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Bay of Mali Ston, Croatia
Destination Dalmatian Riviera:
Mali Ston on the Half Shell
(Dispatch #10)

Story and photos by Tom Weber

canopied fishing tug at the Bay of Mali Ston, Croatia

ere 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 Pelješac Peninsula.

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 oysters.

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.

oyster farming at the Bay of Mali Ston

Today, the Bay of Mali Ston is home to the largest oyster and mussel cultivation in the Adriatic.

visitors at one of the oyster beds at  Mali Ston

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.

harvesting oysters

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.

a pair of oysters

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.

the Walls of Ston

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.

the Bota Sare restaurant, Mali 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.

seafood salad at the Bota Sare

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 Adriatic.

It's lunchtime at Bota Šare, 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.

Insight Vacatoions' Sarajevo and Dalmatian Riviera brochure

For complete information on Insight's premium and luxury-escorted itineraries, including 110+ journeys throughout Europe, just click HERE, or call toll free 1-888-680-1241, or contact your travel agent.

church in Korcula

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!

Related Articles:
Split, 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

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Let Tom know what you think about his traveling adventure.

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Feedback for Destination Bosnia: Inside Sarajevo's Tunnel of Hope

Spent time in Sarajevo in the fall of 1973…beer was excellent!

--- David

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Hi Tom,

I must say, you're photographs are always amazing. They are top notch. You bring so much class to Traveling Boy. It's photographs like yours that make me want to go out and do my own traveling. Please don't get tired of sending us your amazing adventures. It's such a delight for the soul.

--- Raoul, Whittier, CA

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Hi Tom:

I'm also an American living in Italy. I've read with interest your blog and articles. I'd like to speak with you regarding residency and citizenship for Americans in Italy as you do seem to have a great deal of knowledge on all of these subjects. Would it be possible to give you a call on the phone? If so, please let me know how to reach you. If not, I can ask my questions via email.

Thank you!

--- David

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Hey Tom – Wow! Love those photos – they are so super that they make me A) Want to start eating NOW. B) Go there myself. C) See all that pristine beauty that looks so restful and peaceful. Great story, superb pix!!! Bravo!!

--- John, Los Angeles, CA

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Feedback for Destination Southwestern France: Saint-Émilion

Good job, Tom, and timely info. St. Émilion is in the list of places Jim Hayes and I will visit in September 2014. If we get the chance, we will exploit your experience to enhance the trip!

--- Bobby Harper, Dameron, MD

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Feedback for Vicenza Walks – Monte Berico

I lived in Vicenza for 4 years in the U.S. ARMY from 1963 to 1967. A wonderful place to explore. Palladio’s works are amazing. Have been back twice since and find new places to visit. My favorite is MONTE BERICO where I have some wonderful photos of my family.

--- Dr. Albert Pizzi, Hanover, MA

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I liked the new TB particularly the Vicenza article that took me back as a youth when we lived in Naples and travelled up there for a baseball tourney (U.S. Military Bases dependent schools played each other.)

Took me back to the plaza.

--- Bill

Feedback for A Canterbury Trail (Sutri)

Very interesting note. I have wedroned which route the early pre-Christian and Christian pilgrims travelled to Rome from England. Is it still possible to travel the Francigena trail?

--- Pawel

You can find out more info on walking tours of Via Francigena at this site: Thanks for stopping by and commenting..


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Good article, enjoyed reading it. Saved your recommended sights for future use.

--- Dardenne Prairie, MO

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You're going to be great at this Tom. Congrats.

--- Donna Vissa -Montreal

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