Tuesday, 15 November 2016

SwimTrek: Dalmatian Coast, Croatia - Dawn Walker

After hearing lots of positive and exciting feedback about SwimTrek holidays (from Rebecca, Mike and other friends…) we decided that it would too good an opportunity to miss: combining a trip to the UK with a few cheeky ocean swims in Europe beforehand.

Looking at the options, we narrowed it down to Greece, Turkey and Croatia and picked the Dalmatian Coast for our final choice as it was a place none of us had ever visited before. We decided on the 4km a day swim option as this allowed us time to explore on land too.

Six of us headed off from NZ in July this year: Deryn McGregor (her husband ,Craig, was a non 
swimmer participant), Kim and David Parker (open water competitors in NZ), Giles Walker, and myself. We organised ourselves to get to the beautiful island of Prvic Luka for the Swim Trek briefing. This island was to be our home for the week. A stunning setting, no motorised vehicles, no road network, history galore and an abundance of ocean! 

The week consisted of daily swims (sometimes one longer one,
other days two shorter swims). Each day the Swim Trek boat and skipper would arrive, and along with our two SwimTrek instructors we would head to a different location, all within the Dalmatian Coast area. There was a variety of swims: circumnavigating islands, crossings between islands, bay to bay etc. Each swim was well set up, health and safety was paramount, groups swam with similar ability swimmers and had a boat alongside. All in all there were 15 swimmers from around the globe sharing a similar love of swimming in the ocean. 

Outside of the swimming there were opportunities to explore the history of the area, with the instructors advising and organising trips to see significant historical sites. Evenings were spent dining in local restaurants and sharing stories with each other. We were particularly impressed with how our non swimmer, Craig, was welcomed and included. He was allowed to come out on the boat each day, if he wished, and be involved with ‘bombs’ off the boat, if he wished!

Croatia is a beautiful country and many of the swimmers spent time before and after visiting the major cities such as Dubrovnik and Zagreb. The sea was predominantly calm and clear and water
temperatures were perfect, around the low 20s. With daily temperatures in the mid 30s, this was refreshing! 

If you love open water swimming, hanging out with new and old friends and want to combine a holiday with your favourite sport (without the pressure of Scott Rice’s hooter and a mad rush for the first buoy!) then a SwimTrek holiday is a must do. We are already eyeing up our next one...too many to choose from but the Galapagos Islands sounds like one worth saving up for.

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