Sunday, 18 August 2019
Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas - The editor and big chief of The Dubrovnik Times. Born in the UK he has been living and working in Dubrovnik since 1998, yes he is one of the rare “old hands.” A unique insight into both British and Croatian life and culture, Mark is often known as just “Englez” or Englishman. He is a traveller, a current affairs freak and a huge AFC Wimbledon fan.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

For anyone who has walked down the Stradun, strolled along the promenade in Cavtat or in fact been anywhere in Croatia the headline that Croatians are one of the biggest coffee drinkers in the world probably won’t surprise you.

Croatians consume up to six kilos of coffee per person per year, which puts them on the 20th place in the ranking of the biggest coffee consumers in the world.

According to a survey conducted by the GfK agency in 2012, 80 percent of Croatians aged over 15 drink coffee every day.

For more than ten years, the “Croatian Heritage Foundation Dubrovnik” has been organizing meetings in the summer in Dubrovnik, and this summer was no different.

Through this project, Dubrovnik citizens with a New York address began to help their hometown, by providing financial contributions to the people most in need of help in Dubrovnik, the sick and socially disadvantaged, and by participating in the restoration of sacral buildings.

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This meeting of Dubrovnik ex-pats brings together not only the diaspora from America but from all over the world, and all with a love for the hometown city.

In addition to the humanitarian importance of the event, it is also an opportunity for socializing, getting to know each other, sharing experiences and arranging cooperation.

After introductory remarks by the President of the Foundation, Maja Mozara, the meeting was welcomed by a representative of the Dubrovnik Club in New York Noris Penezic Boccanfuso, who handed over the donation to two Dubrovnik citizens in need of help, donated the donations to the people of Dubrovnik in need of Ivana Schwartz and Orsat Ivankovic and to the Church of St. Blaise in Ston. Mr. Frano Sesjak from Germany donated money for the rehabilitation of young Konavle citizen Nina Đivanović.

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Cavtat is certainly catching some media attention this year, along with all the mega yachts that have been constantly dropping anchor in the waters around the picturesque seaside town.

The latest international press attention for Cavtat comes in the form of an article on one of the most popular and most read news websites in the UK, the Daily Mail.

In an article entitled “Be a late sunseeker: The weather has turned in Britain, but it's still hot in the Med and beyond - with plenty of last-minute deals,” along with Grenada and Montenegro, Cavtat get a write-up.

“Cavtat is a quiet seaside town on the Adriatic in the south of Croatia, a short bus ride from the beautiful medieval walled city of Dubrovnik (13 miles away). This is a place to relax in the sunshine and enjoy the local tavernas as well as its two sandy beaches,” write The Daily Mail.

Fancy a free Croatian cruise taking in the sights of Split and Dubrovnik? Well a UK based cruise company if offering a free cruise holiday to one lucky person and they’ll even pay you £500 to do it!

Cruise Croatia is offering one lucky person the chance of a lifetime, to cruise down the Croatian Adriatic coast from Split to Dubrovnik, and along the way you’ll get to sip some of the best wines that Croatia has to offer and taste some local delicacies.

Launching in 2020, their yacht will travel on a seven-day cruise from Split to Dubrovnik, and guests will get the chance to explore the thousands of islands of this picture postcard perfect region.

To apply all your need to do is apply on the website of Cruise Croatia and give them an honest reason why you should be the one enjoying a Croatian cruise next summer. Participants must apply before the 4th of September this year, so get your skates on.

 

It has been a warm, no, an extremely hot week in Dubrovnik with temperatures in the mid-thirties and the news that has proved popular is celebrities holidaying in the Dubrovnik sunshine.

Here are the top five most read stories of the week, a look back at what was hot in the August sunshine.

 

His latest film, Gotovina, is currently breaking records at the box offices but the star of the movie and indeed one of the most Croatian actors of all time has decided to leave the bright lights of Hollywood and move back to Europe.

Goran Visnjic (46) has recently given an exclusive interview to the Croatian magazine Gloria and has revealed that after 20 years of living in Los Angeles he is on the verge of moving home to England and is currently house hunting in Cornwall. Visnjic, along with his wife Eva and their four young children, are apparently searching for a new home in the southwest of England in the picturesque county of Cornwall.

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According to the interview in Gloria Visnjic claims that the children really miss their grandparents in Croatia, and by moving to England he will be closer to them and be able to have family holidays more often.

Visnjic who stars in the current box office smash, Gotovia, where he plays the legendary Croatian general. He is probably best known for his role as Dr. Kovac in the hit TV series ER. He has also played in the movies The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Elektra and Practical Magic.

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Visnjic as Dr. Kovac in ER 

Green Sea Safari is a Dubrovnik-based, non-profit organisation that has one main goal: to clean trash and other waste from the planet's seas and coastline. This extremely worthy idea was started just two and a half years ago by three friends, Marlena Ćukteraš, Maro Carević and Alen Redžović. We caught up with Marlena this week to see what her inspirations were to get involved in this project and what their aims are.

“We pretty much decided the idea over a coffee, as many things are decided in Dubrovnik,” commented Marlena. But don’t let this relaxed attitude hide a determined ambition to clean up the seas of Dubrovnik and to educate people along the way. They have managed to attract some great sponsors and have made great leaps in preserving Dubrovnik’s marine nature but they also need your help. According to the Green Sea Safari website Marlena is a physicist, a biologist, a marine scientist, and environmentalist, we would also add a very positive example for all of us to follow.

Lots of people are aware of plastic polluting the seas but very few actually get involved in doing something to change the situation. Why were you so determined to make a real difference?

Somebody has to start. I don’t really look at it as cleaning the seas, although it can be hard work I absolutely enjoy what I am doing. When you know that you are doing something useful, not just for yourself but also for the widen community and above all for nature and the planet then its isn’t difficult at all. We have to think of the future generations. I am a professor at RIT University in Dubrovnik and I am aware of the younger generations every day at work. Just like anything in life the first step is the hardest. Once I started, or rather once we all started, then every day, every journey became more enjoyable. We all have a duty to learn how to recycle. Education is important, and not only for the younger generations but for everyone. In fact, teaching the older generations is equally as important as the younger ones.

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You run daily safari cleaning action every day during the summer months. And these are of course open to both tourists and locals. Even though these trips take people to more hidden areas of our coastline is it hard to find “volunteers” to help you?

Our Green Seas Safari tours last all day so it is just a matter of people actually finding the spare time to join us. Our tours are completely free for all visitors. People take food and drink with them, or if they want we stop at a restaurant on an island and make a day of it. We start at 9.30 in the morning and we return at around 5 in the afternoon. We’ve had guests of all ages and all nationalities. And they all have a passion to make the seas clean, our seas clean. I think our oldest guest so far was in his seventies. If people want to get involved all the info is on our website. We welcome everyone.

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Are you surprised, or shocked, with the sheer amount of plastic waste that you find? You go to places around the coastline that aren’t normally cleaned by the public cleaning company, so you find at first-hand what the sea is polluted with.

As a scientist I have to say that unfortunately I am not that shocked, although my friends and colleagues often are. When I look at the situation from a scientific angle then the reasons are obvious. For my final graduation study I covered many of the reason why the Adriatic is suffering from plastic pollution. One of the reasons is the flow of water. A large amount of water flows into the Adriatic from the Neretva River, however over the decades more and more hydroelectric power plants have been built on this river meaning that the flow of water into the Adriatic Sea is much less. Before when the Neretva’s fresh water flowed into the Adriatic without hindrance it literally pushed all the waste away from the Croatian coastline. Now the flow is lower the current has changed and lots of the waste is now floating to us from all over the Mediterranean.

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What percentage of the plastic waste that you find originates from Croatia?

It is hard to give an exact percentage but I would estimate that a large majority of the plastic waste that we find doesn’t originate from Croatia. Even though many of the bottle and other items don’t have a label on them anymore I can see from the look of the bottle that they aren’t from Croatia. It also needs to be said that a large percentage of the plastic waste we find is medical waste. We don’t really know where this comes from. During our trips with guests we pull out up to 15 bags of plastic waste.

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Dubrovnik has a problem with plastic waste when the south winds blow at certain times of the year and it would seem that lots of this waste comes from Albania. Is this your experience?

Yes, it is true a large part of the plastic waste we find originates from Albania. The currents and winds bring it to Dubrovnik at times of the year. Albania isn’t a member of the European Union and their laws and regulations surrounding plastic waste, and recycling in general, aren’t as strict or as effective as they should be. Don’t get me wrong these kind of bad practises used to happen in Croatia, they have only changed due to awareness and education, plus of course European and national laws.

How can visitors of Dubrovnik, or in fact anyone reading this, actually help your organisation?

Firstly, I need to point out that we really love what we do. What we really need is some kind of support, financial support that will assist us to not only survive but also and more importantly, to expand to other coasts in Croatia. The only reason that we haven’t moved on to other reasons is financial. The costs of fuel, the skipper and other costs involved are restrictive for us, unfortunately. We would love to get a major company onboard as a general sponsor, that would seriously help us. Of course people do donate, and we welcome all donations. If people, your readers, want to donate then we would be extremely grateful.

You can help this worthy cause

Go to the Green Sea Safari website and find out how you can assist this great project - https://greenseasafari.com/ Annual membership is only 300 Kunas and all that money will be invested into a green and plastic free future.
And if you want to donate (and please do) to this worthy non-profit organisation then simply follow this link - https://greenseasafari.com/donate/ Thank you in advance!

As your diving mask slowly slips below the calm surface of the turquoise sea it becomes obvious in a moment why the Croatian Adriatic Sea is a haven for divers from all over the world. A rich underwater wonderland opens up before your eyes, a never-ending world of brilliant blue. It is no wonder that divers from all over the world flood to Croatia every year to dip their wetsuits into the Adriatic.

“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever,” once said the great Jacques Yves Cousteau. He could quite easily have been talking directly about the Croatian Adriatic Sea, a sea that he was extremely fond of. The Adriatic is considered as one of the cleanest in the world. The underwater empire is overflowing with flora and fauna, which combined with the incredible visibility, makes the Adriatic an absolute magnet for divers.

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There are just over 110 official diving sites dotted along the coastline, a coast that stretches for 5790 kilometres thanks to being one of the most indented coastlines in Europe. And with 1246 islands scattered along this winding shore there are plenty of opportunities for divers. With no extreme tides or even tidal currents and temperatures relatively warm, ranging from 21°C to 25°C in the summer and never dropping below 14°C in the winter months, this is truly a diver’s paradise.

Every dive will offer a new discovery, for diving in the Adriatic is always a journey. The waters around the Dubrovnik region are some of the richest along the Croatian coastline. Sunken warships, undersea caves, fields of coral, schools of brightly coloured fish, octopus, sheer drops in the blue abyss, diving in Dubrovnik is an adventure from start to finish. With the Elaphite islands, with the glorious islands of Šipan and Lopud the closest, almost a stone’s throw from Dubrovnik the options are endless.

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Whether you are a beginner or an experienced diver, if you are looking for an hour’s dive or a long weekend, the Adriatic in Dubrovnik has something for everyone. The ever-changing colours will amaze you, the stunning rock faces will raise your curiosity and the underwater wildlife will dazzle you. Divers come back to Dubrovnik year after year, find out for yourself why!

 

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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