Cracking Croatia

Saturday morning of 16th May finally arrived.  Everybody had been talking at the club on Thursday about how they were all packed and excited – well, I still had 2 hours before Jim and Audrey were due to pick me up so I took it easy and had a nice cup of coffee before I started my packing…

I honestly couldn’t remember what I put into my bags in such a rush.  Already in a queue at the airport with Jim and Audrey Molyneux thinking about what I could sacrifice if my bag was overweight, when Len Hards (in his holidaymakers outfit) and his team, Mary Hards and her sister, Cathy, Sandra Argent and Glen rolled in.  They were shortly followed by Mark Cockram and Chris Knight.  Mark’s wife, Rebecca was already in Dubrovnik doing research for us on the local wine!

All went well – well almost: my bag wasn’t overweight – I certainly know how to travel light.  However, everybody checked in apart from me…first the assistant didn’t like my Slovakian passport.  Holding it upside-down she asked her colleague 3 times what it was!  Than she decided she didn’t like my bag and sent me to different department. “Whatever” I thought; the fact that Chris looked suspicious to the security men and was properly checked in made me feel slightly better.  Eventually they took my bag and accepted my passport.

At the arrivals in Split we were greeted by our guide, Borko, Andy – an ex-member of the club – and Rebecca. 30 minutes transport through the countryside then over the bridge to the island Rogoznica to dump our bags into our apartments just in time to get a drink.

The next morning brought a very nice surprise: the scenery around our apartment was outstanding, especially from the upstairs terrace.  Plus we had our own private beach!  The Dive Centre, Pongo, was just 10 minutes walk away then we stepped almost straight onto the boat.

After the first day we were a bit disappointed because we missed the wreck!  That’s what happens when you leave navigation to the men isn’t it Sandra?  We would have found it straight away!  But after that every day just got better and better. Lots of sea life, beautiful walls dropping down hundreds of metres, colourful corals and gorgonias, lots of little caves, several lovely wrecks and fallen lighthouse.

There were some usual silly mistakes like not connecting a dry suit hose and even leaving a dry suit open. Yes, some were suspiciously scraping the bottom thanks to the weight of their dry suit having filled up with water. Len, you really must include that in your buddy check!

We had a great time and hopefully Glen, who was still diving with one of the instructors, enjoyed it as well (although not as much as his honeymoon moments (¾ of the time) with Sandra!)

Setting off at sunset accompanied by the wine tasting girls (Mary, Audrey and Cathy) on the board we managed to do 2 great night dives. Lots of creatures came to life at night and we really enjoyed a lot playing with octopuses. Obviously they must to be delighted too!  My dear buddy Len had an excellent idea and decided he wanted to rescue a big scorpion fish caught in fishing net with his bare hands. For some reason I didn’t approve and told him off. Yes I can do that even under water!  The fact that he wasn’t safe from girls’ nagging even in the deep blue disturbed him so much that he himself got caught in the fishing net.  Hands and fins everywhere…Scorpion fish even more distressed…Len trying to keep straight face…very comical!  Not the poor fish of course.

All went well apart from a very slippery ladder on the boat and the usual problem for a girl in drysuit with an urge to pee (where the only solution was to strip to a swimming costume after the dive and jump into the water).  Our guides were great and the endless supply of sweets on the board and cool beer after the dives in dive centre made it even better!

Every day we had a lovely communal breakfast. First morning Audrey tried to look after us but after some sexists comments from the men about the eggs not being cooked correctly she gave up (who wouldn’t) and left the egg masterpiece to them. So we ended up having raw eggs on our plates which apparently was the right and very cool way of preparation. The remains of the cave man brain cell perhaps? Luckily there were a few lovely local restaurants to keep us alive where lots of friendly family events were going on and sometimes supplying us with free cakes. Very essential for Len as he got slightly dizzy on one occasion after eating green salad by mistake and needed an emergency chips and cake infusion.

So while we were diving our non-diving girls were chilling out, tasting local wine and keeping the fridge full for the next morning.  A refreshing swim in the afternoons kept us going till late which didn’t make the owner of our apartment very happy and the word “police “was mentioned a few times just for talking on the terrace after midnight. Wait until we’ll introduce him to Kevan Tulip and Bret Champion next year!!!

The last day before flying we spent in a beautiful small medieval town Trogir which is under UNESCO protection. To make it easier and find a few places “my friends” gave me a map of the town as I understand the language better and could get them around much quicker. After turning the map in every direction I felt completely lost. I know that my navigation under water is not brilliant but I was pretty confident on the land so I started to feel quite embarrassed. It took me ages (nearly the first pint) to realise that “my friends” gave me a map of completely different town!

Next day sadly we were off home. It was a really good week. 12 nice dives and lovely place to stay. Thank you Len for organizing everything and hopefully we’ll be back soon.