It’s Clean Monday in Greece, and everyone is out to fly kites. However, the wind is not blowing very seriously, so we go out to the South coast for a fun swim.
It’s a long drive to Paleochora, but the scenery is always impressive, as we go over the mountains and inside a gorge. When we finally get to the Southern side, we drive East along a dirt road to the beach of Gialiskari, our launch base. Here we find Bob, renowned explorer of South-West Crete and author of walking books around Paleochora and an online column to explore the area.
After Bob’s advice, we park, take down the support kayak, move our stuff to the shore in the shade of the tamarisk trees, and I get ready to go. The sun is out, the air temperature is near 20°C, the sea is colder than that though, closer to 15-16°C.
With my full wetsuit on, we’re ready to go. Entering the cold water when the sun is shining so strong is always a bit of a shock, but the wetsuit does its part and the rays help me keep warm, though my foot stays cold the whole way. There is some swell but not much wind, and it’s going down. Fiona is the captain on the support kayak, while Giulia and Sofia are photographer and videographer.
In the beginning we pass a couple of natural rock pools by the coast. Then there’s a rocky outcrop with a nice green-blue bottom and shallow water. We take a straight line to the next cape after that, and stay some distance from shore. It’s a good depth now, and the swell is rocking me side-to-side. For a while I feel slightly disoriented as I can’t understand how much progress we’re making, and I’m not especially warm.
Eventually I get in the rhythm and start to enjoy it. We get near the cape and I see flat, slanted rocks below me in the shallow waters. My crew takes some videos as we round the cape. The water also feels warmer, we are more sheltered and it’s definitely flatter now. We still can’t see the small cove we are aiming for. After some more swimming, we spot a small sandy bracket, that’s the one. I land, then the kayak lands. That was 2.6 Km, almost an hour of swimming.
We have a snack and they have a swim. I welcome the heat trapped in this little corner of paradise. We relax for a while. Fiona gets dressed to walk back on the narrow path, well maintained and signposted. I get on the kayak with Giulia and Sofia and we paddle back. Giulia takes some photos of the path and the coastline from the sea, it looks beautiful. Sofia dozes away in the back.
We land back on Gialiskari beach, with the kayak and all the gear. Elated to have found this new beautiful route, we are also hungry, so we pack and drive to a taverna in Paleochora to enjoy a good lunch before making our way home.
Average speed: 2.89 km/h
Total time: 01:00:42