(written 26th July 2014)
I find myself sitting on another bus heading off on another day off adventure to Zadar, having said goodbye to yet another group of girls. My third session has been the quickest yet and my girls were once again genuinely fabulous. Boisterous, lively and rather mischievous, they have kept me on my toes for the last two weeks and kept me laughing. For the first few days they sung this “happy llama, sad llama” song on repeat, whilst also plotting to prank me and Kathryn (my Co-counselor also from England, and an absolutely lovely girl). Trying to convince them not to draw a moustache on Kathryn whilst she slept was an interesting one to say the least! In cabin hour whilst Kathryn and I tried to get a precious couple of minutes napping they played in their sleeping bags pretending to be “sleeping bag monsters”. Needless to say our cabin video had us in hysterics with Kathryn and I acting as if we had discovered a new species of animal which lived in the San Diego cabin (our home for the last two weeks), who then attacked and ate Kathryn. Understandably the girls absolutely loved acting this bit out! Our lip sync was also my best one yet of the summer, acting out a pirate battle to the Pirates of the Caribbean theme tune. Daily “gossip time” became a ritual in which the girls chatted about their camp crushes and quizzed me and Kathryn on who our “lovers” were. When the time to leave crept up there was tears and hugging all around. It was so heartwarming to see that our girls had made such good friends with each other and were promising to stay in touch and hoping to see each other next year.
Frustratingly, the middle of the session brought with it the biggest storm I can even remember being in. The lightening and thunder was right overhead for hours and the rain got me completely drenched when running the short 20 metres from San Diego cabin to my staff cabin. Of course, this rain encouraged all the ginormous spiders in the girls cabin to wake up and decide to go on a walk across the ceiling. The first incident of the evening was a decent sized spider above the top bunk of Lara, who happened to have quite the fear of spiders. In tears and hyperventilating she jumped off her bunk and in came Connor armed with a flip-flop to take care of the situation. The execution left spider blood on Lara’s bed sheets which she refused to sleep in until she had changed them with her own supply. Calm was restored and all the girls returned to bed. For 2 minutes. Zala started demanding that Nardia gave her a torch and shed light on a spider situation that led to screams from all the girls anad left Kathryn and I speechless. This next spider was absolutely ginormous, bordering on tarantula, with a body about the size of a 50p piece and the longest, thickest legs, making its way above Zala’s head. Kathryn and I stuck our heads out of the cabin and shouted for help from any boy that could hear us. Needless to say a flashlight soon appeared in the distance and made its way over, as Connor arrived to save the day once again. A flip-flop was not going to cut it this time however and a trainer was sacrificed for the execution. We now had four girls in tears, and everyone refusing to get into bed. With a massive thwack Connor took out the spider to the point where it actually completely disappeared. The body was simply nowhere to be seen. Two other counselors, Dom and Ryan, now joined Connor in the search party for the body while Kathryn and I worked to calm the girls down, promising that these massive spiders were simply not interested in them and would not hurt them (if only I could believe this myself). 5 minutes later and the legs of the spider had been found scattered on the top, and somehow the bottom, bunks but the body had mysteriously disappeared. Ryan pretended he had it in a bag to convince the girls it was safe to return to their beds but there was no fooling Kathryn and I. It was at this point I was ever so slightly relieved I slept in the staff cabin. Needless to say when I asked the girls how they slept the next morning the answers I received were not as positive as I might hope for!
Mid-session also brought the mid-session day off; one of the best ones yet, spent chilling out on a boat with some great people sailing around the Kornati islands. We stopped off at a little harbour, tucked away in a cove, where we swam and sunbathed and explored. We had a lunch of beautiful fish in a quaint, tucked away restaurant before returning to the boat and sailing around for a few more hours. The best bit was still to come however, with the sighting of about 4 dolphins close to an island. We approached and for about half an hour watched and followed them as they swam around, at some points only a couple of metres from the boat. It was the first time I have seen them up close, and they were so beautiful. It made the whole day feel so special. And if this wasn’t good enough my kayaking lesson with 7 kids the next day was the icing on the cake. That morning the fishing class came across dolphins swimming in the wake of their boat as we watched them in the distance from the boat. A couple of hours later and me and Harry (another counselor from England, top guy and my camp brother) took our kids out and had a strange feeling we could be in luck. And sure we were. After a potential incorrect sighting by me (could have just been a wake-boarder), I was 100% sure of what I saw the second time and I have never seen a group of kids paddle as fast as these guys did to catch up with 2 dolphins as they jumped with the waves. The fastest of them all was Harry though, in his element, making it to about 20metres away from them. There was no need to convince these kids how awesome kayaking could be for the rest of the week, and we quickly renamed the class ‘dolphin watch.’ It was incredible. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world, with two sightings in two days, one of them in just a kayak.