2019 Crete - Swim Day 1 - Blog 3

We awoke on the morning of our first swim to find the strong wind and rough seas of the previous day had subsided significantly. However, even in a light south westerly wind, the small swell and waves are reflected and refracted off the irregular and rocky coast creating a criss-crossing and confused sea state. Not that worried this group of hardened Doddi’s swimmers.

We were to meet in the Hotel courtyard, initially for breakfast at 8:15am and later, dressed and ready for the swim briefing at 9:30.

At breakfast we all sat on a long table and were served: tea or coffee; warm freshly baked bread with butter, jam and honey; plates of cold meat and cheese; freshly squeezed orange juice; and a single fried egg on a plate. Although it ticked all the nutrition boxes, it was very different from the choices of the buffet breakfast we enjoyed in Lefkada two years before and, therefore, somewhat unexpected. Obviously, they had gone to a lot of trouble so we all dug in and enjoyed a hearty breakfast. Of course this was on top of having over indulged the night before.

At the briefing, Noa informed us that the morning swim would be a land based 500m swim to determine who would be in which one of three groups based on swim speed. This would be followed by an optional video session of each swimmers stroke. Last, that we would start the afternoon swim earlier than usual, at 1:00pm, to try and avoid the worst of the forecast strong winds.

The group then walked to the other side of the hotel, where a series of paved terraces had been constructed on the rocks above the sea, as well as a path with steps that lead to a stainless steel staircase descending into to the water.

Diving into the clear deep blue 19C water was, to say the least, bracing! Apparently, cold water springs from the mountain runoff escape from the sea floor. Their presence identifiable not only by the cold patches but by the diffusion they cause in the otherwise crystal clear waters. The swim entailed two laps out, around and back to rocks located a short distance offshore.

The swim wasn’t for the faint hearted as the confused lumpy sea conditions unsettled swimmers who all had to work hard to establish any sort of rhythm and, more disconcerting, unsettled the contents of their over full stomachs.

Nevertheless, everyone enjoyed the challenge with placings as expected, taking injuries into account. Steve F, Anne-Marie and Narelle were given pink caps. Orange caps were handed out too: Steve C, Wayne, Jenny, Trevor, and Deborah. The yellow caps proved popular with James, Deb, Paul, Ann and Sue. Anyone is allowed to swap groups if they choose, but poor Hazel, under strict instructions from her doctor, was prevented from swimming on this trip and kindly volunteered to act as team deckie and photographer.

Normally, the videos take place at the same location as the swim; however, the lumpy sea conditions made videoing nearly impossible. As alternative, we moved to the harbour area where the water was calmer. However, even in the harbour videoing proved problematic as the sea conditions had made the normally clear water somewhat murky.

Our boat for this trip is called “Odysseus” and her skipper Vagelis. Odysseus is a beautifully restored traditional Greek fishing boat. Normally, when picking up swimmers, she moors at the breakwater in the small harbour directly in front of our Hotel. However, for our afternoon swim sea conditions had deteriorated further and were too rough in the small harbour for safe boarding. Instead, Odysseus moored in the larger inner commercial harbour which is better protected.