First Wooden Ferry ''Bodulka'' Sailed Sixty Years Ago in Croatia

By 9 September 2019

As Morski writes on the 9th of September, 2019, when Bodulka embarked on her first voyage from Šilo to Crikvenica sixty years ago, this ferry was a real treat for Crikvenica and Krk residents. It was not only a spectacular event, but also the beginning of a new era of ferry connections between Croatia's many islands and the mainland.

''Bodulka sailed for the first time on April the 12th at 10:25 from Šilo. It was loaded with one bus, several cars and a large number of islanders travelled those thirty minutes to reach the port of Crikvenica excitedly, where several hundred citizens were standing waiting for them and to witness Bodulka's arrival.

And that is truly a historic moment for Croatian maritime affairs, says Tea Rosić, a curator at the Crikvenica City Museum. She adds that this wooden ferry initially travelled four times a day, but that was not enough.

The story of Bodulka's ''reign'' on the Croatian Adriatic has of course attracted numerous tourists to the aforementioned Crikvenica museum. The crew of HRT's More (Sea) show also spoke with Mladen Dunat - Bodulka's very first helmsman. Private photographs and the uniforms of other members of Bodulka's crew can also be viewed at the exhibition.

The ferry sadly sank in Rovinj's port back in 2009, under her later name - Rovinjka, after maintaining the very first ferry line on the Croatian coast between Crikvenica and Šilo on the island of Krk for fifty long years.

According to Slobodna Dalmacija, the oldest wooden ferry on the Adriatic sea was built back in 1952 at Šibenik's "Velimir Skorpik" naval institute, as a landing ship for the needs of the then Yugoslav Nay (JRM), but its use was soon taken over by military purposes, and in 1959 she was purchased by Kvarnerska plovidba from Rijeka, where she was converted at the shipyard in Punat on the island Krk into ''Bodulka'' - a passenger ferry with a capacity of 130 passengers or twelve vehicles.

The chronicles state that on Sunday, April the 12th, 1959, Bodulka sailed from Šilo to Crikvenica carrying passengers, one bus, three cars and several motorcycles, thus securing her rightful place in Croatia's rich maritime history.

In 1963, Jadrolinija bought Bodulka, and after sixteen years, the ship changed its owner again, and in 1979, under the flag of the Rovinj company Jadranturist, Bodulka became Rovinjka, before sinking in 2009.

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