Just a twenty minute ride from Rovinj are several lush islands.
Here's what I found out:The Rovinj Archipelago is made up of at leat 22 islands and islets. Sv. Andrija ( The red island) and Sv. Katarina, are the largest. Most of the islands were once owned by fishermen and wealthy Rovinj families . The Red Island eventually became the property of Count Hütterott and the Island of Sv. Katarina belonged to Polish Count Milewski. A big competition followed between them to determine whose island was the more beautiful. So of course, they both started planting trees and other flora.
Sveti Katarina is the biggest but we are headed for Sveti Andrija (or Saint Andrew as we would say), and the connected islet of Maskin. This is the point we biked yesterday from the boat.
The Red Island was inhabited from the 6th century. In the 13th Century the Benedictines built a monastery which was taken over and improved in the 15th century by the Franciscans..
Now the church is a restaurant and there is a big tourist hotel next to it!
We disembark, ignore the hotel and take the gravel path around the island to this walkover( seen on right) to Maskin .
We encounter green lizards everywhere.....and
Pheasants probably stocked on the islands at one time and now protected....
and lots of pristine beaches for bathing "au naturelle" if you please..... never was the sea so inviting to "naturists".
Two baby gulls give us a spirited display of mimicking mom as she tries to teach them to hunt underwater off the shallows.
We spend an idyllic afternoon lying on the rocks and bathing in the clear shallow waters. We identify at least 6 species of fish swimming around our ankles, seen clearly with goggles, even in shallow water. Past noon, we find a single small restaurant/hotel on the path and enjoy some grilled vegetables before returning to the water and then catch the boat back to the old town for a special fish restaurant.