The Elafonissi Swim

Elafonissi is the jewel of South-West Crete.
It’s a small peninsula on the tip of the big island, connected by a thin strip of pink sand. It is one of the most popular destinations on Crete.

It has beautifully clear shallow waters all around it, especially on the usually sheltered East side. These shallows are dotted by small rocks in the water, inside the bay that hosts also the tropical-looking beach of Kedrodassos.

It’s the start of the summer, and big packs of tourists are already enjoying the Cretan sunshine.

The sea hasn’t warmed up properly yet after the heavy winter.

I am going to swim around the peninsula, starting from the exposed side and going counter-clockwise. The distance is about 4.5Km, a distance I haven’t swum in a while.

Fiona is in the kayak, both as support boat and one-person film crew.

As expected, there is some chop in the beginning, but it looks worse than it feels. I am pretty determined to just keep swimming. On the last attempt at a long swim, just a few days earlier, I got really cold and stopped halfway through. But here today the water feels warmer.

I have some trouble navigating after coming out of the protected bay. The kayak is not keeping a very straight line either, what with the filming and everything. There’s a field of shallow rocks ahead of me, by the tip of the peninsula. I am aiming for the tallest rock out there. I have the choice of swimming through the field or going completely around it. I stay close to the coast and eventually decide to just go through it. The underwater scenery is awesome. On top of that, as soon as I go past the rocks the swell subsides and I am swimming in calm waters.

I am already halfway there, and the hardest part is behind. On the sheltered side the swimming is easy. I even stop for a quick break to look around. The last Km or so my arms feel very heavy and I just put one arm after the other.

I get to shore among lots of people and my little girls. It was easier than I expected. There’s a gentle breeze, the sun is shining. Good feelings.

Total distance: 4.44 km
Average speed: 3.02 km/h
Total time: 01:41:16
Download file: Swim-Elafonissi-Short19062019.gpx

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