I thought swimming was either just splashing around alone, or some sort of programmed swim in a group, where you have to train in advance. Coming from Western Australia, there are a lot of famous swims, like the Rottnest Channel Swim in February, or the various Sydney and Melbourne sponsored swims. None of that is for me. I love swimming, but I don’t like training.
So when I read about Swimtrek and Swimvacations I was interested. It happened I had planned a trip to Greece, and I read about a Swimvacation on Syros island, a short hop from where we were staying on Tinos. So I booked one trip, going north from Finikas to various bays around the west of the island.
I came over the night before, had breakfast at The Good Life in Poseidonia with the other swimmers, and we strolled down to the marina where our boat was moored. There were five in our group, and the boatman carried out lunch and belongings. We swam straight out from the marina, the water was crystal clear, loving the turquoise early summer water, still fresh from winter.
As soon as we reached the open sea, we all seemed to settle into a rhythm that helped us gain energy from each other. I found myself copying the swimming style of the man next to me, a much stronger swimmer. No one spoke at the time, but we all found this energy exchange very empowering. Everything seemed to fade into the distance as the gentle splashing and glittering sun on water droplets grew increasingly hypnotic. When I felt tired, or my arms ached, somehow the rest of the swimmers gave me their strength.
Lunch was on a tiny beach, surrounded by towering granite cliffs, no possibility of anyone else on this beach. We found shade and just rested after our salad, chicken and fresh bread. The afternoon was swimming into the lowering sun, still going north till we reached Loto bay where a car was waiting for us. In all, a 5km swim, a distance I never thought I could ever manage alone. But the glorious sunset turning the water scarlet and gold drew us along so that we barely noticed our aching limbs.
That was in 2015, and I booked again for July 2016, it gives me what I really want on a vacation, swimming, adventure, exercise and chance to meet like-minded people. Swimtrek and Swimvacations run swim holidays all over Europe, or you can book direct with The Good Life, an eco–tourism farm on Syros who link into local swimmers and boat owners to provide guides and swimming support.
by Chloe Conran, UK