RokOtok by RibaFish: The Most Heartwarming Project in Croatia in 2019

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The incredible RokOtok swimming marathon hit Jelsa on July 24, 2019 and had TCN in tears. Here’s why.

He made me cry four times within 24 hours of our first meeting. Grown men – he 48, me 50.

And that was without mentioning the number of times I cried with laughter. And they were many. 

And – yes, I have to admit at the tender age of 50 – he changed me in the one hour we were together. 

And he is changing and influencing many, many more people as he embarks on the most heartwarming project in Croatia this year.  

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Full disclosure. I had no real idea who this blogger Ribafish was until a few days ago. I knew he was a popular blogger and was much loved, and so there was probably some instinctive jealousy due to that, but for some reason, Ribafish was off my radar. When Kolegica Iva asked if she could write an article about his incredible project to swim to the 50 inhabited islands of Croatia, I agreed immediately as I was in the middle of something else. 

And then a friend messaged me to say that Ribafish was coming to Jelsa next and I could meet him if I wanted to. So we scheduled some cold ones and an interview at 19:00 a few days ago at The Office. 

With a couple of hours to go before our scheduled interview, I decided to find out who exactly WAS this Ribafish, and what intelligent questions could I ask?

A man who had me crying tears of pain and laughter just a few hours later. 


I read Iva’s article to get up to speed – what on earth was this RokOtok project about anyway?

And when I discovered the background, I REALLY wanted to meet him. We met on the square at The Office, and I think we even hugged, before taking a celebratory photo at the Aslej Instagram attraction. 

And then we talked, and the tears started to flow (internally during our interview, externally the next day).  

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For Ribafish’s project is both emotional and full of positivity, injecting hope, support and family unity with his wonderful project. A project for all generations. 

As I understood from Iva, Ribafish suffered a terrible tragedy recently when his 12-year-old son, Rok, died. While Rok was still alive, Ribafish told Rok that he did not have the money to take him to Disneyland, but he could take him to all of the 50 inhabited islands of Croatia – natural beauty and natural living. They had visited 8 by the time of Rok’s tragedy. Ribafish decided that he wanted to fulfil his promise to his son, whose ashes he spread in the waters of their favourite beach on Korcula. 

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And so the project RokOtok was born. Over a period of three summers, Ribafish would swim between the 50 inhabited islands, 17 this year and next, 16 in the final year. At his side the whole time would be Rok, whose ashes are in the Adriatic with him. 

The swim was one thing, but at every destination, Ribafish would meet with local kids and their parents and talk of the need for better understanding between parents and children, the importance of the environment, and the healthy benefits of spending more time with family and nature and less with gadgets. His message is simple, genuine and heartfelt. 

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So why did I cry four times within a day of meeting him, in addition to laughing out loud several times during our meeting? I REALLY encourage you to watch the video interview below, the best TCN has done so far – and that had nothing to do with TCN. 

My first internal tears were when he told me about the circumstances of the death of his 12-year-old son. I have a lovely daughter who is the same age. Unimaginable what he went through. 

My second internal tears were when he talked of his time with his son and those special moments – had I done the same for my girls? Shamefully, no. I needed to become a better parent. 

My third internal tears were when I asked him about his favourite spot and favourite memory, and he talked of that and his determination to honour his promise to Rok. 

And the fourth real tears came the next day. 

I am blessed with a truly wonderful wife and two incredible daughters, as well as the best punica in Croatia. I am not the best Dad in the world, but also not the worst, but I am pretty liberal, and I am grateful to my wife and her mum for the way our girls have turned out. 

I don’t insist on many things in the household, but I came back from my time with Ribafish, and I insisted that the girls go the following morning when Ribafish would be talking about the things mentioned above. I saw the look in their eyes – here we go, Dad has met someone again… 

But they went as I requested, and they apparently came home enthused and inspired, the same way I had been. One daughter explained how impressed she was not only by the quality message, but also by the fact that Ribafish had one way of talking to the kids and one to the adults. That is when I cried a little externally. Here is a humble and simple man dealing with his pain, but providing so much positivity and healthy messages for all generations. An agent of change.

He changed me a little, as I am sure he has changed many, many others. 

And long may it continue. 

Learn more about the RokOtok project on the official website where you can donate to support it. Or follow the latest events on Facebook


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