RokOtok, the 2019 edition will come to an end on July 30, 2019, as the phenomenal Ribafish arrives on Ciovo as part of a 3-year mission to honour a promise to his son. Be there!
I am still laughing. And crying.
What a guy! As I wrote in a recent article, RokOtok by Ribafish: The Most Heartwarming Project in Croatia in 2019, I met a guy a few days ago who changed my life a little at the age of 50. As he has been changing and inspiring the lives of thousands of others on Dalmatia’s islands on a very unique project.
(I REALLY encourage you to watch this interview)
Not having the money to take his son to Disneyland, Ribafish promised his son that he would take him in time to all 50 of Croatia’s inhabited islands and discover their country instead. Father and son had done 8 of the 50 islands when son Rok tragically died, aged just 12.
People deal with loss and pain in different ways, and Ribafish decided to channel his energies in a positive direction. After sprinkling Rok’s ashes in the Adriatic near their favourite beach, he decided to honour his promise to Rok and swim between the 50 inhabited islands of Croatia over three summers, with 17 islands in this, the first year. With his ashes in the sea, Rok would be constantly by his side.
But Ribafish went a little further with his RokOtok project. At every island, he gathers the children (from 30 to over 100) and talks to them about the environment, the importance of family time and nature, away from gadgets. There is a treasure hunt and each child receives a free copy of the book he wrote about conversations he had with Rok, which he asks them to read. It is a wonderful touch, and my kids were not the only ones who came home inspired by this man.
RokOtok, the 2019 edition will reach its 17th and final island tomorrow, as Ribafish swims from Drvenik Veli to Ciovo. A superhuman effort, and I am sure it will be quite a party.
The Ribafish welcome party will take place at Lucica Toc, Okrug Gornji, Ciovo at 18.00, so if you are anywhere in the area, go and support this man and project.
I doubt there will be 550,000 people turning up as there were to welcome home the World Cup winners in Zagreb last July, but there should be, for the achievement is on the same level for me.
Swim well, Ribafish, and thanks for touching so many hearts.
Full disclosure – My article about Ribafish and the RokOtok project was supposed to be about his swim as far as Jelsa, as a friend of mine is in the support crew and asked if she could write an article. That was days ago, but I will publish it below to pay tribute to those – and many others – who have helped make this project a success. In the words of Gorana Gytha Galic (written around the time of the Jelsa arrival):
As you know, from previous TCN articles about the Rokotok project, here is a brief summary of islands so far connected.
The adventure started on July 6 from Dubrovnik and the first island with the Rokotok flag was Koločep. Other islands which have been connected are Lopud, Šipan, Mljet, Korčula, Lastovo, Šćedro, Hvar, Vis, Budikovac and Biševo island.
The hardest swimming part was between Mljet and Korčula. There was a bura wind which blew between 18 and 20 knots and east Kurenat between 0.8 knots. Waves were between 1.50 to 3 meters. It took about 6 hours to swim the destination between Mljet and Korčula. That was the longest and hardest stage. Another long stage was between Hvar and Vis which took 5 hours.
The boat which is following Ribafish on his adventure is sailboat Bavaria 46 named Mango.
The captain of the boat from day one to day 17 was Lovre Uroda, who has a great spirit of adventure. From day 17 onwards the substitute captain is Dominik Perkovic.
The support crew had a couple of changes through the adventure. From the beginning to the end with Ribafish is head of organisation Kasandra Draganić. The medic in charge of Ribafish’s health from Dubrovnik to Šipan and from Korčula to Hvar was Marija Štanjel. Lifeguard on the board from Dubrovnik to Korčula was Ivan Jurić from Red Cross Dubrovnik. The cameraman who followed Rokotok from Šipan to Hvar was Igor Bogdanović.
The medic from Šipan to Korčula island was Ena Kurtić. Todor Jurjević is lifeguard from Red Cross Dubrovnik and he was part of the crew from Korčula to Lastovo.
On Hvar, Ana Štanfel joined as a new medic, as designated lifeguard Nikola Stračárová joined from Red Cross Split and Gorana Galić as an assistant around the boat and activities.
On each island, Ribafish and Rokotok were greeted by approx. 30 to 200 children. After Ribafish talked to children about the ecology and importance of speaking and doing activities with their parents, they went on a treasure hunt and afterwards, gifts were given to the children.
Islands yet to be connected this year are Brač, Šolta, Drvenik Veli, Drvenik Mali and Čiovo island where a big party will be organised for Rokotok at Okrug Gornji. At Čiovo island many people who support the Rokotok but couldn’t participate will join Ribafish and Rokotok event. Island Čiovo is the last island this year to be connected with Rokotok. The journey continues in Summer 2020.
And a little more info from Brac to Solta:
The guys who followed Ribafish today were members of the waterpolo veterans club, Stari As: Stanko Mašković 1981, commander of HRM rocket ship ( zapovjednik raketne topovnjače HRM) ; Hrvoje Barbir 1984, magister of IT; Marin Burič 1983, tour guide; Ivan Jurić 1995, lifeguard.
It took 16 mins to cross the channel between Brač and Šolta, it could be faster but currents didn’t allow, and there was a lot of traffic in the channel. For safety reasons we were followed by HGSS boat.