INSEL SVETAC, BRUSNIK & JABUKA
The three islands of Brusnik, Svetac, and Jabuka belong to the Vis Archipelago and form the “Volcanic Triangle”.
Brusnik and Jabuka are the only two islands that consist completely of volcanic rock and are considered a protected heritage site in Croatia. Svetac (also known as Sveti Andrija or Saint Andrew’s Island) is the only inhabited island of the three, where only five members of Zanki family currently live.
Jabuka is our first destination on the open sea. A volcanic island, it was formed during an ancient volcanic eruption. When a strong blast of lava erupted to the sea’s surface, it cooled down to form this rocky island. Since it consists of magnetite, which is black volcanic rock, the compass needle goes crazy as we approach. As you can imagine, all navigational equipment is completely useless here. The rocky terrain makes it impossible to drop an anchor here, but with our experienced skipper you’re in good hands. If you’re looking for excitement and have an adventurous spirit you’ll find something special here at Jabuka (which means apple due to its unusual shape). Here you will have the opportunity to swim in its warm waters and take an unbelievable photo at this one of a kind black triangular wonder which seems to simply emerge from the sea.
After visiting the unique magnet, we will visit Svetac “the saint”, which is located 16 miles to the east. Named after the brother of St. Peter, you’ll find a small 17th century church which was built in his honor. When we come to the Pavlebuk Cove on the southern coast of the island, you’ll notice the two Zanki family homes. This family has lived on the island for the past 250 years are now its sole owners. We will pay a visit on them and hear some tales from the past, including how the huge southern “jugo” storm in 1936 created a huge tidal wave, tragically killing six family members. Although they tried to save their boats in the small harbor, the waves were much stronger, smashing them to bits and dragging the men out to sea. After that, they built a defensive wall which exists to this day. Life on the island is very biologically friendly, which was until recently a lost art. The Zanki family’s lifestyle bears witness to the fact that man can indeed live in harmony with the natural environment. Here you may sample a fresh fish lunch from the daily catch. Savor their domestic vine, capers and olive oil. See for yourself how domestically prepared food tastes better! Wild capers are conserved in sea water, keeping them fresh and ready to eat for the entire year. Some are as large as a thumbnail. This island has a wildly distinctive natural beauty as evidenced by the work-worn hands of its occupants, who couldn’t imagine life any other way in this rugged paradise.
From our boat, we bid farewell to Svetac and the legacy of the Zankis. Our next and destination is the bumpy Brusnik. This small uninhabited island is just 320m long and 205m wide, with the highest point about 30m above sea level. The most interesting animal here is the black lizard of Brusnik, so if you love nature, by all means bring your camera along. One of our recent guests was a National Geographic media crew which made a documentary about this endemic species. Rabbits may also be found here but due to their biological adaptation to their natural environment, the color of their fur is dark brown, making them hard to see. The old fishermen from Komiza used to spend months on this granite islet during lobster season. Using their beautiful wind powered white sailing boats known as the “Gajeta Falkusa”, they would leave at the end of October and continue fishing until early Spring. Nowadays, the only evidence of any human presence on this tiny islet are the lobster pools known as “jastozera,” which were used as temporary holding zones for the live, captive lobsters. This system was ideal for keeping them fresh while the fishermen continued fishing. These pools are surrounded with black Brusnik granite stones which can also be found on the islet’s only beach, which we will also visit.
There is a well-known quote by the Croatian poet Tin Ujevic. Describing the island of Brusnik in these words: “We have reached the ultimate edge of the Adriatic where we can say – There is nothing further beyond (this point)…” Like Tin discovered, you can also feel as if you have found yourself at the very edge of civilization, at the heart of the deep blue sea.