Rocky Beaches and Cliff Jumping
What is it about the summer here in Croatia that brings out the urge in everyone to jump off of lofty cliffs into the water? As someone who has a tremendous fear of heights, it makes me really nervous, but I have to admit I watch them enthralled nonetheless. From Verudela Beach to Fraterski Island to the Kamenjak, off the cliffs they plunge into the deep blue waters below. Some of the cliffs are higher than others, especially the ones out at the Kamenjak National Park in Medulin. But heights don’t seem to bother a lot of these jumpers.
And I’m there for it, watching nervously as they plunge and waiting hopefully as they come up for air. Some run and take the plunge, some wait tentatively looking nervous as their friends try to encourage them to jump, some turn back to their spot on the beach and mull over whether it is a good idea. I’m okay with chickening out.
I have to admit I tried to talk my son-in-law out of doing it when he and my daughter visited us a few years back. Someone has to be the voice of reason. We were at Hawaii Beach in Pula and although it’s not the tallest of the cliffs, I admit, I tried to convince him not to jump. I know his mom very well, and if he had gotten hurt, I would never have forgiven myself. But he jumped anyway, as did my dear husband. I was glad when they were finished and glad my daughter had my “I don’t think so” gene.
Go Ahead and Jump
I say I don’t understand the thrill, but I do. I remember camping trips as a child in the summer in Louisiana jumping off of platforms that were fairly high up and doing the same off the high diving board at the local YMCA, so the kid in me remembers how exciting it was. I wouldn’t do it now though. I’ve grown scarier in my “older” age. But there is something about watching people do it that I really enjoy, a vicarious thrill, the freedom of watching this falling and plunging through the water and then the relief of the first breath of air.
I took this video as we sailed off the coast of the Kamenjak National Park in Medulin. People go there to swim and for the thrill of jumping off the craggy coast into the water. As my friend in the video says, the water is very deep there, so there is no danger of hitting the bottom.
Just yesterday I climbed down a somewhat steep cliffside (by my standards, at least) to meet some friends who were swimming there. I was clinging to the rocky edges (for dear life) just to reach the spot they were sunbathing. As we climbed back up a young man ran by us on the cliff side and jumped into the water. My friend said he saw the young man slip on the slick stones as he ran and jumped. (I didn’t see him as I was too focused on clinging to the rocks.) He could have hurt himself as the tide was really low during that time of day. I saw the guy swimming in the water right after so I know he was okay, but it did make me wonder how many people get injured making this rite of passage into the summer each year. I researched a little and there have been a lot of accidents in Dubrovnik on one specific cliff that lures young people to jump despite signs and warnings not to do so.
But considering the amount of people I see jumping, the casualties seem few and far between. So as the 80s band Van Halen said, “Go ahead and jump!” But for your mom’s sake, be careful and definitely don’t jump in places where signs prohibit it. There is a reason they have a sign and probably not a good one.