Life on a small rocky island has always been connected to the sea so we rightly call its residents the sons of the sea. They would go fishing daily, hunting corals and sponges, collect salt, process the soil, sail the world’s oceans so they could survive on the island. While emigrating they were „melting“ on every sea, „fighting“ against storms and cyclones, „connecting“ the harbors of all the continents.
Dangers on the sea were so many and evil, especially throughout the centuries of sailing on paddles and sails. That’s why the word “sailing” wasn’t used. Instead, the phrase ”melting on the deep blue sea” was used. Many left their bones at the bottom of the sea. The luckier ones were donating votive paintings which adorn the walls of the church Gospa od Rašlje.
1859 – Zlarin has 13 peliga, 23 bracere, 23 leuta and around 80 smaller ships. 1880 – Zlarin has 36 coastal navigation by which is more advanced than Pag, Sal, Nin, Rab, Silba, Zadar and Šibenik.
One of the most beautiful ships was a motorized sailing ship Nirvana which was property of Zlarin’s, family Vukov. It was built on Korčula in 1903. The movie “Coral princess” was partly filmed on that ship in 1937.
THE STORY ABOUT THE SHIP NIRVANA
Many older Zlarinians still vividly remember the Nirvana yacht. To the younger ones, only fragments of its history are known so this is a good opportunity to remind ourselves of it. It was built on Korčula in 1903 by earl Bernard Caboge’s order, who was Dubrovnik’s nobleman. It was built by Lovro Depolo. The same shipwright had built Goleta (schooner) St. Nicholas in 1904. Its owner was Šime Vukov from Zlarin. In “Libro Registro”, Trieste, 1845-1912, states that the yacht Nirvana, capacity of 80 tons, was registered under Austrian flag with captain B. Amadeo was the property of Bernard Caboge from Dubrovnik. Caboga was allegedly building the yacht in order to participate on regatta Venezia Aleksandrija. In the “Crvena Hrvatska” (Red Croatia) newspapers from 1904, that was printed in Dubrovnik, states that Caboga won on regatta. Nirvana’s dipping was a large and solemn event, evidenced by photographs donated to the Maritime Museum on Korčula by the family Cviličević. On this occasion, Sir Ernest Katić had devoted an ode to the ship and shipwright:
Oh Nirvana raise the slender side, With all flowers and wreaths encircled, Joyful songs and sounds resonate antique coasts Corcyre art residence, Where genius Depolo made and the skill had shown us.
In the nautical almanac from 1904 Nirvana was classified as logger type. It’s long 23,65 m, wide 5,37 m and high 2,90 m. Was characterized by extremely elegant bow and stern lines, as well as the speed and ease of sailing. Conte Caboga soon after sold Nirvana to wine merchant from Korčula who remade the ship for the purposes of transporting wine. Huge barrels were made close-fitting the ship and placed on the decks.
Year 1912 – Nirvana again changed its owner. In the nautical almanac it was stated that the new owners are Ante Vukov and others and that the harbor belongs to Zlarin. New owners had continued to trade wine. They were buying it on Pelješac and Korčula and then transported it to Rijeka. On one such a trip Toni Vukov met his wife, Franica Dežulović from Janjina on Pelješac and brought her with Nirvana to Zlarin. Nautical almanac for 1931 brings in the comments that the ship was rearranged for excursion trips on the Adriatic. Excursion trips lasted for 19 days and were led from Sušak over Crikvenica, Baška, Rab, Zadar, Biograd, Šibenik, Trogir, Split, Vis, Biševo, Korčula, Dubrovnik, Srebreni, Herceg Novi and Kotor, and then back over Trsteni, Lopud, Slani, Mljet, Orebić, Makarska, Split, Rogoznica, Kornati, Lošinj, Opatija to Sušak.
In the leaflets printed in German and Czech stands that the travels begin on May 4th and end on October 16th. Numerous trevale stories, complete with photographs of the crew and passengers, were narrated in Zlarin after the return. Each arrival in Zlarin was a special event. Captain Toni Vukov and the crew would edit themselves and the ship and helmsman Milio Vukoc would bring Nirvana to the harbor where they would perform virtuosic maneuvers. They say that sometimes they would wait anchored for the favorable wind so they could sail into the harbor in grand style for locals’ delight.
In winter Nirvana was holding the line Skradin, Zaton, Šibenik. Its best time was around 1936. That was when one family from America rent a journey across the Adriatic to Greece, as a prize for their daughter graduating singing in Milano. They previously had arranged it luxuriously. Cabins were made of mahogany and teak wood and fitted with bathroom cabinets. Chandeliers of crystal and Czech porcelain completed the luxurious look.
The movie “The coral princess” was filmed during those years on Nirvana and in Zlarin. The crew of the ship was acting and the sentimental story about Toma Vukov Kuša with one of the actress was blended in. During the World War II occupying armies would occasionally take the ship and transport food and sundries. At the end of the war they ordered the owners to transport them to Rijeka. They managed to sneak out of the harbor during the night and after few passing dangerous situations come to Vis. Nirvana was the first training ship of the Navy of Yugoslavia. Nirvana, while in Zlarin, was tied between Šarin and Galina boardwalk until 1947. That year it was nationalized and transported to Boka Kotorska.
Afterwards, the state gave it to the yacht club in Herceg Novi. The ship started falling apart so they disassembled it and threw it away. And that was the end of the most beautiful yacht on the Adriatic Sea. Zlarin is an island with an exceptional maritime tradition. In the year 1840 up to 36 Zlarin’s ships were fishing all the way to Dubrovnik and Boka Kotorska.
Zlarin has 13 peligs, 23 braceras, 23 leuts and around 80 smaller ships. In the year 1880 Zlarin had 36 coastal navigation by which is more advanced than Pag, Sal, Nin, Rab, Silba, Zadar and Šibenik. Regular steamship line Zlarin – Šibenik had been existing since 1868. Regular lines, along with the steamship ones, maintain since 1919 until 1940 ships “Slaven”, “Drava”, “Kristina”, “Zlarin”, “Sv. Ante” i “Nikola