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The sea was calm. The air brisk, not chilly. My wife rolled her eyes. Yes, Dubrovnik has its walls. And Istria its olive oil and culinary prowess. Yet the human-free islands dotting all points in between offer undiscovered lumps of limestone jutting out of the water. Each has its own character, history and owners — yes, the locals even parceled those out amongst themselves centuries ago. Kurba Mala struck an enticing pose in the distance, a dual-peak cut in its middle by a sea-level valley.
Our dog, Flo, went into her usual panicked ritual of yelping and squealing until she jumped into the water then swam to the islet. She reached the jagged shore, then a chorus of hee haw-ing pierced the afternoon air. Four donkeys clopped towards our dog, braying and whining as they flashed their teeth.
It turns out the Little Whore has a lot of ass. And a five-star rating on Google, for some reason. Legend has it that the unusual name owes its origins to some bored local who was helping out some efficient Austro-Hungarian chaps, who insisted on mapping everything. Very un-Dalmatian. After telling the Austrian official the names of countless islands and villages throughout the process, the local decided to have some fun with the non-Croatian-speaking official. Kurba Mala, it seems, is among these islands.
Flo greeted the angry asses with a tentative wagging tail, seeking some sort of Little Whore-sharing compromise. The donkeys answered with a goofy, angry gallop and more pissed-off braying. Until that point, we shared the little cove off Kurba Mala with a spousal fishing duo who had dropped anchor to sort their nets.
The unholy chorus of braying asses and our own shouting attracted the attention of a passing sailboat, which changed direction and set a course to Kurba Mala. A gaggle of loud German tourists, ogling and ooo-ing in their native tongue. It sounded like an old, idling tractor engine arguing with a broken air conditioner.