Jabuka lies some 70 km northwest of the island of Vis, off the coast of Dalmatia in Southern Croatia. Croatia has had a lot of press coverage lately and is becoming increasingly popular with divers and sailors around the world. Croatia is the land of historic monuments, 1185 islands, Mediterranean cities and untouched nature.
Jabuka Island stands apart from the otherwise idyllic Croatian coastal area. Due to magnetite that can be found in the black, volcanic rocks on the island, compasses become completely useless in the vicinity of this island and only the die-hard visit this place. Boats can rarely be seen in these waters because the island lies far from all shipping lanes. Therefore, the island is visited only by those who have made it their special destination.
Jabuka is not an easy place to visit and really not an island at all. The shoreline is not suitable for docking, the bays are not protected from winds, the steep cliffs make it impossible to build shelter, while the surrounding waters are deep and not suitable for anchoring. Jabuka is actually a very large, steep, 97 meter high cliff in the shape of a pyramid. It can only be accessed from the southwestern side during favorable weather conditions, which is rarely the case.
Placed in deep waters, isolated from other islands and channels, Jabuka is exposed to strong winds. Even moderate winds cause large waves on the open sea, therefore one needs a lot of experience and luck to dock on the island. Due to the harsh climate, there are only two endemic species on land: the black lizard and the plant Centaurea (“zecina”). Until some 50 years ago, the island was home to an endemic type of carnation, nowadays extinct. The surrounding waters however, are rich in marine life and it can be a fascinating, if not impossible, place to visit for scuba divers.
When there were no motor boats, only the bravest, most enduring fishermen dared go to the island in order to provide for their families by catching large fish and trapping valued lobsters. The island is both a remarkable and frightening sight during nice weather in summer but in winter, when the winds blow causing large waves, Jabuka turns into a life-threatening adventure.
Jabuka is a small island in the middle of the Adriatic made of granite black stone. It is 100 meters high and you can swim around it in about 30 min. When I was a small boy my father would take us there sometimes it has always had a special place in my family’s memories. You had to earn your way to Jabuka, through high seas, strong wind taking lots of risks. The biggest problem is that there is no place to hide if there is a storm and it is too deep to anchor anywhere. But any diver who had been said it was paradise.
One afternoon after work, we where sitting in the dive center talking about how to organize tomorrow’s dives when Vuk came out and said ”but there is nobody on tomorrow’s schedule!” We could not believe it, it would be our first day off in two months. Everyone went quiet and we were all thinking the same thing. Do we have the guts to do it? Lets go to Jabuka! We got our equipment ready in total silence realizing the severity of our decision and apprehension of what was in store tomorrow. It wouldn’t be an easy trip but nobody wanted to admit they were scared. We filled the tanks to as much as it would take and finally, everything was set for two dives.
The next morning we woke up at 4am with glimmering eyes knowing we knew we were in for something special. Even Vuk woke up on time which he never does! We loaded our food, equipment, oxygen, first aid, gps and necessary documents into the boat and off we were on an real adventure.
The sea conditions were a little rough and the dinghy was shaking but we managed to keep a constant speed of 25 miles/hour. After we passed the V.Smokvica and the Mulo lighthouse in front of Rogoznica, we headed towards the open see and in the direction of Jabuka.
After 45 minutes I saw a small growing black triangle on the horizon and it wouldn’t be long before we had reached our destination. We decided to anchor on the Northwest side of the island where it seemed the most calm.