ISTRIA, Croatia - With an area of about 3,500 km², Istria is the largest peninsula on the northern Adriatic between the Gulf of Trieste and the Kvarner Bay of Rijeka. By far the largest part of Istria belongs to Croatia, a part of the north to Slovenia and a small area to Italy. The coastline of the western Croatian region of Istria is 537 kilometers.
Croatia has an extraordinary natural treasure: The last Adriatic dolphins. Only one species still lives there today: the bottlenose dolphins known from dolphinariums and the television series "Flipper" or "Good dolphin" (Dobri Dupin) in Croatian. The "Adriatic dolphins" stay close to the Croatian coast and islands throughout the year, usually less than 5 kilometers from the land. Their stock is estimated at about 220 animals. Dangers, whether natural or human, can quickly eradicate this small population.
In May 2019, an international team who all share a love and passion for paddle boarding are set to first round this impressive peninsula with Stand up paddle Boards (SUP) to raise awareness and funds for these dolphins. The team consists of Andy Dressler (CAN), Peter States (SLO), Stecher Twins (GER), Arnd Dünzinger (GER), and photographer Andy Klotz (GER). The "Istrian SUP challenge" is a charity project that is specifically dedicated to the rescue of the last surviving Adriatic dolphins off the coast of Croatia.
The starting point is the small village of Barcola north of Trieste, Italy and the end point in Opatija, Croatia. With a daily paddle time of 8 - 12 hours the team has 5 days planned for this challenge 5 days. The team is dedicating their challenge to an important concern: Project "Rescue of the last Adriatic dolphins" of the Society for the Salvation of the Dolphin e.V.(GRD) Together with the GRD, the athletes want to do their part for a clean, blue planet. The GRD is committed to wildlife dolphins, their habitats, sustainability, marine conservation, gentle dolphin tourism and dolphinaria worldwide.
Bottlenose dolphin. | Photo via Mario Stecher
- Day 1; Arrival to Barcola, Italy to the planned starting point.
- Day 2; From Barcola it goes on by SUP's. First on Slovenian waters to past the port of Piran before going to Savudrija in Croatia. The end of the day will be a storage area south of Umag.
- Day 3; From Umag the group will continue to the destination "Sveti Andrea", a hotel island south of the probably most famous old town of Istria, Rovinje. On this day we the group will pass next to Rovinje three other wonderful cities called Novigrad, Porec and Vrsar.
- Day 4; Through the National Park Brijuni it goes past Pula to the southernmost point of Istria. The big lighthouse "Porer" shows the way in the nature reserve called Kamenjak. After innumerable bays and islands the group will stop in Medulin and finish the day.
- Day 5; On the east coast of Istria the group will paddle further to the beach of "Sveta Marina" probably the quietest corner of the whole peninsula.
- Day 6; The last stage: "Sveta Marina" to "Opatija" the destination of the journey.
- Day 7; Celebrate the successfully completed mission in "Koper,” Slovenia in the house of Slovenian friend and colleague Peter States.
If you’d like donate to the project click HERE.