I dive off the boat’s bow into the crystal clear and blue water of the Aegean sea. The water is warm and nothing like the cold Atlantic ocean that I am used to. The boat has been moored to a dock on one of the small islands on the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia for lunch. There is not much there but white sand, sharp rocks and green shrubs. We have already swum 3 kilometres this morning but after a lunch of salads and fresh fruit, and a short walk around the island in the baking hot sun, I am dying for a refreshing dip.
But soon five of us are all in the water. Laughing, splashing about and taking pictures with one of the girl’s underwater cameras. It’s that moment when you are watching yourself being so care-free and knowing that this is a golden memory moment to last a lifetime.
And then we are called back to the boat for our afternoon swim. Our group of 15 has been divided into three groups based on speed. I’m in the middle speed group of swimmers in yellow caps with my new swim besties Betty (from the U.S.A), Andy (from Scotland) who I have met on this this trip, and my long-time swimming buddy Ann who convinced me to join her on this holiday. We all swim more or less at the same pace and it’s such a treat to have people at my own speed to swim with. There is a safety boat to follow but we keep pretty close together in our group following the shore line along yet another tiny island. Watching the reef, rocks, occasional starfish and the fishes below us as we swim. At one with the ocean.
And we finish the swim and are back onto the boat very tired after a total of about 5km’s swimming in one day. The boat brings us back to the island, Prvic Luka, where we are permanently based in the same hotel for the week. I have a short nap before supper because I’m tired. But it’s a good post-exercise tired. Then it’s a big pint of warm beer (I’ve worked out that in Croatia beer is cheaper than cooldrink) and some of the succulent dark purple calamari over supper while we recount our stories of the day’s swim. Soon it’s straight to bed for the deepest sleep I have ever had. I have never slept so well and so deeply in my life. And it’s like that every day for a week.
In total we swam about 28km’s or so in one week along the Northern Dalmatian Coast of Croatia. It was one of my favourite holidays ever with a brief bit of sight-seeing but instead of running around seeing stuff it was mostly just experiencing Croatia through my love of swimming. A different way to get a taste of a country.
We went with an organisation called Swimtrek who organise these 1-week holiday swims in a number of spots around the world. In addition to 5 kilometres a day you also get coaching from the two Swimtrek instructors especially on your stroke which is so helpful. The best part about the entire experience was the amazing group of people that were with us, some who after 2.5 years I am still in touch with including Betty and Andy. We already had a big something in common (swimming) but found many other areas of connections. So even though I went with my friend Ann, I am pretty sure that this would be an easy trip for a solo traveller.
If you love swimming then you have to experience a Swimtrek. It is the trip of a lifetime and I hope that one day I will be back on another one.