Destination Dalmatian Riviera:
Mali Ston on the Half Shell
Story and photos by Tom Weber
I am, one lucky fill-in-the-blank, getting ready to board a canopied
fishing tug that's heading out into the Bay of Mali Ston, along Croatia's
Together with the rest of the intrepid
"band of merry media" 18 travel writers and photographers
invited by Insight
Vacations (Insight) to sample a portion of its Bosnia and Dalmatian
Riviera itinerary I'm going in search of one of the country's
most prized possessions: ostrea edulis. You know, European flat
It's another one of Insight's "signature"
moments as we cast off and navigate our way to underwater beds out in
the Adriatic Sea that have been around since the Roman Empire arrived
around 1 BC, dropped oak branches into the saltwater and began farming
a mariculture of epicurean delights.
Today, the Bay of Mali Ston is home to
the largest oyster and mussel cultivation in the Adriatic.
Our tug comes to a full stop alongside
a wooden platform bobbing atop the mesmerizing turquoise blue. Making
like a horde of Barbary pirates, we hustle off the craft wielding our
cameras, not curved scimitars, and begin clicking away.
The skipper of the boat puts on a pair
of gloves, pulls a line out of the water just dripping with mature oysters
and mussels, and goes straight to work shucking and jiving as he conducts
an open-air Oyster Farming 101 class.
Back on board the "little tug that
could," we enjoy the fruits of the good captain's labor: fresh
oysters and mussels like I have never tasted before. A squeeze of lemon
over the top of these bivalve babies and we're off to the races. Oh,
and a glass or two of the local white wine makes this seafarin' picnic
just that much finer.
On our return leg, we take in the panoramic
views of the remains of the Walls of Ston, the so-called "European
Wall of China." Built during the days of the old Republic of Dubrovnik,
the Walls of Ston is a network of stone ramparts that once stretched
seven kilometers and provided much-needed security for the areas prized
salt production. Way before gold and silver ducats passed through the
hands of money-mad merchants, salt was the preferred trading currency
up and down the Adriatic Coast; ergo, the Walls of Ston.
Fresh oysters and mussels plucked from
the sea, shucked and eaten right on a fishing tug out in the Adriatic
would be satisfying enough, right? Wrong! That was just the appetizer,
as this Insight "signature" moment takes it up another notch.
Parking his ride, our skipper grabs an
apron and leads us around the small port and invites us to take a seat
under a large veranda of a restored medieval castle facing the bright-blue
It's lunchtime at Bota
are, a landmark restaurant in Mali Ston. And, what a mouthwatering
feast it is. I don't know about you, but I'm starved. Care to pass me
that plate of crustaceans? Don't worry, they won't snap.
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There's still plenty of daylight left in
this signature-filled day as our motor coach makes its way towards Orebić
and a private water taxi that'll carry the "band of merry media"
across the water to Korčula, one of the more than 1,000 islands that
dot the Dalmatian Coast, and, according to some historians, the birthplace
of Marco Polo.
See you soon!
Croatia: Diocletian's Seaside Digs; The
Daredevil Divers of the Stari Most; Inside
Sarajevo's Tunnel of Hope; My
Kup Runneth Over with Kafa; Sarajevo's
Storied Bridge to World War I