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Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Adriatic's Blue Grotto on Bisevo

Here's the harbor at Vis town, the main village on Vis.

Sunset on the Adriatic is sublime

Vis (#4) was an overnight cruise from Korcula.
Click here for video of the Blue Grotto

You really have to wonder who first thought of squeezing a tiny boat through a small hole in the rocks next to the sea on Bisevo, a little island off Vis in the Adriatic. The grotto, or cave, beyond the entry opens into a fairly large space where the water is an eerie blue color from sunlight that shines through the rock and water into the grotto.
Several of my well-traveled Romanca shipmates thought it was similar to the famed Blue Grotto on the island of Capri, near Sorrento in Italy. Personally I thought the other Blue Grotto is vastly overrated and a true tourist trap, mobbed with people who paid way too much for the “pleasure” of squeezing into boats that in turn squeezed into a tiny opening to see a cave filled with a blue light.
Vis, itself, is among the more remote of the Adriatic islands off Croatia. It was an overnight cruise for us to reach it. Believed settled in Neolithic times, the island was the home of the Greek Dionysis the Elder four centuries before Christ. It was from Vis that he ruled the other Adriatic islands claimed by Greece. Most of its people, fleeing pirates, left in the 1400s. Because remote Vis was a headquarters for Tito and a base for the Yugoslav army from the 1950s to 1989, it was off-limits and its isolation preserved it from development. Today people come because it is one of the sleepiest and less populated Adriatic islands.
The Blue Grotto on Bisevo, a 20-minute cruise from the harbor at Komiza on Vis’s west coast, is still not exploited as is its counterpart in Italy. Because the eerie light only shines into the grotto between 10 a.m. and noon and the sea is calm enough for entry only in the summer months, those who want to go inside must go then. Since we were on a charter organized by Row Adventures, our host Peter Grubb paid the fee for the small boat we boarded and the admission to the grotto.  That’s one of the great advantages to being on a charter — you’re not nickled and dimed to death since most things are included when you pay upfront. But that means I can’t tell you what the admission cost to the Blue Grotto is. My guess is that it was included with the boat ride since those of us from the Romanca were the only ones on our small boat. A young man standing in another boat near the grotto entrance was collecting the price of grotto admission from those arriving in dinghies from other, smaller yachts. I’ll email this blog to Peter and perhaps he’ll reply with an answer.
If you click on the blue line at the beginning of this entry you’ll be able to view the video I shot. It shows how unearthly the light in the grotto really is but it also shows that it was pretty crowded and noisy inside, even though we visited in mid-September, at the end of the high season. It’s one of those amazing things in nature that I hope doesn’t become so popular it’s spoiled.  I think wonderful experiences like this are best enjoyed with reverence.

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Blogger Peter said...

Someone asked about the cost of the boat tour of the Blue Grotto. It's about $5 once you're on the island of Bisevo. You can get a tour from the island of Vis too, which costs more of course. All well worth it. Peter Grubb, ROW Adventures

October 28, 2010 at 12:58 PM 

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