Tuesday, 8 September 2020

VIDEO: Huge Whale Visits Croatia - This Summer's Second Sizeable Visitor

Tuesday, 8 September 2020 – Beyonce and Jay Z might be the biggest stars to visit Croatia this summer, but they're certainly not the biggest in size. In this stunning video, a huge whale visits Croatia

Croatia is never short of celebrity guests. This summer alone, the country's Adriatic shores and islands have been visited by Owen Wilson, Beyonce and Jay Z, and Lepa Brena and Lily Allen. But, such stars are dwarfed in comparison to the latest visitor.

A huge whale visits Croatia this week and its movements have been captured spectacularly by drone footage. In the video from the Blue World Institute, you can see the epic creature side-by-side with a fishing vessel. The boat is not small, yet it looks tiny next to this beast.


Video: A huge whale visits Croatia © Blue World Institute

Shots of this huge whale visits Croatia were taken by drone above the Velebit Channel in Dalmatia. It is not the first visitor of its kind this year. Earlier in the summer, the same Blue World Institute managed to grab some footage of a fin whale in the Adriatic (pictured below). Only last time, they didn't have their drone.

image.jpg
© Blue World Institute

The video was taken by the researchers on Saturday 5 September at the entrance to Novsko ždrilo. They followed the whale for about two hours, up to the Maslenica bridge where he turned back into the Velebit Channel and swam in the direction of Vinjerac.

The researchers took the video of this huge whale visits Croatia to analyze the size and health of the mammal. The footage allowed the researchers to determine that this was not the same animal they filmed in the same area in mid-August. When the whale swam close to their boat, researchers managed to obtain a small skin sample in order to perform a biopsy. They monitored the whale's progress and saw it again on the morning of Sunday 6 September, north of Novsko ždrilo.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Pula Aquarium: Rehabilitated Loggerhead Turtles to be Returned to Sea

As Glas Istre/Borka Petrovic writes on the 2nd of November, 2019, back in December 2018, a loggerhead turtled who was later named Mery Fisher was found by locals from Korčula floating along close to the shoreline of the island. After a stay at the veterinary station in Split, she was transported to the Pula Aquarium, where she needed to be carefully hand-fed due to multiple head injuries.

The Sea Turtle Recovery Centre is organising an autumn release of the rehabilitated sea turtles at 14:00 on Monday. Two turtles will be released into the sea - Mery Fisher and Zoki, who will be released on the Verudela Peninsula, on the beach next to the Verudica lighthouse.

As we have sinced learned, a GSM transmitter for telemetric monitoring will be placed on the turtles in cooperation with the Department of Biodiversity of the University of Primorska in Koper, Slovenia, as part of the project "LIFE-EUROTURTLE, joint actions to improve the status of protection and conservation of European Union sea turtle populations".

Prior to its launch, representatives of the Pula Aquarium will present the rehabilitated turtles, describe their injuries and the course of their recovery, and will inform the public about turtle monitoring and the project's activities.

Otherwise, Zoki is a loggerhead turtle who arrived in the centre at the end of July. He was found floating helplessly in the sea off the island of Susak. He was first taken by Blue World staff and kept at its centre, and given that he was still floating, they decided to call the Pula Aquarium and arrange transportation to the Sea Turtle Recovery Centre.

Zoki was thus put aboard the Bišovo catamaran on the first of August and transported to Pula. It was then learned that he had an old armor injury that was completely healed and there were no major health issues. He weighed 15 pounds on arrival, and is estimated to be between ten and fifteen years old. After arriving at the centre in Pula, Zoki soon regained proper buoyancy, and within a few days he began to eat the food offered normally.

As previously mentioned, back in December 2018, Mery Fisher the loggerhead turtle was found by locals from Korčula floating along near the shore. After being lifted from the sea, they noticed multiple head injuries. She stayed for a short time at the veterinary station in Split, which by decision of the competent ministry serves as a first aid station for injured sea turtles.

After a few days, the turtle was moved to the Aquarium in Pula, where she was given further intensive veterinary care and special attention was paid to regular feeding. With regard to her head injuries, it was necessary to feed the animal manually, but only after openly opening her mouth (assisted feeding).

In June, Mery Fisher was moved to Brijuni National Park, where she is housed in a large swimming pool as part of the animal shelter. Her swimming and diving skills were monitored there and she was eventually able to feed on her own. At the same time, the large surface of the pool allowed for some kind of fitness training and proper preparation for her return to the sea. She was returned to the centre in Pula on October the 24th, 2019, for final examinations and a GSM transmitter was fitted.

If you come across an injured or dead sea turtle, it can be reported by calling 112.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

VIDEO: Split Woman Films Unusual Sea Creature in Shallows of Kaštilac Beach

An unusual sight was encountered by a Split woman Friday morning when walking along the shoreline of Kaštilac beach.

''A sea creature I've never seen before was swimming in immediate vicinity of the shoreline, and then stayed for a while along the coastal rocks. I've never seen anything like it,'' the Split woman stated when describing her "close encounter" with a strange sea creature.

As Morski writes on the 27th of September, 2019, experts from Dalmacija Danas have since pointed out that what she saw was a species of ''mottled sea hare'' (Aplysia fasciata), which can be observed relatively frequently throughout the Adriatic.

Aplysia fasciata is a hermaphrodite, which means that it has both male and female sexual organs, and interestingly, it has the ability to change its gender whenever it desires. This means that these organisms can be both male and female, during mating, only one takes on the role of the male and donates their sperm. Pero Ugarković, editor of Podvodni.hr website and associate of the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries in Split, explained more about these interesting creatures.

''They are double-sexed, possessing both male and female reproductive organs. Larger specimens have a better role as females because they can produce more eggs. The smaller ones are better as the males.

But, there are rules, sea hares can decide whether to be a male, female or both, if they want. It grows to 40 cm in length and can weigh 1.5 kg. They can also often be seen swimming across the sea's surface, using parapods for swimming. They're more active at night. Although they're very common in the Adriatic, especially along the coasts of where we live where there are many algae for them to feed on, for some reason, many people don't recognise them, so I often get asked questions and asked figure out what kind of animal it is.

It's also called the sea cow in some areas because it grazes on grass. In fact, this is a group name for all very similar species from the family Aplysiidae, of which there are eight present here in the Adriatic, of which two are newly arrived ocean species,'' explains Ugarković.

Despite the fact that it adorns our underwater world, it is not eaten, so perhaps that's why so few people know about it. Like most mollusks, it releases secretions for defense purposes, that is, it releases two secretions that it produces from two different glands, white and purple. The purple fluid has antiviral properties, and it's interesting to note that the secretions of the new Adriatic species (Bursatella leachii) has proteins which attack the HIV virus.

The food they eat is full of the harmful ingredients that these snails accumulate, mostly in their skin, and it serves them as a good defense against invaders. Therefore, sea hares could also be used to measure the level of marine pollution,'' explained Ugarković.

In any case, what the woman from Split saw is a species that causes astonishment to most people, but it is completely harmless.

Watch the video of the sea hare filmed near Split here:

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

VIDEO: Mediterranean Jellyfish Filmed Close to Lopud Near Dubrovnik

As Morski writes on the 26th of August, 2019, a Mediterranean jellyfish (Cotylorhiza tuberculata) has appeared in greater numbers in the waters around the Elafiti (Elaphite) islands in southern Dalmatia close to Dubrovnik, but this phenomenon appears to be very common and there is no need to panic about their presence.

The jellyfish is about 30 centimeres in diameter and was filmed by Vlado Odribožić when he was out with a group of tourists, sailing towards the islands of Šipan and Mljet. Although residents say they haven't seen these jellyfish in years, experts say there is no need to worry about them.

Pero Ugarković, editor of the Podvodni.hr portal, who is also an author of numerous marine-related texts, as well as also an associate of the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries in Split, says that these jellyfish are very easily recognised.

''There is an increase of them, it's seasonal, and it is nothing alarming,'' he pointed out briefly.

''This isn't really uncommon, it's like with any other type of organism. This happens cyclically every few years. Some species in the sea like these jellyfish are now passing through in greater numbers, so people are scared. Their migrations are transient and, other than a little fear in humans, they'll leave no other consequences,'' stated Petar Baranović, a marine biologist, fisherman and Morski columnist, who is well acquainted with the marine world because he is almost always dealing with it.

The Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries has already written about these jellyfish, which by their appearance are also often called the "fried egg jellyfish" They are about thirty centimeters in diameter, most noticeable at about one meter deep. This species usually appears in late summer, often accompanied by fish hiding under their ''hats''. For humans, they're generally harmless, but an irritating but weak reaction can occur in susceptible persons, according to the aforementioned Institute.

The species lives throughout the Mediterranean sea, they're endemic, they feed on plankton, and they're commonly found in the high seas, sometimes appearing in the Croatian Adriatic.

Basically, these are spectacular specimens of good-natured indigenous jellyfish that are simply to be enjoyed if seen.

Watch the video here:

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Saturday, 24 August 2019

VIDEO: Sea Lamprey from Depths of Croatian Adriatic Near Mljet

As Morski writes on the 20th of August, 2019, sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) are parasites that live on many species of fish and mammals. These strange creatures spawn once in a lifetime in fresh water, and instead of hooking itself onto a passing fish, this specimen managed to attach itself to the stern of a boat in Croatian waters.

According to Podvodni.hr, the younger sea lampreys remain buried in the relative safety of river silt during the entire first year of its life, later on, it moves down and out to sea. They have several life stages, during their "sea" phase they try to find a victim, from whom they will suck blood. These unlucky ''hosts'' are mostly dolphins, larger fish, and turtles, but boats and ships of course usually do not belong to this group.

This morning, Marin recorded an unusual sight of a sea lamprey near the island of Mljet in southern Dalmatia, the lamprey had somehow managed to latch itself onto the stern of the ship, likely mistakenly. He tried to remove the lamprey and set it back off into the sea but it persistently returned and reattached itself to the stern.

Although these sea lampreys are quite rare in Croatian waters, in places where they're more common, this odd behavior from them is often observed, there are assumptions that lampreys attach themselves to their hosts and become ''hitch hikers'' on their migrations, but they are more likely to keep trying to attach themselves to vessels due to general misjudgment.

They are elongated, smooth and slimy and without a shell. They have two dorsal fins, are a greenish brown to greenish gray colour on the upper side, and pale on the underside. They can also be black marbled.

They can grow up to 3 kilograms in weight and reach around one metre in length.

While not often seen, lampreys live throughout the Croatian Adriatic, although it is found mostly near the mouths of rivers, and in the rivers themselves.

Watch the video here:

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Rarely Seen Octopus Appears in Adriatic Near Hvar, Brač and Šolta

As Morski writes on the 20th of July, 2019, between the Dalmatian islands of Hvar, Brač and Šolta there has been an invasion of a certain unusual species of octopus. It is a blanket octopus (Tremoctopus violaceus), an otherwise very rarely seen species in the Adriatic sea.

Very similar occurrences such as this have been noted before, and it's more than likely some of the hydrographic conditions in the sea were affected, which was conducive to the current ''invasion'' of these animals in the Croatian Adriatic.

Just to get an idea of ​​how rare this species actually is in the Adriatic, the last known appearance of the blanket octopus in such a small area took place back in 1936.

We know very little about the life of these creatures which are otherwise widespread but very "rare" in all of the world's seas. Back in 2002, the first male was discovered and since then we have known that this is an animal with the largest difference in size between the two sexes. The males are only 2.4 centimeters long, while females can grow up to 2 metres in length.

An exploration of the feeding of large predatory fish in the Mediterranean in 2015 has shown that local predatory fish do eat the blanket octopus, and this tells us that this octopus might not actually be as rare in these parts as we think it is, but of course, we're not fish, and fish know the world below the sea much better than we do or ever could.

If you see or manage to catch this type of blanket octopus, please make sure experts can officially record your findings, asks Podvodni.

Morski discussed this topic further with the editor of the Podvodni.hr portal, who is the author of numerous texts with marine themes, as well as an associate of the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries in Split, Pero Ugarković.

''As far as the Adriatic is concerned, this is a sensational phenomenon that has appeared in such a small area, in such large numbers. Over ten of them have been caught, most of which were released back into the sea,'' says Ugarković.

''Back in the 19th century, Kolombatović encountered several blanket octopus near Split when fishing and assumed that they're often hunted, but since then there has actually been no data on this species except a few sporadic catches and several anecdotes about them. One similar phenomenon occurred in the northern Adriatic back in 1936 when several of them in the Adriatic were caught in a small area.

They've always been considered very rare in the whole of the Mediterranean, but they'd be seen from time to time. After a survey that was conducted three years ago, where they looked into what large predatory fish were eating, it was concluded that blanket octopus are still common in the sea. Tuna seem to eat a lot of them.

The problem is that we can't see them. Some hydrographic conditions changed and that's why there are suddenly a lot of them. An Italian who watched them be caught back in 1936 tried to connect it with the warming of the sea, with it reaching over 25°C, which would fit with this sudden emergence of them in the Croatian Adriatic.

We know little about this species, and when it comes to species we don't know much about, we can't even begin to estimate how threatened they are,'' concluded Ugarković.

Follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Three Cute Croatian Sea Turtles Returned to Sea Following Recovery

As Morski writes on the 16th of June, 2019, Rafael, Tilago and Žal are the names of the three sea turtles that the Sea Turtle Recovery Centre staff released back into the sea on Friday, June the 14th, 2019. They were returned to their natural habitat on the beach beside the the Verudica lighthouse on the Verudela peninsula in Pula, Istria.

After the release of the aforementioned sea turtles back into the wild, Pula Aquarium organised the opening of the new Sea of ​​sound (More zvukova) exhibition at the Verudela fortress. The exhibition is devoted to the various sounds produced by marine fauna and more. Since 2019 is marked as the International Year of Sound, this exhibition will accompany the theme with interesting interactive installations and fun educational material on the production of sound in the sea, as well as the noise pollution which interferes with the daily lives of many marine animals, RegionalExpress writes.

Žal is a sea turtle who arrived at the centre back in early May, where she was weighed, weighing 15kg, with a length of about 50cm. Her age was estimated at fifteen. She was found by some fishermen fishing at the southern end of Istria, who thought she might have been accidentally injured during the lifting of the net because she wasn't moving very well. When she arrived at the centre, she floated around for a short time and didn't want to eat independently. After just one week at the centre, she began to eat sardines and squid, after which she recovered very quickly.

Rafael is a smaller turtle who was at the centre for a while recovering from the amputation of his right front fin. He was found weak, injured and frightened stuck in an abandoned fishing net along the coast of the island of Korčula back in February 2018. He was transported to Split where a vet unfortunately had to amputate the damaged fin, and after a few days, he was brought to the Pula centre to recover from his ordeal. Rafael's recovery was a long one, he was weak, weighed only 1kg and had a shell of 25cm in length, he was estimated to be only two years old. Today Rafael weighs 3kg, his shell is 30cm long and he has finally gained enough weight and is fit enough to lead an independent life back in the Adriatic sea.

Tilago is a sea turtle who was found by the staff of Telašćica Nature Park, he weighs 30kg and his shell is 60cm in length. His estimated age is 20. He was delivered to the centre way back in February 2017 where significant damage to his shell, as well as curvature of the spine were established. It is possible that a boat propellor accidentally caused extensive injuries whuch healed themselves, but unfortunately incorrectly filled the inside of his shell with air from his lungs. For this reason, it was much more difficult for Tilago to properly control his back fins and swim normally. Despite his woes, Tilago managed to regain his swiftness and proper movement by resting and spending his winter recovering at Pula Aquarium's large and safe swimming pool, and he's now ready to return to life at sea.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Pula Professor: The Adriatic Needs Sharks, There's No Need to Fear Them!

As Glas Istre/Dubravko Grakalic writes on the 16th of June, 2019, one professor from the University of Pula weighs in on the Mako shark sightings that have been taking place in the Croatian Adriatic recently.

''Sharks aren't a threat to us, but we're a threat to them. If we don't help in their recovery, the sea will cease to be what it is, a rich, complex treasure trove of life, key to maintaining our lives on the blue planet. It will just become a big, empty body of salt water,'' emphasised Dr. Bojan Lazar, a respected professor from the University of Pula.

While amazing to be able to witness and film, the appearance of the Mako shark near Makarska and then in the Korčula channel was perhaps not the best event for some tourists and locals, while for experts, it's excellent news.

Dr. Bojan Lazar, a professor of conservation biology and a specialist in large sea vertebrae of the Department of Natural and Health Studies at the University of Pula, who teaches students in Koper, Slovenia, as well as in the Croatian capital of Zagreb, says that sharks are a necessary part of the marine ecosystem, and that the chances of seeing a replay of the classic film ''Jaws'', which sent out an extremely incorrect and damaging image of sharks into the world, is far smaller than the chances of being hit by a car while buying ice cream are.

In the vicinity of Makarska, a somewhat rare species of shark, a Mako shark, showed up and was far from camera shy. Mako sharks were once much more present in the Croatian Adriatic than they are today.

''Judging by the footage, it was a Mako shark that was filmed in Makarska. It looks like a juvenile animal, that is, a young shark that is known to approach closer to the coastline due its diet generally being made up of smaller fish. Older and bigger specimens of this species are extremely fast, eating lobster fish, swordfish or tuna, while sexually immature, juvenile specimens often approach the coastline to feed on smaller types of fish,'' explains Dr. Lazar and says: "In Croatia, the Mako shark holds the status of a critically endangered species and is thus protected by law. It used to be part of a rich marine fauna both in the Adriatic and in the Mediterranean sea.''

The Mako shark belongs to the top predators of the marine system of pelagic sharks. The global populations of this shark species worldwide have been reduced in the last fifty years. This means that today, in the world's oceans, there are only three to five percent of these big sharks. In addition to the Blue shark, the Mako shark is the fastest species of shark, and can reach speeds of 74 kilometres per hour when chasing its target, giving its prey little chance of escape.

Professor Lazar says that the appearance of Mako sharks in the Croatian Adriatic today, unfortunately, is a rarity. Recent research shows that since the end of the Second World War to today, the number of large sharks in the Adriatic has decreased by over 94 percent, while some species have sadly completely disappeared.

What makes the recent footage of this beautiful and seeminly very calm young Mako shark even more amazing is that the chance to actually be able to watch Mako sharks in the Adriatic sea today is rare. Since 1948, only sixty have been noticed, and these were mostly juvenile, sexually immature animals, emphasised Dr. Lazar.

It's interesting to note that in Croatia, archaic names are still used for sharks. The Great White Shark is still often referred to as the ljudožder in Croatia. This old Croatian word indicates that these sharks are blood thirsty and want to hunt and eat humans, which is not only incorrect but very damaging for their already shaky reputation.

These names were given at a time when we didn't really understand that sharks aren't mindless killing machines, and when we were very, very afraid of them. As stated, these inflammatory old names for sharks go hand in hand with the wrong perception many people still have of sharks, despite the fact that attacks are extremely rare and are almost always cases of mistaken identity, with the shark immediately retreating when realising that their target is in fact a human, and not a seal or other marine animal that it would typically prey upon.

The professor went on to explain that for many decades, sharks were hunted and killed out of fear.

The main message this Pula professor and marine expert wants to express is that the presence of Mako sharks in the Croatian Adriatic is something to be celebrated. View footage of the shark here, here and here.

Seen a Mako shark while sailing in the Adriatic? Send us your photos or videos!

Follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

VIDEO: German Tourist Videos Large Shark Near Makarska!

Remember the film Jaws? Now remember that sharks don't really behave anything like that. Wanting to stay out of the way of humans, sharks and people only ever really meet accidentally, or if the sharks know that humans taking tours to see them might offer them food. Makarska has been playing host to one such shark, most likely a Mako shark.

Ever wondered if there are any potentially dangerous sharks in the Croatian Adriatic sea? Well, there are. None of them pose any particular danger to humans, and will gladly stay well out of your way, but getting to see one of them and be in its presence, let alone capture it on video so clearly, is a rare treat indeed.

As Morski writes on the 9th of June, 2019, it isn't particularly uncommon to see these types of sharks swimming in the Croatian Adriatic, but this shark, which is likely a Mako shark, is certainly one of the larger examples of his species. The video of this stunning animal was taken by Micheal Braun from Germany, who was sailing near Makarska with his family, and the video was published by the Cro2go page.

Although Mako sharks, which is what it looks like this particular shark is, are classed as dangerous animals, it is extremely unlikely to pose any risk to humans. Mako sharks don't typically ever attack people, preferring, much like other sharks, to steer well clear of us. Instead of fearing this beautiful creature, we should admire its strength, grace, and ability.

The experts who have looked at the video have confirmed that the shark filmed swimming along near Makarska is most likely a Mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus), which, because of its prominent and pointed muzzle and large, usually uneven looking teeth, is often referred to as a ''dugonosa'' (long nosed) shark in Croatia. Although it lives mainly on fish, this type of shark, if given the opportunity, if unwell or rogue, and indeed if large enough, can attack people should circumstances allow. Such incidents however, are extremely rare.

The largest measured and confirmed specimen was caught off the French coast, measuring an impressive 4.45 metres in length.

Youtube/Morski

Follow our dedicated lifestyle page for more.

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Zagreb Veterinary Students to Learn About Marine Life on Murter

As Morski writes on the 28th of March, 2019, this weekend, the island of Murter will host the first of two sets of field work of Zagreb veterinary students within the "Blue Project - Contribution to the development of the DKU Program at VFZS" project, carried out by the Argonaut association in partnership with the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Zagreb, as well as the Pula Marine Education Centre.

The implementation of the project started back in April 2018, and the purpose of the project is to give the Zagreb veterinary students a chance to engage in socially beneficial marine environment conservation projects. Through the projects within the classes, and in cooperation with various civil society organisations, students will learn to properly identify the needs of the community and through the courses they undertake, develop potential solutions - projects that will see them engaged in the local community, according to a report from SibenikIN.

Within this concrete project, the topics that are likely among the most interesting to the Zagreb veterinary students will be the methods and ways of monitoring populations and providing treatment to the Adriatic's protected marine animals, such as sea turtles and dolphins.

In addition to Murter, students will also visit Pula and the Marine Education Center at the Pula Aquarium in mid-April this year.

Students will develop their projects through selected mentoring programs which include but aren't limited to visiting habitats during the winter months and learning how to properly aid a sea turtle who has become too cold, learning about the friendly behaviour of sea turtles and dolphins, what to do when coming across a sick or injured dolphin or sea turtle, and what the procedure is should a dead dolphin or sea turtle be discovered.

At the workshop in Murter, the thematic workshop will focus on dolphins and students will be educated on the development of monitoring protocols, recording the occurrence of protected marine animals - dates, times, geographical positions, the number of animals, their ages, their conditions and the level of potential human impact (maritime traffic, tourism and fishing), as well as the basics of photographing these types of protected marine species.

The project aimed at the Zagreb veterinary students and their further education will go on for eighteen months, more specifically until October 2019, and is co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) in the amount of 854,018,21 kuna, with a total value of 1,004,727.31 kuna. The project leader is the Argonaut association from Murter, and the partners of the project are the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Zagreb and the Pula Marine Centre. The project is being implemented in the area of Šibenik-Knin County, Zagrebačka, and Istria County.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

 

Click here for the original article by SibenikIN

Search