Early in the morning Neven collected me from the Palace Hotel and we set off to meet Ivo Peranić, Dušan Jelić and Dušan's two colleagues for the 2-3 hour drive to Istria. This was the expedition to obtain additional specimens of the Olm (Proteus anguinus) for the research project led by Dušan Jelić, funded in part by ZSL and hosted by the Zagreb Zoo. The Olm is a truly unique and unusual amphibian that inhabits total darkness in freezing cold subterranean flooded caverns.
My Croatian friends: (l-r) Dušan Jelić , ??, Neven Vrbanic, Ivo Peranić and ??
This photograph was actually taken on the return journey when we stopped for dinner in Pazin, Istria.
The drive took us through Zagreb, Karlovac and Primorge-Gorski Kotar Counties to reach Istria. The main town in Gorski Kotar is Rijeka, a major port on the Adriatic and here we stopped for a break. Unfortunately it started raining very heavily and despite our hopes that the rain would diminish when we crossed the mountains into Istria, it remained wet all day. Not ideal snake hunting weather, which was what Neven, Ivo and I would be doing while Dušan and his colleagues were diving for the Olm.
Neven and Ivo fooling around at Rijeka before the rain really set in
Rijeka in the rain!
On our drive back to Zagreb we stopped for dinner at a restaurant in Pazin where we met the owner of several of the caves containing Olms.