Sea turtle spotted in Falasarna

Sea turtle Caretta caretta in Falasarna

This morning we went to Falasarna beach for a swim.

It was a beautiful day, with crisp air and clear water. The sun was out. A breeze was blowing.

I put my wetsuit on and swam North along the coast. After about 15 minutes, I turned back and swam towards the surface flat rock lapped by the waves, where I had a sea rendez-vous with Fiona.

I swam around the rock and then stood on it. I saw Fiona coming from shore, so I swam to meet her. We met and we proceeded to swim again towards the rock, our focal point. After a few strokes, I heard her call: Look!

She spotted a sea turtle on the bottom, some 6-8m deep. The turtle, a Caretta caretta, was not moving. It looked like she was sleeping, head tucked in between some rocks. I took the camera from Fiona and dove to take some shots, but I couldn’t really get deep with all the buoyancy from the full wetsuit. It looked like the turtle had a big tail curled under her body, which would make her a he. A good size animal, probably and adult. We left him there to rest and swam back towards shore.

We enjoyed the bright clear water on the way back, and even basked in the full sun once we got out.

Total distance: 1.45 km
Average speed: 2.97 km/h
Total time: 00:35:46
Download file: Swim-Falasarna-Wetsuit-Turtle-Short18022020.gpx

The Elafonissi Swim

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