Circumnavigating Croatia’s Lošinj Island

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Every pebble on the beach was near perfect white, smoother than any river stone I had ever seen, the ideal spot to set up camp for our first night. We pottered around preparing dinner whilst the sun started to turn gold, beginning its descent below the horizon.

We started our trip from Osor, which is located at the meeting point between the islands of Cres and Lošinj in northern Croatia. Our intention was to circumnavigate the island of Lošinj, from the Port of Osor going counter-clockwise.

On our first day, we had paddled around the most northern point of Lošinj and continued down the majority of the west side of the island. This moment on the beach, catching up with friends, skimming the endless supply of perfectly smooth stones and relaxing before the dinner duties was much needed.

Awakening on day two to the light coming over the forested island behind us, we immediately started to feel the heat, an indication of a warm day ahead. After preparing a solid breakfast, we began to strike camp and repack the boats.

As whitewater paddlers, many of us were unused to the amount of storage in a sea kayak and, as such, had packed all kinds of luxuries along with our essentials, including spare shoes and lots of extra food.

Stopping off in the beautiful bays en route, we continued to traverse the west side of the island, all of us pushing through the bouts of mid-morning fatigue. We knew that on arrival to Mali Lošinj we would be able to recharge over an extended lunch break and restock on water and other provisions.

The old fishing town of Mali Lošinj did not disappoint. Century-old stonewalls lined the edges of this quintessential Croatian harbor with sailboats anchored throughout the bay. Croatia is well known for its incredible seafood, and this town lived up to the expectation. The options for seafood restaurants along the waterfront were endless. Because this harbor connects the eastern and western sides of Lošinj we had chosen to paddle through Mali Lošinj on our return north solely to refuel our spirits (and bellies).

After spending hours on end exposed to the heat, we always looked forward to going for a swim at the end of each day. We nestled our camp on day two in an extremely sheltered bay. As we paddled into shore, we noticed how incredibly clear the Adriatic waters were. We could see the bottom of the bay and all the fish swimming below our boats. The stable weather gave way to a warm evening, allowing us to cook under the stars and spin tales into the night.

Our final day was the shortest of all. We paddled up the last third of the east side of the island. Our arrival back to Osor ahead of time gave us a chance to enjoy the reward of a lingering lunch before we all had to start our respective drives across Europe to our home destinations.

As whitewater paddlers, we were all very used to the stop-and-go style of kayaking that happens on even the most continuous of rivers. In this respect, sea kayaking is quite different with long extended stints during open-water crossings. The Adriatic is well known for its calm seas and gentle tides, a few of the reasons why Croatia was a perfect location to introduce a group of whitewater kayakers to the wonderful world of the sea.

Editor’s Note: Words by David Bain; Photos by Jens Klatt. Be sure to watch the film, The Route of the 1000 Islands