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It was a lovely start to a lovely day (06:00) and just the thought of should I or shouldn’t I at the back of my mind. I have been travelling for 10 years on and off and its always a similar choice; should I pack my dive gear or not? at other times it is a coat or a pair of boots or glossy shoes- I remember carting a 15 lb coat around Thailand when it was real hot a nd dry and I had only needed it to get to Heathrow.

It was just enough to take the edge off of that monumental feeling of starting a trip away, I hope that you know what I mean because It’s really hard to describe. But here goes; Its like breaking up for summer holidays or that Friday feeling x10 (unless you work in accident and emergency) its like that feeling that’s in your guts but a good one.

Not only is my dive gear bulky and expensive but it …no that’s it but it is enough. The plus side was the savings after my friend who had dived in Croatia told me of the rental costs. I decided to take it and it left a big doubt in my mind especially as we donned our packs and rucksacks. But I wanted to dive quite a bit, and was spurred on by fellow travellers who had dragged around more than me in the past. Also I had forgotten my trips with a surfboard in tow. How could that happen? We started to hike to the station for our first leg to Standsted. Laura –my  girlfriend was travelling alongside, and she had visions of a fried breakfast at the airport. We were going to Croatia and she was thinking of her stomach! Still a morning competitor she is not and I was overly protective of her responsibiities as we left the house.

I had been lucky with the baggage and didn’t get an excess charge; yipee we were early and had a good fry up and me I had a pint too! A lovely indulgence to go along with my feeling of well being, after the train not being delayed and all checked  nothing can go wrong, these things had taken the edge off- now it was full steam ahead.

Take off- looking outside it was late morning after a couple of hours on the plane we were finally starting our trip proper. I had never been to Austria and it looked positively green and beautiful from the window, I had ideas of touring around the area but we had to get to Pula in Croatia. A lift had possibly been waiting to go to Pula from Graz by car. Friends I had made in Roatan, Honduras were back (as we all seem to get pulled back) in Graz and were going there as well.

I had met Elke and Addi from Honduras. They were a couple at that time doing their divemasters in the same shop as me, and we shared some great experiences. Now they were good friends and were rendezvous-ing with a few others in Pula. I had a call from Addi on the train to the airport informing me that a lift wasn’t possible so we were going to make it by train. Elke had been cross with Addi about this for some reason, it was Elke whom I had planned this part of the trip with. We might have been cross ourselves but the truth was that we had time. I think as a group though the day and a half we would have saved would have been better to get to know them. But we had a great time from Graz to Pula as I shall now explain.

We landed at Graz and cleared passport control, got our bags including the dive gear and with that came the thought that I now had to be protector of it for the next 5+ weeks (what have I done !). Laura had passed her morning blues and was galvanised –her eyes were lit with an excitement I had not witnessed before. It was great I must admit to have that pack on my back again (I have had the same pack since 10 years-80 % of it still works!) There is something indescribable about having a pack on your back a passport and money in your pocket. If you haven’t done it and feel your whole outlook is wrong, I’d recommend it.

For some reason this dies as trips go on and for this reason I prefer having trips of less than 4 months. I think if I were locked into an eternal orgasm I would possibly get bored after about 11 days 2 hours such is my nature.

The sun was shinning and I had now to use public information boards as we had decided we didn’t need a guide book for Austria. We had to get anywhere inside Croatia and we then would always have our book for the country and a source of accommodation. Nowadays one can just log on to and check that country for specific information.