Vela Luka

With a population of just over 4100, Vela Luka is the largest of Korcula’s towns and has traditionally been dismissed as an industrial centre with little tourist interest. Certainly there is both ship building and fish processing/canning works on the outskirts of the town around the southeast and southern edge of the bay on which the town sits. The town is however a vibrant living place and an important hub for transport (ferries and buses) and in recent years has done much to spruce up its image.


The town is located around the eastern end of the inlet of Zaljev Vela Luka where it turns to the north-east and then north narrowing to less than 100 metres in width. There is an extensive and busy riva running along the eastern shore of the inlet around the harbour and then south-west along a new harbour wall towards the ship yards on the edge of town.


Most of the town services and most accessible eateries are located along the eastern shore, which is peppered with old and often ramshackle wooden jetties that run out into the harbour over narrow stretches of shingle beach and bare rock.





Ferries arrive from Split once or twice a day and head on to (or return from) Lastovo, carrying cars and passengers. From the centre of town you can then catch buses that run to all of the major settlements on the island including Blato (the major inland settlement 5 miles to the west of Vela Luka) and Korcula Town. Highlights within the town centre around its museum and art gallery which includes an archaeological collection of prehistoric  artefacts from the ‘Vela Spila’ or great cave and some interesting paintings and two Henry Moore sculptures. The building itself was decorated with mosaics during an international art festival in 1968.


Sailing

Vela Luka is located at the eastern end of the inlet of Zaljev Vela Luka at the western end of Otok Korcula. Zaljev Vela Luka is an inlet of nearly 5nm length (west to east) over two miles wide at its entrance and narrowing to less than a mile by the time you reach the town. Within the harbour and anchorage boats should be able to find shelter from wind coming from all directions and their are various options including a harbour wall with laid moorings, some mooring buoys and anchoring in between 8-12 metres of water under the north-western shore of the inlet beneath the beach establishments of several largish hotels. This shore seems to give good shelter from the Bora and other northerly, north-westerly and westerly winds.


Care should be taken when anchoring further into the harbour as there are a profusion of laid buoys and mooring that might easily be snagged by your ground tackle. Generally the buoys seem to be in private ownership and during our visit there were none available to pick up. The harbour wall itself is very busy (again there was no space during our visit) and has laid moorings for around 15-20 vessels with an area for international arrivals at its western end that tends to be empty. Regardless of this attempts to moor in this area (unless you are arriving from foreign ports) will be met by a forceful response from the harbour masters assistants.


Beyond the harbour area and the mooring  buoys their is a narrowing inlet that runs to the north. This area shallows rapidly from 4 to less than 1 metre and again is criss-crossed with laid moorings for small local boats. As a result, and though some pilots suggest it is a possible anchorage it does not offer good options for anchoring and extreme caution should be taken in this area with consideration being given to taking a line ashore.


As well as a harbour master there is a customs office and fuel and water are available from the fuel berth to the west of the town harbour wall. From there to the ferry terminal around 300 metres further west along the Riva which in 2010 had a new harbour wall and landscaping. The new harbour wall seems to have infrastructure (moorings, power and water) to support a large number of additional moorings, but has never been dredged so has no moor than 1 metre of water which seems to deepen only very gently.


Vela Luka is a pleasant and useful stopping off point at the western end of Otok Korcula, whether on the way to Lastovo or Vis, or intending to head along the Peljeski Kanal to Korcula Town and points south. One thing to remember however is that the town and its anchorages lie 5nm east of the western tip of the island, so allow at least another hour on your travel time as you head in or out from the port to traverse the length of the inlet.



Key

A - Fish Canning Factory

B - Ship Yards

C - Fuel Berth and Town Harbour Wall

D - Laid Moorings (under construction not complete in 2012)
E - Buoys for local boats

F - Vela Luka harbour anchorage

G - Vela Luka harbour buoys

H -  Town centre

I - Uvala Plitvine anchorage


(Click on map to enlarge)




 
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