries and arriving very late to Korčula or trying an hour and 30 minutes of rough, unpleasant and dramatic ride which will bring them to the destination.
After a ten-minute-long briefing and negotiation with the group, the question I least expected popped up: “Can you offer both the private boat transfer and a more smooth ferry (all day) transfer to Korčula?” Ups, again, for the second time this morning. I really thought that I made myself clear during the briefing my and that we will all opt for the “boring whole day on the ferry”.
As customers always need to be pleased, I made another phone call to the boat manager to make sure that the transfer will be safe. I also had the back-up plan A. A and B. And C. Just in case.
We all got together in Korčula Town later in the evening, where we enjoyed aperitifs, dinner and talks about our adventures.
“This was a life changing experience”,
“It was rough…”,
“It was only once when all 8 of us were in the air, above our seats as we hit that wave”… were just some of the comments we heard that evening.
While the speedboat group was riding waves, the other part of the group had a great time on Split’s green market. We had to prepare for the second and very long ferry journey so we bought some grilled chicken, homemade bread, cheese, prosciutto (smoked ham), olives, lettuce, wine, wine and some more wine. Our office team brought us glasses, knives, forks, plates and other picnic supplies, so we enjoyed dining on a half empty ferry.
The feeling I had that evening was amazing – actually seeing how this unplanned adventure (without any biking included) bonded the group even more. Toasts, smiles and just positive vibes. And stories turned into unforgettable memories.
On the other hand, I was happy and felt relieved that this day was over and that everybody was safe and sound. I had a premonition or feeling that a day like this might happen a couple of months ago, but I was hoping to avoid it. In the end, it turned out to be a day to remember. And retell.
Below is a short video Meridien Ten made for this group: