A Father’s Promise Fulfilled! 50 Islands, 1 Swim, 1 Legend

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I never got to meet young Rok before his life ended tragically so young, but I have heard lots about the special bond that he shared with his father, Domagoj Jakopović Ribafish. And I cannot imagine a child being more proud of his dad than Rok would have been at the end of his father’s momentous journey.

I have heard a lot of their joint love of the Adriatic and of Dad’s promise to take him to all the inhabited islands in Croatia, as he did not have money to take him to New York and Paris.

Of how, after the tragic loss so young, a father’s promise to him son was fulfilled, and in quite the most beautiful way. 


Scattering Rok’s ashes in the Adriatic close to their favourite beach on Korcula, Ribafish vowed to fulfill the promise to visit all 50 islands by swimming from one to the next, from the south to the north, with Rok by his side. And not just swim, but also to educate children on the way on the environment, growing up happy, and spending time with their parents. You can learn more about the project from this previous TCN report.

What to say – Ribafish did it! And rather than me tell you about it, here he is in the form of the official press release. Respect, Sir, you have inspired thousands.  


Project #Rokotok – promise fulfilled! Ribafish was the first in history to connect 50 Croatian inhabited islands by swimming, learning and socializing

Domagoj Jakopović Ribafish fulfilled the promise he made to his son. The #Rokotok flag has flown on 50 Croatian inhabited islands, which for the first time are connected by swimming, but also by a story. A story about a project that reminded the islanders and their guests of the importance of preserving the environment and growing up happily, filled with spending time with friends and parents.


The project, which the media declared “the most beautiful story of the summer”, celebrated its grand finale, after nearly 54,000 meters of swimming, in the third, last phase, in Punat on the island of Krk. RokOtok’s official swimmer Boris Korbar, four locals and Domagoj Jakopović Ribafish jumped into the sea from the boat near the islet of Košljuna. A few boys joined them and they all reached the waterfront with ease, in about twenty minutes, where they were greeted by about five hundred children and adults.


Ribafish looks at those last 800 meters of the 210 kilometers swam during the project along the Adriatic, from Koločep to Krk, with a gap of a few days, as the most emotional moments. “It was not easy to get out of the sea in front of all those people, while emotions of sadness were interwoven in me, but also enormous gratitude for the support of all the people who welcomed me at this and all other locations, and all my Rokotočans who during all three phases project, on the four-year long journey, were with me”, he said and added that he will use August for a holiday on Korčula, where he will be surrounded by his closest relatives, process everything with himself and sifting through memories, looking for inspiration for some new ideas through that #Rokotok as a project will live in the future.


Along with the crew, numerous swimmers and thousands of islanders and their guests are also included in the “memoir” of the #Rokotok project. They all listened to the story about the problems faced by the islands, swimming, nature, ecology and parental love, looked for and hid “treasures”, and Ribafish points out that he hopes they all remembered the key message of this project, the message in which he found the meaning and what was its driving force – that promises must be fulfilled.


The final reception was organized by the Punat Tourist Board headed by director Branko Karabaić. After the lecture and hanging out with the kids, Ribafish placed the last geocache, thus motivating some other kids who will visit this beautiful island and destination in the future to research. Here, too, the children were delighted with the gifts. On the last 17 islands during July 2022, 2,200 were distributed (over 6,000 in all three phases), and Ribafish himself received a gift of personalized #Rokotok tennis shoes, three fish for the three phases of the project, a delicious cake and what he considers the greatest gift – smiling faces, warm words and hugs from little and big kids.

During the project, Shortest Path Production recorded all the material for the upcoming documentary film (expected in the fall of 2023), and in September, along with an appropriate exhibition of pictures by the official ship photographer Ivan Čujić and posters drawn by children on the islands, a press conference of the project will be held. where everyone interested will be able to learn about plans for the future.


Thank you all for being part of the most beautiful story of the summer and helping to fulfill a promise.

The project was supported by Sport Vision Croatia, RBA, HTZ, Rio Mare, Hyundai Croatia, Offertissima, UHU, Rubor Autoservis Zapruđe, Jamnica, Offset.hr, Pašmanero, Solgar, Insako and many others…

You can learn more about the RokOtok project on the official website.


What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning – Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years: the Insider Guide to Surviving Croatia will be out by Christmas. If you would like to reserve a copy, email [email protected] Subject 20 Years Book


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