The morning started with a photo opportunity to show off our team shirts. A big thanks to Hazel for organising them, a task that seemed to be pretty straightforward in the beginning, but turned into a nightmare due to missed deliveries, broken machinery, and high quotes. Thank you to Jodi for providing some contacts at the last minute who came through and saved the day.
The weather forecast of good conditions in the morning suited one long swim in the morning rather than the usual two swims planned. Weather forecasts aren’t that reliable, as it turned out we had perfect conditions all day.
The swim started at the 11th century Byzantine church of Agios Pavlov’s (Saint Paul). It is said it was built in honour of Saint Paul’s visit to the area. After a long trip to get there we jumped into the water to head to shore and explore the church. F... the water was cold!
After swimming to the beach, a quick look and photos of the group we made our way back to the waters edge, where the source of the cold water became apparent. There was a stream actually flowing out of the stones at the waters edge and into the sea. The icy cold fresh water was good enough to drink.
Back in the water, we set off for a 4 km swim. Other than the cold water, conditions were perfect, the best so far and much like we remembered from Lefkada. However, it soon became apparent that it would be difficult to endure those temperatures for the time it takes to swim 4 km.
Yellow group opted out of the water after about 1.5 kms, which was a sensible decision. Pink and orange groups continued swimming and started to notice - the further we went, the relatively warmer the water became. In the end, everyone else managed the full swim. It must be noted that orange group’s previous exemplary record of swimming together was decimated by Trevor, Wayne and Steve C who needed to keep up a solid pace to avoid hypothermia and consequently left Deb and Jen behind.
Lunch was at the picture postcard location of Marmara Beach. It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful location. With no swim in the afternoon, we were able to let our hair down more than usual and really enjoy lunch and drinks. After lunch, some swam and explored the Marble caves, while others engaged on a rock skipping competition. Congratulations to Steve F and Anne-Marie for wining the men’s and women’s competitions.
We returned to our hotel with just enough time to have a cup of tea, shower, change and get supplies for drinks and nibbles at 6:00 and, of course, presentation of the Big Blue Award. Steve F, who had the responsibility of passing on the award, identified two outstanding candidates.
As preface to announcing the Runner-up, Steve recounted his observations of human nature in practice, specifically: how single girls out hunting for men on cold winter nights dress totally inappropriately in the smallest tightest black dress that is legal, while on the other hand girls going out on the same night with boyfriends in tow wear jeans jumpers and scarves. He seemed to remember the runner-up conforming with the former strategy on our last Greek Swim in contrast to this trip where the latter strategy applied - as evidenced by the 12 “ of extra length on all her skirts since meeting Paul.
The winner was someone having trouble with working out where they belong on this trip. The first day they were an orange cap. The second day they changed to a pink cap. Third day they swam with the orange caps and today they swam half-way between orange and pink. Congratulations Wayne!
Everyone agreed Wayne was a worthy winner. He walked the walk of shame along the cafe strip wearing the Big Blue with pride like a messiah with disciples in tow. A late night followed, as it took two hours after ordering before our meal was served. The only saving grace was the food was fantastic. A weary bunch headed for bed and a good nights rest before our final day swimming.
To be continued...