19, Swimming my way around the world

SWIMMING MY WAY AROUND THE WORLD

This is not as silly as it sounds. I love swimming, and over the years have enjoyed travelling, so “swimming my way around the world” became a favorite thing to do, and I have been lucky enough to swim in the most beautiful waters.

My favourite place to swim will always be the Greek Islands of course. Kefalonia has to be on top of the list, with so many different beautiful beaches as seen below

KEFALONIA (IONIAN ISLAND) ALSO CEPHALLONIA

Myrtos Beach, Kefalonia gets my #1 swimming beach experience in the world

Beautiful Myrtos Beach Kefalonia
Beautiful Myrtos Beach Kefalonia

Swimming in these crystal clear waters is an absolute delight, the water is clear because of the small white round stones on the ocean floor

Colleen swimming at Myrtos Beach
Colleen swimming at Myrtos Beach

Sami beach where we stayed with our group at Athina Beach Hotel

Sami beach toward Agia Efimia
Sami beach toward Agia Efimia

 

Sami beach where the day cruise leaves for ithaca
Sami beach where the day cruise leaves for ithaca

Ammes beach near where Michelle was living, you can nearly touch the planes overhead as they land.

Ammes beach Kefalonia, near airport obviously
Ammes beach Kefalonia, near airport obviously

Fiskardo, a lovely tourist destination, once again water is so clear

Fiskado Kefalonia, beautiful clear water, Ithaca in background
Fiskado Kefalonia, beautiful clear water, Ithaca in background

 

Picturesque Fiskardo
Picturesque Fiskardo

Petani beach is just superb, Michelle took me there in 2009, very similar to Myrtos but on a more remote place to get to, there is a nice restaurant there too.

Petani beach Kefalonia
Petani beach Kefalonia

 

Petani
Petani

             Atheras,

in a very remote part of Kefalonia said to be where Homer’s Odysseus disembarked (Phorcys harbour) and so it was with a humble mindful respect of ancient Greek history that I swam in this sand bottomed bay.  The entrance of the grotto of the nymphs can be seen in the cliff face.

Atheras near Zola
Atheris near Zola

 

Atheras bay nice remote place to swim, has a changing shed
Atheras bay nice remote place to swim, has a changing shed

Assos,Kefalonia on a picturesque isthmus

Assos Kefalonia
Assos Kefalonia

Minies, we struck some big waves here and Poseidon nearly got us with one enormous one

Minies close to Kefalonia airport, some big waves some days!
Minies close to Kefalonia airport, some big waves some days!

Agia Efimia,we took our group swimming here with a walk through the local very old cemetery to reach the water’s edge after a delicious lunch at Maki’s.

Swimming Agia Efimia looking toward Ithaca
Swimming Agia Efimia looking toward Ithaca

 

Michelle swimming Aya Efimia,
Michelle swimming Aya Efimia,

ZAKYNTHOS (IONIAN ISLANDS)

Zakynthos has some really lovely beaches too, most famous is where The Shipwreck is marooned and accessable only by boat where tours go daily.

The Shipwreck Zakynthos
The Shipwreck Zakynthos

One of my favourites Tsilivi near Planos where Michelle took Maria, and her grand daughter Dimitra on my first day in Zakynthos on my arrival from Paris and London from being on the Globus Top 10.

Tsivili beach near Planos Zakynthos
Tsivili beach near Planos Zakynthos

And Kalamaki beach where the crystal rock formations are on the beach. This beach is close to the hotel we stayed at the Meandros. This is where I wrote poetry on the beach so as I wouldn’t forget it.

Writing poetry on Kalamaki beach
Writing poetry on Kalamaki beach

 

Kalamaki beach where crystals are found in the rocks
Kalamaki beach where crystals are found in the rocks

On my second trip to Zakynthos, for my 60th birthday 2001, I hired a motor scooter and choofed all over the island, chugging along Laganas beach, stopping for frapès, riding under olive trees in orchards scattering squawking chickens, and taking in the aromatic herbs and local aphrodisiac scents. So much so, I nearly killed myself tipping the scooter upside down on myself when trying to recover my cap which blew off (no safety helmet either mark!)

Zakynthos Colleen on motor scooter tripping around the island for my birthday 2001
Zakynthos Colleen on motor scooter tripping around the island for my birthday 2001

 ITHACA (IONIAN ISLAND)

Kioni, Ithaca, a beautiful island village
Kioni, Ithaca, a beautiful island village

Ithaca, near Kefalonia is a beautiful Greek island and a memorable swim I had there was with a group the captain of the day cruise boat dropped anchor about one kilometer from shore and said jump overboard for a swim if you would like.

IONIAN MISTS
The Ionian mists have captured my spirit
And tugged it down beneath an ink blue sea
Betwixt jutting jagged limestone cliffs
Where mortals past souls be.
The Ionian myths have captured my heart
And dragged it on to rocks of Ithaki,
So that where e’er I travel far and wide
These quintessential*  feelings be.
    • meaning of quintessential “among the Pythagoreans the fifth essence in natural bodies, in addition to the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water.
John Lowther and me jumped overboard to swim to Ithaca
John Lowther and me jumped overboard to swim to Ithaca

So John Lowther and I did and he swam all the way to shore, me only half way when I happened to look back at the boat which looked very small and far away so I promptly turned around and headed back to safety.  Could have ended up like Homer’s Sirens at the bottom of the sea.

ITHACA

When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,

Pray that the road is long,

Full of adventure, full of knowledge,

The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,

The angry Poseidon – do not fear them:

You will never find such as these on your path

If your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine

emotion touches your spirit and your body.

The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,

the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,

if you do not carry them within your soul,

If your heart does not set them up before you.

Pray that the road is long.

That the summer mornings are many, when,

With such pleasure, with such joy

You enter ports seen for the first time;

Shop at Phoenician markets, and purchase fine merchandise,

Mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,

And sensual perfumes of all kinds,

As many sensual perfumes as you can;

Visit many Egyptian cities,

To learn and learn from scholars.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.

To arrive there is your ultimate goal.

But do not hurry the voyage at all.

It is better to let it last for many years;

And to anchor at the island when you are old,

Rich with all you have gained on the way,

Not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.

Without her you would never have set out on the road.

She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.

Wise as you have become, with so much experience,

You must have already understood what Ithacas mean.

Constantine Cavafy was a Greek poet who lived in Alexandria and worked as a journalist and civil servant. He published 154 poems; dozens more remained incomplete or in sketch form (1863-1933) translated by Rae Dalven – quoted in “The Zahir” by Paul Coelho

 MYKONOS

Mykonos is in the Cyclades group of islands, and is very safe and pleasant swimming.  The first time we visited Mykonos was on a 4 night cruise on the Royal Olympic and whilst we were on the island there was a downpour and we all had to duck for cover, even the ship had to shift positions because of the storm, I thought we might drown here!

Mykonos town, swimming not so nice there as other beaches
Mykonos town, swimming not so nice there as other beaches

 

Mykonos town during a summer downpour
Mykonos town during a summer downpour

And then you get a scooter and seek out lots of different little beaches

Super Paradise beach painting by myself
Super Paradise beach painting by myself copyright

 

 

Mykonos windmill my water color copyright
Mykonos windmill my water color copyright

Super Paradise beach is the nude beach where you can catch a boat from Petassos Beach. So when in Rome, you do as the Romans do….. John asked me what the heck was I doing as I stripped off, I said look around, see anyone you know, and see anyone with clothes on!

Boat takes you to Super Paradise beach
Boat takes you to Super Paradise beach

We stayed at Petassos beach hotel, PlatysGialos beach nice for swimming and nice hotel to stay at about 5 kms from Mykonos town

Platys Gialos beach Mykonos one of my favourites to swim
Platys Gialos beach Mykonos one of my favourites to swim

SANTORINI

Oia Santorini, the pools here have best views of Caldera
Oia Santorini, the pools here have best views of Caldera

 

Katakies, Oia, Santorini overlooking pool and caldera
Katakies, Oia, Santorini overlooking pool and caldera

You cannot swim in the Caldera it is a little dangerous as is very deep, but Kamari black pebble beach is different, also Perissa.  Kamari beach we stayed at on our first stay in Mykonos, it has quite a nice cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Perissa black pebble beach Santorini toward Kamari beach cliff
Perissa black pebble beach Santorini toward Kamari beach cliff

 

Kamari beach Santorini, black pebbles, deep clear water
Kamari beach Santorini, black pebbles, deep clear water

 On another occasion, my birthday again Michelle and I stayed at El Greco, nice pool and lovely sunsets from here

El Greco Santorini sunset
El Greco Santorini sunset

 

El Greco Santorini
El Greco Santorini

                                                                      CORFU

Corfu is another of my favorite islands, very Venetian, also still a little British with its cricket pitch. It is a very green island.

Corfu sunrise from Cavalieri Hotel
Corfu sunrise from Cavalieri Hotel

 

Corfu beach near monastery
Corfu beach near monastery

PAROS

Paros
Paros

SINGAPORE

One pool I have had my eye on for a long time is at the top of the amazing Marina Bay Sands Hotel Singapore, where recently I had a chance to make this dream come true. This has to rank as #2 for world swimming experience

Marina Sands hotel very unusual architecture from quayside, I decided I would make sure to go to the top and have a swim
Marina Sands hotel very unusual architecture from quayside, I decided I would make sure to go to the top and have a swim

 

Colleen in the swim at Marina Sands Hotel
Colleen in the swim at Marina Sands Hotel

I made my way from the 56th floor boardwalk level up to the hotel on 57th floor (I was staying there ostensibly!) So made myself comfortable on a sundeck provided with large white beach towel and drink

 

The pool is huge
The pool is huge

There were even waves in this pool, where I had to take my own photo as Michelle would not come to 56th floor with me, she does not like heights.

Looking over the edge Marina Bay  Sands
Looking over the edge Marina Bay Sands
Making waves in the Marina Sands pool
Making waves in the Marina Sands pool

 

 MAURITIUS….

A most unusual island, once again with French influence, beautiful beaches and resorts such as Sugar beach Resort, Sugar beach which has its own Rummery which was the lead in to some rather hilarious evenings drinking rum and smoking cigars! Le Tousserok Hotel another lovely beach.
Sugar Beach Mauritius
Sugar Beach Mauritius
 PACIFIC ISLANDS – FIJI
 a safe lagoon protected by a reef runs right around the island of Fiji.  The outer islands are lovely for swimming too like Treasure Island, Plantation Island, off the side of a Blue Lagoon cruise
Fiji lagoon at Shang-ri-la
Fiji lagoon at Shang-ri-la
Fiji uninhabited beach on Blue Lagoon cruise
Fiji uninhabited beach on Blue Lagoon cruise

We had a lovely family holiday there in 2007 with all the grand children staying at the Shangri-la Fijian

Grandchildren Emily, Hudson, Cooper and Max at the Fijian
Grandchildren Emily, Hudson, Cooper and Max at the Fijian
Katrina and Robert at Natadola Beach Fiji
Katrina and Robert at Natadola Beach Fiji

                                                        NORFOLK ISLAND

Norfolk island was a prison settlement and home to the Pitcairn Islanders, beautiful for swimming. Pretty little Emily Bay beach, very safe inside a reef  a favorite even despite its dark past of being so close to a convict penal colony, which is a juxtaposition of pretty and sinister all in one place.

Norfolk island pretty swimming beaches
Norfolk island pretty swimming beaches
Pretty Emily Bay Norfolk island
Pretty Emily Bay Norfolk island

                                           

 

 VANUATU AND NEW CALEDONIA at Club Med

Vanuatu Le Meridien on the Lagoon

 

Vanuatu Erakor Beach resort lovely white sands
Vanuatu Erakor Beach resort lovely white sands
LORD HOWE ISLAND
Tiny island but packs a punch from the minute you fly into it, so many lovely, lovely beaches there
Me at Pinetrees boat shed Lord Howe Island
Me at Pinetrees boat shed Lord Howe Island

 

Mt Gower a difficult climb at Lord Howe Island
Mt Gower a difficult climb at Lord Howe Island
                                                                     HAWAII
Hawaii is a fabulous island, swimming best at Waikiki, but there are lots of other lovely beaches.  Also it is worth a trip over to Maui as beaches lovely there too.
Me at Waikiki beach Honolulu first visit
Me at Waikiki beach Honolulu first visit
TAHITI
Moorea, most delightful place, so lay back and be relaxed with its beautiful beaches and lagoons, and French influence.  We took Sambo there for her 25th birthday
Samantha and me at Club Med Moorea Tahiti
Samantha and me at Club Med Moorea Tahiti

 

Me with legs in the air Club Med Moorea Tahiti!
Me with legs in the air Club Med Moorea Tahiti!
GREAT KEPPEL ISLAND (AUSTRALIA)
Beautiful, pristine white sand at Keppel Island, a new resort is to be built there soon
Woody family at Great Keppel Island
Woody family at Great Keppel Island

 

GREAT KEPPEL ISLAND LOOKING TO NORTH KEPPEL
GREAT KEPPEL ISLAND LOOKING TO NORTH KEPPEL
Michelle and I went over there on the Freedom Flyer when she was staying with me
GREAT KEPPEL ISLAND PLANNED DEVELOPMENT NOW APPROVED
GREAT KEPPEL ISLAND PLANNED DEVELOPMENT NOW APPROVED

 

Michelle on the lovely white sand beach of GKI
Michelle on the lovely white sand beach of GKI
CARIBBEAN 
I did a cruise on the Enchantment of the Seas of the Caribbean, we swam at Key West, Tulum and Jamaica in a waterfall and at a resort
Jamaica, we swam in a waterfall and at a white sand resort
Jamaica, we swam in a waterfall and at a white sand resort

 

Enchantment of the Seas Caribbean cruise
Enchantment of the Seas Caribbean cruise
TULUM – 
Fascinating ruins where we swam on our Caribbean cruise anchored at Cozumel, we took a boat to Playa del Carmen, we had to change behind the rocks.  This swim was before we ventured to Carlos n’ Charlies gay bar to spend an entertaining afternoon drinking slushy margarita’s on brown paper table cloths.
Tulum Mayan Ruins near Playa del carmen and Cozumel
Tulum Mayan Ruins near Playa del carmen and Cozumel
Swimming at Tulum Mayan ruins
Swimming at Tulum Mayan ruins

 

SOUTH AMERICA – RIO – COPACABANA

Well what a dream come true to swim on Copacabana beach with beautiful latin beat music playing in the background

Copacabana beach Rio de Janiero
Copacabana beach Rio de Janiero

 

SOUTH AFRICA

We stayed at Capetown at Karos Arthurs Seat, right on the water, the waves here were huge and very rough. We went right down to the Cape of Good Hope but of course did not swim there where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic.

Me at Cape of Good Hope, nope did not swim there
Me at Cape of Good Hope, nope did not swim there

 

Karos Arthurs Seat Sea Point
Karos Arthurs Seat Sea Point

ZANZIBAR

Swimming at the spice island of Zanzibar is a special experience.  Especially at Prison Island, lovely clear waters.

Swimming at the Spice Island Zanzibar was pretty special
Swimming at the Spice Island Zanzibar was pretty special

 

Prison Island Zanzibar beautiful colored water
Prison Island Zanzibar beautiful colored water

MOMBASA

Busy Mombasa Beach was like swimming in a hot bath with camel dung!
Busy Mombasa Beach was like swimming in a hot bath with camel dung!
MOMBASA-
Mombasa is very interesting, it has a wonderful mix of African, Indian and European culture and architecture.  Very Moorish and more-ish.  The Indian Ocean is really strange to swim in, as is full of sea-weed and the water so hot, and like swimming in a salty hot bath with camel dung in it, not a bit refreshing, and one needs to plunge into one of the many cool resort pools on exiting.  That is having fought your way past the camels and camel tenders and handicraft peddlers that stomp along the beach in great number,  in their colourful attire.

JERUSALEM ISRAEL – DEAD SEA

Colleen reading and floating in the Dead Sea
Colleen reading and floating in the Dead Sea

THE DEAD SEA, JORDAN – ISRAEL…. Memorable and most unusual because of the high salinity you float on top of the water and one of my bucket-list wishes ticked off was reading a book whilst floating on your back there. It was very difficult to roll over to stand up again I can tell you, you could be stuck there forever ‘dead’

MORROCO – TANGIERS

This a very different place to swim, with sand blowing and stinging our eyes, we needed a burka swim suit, we only had one day there with a group from Spain

Tangiers at Morroco
Tangiers at Morroco

ALASKA.

Swimming in the steaming Zandaam pool in Glacier Bay, freezing cold
Swimming in the steaming Zandaam pool in Glacier Bay, freezing cold

Would you believe…one of the most invigorating experiences of my life…. swimming in the Cruise ship Holland America Zaandam’s pool with a Glacier in the background in Glacier Bay see the steam coming off the pool.  I loved the painted cow in the pool…. John said there were 2 silly old cows in there!!

ITALY – VILLA LA FORRA

This was one of the most relaxing holidays we had with out group in Tuscany, just gorgeous by the pool

VILLA LA FORRA FROM THE OLIVE GROVE
VILLA LA FORRA FROM THE OLIVE GROVE

 

Brunch at Villa La Forra Tuscany. Here John Liz Tom Lola Roberto Walter Heidi Marie
Brunch at Villa La Forra Tuscany. Here John Liz Tom Lola Roberto Walter Heidi Marie

With the fire flies at night lovely view into the Valdarno valley at night

Colleen at Villa la Forra pool looking over the Valdarno Valley Tuscany
Colleen at Villa la Forra pool looking over the Valdarno Valley Tuscany

 

VILLA LA FORRA POOL MONTOGONZI TUSCANY
VILLA LA FORRA POOL MONTOGONZI TUSCANY
Then our next villa staying with the Davidsons was near San Gimignano, see the tall towers in the distance
VILLA PARADISO POOL LOOKING TO SAN GIMIGNANO TOWERS
VILLA PARADISO POOL LOOKING TO SAN GIMIGNANO TOWERS
BALI…. KUTA, LEGIAN, NUSA DUA beaches. Kuta great for surfing, Nusa Dua nice for just relaxing.
THAILAND… PHUKET, along Patong beach and KHO SAMUI very quaint with small elephant on the beach
HONGKONG…. REPULSE BAY and LANTAU ISLAND
MALAYSIA…. PENANG very pretty, long stretch of beach where all the hotels and resorts are
Ferringhi beach Penang Malaysia, nice white sandy beaches
Ferringhi beach Penang Malaysia, nice white sandy beaches
SPAIN
 MALAGA on the Costa del Sol cold, cold waters here from the Gulf stream, we stayed with Elizabeth at Puerto Banus, a lovely marina view below from Elizabeth’s lovely apartment from which you see the marina and all the way to Gibralta on a clear day.
Our room with a view at Liz's apartment at Puerto Banus
Our room with a view at Liz’s apartment at Puerto Banus

 

PUERTO BANUS MARINA FROM WINDOW WITH SHADES

FRANCE
at Cannes at night, pebbled beach.
CANADA – PENTICTON LAKE
Penticton Lake Resort, Canada, water very cold there.
Penticton Lake Resort, Canada, water very cold there.
NOW NOT TO FORGET HOME…. AUSTRALIA…. still swimming at 70, and still just love to get the old boogy board out and ride the surf at beautiful Lamamoor beach, Yeppoon
Colleen boogie boarding at Cooee Bay
Colleen boogie boarding at Cooee Bay

Photo by Juanita Wright

Colleen still boogie boarding at 72!
Colleen still boogie boarding at 72!
Australia
S.A Learnt to swim in the River Light where we had to ride our bikes 5kms.
We used to go to the beach for a month’s holiday every year, mainly to Glenelg or Moana where the best waves in SA were.  Hence my early love for boogie boarding, which I still enjoy.
QLD – Port Douglas – Barrier Reef, nearly scared to death by a large Groper
Cairns – Hamilton Island, Hayman island, South Molle island, Daydream island, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Yeppoon
NSW, – Bondi, Coogee, Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay, Bateman’s Bay, Mollymook. Cowra in Wyangala Dam
Tasmania – Derwent River (the coldest water I have ever swum in – with a group of male nudists including my friend Peter Mudge!)   Bicheno – nice beach, Lake Peddar (like black tea)
WA – Sorrento, Cottesloe, Margaret River – nice beaches
VIC –  St Kilda,

 

 

 

Colleen Woodward's travel tales