Due to lack of wi-fi, time, and a never-ending battle with illness after injury (more on that later), I’ve essentially stopped entries altogether during my travels this summer. Fortunately, after several grueling weeks, I’m back and decided to pick up exactly where I left off – in Croatia. A little over a month ago, I started Croatia on my own but was quickly joined by my Aussie Mate so we could speedboat ourselves over to the blue caves near the Island of Vis. As this was going to be the highlight to our pit-stop in Split and possibly even Croatia, the trip was booked well before my parting with Dublin became common knowledge. Unfortunately, we made the dire mistake of booking online with Split Excursions (aka Portal Agency).
The story begins the day before we were supposed to sail out to the blue caves. Just to make sure all our T’s were crossed and I’s were dotted, we rocked up to Portal to find out exactly where to meet the boat and settle the final payment before grabbing dinner. Instead of the easy errand we expected, we were hit with the headline that our excursion had been cancelled. Supposedly they had sent out an email earlier but turns out that neither one of us had received it just yet – SURPRISE! The reason we were being given was bad weather even though the day in question was being forecast as the best of the week with clear blue skies and sunshine. Despite presenting them with the weather facts our hostel laid upon us, they said the tour was cancelled and attempted to sell us the Plitvice Lake excursion instead. REALLY? Because bad weather in a national park would be better? Disappointment isn’t a strong enough word to describe our reaction. The two of us sat in silence as we tried to figure out how the hell to get ourselves out the blue caves. Another tour? Ferry? Ferry to an island and then some other way to the caves? We planned and plotted every single possibility before finally admitting defeat as the sun began to set. Depressed at the events that had transpired, we sulked and strolled through Split’s old town in hopes that something magical would happen in order to get us on a boat to the blue caves.
And just like that we found ourselves directly in front of an open tour office as we were weaving our way through the streets of the old town. Yes, there was a queue and we were pretty damn sure that the agent probably wanted to go home already but hell, what difference would 2 more girls make right? So as quickly and quietly as possible, we joined the queue in hopes that no one else would notice the addition of two extra bodies in the room. As luck would have it, we were queued right behind a Korean trio inquiring about the blue caves. The agent told them that unfortunately the tour wasn’t going ahead as there wasn’t enough people for the boat. And by some eavesdropping miracle, my Aussie Mate jumped into the conversation saying we were looking at the same tour too before spinning all the Korean she had hidden under her sleeve in order to befriend the other blue cave tour seekers.
The agent quickly informed us that they needed 7 people to set sail but that just translated to haggling in my Aussie Mate’s mind. First thing first – there was only 3 of us looking to get over to the blue caves but a few carefully placed YOLO statements was all it took for us to force another member onto team blue cave. After that, it was trying to convince the agent to quote us on a boat rental instead of selling us a tour package that required a minimum of 7 people. After some skillful negotiation and a hellish amount of nagging, a phone call was placed to the skipper and he agreed to a lower rate for the overall boat for the day. After all was said and done, my Aussie Mate and I decided to make up the difference if we couldn’t find anyone at our hostel to dragged along with us at the last-minute and charged the Korean girls the going rate for the tour. And that was all it took to fix our little problem. We rented a boat with a crew and forced a few Korean girls to join us for what we were saying was going to be the time of our lives! All that was left to do was withdrawn a healthy sum of money to make our blue caves tour dreams come true – hopefully the bad weather thing was just a cover for not selling enough seats like most of the locals kept telling us. At the end of the day, there was nothing we could do other than get a good night’s sleep and keep our fingers crossed that everyone else was right and we weren’t just about to flush a decent amount of cash down the drain to get the fright of our lives due to rough seas.