When I first started planning our Croatia roadtrip the plan was to fly into Split, then after a few days head north. But whilst researching things to do in Split, I came across a town called Omis.
Omis is a little town, located by the mouth of the Cetina River on the coast of Dalmatia. With it’s sandy beach, old stone houses, stunning mountain views, awe-inspiring canyon and pirate castle…
Yes I did say PIRATE castle (if you don’t know, I love pirates!)…
I fell a little bit in love with this town.
Add in the many adventure activities you can do there, like white water rafting, canyoning, quad biking and zip wiring through the canyon and the whole family were sold!
So we added in a little detour and made Omis a key part of our Croatia roadtrip. I’m so glad we did.
If you want to find out more about what to do and where to stay in Omis, I’ll be posting more about that later this week.
For now, I want to talk about white water rafting in Omis.
When it was just an idea, a theory, taking the kids white water rafting in the Cetina Canyon seemed like a great plan! What an experience for them! They’d get to see amazing parts of the canyon, overcome their fears, push themselves out of their comfort zones and create a really powerful memory that will hopefully stay with them for life.
This all sounds great. But I forgot one thing.
I’m a bit afraid of water.
I’m ok if I’m on top of the water. Really still calm water. With no risk of falling in.
Not so good if I’m perched on the edge of a massive rubber dingy, careering down rapids with nothing to hold on to except two measly foot straps, which if I’m honest, I think are just there for decoration.
But that’s the thing with parenting. If you want to do it right, you can’t let fear stand in the way.
Once we arrived in Omis we booked our white water rafting trip for the next afternoon with a company called Lestrigon. If I’m totally honest, we only chose this one because the lady was the most persistent, grabbing us each time we walked by and she offered us a really good deal.
The next morning everyone was excited. Well, everyone except me. I was a little nervous and nauseous. I spent most of the morning wondering why on earth I had thought this would be a good idea. But thankfully I’m as stubborn as I am afraid of water,so I kept it to myself and carried on.
At 1.30pm we were met by the guys from Lestrigon who were going to be taking us up into the mountains and down the river. There was a skipper named Louis and a driver, who’s name I didn’t catch. We were also joined by two friendly guys from Saudi Arabia called Ali and Ali. So we had Ali, Ali and Alan on the trip!
We all hopped into the minibus, with the raft strapped on top and started on our way. The 30 minute journey took us along the river, through rock tunnels and then up into the mountains.
So we kit ourselves up in wetsuits, shoes, life jackets and helmets then carry the raft down to the river.
Josh, one Ali and I were seated on the left, the other Ali and Alan on the right, Jake in the middle and Louis the skipper on the back.
After a short safety briefing and demo of how to paddle effectively, we set off down the river.
The total route we planned to paddle was 11km in total and would take us between 2.5-3 hours from start to finish.
As soon as we got going my nerves disappeared.
Louis was an excellent guide. He really knew the river inside out and would brief us on how we would pass each rapid before we reached it. He told us all about the different parts of the canyon as we passed through, explaining how it changes throughout the year and pointing out the many stunning views and highlights. His English was excellent, he was highly trained with the top rafting qualifications available and lots of fun. We really couldn’t have had a better guide.
The experience itself was amazing.
The journey included a combination of slow, calm deep waters, fast rapids and steep drops. We got spun around, tipped sideways, bumped, splashed, sloshed and very, very wet.
It was so much fun. We all loved it, even little Jake!
I had assumed it was common for kids to go rafting, when we booked the lady hadn’t questioned Jake’s age or said otherwise. Halfway through the trip, we stopped to take a break and have a paddle. Making conversation I asked Louis if he takes many kids rafting through the canyon. He replied, “Hmm, sometimes. But never so young as your son. He’s very brave!”
At one point, Louis explained that we would all have to get out and walk one little bit, whilst he took the raft down the most dangerous part of the river. This section of river had a rough drop and a black hole that could suck you into it if you fell in the wrong place. It would also be necessary at one point for him to jump out of the raft and swing it over a large rock that blocked the way, before jumping back in and continuing down the rapid. This section of river had claimed the lives of 10 people in recent years, so it was unsuitable for newbies like us but we could watch him from the rocks above as he went down. It was really quite impressive.
As we neared the end of the trip we pulled over to the riverbank and took a break whilst the bravest (or craziest…) people in the boat (Alan and Ali) jumped off a 15ft boulder into the river. The really, really cold river. I’ve never heard Alan squeal the way he did when he came back up! 😀
We arrived home around dinner time, wet, tired but very content. The kids haven’t stopped talking about it yet…
So after a quick 4 week visit back to the UK we’re off again… this time to Croatia. The Hand Luggage Challenge The lead up to departure day went pretty much as planned. We packed Bessie up and tucked her into storage the day before our flight and then spent the night...