2019 Croatia - Blog 2
Sunday was our first swim day and turned out to be somewhat a baptism of fire. We started the day with a hearty breakfast at the hotel. Arguably they offer the best breakfast of any of the swim trips we have experienced so far. First activity was a 400 m swim off at 8:30 am at a beach near our hotel. Placing in the swim allow the guides to grade us into 3 groups: Orange caps are very fast, Yellow caps are blisteringly quick, and Pink caps are so quick if you blink you’ll miss them. Before entering the water the guides warned us of the presence of sea urchins with their painful spines should you come into contact with them. Of course, we were all careful; however, in a first time ever recorded incident, one sea urchin leapt off the sea floor and spiked Stevo as he was innocently swimming past. An event that later would prove costly.
The groupings turned out much as expected: Orange group is Anno, Marto, Craigo, and Catho; Yellow group is Bretto, Peto, Lynno, Hazo and Keno; and Pink group is Barbo, Suo, Ricco and Stevo. After the swim off we gathered our gear for the day and boarded our boat Luceo and met our skipper Captain Damo. It was a short cruise to the neighbouring island of Otok Tijat for a casual 4K coastal swim. Swimming conditions are reminiscent of our 2017 Lefkada swim with clear blue skies, 30C deg air temps, light or no wind, no swell and water that is 24-25C. Despite the deplorable conditions everyone completed the first swim easily, most sans fins.
After the swim we motored a short distance to nearby village Prvic Sepurine, which is a village on the same island we are staying on and only a 15 min walk from the village of Luka where we are based. From where we berthed, it was a 5 min walk to the village centre where we enjoyed coffee and ice creams before returning to the boat for lunch. Our guides Cresho and Simmo put on an amazing spread of salads, polenta, couscous, cheese and cold meats. After lunch it was time for videos of our swim strokes. One at a time we swam toward, away and past Cresho who videoed our strokes above and below the water. Even though many of us were thinking it would be a good time for a nap, it turned out it was an even better time for a 3K swim along the east coast of Prvic Luka. I have never seen so many pairs of fins appear so quickly, but Hey we were all in the water and that was the most important thing.
SwimTrek do things slightly differently to BigBlue. When dropping the groups off, oranges go in first, then the boat motors 500m+ further back to drop off yellow group and then motors what seems like kms further back and drops off the pink group. Thus, the progressively faster swimmers give the others a head start and complete a slightly further distance. They are obviously very good at judging speed and distance as we have been finishing together at the end of each swim. After the swim we motored a short distance back to the Hotel Maestro and disembarked at about 3:45pm. We were given instructions to meet the guides at 4:30pm with beers in hand for a video analysis session. Sounded a good plan. We all met for a beer before the session. Barb used the opportunity to hand out name tags for us all to wear. The name on each tag was a Croatian word that represented each us. We were not allowed to google them and had to try and guess. Many of the name tags caused raised eyebrows and some mirth when read by our Croatian guide Cresho read them.
At the video session, in turn, each swimmer’s video was displayed on a large TV screen. Cresho and Simmo then constructively picked the main areas of improvement we each could make. These guides know their stuff and everyone found it very informative. BTW, Ann had the best stroke and only required a minor adjustment to be perfect. Some of us are going to stop training completely and do a lot more babysitting in the hope our strokes will become as good as Ann’s. After the video session, we walked a short distance to Punta restaurant for dinner and to talk about the day’s adventures. Importantly, Brett announced the winner of what had become known as the Pricilla Award. Despite some truly dumb acts by several swimmers, Steve’s effort of being spiked by a sea urchin within minutes of being warned about them took the cake. This was great honour, which Steve found a little overwhelming.
Next came the announcing of the translation of each person’s name tag. The list of translations in no particular order was: Learned, Nurturing, Audacious, Sheep Wrangler, Enabler, Rascal, Beer Expert, Svelte, Tenacious, Speedy, Always injured, Horseman and Composed. See if you can match the name to the person! A very tired group dragged themselves back to the hotel for a well earned sleep.
Tomorrow we needed to be up ready to board at 9:00 am for two more long swims.
We can’t wait!