Croatia is Border Land. The country lays on the geographic margin between central Europe and the Balkans, between the Adriatic and the Continent. Its very shape speaks of the divide. There is nothing compact, square or secure. Instead it curves around Bosnia and Herzegovina in a narrow arc, like a crescent moon or a boomerang. At no point is Croatia more than a few hundred miles wide; in most places it is much less.
Our goal was to kayak its length, through the 1,246 islands lying like marbles atop what astronauts claim is the bluest sea on the planet, the Adriatic. Of those, a spare 67 are inhabited and many are smaller than three acres. The Croatian coast is home to one of the largest archipelagos in the Mediterranean and looks like a barer, wonderfully shattered, more sun-drenched Maine. We would kayak more than 400 miles, from Zadar to Dubrovnik. Along the way we met a variety of fishermen (many of whom complained that there are very few fish still in the Adriatic!) and swam in pens at a tuna farm off the island of Brac with 600-pound tuna, soon headed for Japan to be turned into sushi. – Jon Bowermaster