BRUSNIK AND JABUKA - OPEN SEA VOLCANIC ISLANDS

The islands of Brusnik and Jabuka are the only two islands among 1185 Croatian islands that are completely of volcanic origin. Along with Palagruza that is only partly of volcanic origin, the islands belong to the Vis archipelago and form the area called "Adriatic Volcanic Triangle". According to geological theories, Brusnik, Jabuka, as well as some parts of Komiska bay on the island of Vis and some parts of Palagruza originated from an eruption of magma into the sea due to the break up of the Pangea prehistoric continent over 200 million years ago. BRUSNIK

The uninhabited island of Brusnik with an area of 3 ha lies 23 km west of the island of Vis, in the deep open sea, rich in fish. Since there are no scheduled boat lines to the island of Brusnik, in order to get to the island you need your own boat or you must arrange transport to Brusnik on the island of Vis. Since the island is a protected area, it is forbidden to endanger the flora and fauna on the island in any way. Isolated and exposed to winds that blow constantly on the open sea, Brusnik is home only to the endemic plant by the name "dubrovacka zecina" (Centaurea ragusina) and to the endemic reptile - black lizard. The island got its name from the fact that the sea's huge waves and strong winds persistently "grind" (brusiti in Croatian) its shores, making it very difficult to access.

Due to the large quantities of iron ores, primarily magnetite, that can be found in the rocks on the island, compasses of boats navigating close to Brusnik become more and more useless because the magnetic needles no longer point in the right direction. The island's highest point is 23 m above sea level, while the island itself is 200 m long and 150 m wide. There are steep cliffs on the eastern side of the island, while there is a small bay on the western side where small fishing boats can be pulled out of the sea if necessary. Since the waters around Brusnik are rich in fish, fishermen from the island of Vis are frequent visitors.

There are many stories about Brusnik that date back to times when the inhabitants of Vis used to live only off of fishing and the sea. Fishermen from Vis used to come to Brusnik in winter months in order to trap lobsters and had to cope with the harsh weather conditions. The lobsters were kept in the so-called "jastozare", lobster storage places that can still be seen on the island of Brusnik. They resemble small lakes walled by stone and are filled with sea water. The water is constantly renewed because the grounds are porous. This is of great importance because lobsters can be found at depths of 100 to 130 meters and large differences in temperature between their natural environment and the "jastozare" could be fatal for the lobsters.
Therefore, fishermen used to build awnings above the "jastozare" in order to keep the lobsters alive. The "jastozare" are placed in a cleft that divides the islands in two parts. In winter, when the strong winds blow and the cleft is filled with sea water, it seems as if there were two islands lying in the turbulent sea.

While it was possible to wash and shave oneself or wash clothes on the islands of Svetac and Palagruza, this was not possible on Brusnik. Water was sacred and was used only for drinking. If you are wondering why the fishermen did not build a shelter or rain water storage to improve living conditions on the island, the answer lies in the fact that they were aware that better conditions would enable less experienced and skilled ones to come to the island. Therefore, they preferred living in the harsh conditions, risking staying without water and dying of thirst, in order to trap as many lobsters as possible.


JABUKA

Jabuka, the second volcanic island, lies some 70 km northwest of Komiza on the island of Vis. Due to magnetite that can be found in the black, volcanic rocks on the island, compasses become completely useless in the vicinity of this island.

Boats can rarely be seen in these waters because the island lies far from all sea routes. Therefore, the island is visited only by those who have made it their destination.

Jabuka can hardly be considered an island. The shoreline is not suitable for docking, the bays are not protected from winds, the steep cliffs make it impossible to build shelter, while the surrounding waters are deep and are not suitable for anchoring. Jabuka is actually a very large, steep, 97 meter high cliff in the shape of a pyramid. It can only be accessed from the southwestern side during favorable weather conditions, which is rarely the case.

Placed in deep waters, isolated from other islands and channels, Jabuka is exposed to strong winds. Even moderate winds cause large waves on the open sea, therefore one needs a lot of experience and luck to dock on the island. The surrounding waters are rich in fish. Due to the harsh climate, there are only two endemic species: black lizard and the plant Centaurea ("zecina"). Till some 50 years ago, the island was home to an endemic type of carnation, nowadays extinct.

When there were no motorboats, only the bravest, most enduring fishermen dared go to the island in order to provide for their families by catching large fish and trapping valued lobsters. The island is both a remarkable and frightening sight during nice weather in summer but in winter, when the winds blow causing large waves, Jabuka turns into a life-threatening adventure.

There is definitely something remarkable and magnificent about these "frightening" volcanic islands containing magnetite that causes compass needles "go berserk" and influences those who come to the islands of Brusnik and Jabuka, making them willing to torture their bodies, bear the harsh conditions and endanger their lives in order to test the limits of their spirits and presence of mind. Outdoor enthusiasts should visit Jabuka and Brusnik only in summer months with the help of an experienced crew.

Smooth sailing!
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