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
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
Sami beach where we stayed with our group at Athina Beach Hotel
Ammes beach near where Michelle was living, you can nearly touch the planes overhead as they land.
Fiskardo, a lovely tourist destination, once again water is so clear
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.
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.
Assos,Kefalonia on a picturesque isthmus
Minies, we struck some big waves here and Poseidon nearly got us with one enormous one
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!)
ITHACA (IONIAN ISLAND)
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.
meaning of quintessential “among the Pythagoreans the fifth essence in natural bodies, in addition to the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water.
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.
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 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!
And then you get a scooter and seek out lots of different little beaches
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!
We stayed at Petassos beach hotel, PlatysGialos beach nice for swimming and nice hotel to stay at about 5 kms from Mykonos town
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.
On another occasion, my birthday again Michelle and I stayed at El Greco, nice pool and lovely sunsets from here
Corfu is another of my favorite islands, very Venetian, also still a little British with its cricket pitch. It is a very green island.
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
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
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.
We had a lovely family holiday there in 2007 with all the grand children staying at the Shangri-la Fijian
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.
VANUATU AND NEW CALEDONIA at Club Med
SOUTH AMERICA – RIO – COPACABANA
Well what a dream come true to swim on Copacabana beach with beautiful latin beat music playing in the background
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.
Swimming at the spice island of Zanzibar is a special experience. Especially at Prison Island, lovely clear waters.
JERUSALEM ISRAEL – 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
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
With the fire flies at night lovely view into the Valdarno valley at night
Photo by Juanita Wright