Day 237 – CROATIA: Dubrovnik

I suppose I might as well let the cat out of the bag.

I spent most of the day sorting out application forms. All going well I will be a summer camp counsellor this summer in Switzerland, facilitating summer activities for children and teenagers. If there are still places available, and I manage to get one, then I will be spending up to two months there. I heard about Village Camps from an ex-workmate who had worked at Village Camps in the past.
As for what this would mean for the 14degrees Off The Beaten Track journey, it would mean that it would be just part of the adventure as a whole. I’ve always had an interest in outdoor education, and Village Camps would give me a chance to really get to grips with it, and get some proper experience in the area. The 14degrees blog would continue uninterrupted.
Ideally, I would spend one season at Village Camps, and then carry on to England. Once again, I would be cycling in winter. Ugh.

I finally left Dubrovnik at 4pm, and cycled for about 15kms to a small beach, where Nick and his father were fishing for squid. They had been there for 6 hours, and had caught nothing. I must have been the lucky charm, because as soon as I arrived, they caught five squid in a matter of an hour.

Squid got squad on a marina near Dubrovnik, Croatia

I’m not usually very emotional when it comes to fish dying, but squid are a different matter. They just lie there, watching you with their big, knowing eyes. Their skin pulses with brown dots, like miniature arouras, coming and going in gentle waves. The colour however slowly fades as the life in the squid fades. And all the time, those eyes.Those eyes. Watching. Pleading…

Nick seemed happy enough though.

Nick squidding on a marina near Dubrovnik, Croatia

I slept under the eaves of an old building near the beach. A calm night. Nothing stirred except those squid eyes, burned into my mind as I wafted off to sleep.

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12 thoughts on “Day 237 – CROATIA: Dubrovnik

  • Lee

    Hmmm. Squid. Death. Futility.

    Reminds me of yesterday. A bit.

    We have a swan plant and therefore Monarch caterpillars (and chrysalises) at the moment. I've been intrigued and enthralled watching the dozen(ish) caterpillars munch their way from teeny to massive, and then weave web things around the place and eventually choose a spot to hang upside down for a bit, becoming goo and then (still waiting for the first one to make this final transition) butterflies.

    But now they've run out of leaves. Totally. There are really and truly no more leaves on the whole plant. One tried munching on a swan plant seed pod in desparation… but not for long. There are about four left who have nothing to eat. Having been following their progress so closely, it's rather – well – emotional. Will the yet un-massive ones die? Or make tiny chrysalises and then come out as tiny butterflies? (I doubt it.) Will they shrivel up, or fall off the plant, or get poisoned to death trying to eat other plants?

    And how shameful that I feel more sad about caterpillars dying of malnutrition than I normally do about my brothers and sisters in humanity or in Christ, who have nothing more to eat either.

  • Daniel

    Hi Rob,

    maybe you should se more creatures die – would make you a vegetarian maybe. Ken Kifer from said that he would only eat creatures he was able to kill.

    Whatever – keep on riding.

  • Aunty Lyn

    Recently in the southern ocean some fisherman caught a giant squid. It weighed 450kg and was 15 metres long I think. They are trying to figure out how to preserve it and exhibit it in Te Papa museum. I wonder what is eyes looked like!

  • malcolm


    Monarch butterfly caterpillars can live on pumpkin flesh. Or you could just put them out of their misery and squash them. Maybe that is why we human types have an opposable thumb – to sqish caterpillars.

    Rob – Yay for the whole summer camp thing. Maybe I will catch up with you after that. Maybe do a little riding perhaps.

  • Lee


    Cheers for that. We have a big sprawling self-sown pumpkin plant (two actually, since there are both orange and green pumpkins growing) on our compost heap so may just do that. Dunno how I'd get them to eat it and then hop back somewhere to do their chrysalis thing though. Maybe they should just die full anyway, even if they never get to be butterflies. (Do I spot some more symbolism there? Hmmm. Better stop before I write another far-too-long comment.)

  • Tim

    If you touch a monarch butterfly caterpillar, well pick it up, you'll get physically disabled butterflys. You have to let the walk onto something and move that.

  • Lee

    Cheers Tim – good to know. Thankfully I just stuck slivers of pumpkin onto some of the swan plant sticks, so there should be no maimed butterflies. May still be dead caterpillars though… when I got home today they didn't seem to have eaten much of it. Two of them had started when I left this morning (shortly after the pumpkining) but I dunno. We'll see I s'pose.

    Felt pretty cool to see them start to eat it though. Cheers for helping me feel good, advisors 🙂

  • Aunty Les

    The Summer Camp Counselling job sounds good. Will you get paid? As you are so far behind in your schedule I've been wondering if your finds are getting low.

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Aunty Les, the camp counsellor job is with full board, insurance, and a weekly allowance. Don't know the full details yet.

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Malcolm, come cycle with me. If there's one thing I've learned, you need crap all gear to cycle tour. Easy peasy.

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Daniel, but denying the process is one of the key reasons that I can eat meat with such blissful ignorance. If I start engaging with the process…perhaps I would be a vegetarian after all…