Domagoj Jakopović Ribafish: What I learned while swimming from the children on the islands

In the early spring of 2020, when the whole world stopped, we at Olival were thinking about what and how to take action. From the first days, we have been guided by the idea of ​​a wealth of natural ingredients and we emphasize the importance of preserving the plant world, so it was quite logical to launch a campaign and warn about the importance of preserving the biological world. Together with dm drogerie markt Hrvatska in the RokOtok association, we found an ideal partner in order to use a joint project to warn that biological diversity is what we can thank for our existence and that it is of crucial importance to preserve it. A large number of scientists spoke about this very important topic in the spring of 2020. They agreed that the impact of man on nature and the loss of biological diversity is a factor that facilitates the development of new phenomena that can consequently lead to a pandemic like the one we have experienced. The campaign received exceptional support from our loyal users and the media, and we donated HRK 20,000 to the RokOtok association for their further work.

By swimming from the island of Košljun to Punta na Krk, the swimming part of the RokOtok project, which the Association of the same name has been implementing for the last four years, was completed this July. During the month of July, geography professor Domagoj Jakopović Ribafish connected all the inhabited islands of the Croatian part of the Adriatic by swimming, and on most of them held lectures on the problems of islands and islanders, nature protection and ecology, and encouraged children to play some fun social games with mandatory beach cleaning. We are proud to have been a small part of this great story, and Domagoj shared his thoughts on the past four years for us.

Go swimming! Feel better

I have been swimming as an amateur since I was twenty-three, when the doctor told me that I had bad joints and that neither volleyball nor handball, which I was training at that moment, would help me. In addition to fungi, a love for liquid was also born, and soon I was the champion of Croatia in distance swimming in 2002 and 2003 in the 29-39 category. Year…

As every love breaks, so did ours with an injury to the biceps tendon, and some stronger swimmers came along, which with the accumulation of obligations resulted in giving up for a couple of years and moving to the gym. Since I'm totally not one for damp basements and sharing space with people on steroids who groan as they throw weights on the floor, I soon found a quality barb to tone the tendons and muscles and went back to the pools. And there I am myself. Simply, I like to swim. I don't like running because I gag and my boobs hurt, I don't know how to ride a bike (I don't have hydraulics in my brain, long story), and in order not to lose much more than a hundred kilos, the only thing left is swimming. Now, you used to be able to swim in the Jarun, but you can't anymore because of water lilies and pollution, in the sea that is far away and in the pools that are there and not.

Zagreb and its surroundings have five or six swimming pools, so exactly twenty times less than Budapest, which is a sad shame, and of these, at least two are always closed, so the crowd is like queuing for beans at Puntijarka on Sunday at 11. Anyway, after rarely quality hygiene situations, usually drafts and lack of place to put things, put on that cap and goggles and jump into the cold water knowing that you can either laugh, or make a serious effort to make your body, and with it your psyche, feel much better. I strongly recommend that you go swimming, even if you want to shake things up a bit, and if you want to improve your technique, contact Zdravka for a drill at PK Posejdon, and everything will be three times better. Get yourself a watch that measures strokes and raise your form to a better level - when I'm in shape and have time to do a good workout, I lose up to two kilos, so you think!

Swimming for a better and easier tomorrow - for everyone

It was this "twice a week for an hour" training that was crucial for my life to start gaining contours and meaning again after the damnable tragedy in which I lost my son. While I was swimming, the idea occurred to me that I could talk to the children and advise them on how to spend their free time with other children and their parents in a better and more quality way. I combined it with swimming from island to island, together with hundreds of wonderful people, collected gifts, money to accompany the ship and set out to swim, which no one has ever done before. The kids smelled it, at first about thirty of them on the island, and later more, about a hundred, and even on a couple of occasions a huge three hundred kids listened, cleaned and went on adventures with a complete stranger who in this way helped a lot not to die. And they made him a much better man.

Basically, getting up was around 4-5 in the morning, then the chatter and shouting of the captain, the police, the administration, swimming to the nearest point and then arriving for the reception. 100 of them, it's me and now you be a dude and make those half an hour fun for the people present from 0-90 years old. And there was everything, from disappointment that neoprene is not leather, that I don't have a beard like Santa Claus, through total ignoring to children who would listen, clean, play and then hug me and say - "it was wonderful, promise you will come again come". To which I completely fall apart and promise to come. So now I'm figuring out how and when I'll come to them again, because on the fifth day of the year I fell down the steps of the ferry with the dog and tore my biceps tendon, so I neither swim, nor write, nor travel. But taught by anecdotes, children's love and the desire to make our country cleaner and more beautiful and people happier, I am writing a book about 50 islands and I can't wait for new meetings.

There is no planet B

Namely, when you tell children that it is nice and healthy to swim and you show them how to swim - they swim and listen. When you tell them how dangerous it is to throw plastic and garbage into the sea and persuade them to clean the beach together with you, they will clean it and make sure it is clean tomorrow. If you take them on a Geocaching adventure to look for hidden treasures around the world, they'll be groping and telling you months and years later that they're out in nature and happy that there's life beyond the screens we're too surrounded by. So instead of reading further, go out, take a walk, clean or swim and love nature and the world around us a lot because we don't have a spare planet, and it depends only on us how long we will have drinking water and food, not plastic fries... See you at the pool or in the forest!

Introduction: Olival

Text author: Domagoj Jakopović - Ribafish

Photo author: Ivan Čujić