A Tiny Pier Sparks Blowback In Blustery Dalmatia

By 9 August 2018

August 9, 2018 — The Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Traffic and Infrastructure's generosity towards one small island sparked a backlash in others.

Within the ecosystem of Dalmatia's archipelago, islanders, or Boduli, have become accustomed to waiting for rare scraps from the government's infrastructure budget. It's all welcome, of course; a little bit of lucre goes a long way. But a victory on one island can, at times, feel like defeat elsewhere.

So when government's infrastructure ministry built a 2 million kuna pier on the small island of Male Srakane, Boduli elsewhere felt marooned — figuratively and literally.

Maritime infrastructure as a whole presents a Dalmatia-wide problem. The few Boduli who spend their winters on an island run the risk of being stranded, as strong winds such as the Bura and Jugo create seas choppy enough to cut off ferry lines for days.

It's not so much that Male Srakane doesn't deserve a pier, or that it's not subject to the same fickle winds which maroon other island residents. Some simply argue the Male Srakane's two full-time residents don't need a new pier as badly as others.

The complaints mainly came from the Sibenik archipelago, which has spent a decade or more on some islands trying to update its maritime infrastructure.

Islands such as Zirje, which has been seeking some sort of remedy for local ferries canceling trips because of choppy winds.

"Due to the wind problem, the ferry does not stop in Žirje on average fifty times a year," said the president of Zirje's Community Board Ivan Dobra, according to "Sometimes [national ferry firm Jadrolinija] is too precautionary."

Dobra added the island has proposed building an alternative harbor in Koromasce, which is closed off to all winds and was used by Yugoslavian navy ships.

Male Srakane doesn't have a similar problem with winds cutting off ferry lines. It has no ferry. In fact, it didn't have a pier at all. Its old jetty was swept off into the sea years ago. As a result, visitors then had to wait as locals shoved a communal boat into the waters and oared their way over to the boat.

"This is a great relief," one of the island's two residents, Ana Kohl, told when the pier was opened. "Now if we can just get a ferry line and water, but I do not think we are going to live to see it.

And so it's come down to this: Zirje (population: 127) vs. Male Srakane (population: 2, jumping to 35 during the summer).