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Croatia

Gulet Libra and Captain Marko Offer a Unique Croatian Experience

Everyone who meets Marko Mrcic falls in love with him, no matter who they are....

Everyone who meets Marko Mrcic falls in love with him, no matter who they are. His smile is contagious, and his enthusiasm for his boat, work, and country are admirable. If all boat captains were like Marko, the charter industry would run smoothly at all times. Marko has been the proud owner of the Gulet Libra for eight years and was a skipper on catamarans and other boats ten years before that. Libra is a typical Turkish gulet that is a common sight along the Dalmatian coast.

Libra crew
Antonia, Marko and Antonijo on Libra. Photo by Pearl Macek

These boats are ideal for charters, as they are equal parts motor and sailboat and generally have tons of room both above and below deck. Libra is a more traditional gulet than those built in recent years, but it adds to her charm. She is 34 meters long (112′) and can sleep up to 12 guests in her six cabins.

Marko said it was “love at first sight” when he gazed at Libra. “When I saw Libra, its beautiful lines, lots of space on deck, and beautiful middle lounge area, I knew she was a perfect boat for charter,” said Marko.

Libra and other gulets at anchor. Photo by Pearl Macek.
Libra and other gulets at anchor. Photo by Pearl Macek.

Marko always has three additional crew onboard, including a chef. The team he had when I was onboard offered impeccable service throughout the charter. Nikola, Marko’s brother, was his first mate, and these two worked seamlessly together. In fact, Nikola and Marko are co-owners of the Gulet Libra.

Antonia Buktenica is the chief stew and has worked for Marko for several years. She always seemed to know what you wanted before you yourself even knew.

Antonijo Misicin, the chef, cooked up unique dishes that incorporated delicious Croatian olive oil with fresh ingredients and made me never want to leave. He cooked everything from beef bourguignon to fresh fish and prepared deliciously light salads of lentils and fresh yogurt.

Libra and other gulets docked in Zaton, near Dubrovnik. Photo by Pearl Macek.
Libra and other gulets docked in Zaton, near Dubrovnik. Photo by Pearl Macek.
Choosing crewmembers

“For me, it’s important you have the ambition to learn from me and my way of work and that you’re a kind person,” Marko said. “Those two things are most important to me,” he continued.

All the crew worked seamlessly together, and they seemed to genuinely love and respect one another.

One big, happy family

“We are like a big family. It’s the best part of our job,” said Marko.” We always help and support each other. Croatian maritime history is long; on every island, people, fishermen, and sailors are always helping each other. We learn that from childhood. It’s, and it’s for us.” He continued.

This seemed to be accurate, not only among the Gulet Libra crew but between the captains and crew on the other boats. Maybe it is because many gulet charter boats are owner-operated or because Croatians understand the true definition of camaraderie. Whatever it is, it makes for a delightful charter experience where you feel more part of a family than a charter service.

Libra and other gulets in Korcula
Libra and other gulets stern-to in Korcula. Photo by Pearl Macek.

At every port, Marko offered advice on where to go to eat. He was always more than happy to talk about the good and bad parts of Croatian history (their history is long and therefore has many parts), and he always had this genuine air of being so happy to do all of it.

“I really like my job, and I’m still not sure which part is the best,” he said.” I like boats, sea, and interaction with people.”

Not your average gulet

While some of the other, more modern gulets may provide more luxurious layouts and electronics, the experience you get on Libra gives you this true feeling of authenticity: both in service from her crew and her being a genuinely traditional yacht.

She is not all old school: she does have some of the typical accessories that guests look for, including paddleboards, skis, snorkeling gear, and fast Wifi.

And what you receive in terms of a stellar crew is incomparable. I looked at the guestbook, which contained glowing compliments towards Marko and his crew, and it was easy to see how much everyone enjoyed themselves by the descriptive lengths they went to express their gratitude.

“I’m trying to make Libra the nicest and most popular wooden sailing boat on Adriatic,” said Marko. I would say he is definitely on his way.

Gulets tied up in Hvar
Gulets tied up stern-to in Hvar. Photo by Pearl Macek.

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