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2019 Croatia - Blog 6

Today was our last swim day. On the last day you board the boat with the usual excitement and anticipation of the day ahead, but also with a tinge of sadness.

It was also great to have Marta back on board. She was feeling much better and looking forward to a day on the boat, but unfortunately no swimming. It was so good to have Craig and Erica back to bring us up to the full compliment of 13.

Sorry to say, but the weather forecast was for our best day yet. With glassy conditions in the morning for our multi-crossing swim and only light winds in the afternoon during our usual coastal swim.

We started our morning swim on the northwest corner of the island of Sestika Mala and swam across 1.2 km to the southeast corner of an unnamed island near the island of Obonjan. After a short coastal swim south a quarter of the way around the island, we crossed a relatively short distance to the southern tip of Obonjan.

During crossings, for safety, each group swims in close proximity to each other, protected from any boating traffic by an escort vessel. Whereas, during a coastal swim the group tends to pair up, swim at different speeds and spread out a bit more before stopping regularly to regroup.

Our next and last crossing of the trip was from Obonjan to the small island of Sokol. Usually Steve and Erica swam at the front of the Pink group while Barb and Sue enjoy a more leisurely pace that allows time for more sight seeing. Lynette and Hazel swim close on their heels. However, for the last crossing Barb and Sue through off any shackles and set the pace. Steve and Erica moved alongside and all four had a ball swimming side-by-side in glassy conditions through deep blue water penetrated by beams of sun light. A unique experience, we will always cherish.

Next was a circumnavigation of the small island Sokol. The waters on the west side of Sokol are quite deep. There was a diving boat nearby with scuba divers in the water. As we swam along you could see the divers on the bottom far below and the steady stream of bubbles rising to the surface.

After a lap around the island, it was the end of our nearly 4K morning swim. Steve and Sue couldn’t help themselves and raced each other over the last 50m to boat. At the end, both laughing with the sheer joy, freedom and fun of swimming in such amazing locations.

We always look forward to our after-swim snacks on the boat, washed down with a cup of tea. The time after each swim is spent grazing and chatting together as we motor to our coffee stop. Today, we headed to the village of Zlarin on the northern tip of the island of the same name. We were given about 45 minutes to wander around and grab a coffee before lunch on the boat would be ready. At the restaurant on the foreshore where we stopped, Marta asked if they have ice-coffees. We all smiled at the response from the waitress, “Yes, we have ice and we have coffee”. Marta ordered a coke.

Another hot day meant after lunch many of us jumped in the water beside the boat. A Water Polo ball appeared from somewhere and a game of “Piggy in the middle” ensued. This was a lot of fun and good practice for our Water Polo game scheduled for tomorrow morning. Speaking of practice, we needed to get our act together for our Synchronised Swimming video SwimTrek takes of every group. Barb had choreographed a complex routine. With us all in the water it proved an ideal time for our first practice. Overall, we thought it went well, but that didn’t seem to fit with Simon’s raucous laughter and heckling from the sidelines.

After lunch we headed to the northeast corner of Zlarin to start a coastal swim south in and out of the bays of it’s east coast. Cathy joined the Pinks for the last swim.

This was the same coastline, but further north of the swim Pete enjoyed so much the day before. expectations were high. There were a few “white pointers” and “bronze walkers” spotted causing a smile or two, but not as many as the day before. We swam for an hour before being told to stop. We were all a little weary, but reluctantly swam back to the boat. A few us just didn’t want to get out of the water, but unfortunately, it was our last swim.

The mood on the boat on the way back to Prvic was a mix of pride in what we had achieved, some swimming nearly 40km in 6 days, and sadness that our trip was coming to the end. As we left the boat we said goodbye to Captain Damo and thanked him for doing such a great job as skipper.

For our last night together, Kres had booked the Punta restaurant. He and Simon would join us for dinner. As usual, we met for pre-dinner drinks at our hotel before making our way the short distance to Punta.

Pricilla had started to fall apart the day before, but with a bit of patching Pete had swam all day with it on. To find a winner, Pete relied on the Aussie practice of dobbing in your mate. Each of us spilled the beans on others in an attempt to deflect attention from ourselves. However, it was impossible to go past Ken’s consistent performance and litany of misdemeanours that had him in the running every day. We all agreed he was a worthy winner and know he will wear it with distinction at Doddi’s when he gets back. Kind act of the day, and accompanying Shark Hat, went to Brett for retrieving Steve’s towel after it fell in the water. This meant Brett was the only person to have the honour of wearing both caps. Well done Brett.

It was Kres and Simon’s turn to make some presentations on behalf of SwimTrek. In turn, they spoke of the virtues of each swimmer, which formed the basis of them coming up with a name that best described the swimmer, as well as presenting each swimmer with a map of the islands showing each of the ten swims we had completed. In no particular order: Craig was named the “Team Player”, Erica was “Thorp-edo”, Steve was “Big Easy”, Ann was “Smooth Operator”, Ken was “Bulldozer”, Cathy was “Determinator”, Hazel was “Finntastic”, Lynette was “Wonder Women”, Marta was “Warrior”, Sue was “Duracell Bunny”, Brett was “Pricilla the 1st”, Pete was “Dark Horse”, and Barb was “Crossing Queen”.

Barb presented Kres and Simon with bottles of wine and both she and Steve gave short speeches thanking them for all their hard work. More wine and then Brandy shots rounded off a great night.

Tomorrow morning, the plan is for us all to meet Kres and Simon at 8:00 am for a game of Water Polo, followed by breakfast together back at the hotel.

We can’t wait ...

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