Dive into Yourself, a Training for trainers program was held from 4th to 11th of July in the picturesque area of Velebit mountain – the largest mountain in Croatia – and waters of crystal clear Adriatic sea. The training will start in the heart of Velebit mountain – small village named Ravni Dabar – and ended in a Cesarice village at the coast side.
So how was it?
Well, the great headline would be…
Baldachin of thousand starsTwo people are carrying rocks to a fireplace, one is looking for wood, four are putting up the biwak, and one is starting to cut the onions for the dinner; each of them knows what to do.
The eight participants were strangers at the beginning. Each from different country: Croatia, Netherlands, Poland, Cyprus, France, India, and Germany. But through eight days in the mountains, without phones, books or other distraction, they functions like a little society.
They hiked and get lost, failed a mission, laughed together during games, survived a thunderstorm during the night, climbed a peak, ended the expedition successfully, spent nine hours alone in the woods and finally reached the sea.
The first days were introduction, which included a lot of technical knowledge: How and where to build a biwak? How to cook over fire? How to navigate? Some things worked out well, right from the beginning. For example, the group enjoyed every evening a great dinner. Especially when they found wild strawberries as dessert. But other things like navigation, were very difficult.
The second-day-mission failed because of not finding the right way. Not only technical skills got improved, but also mental, like the group dynamic. With funny games, relationships were created easily and put up trust, which was necessary for climbing and abseiling. Additionally, the sleeping mattresses were much more comfortable, as concerned. And under a baldachin of thousand stars you can’t sleep badly.
Sometimes the stars can’t be seen though. And a night might turn to a real hell. Thunderstorm may unleash its rage, and the rain may be epic.
That was exactly what the group has experienced during one night – the biwak broke and leaked, so the next morning everything was wet and the sleeping place received the name “meadow of hell”. Another nature adventure was meeting “Bura”, the strong wind from north. It let the fire dance in the night and the tarp slaps more than once the head of sleeping people.
The weight of the backpack, the long walks or climbing the peak are all challenges, which the group had to face but managed quite well and supported each other as far as they could. One participant had to end the course early because of health problems.
All difficulties of the day, feelings and learning achievements were discussed in a reflection after the dinner. How was the day? What did they learn? How they overcame challenges? How they feel?
Reaching the sea after seven days was everyone’s big wish. Once there, experiencing scuba diving was a completely new experience for most of participants. It was great!
At the end, new lifelong friendships were made and everybody took new experiences back home. We have seen wonderful landscapes, and walked through beautiful wonders of nature. Someone commented that we were walking through Middle Earth with Gandalf. Well, that’s an adventure worth remembering.
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