Last weekend, I made my first trip to Kornati National Park with the research team here at the Blue World Institute. The trip is infamous among the team, and is reasonably different from our usual search for Adriatic dolphins.
Kornati is an archipelago off the coast of Croatia, located roughly 100km as the crow flies SE of the island Lošinj (see attached map). The Blue World Institute is obligated by contract to survey the park a few times every month during spring/summer/fall, but the trip itself is quite demanding.
Typically, a team of two researchers and maybe one student head out on the research boat first thing in the morning. After a few hours of sailing, they arrive at the edge of the Kornati. The park itself is big and takes a long time to sail in and around, so after all the surveying is done, it is usually too late to return home and the team stays overnight on one of the small islands. This time was a bit different, though.
On Sunday morning, Tihana, Nikolina, Eva (the other student) and I left the harbor at Veli Lošinj at 6:30 sharp. We headed SE for about 3 hours until we reached Kornati, at which point we slowed down to navigate the area a bit better. Even when we first arrived, I remember thinking how incredible the views were. The water was even clearer than it is in Lošinj, and each small island seemed to have its own unique geological features. Around noon we stopped for a quick break at a visitor center of sorts near the center of the park (see picture), where I conveniently left the water bottle I bought to replace the one I left on the bus last month.
We were a bit constrained by the weather, so after surveying Kornati for a few more hours, we headed back to Lošinj to beat the incoming NW winds. We arrived at back the harbor just after 4, meaning that we completed the entire trip in under 10 hours. It was definitely the longest trip I’ve been on so far, but it seemed to go by pretty quickly. We were lucky enough to have a somewhat cloudy day, even if we weren’t lucky enough to come across any dolphins and collect any data.
Overall, though, I was a really nice experience that I’m thankful to have had. Here are some pictures!