I've just spent the morning swimming around Prvic Luka.
There's an energy, or rather a peace that radiates from the island. No cars create a totally different pace of life here.
It filters into the surrounding waters, my strokes become slower and the meditation begins.
As I pause to look around, the scent of pines and wild fennel float across to meet me on the surface. The chorus of Cicadas singing fills the air instead of the hum of engines.
Swimming out from the harbour I weave through little moored boats and locals slowly starting their day. The naked sun catchers are already bronzing themselves without strap marks as I head towards the favoured trip lunch spot.
I'm anticipating about 9 km and don't have a swimbag to tow a drink with me. I haul myself up onto the concrete of the quay and go in search of a tap. There is a backyard opening towards me with a shower. I wonder if anyone is looking out at the random swimmer roaming in their private space. Workmen watch me as I tip toe in my bright pink swim cap; it's a bit of a beacon.
Returning to the water I find some submerged stairs that are covered in nature's carpet, no need to worry about my spiky black friends scuppering my efforts after only a few kms. The water in the channel hasn't been whizzed up by daily boat traffic and as I weave through the shallows, thoughts and body drifting, clams close up tight as my shadow passes over them.
Fishers wave and I wonder what they are catching, I decide they too must be meditating at the end of the line, as there are only small shimmering schools of tiny fish around this harbour. They suspend and swirl like underwater swallow clouds parting as I pass through.
Across the channel, the pace of life revolves around a marine fun park, there are already people hurling themselves down slides and lined up on sun beds.
I round the corner and into a light breeze, the clarity of the water lifts. The sea floor is a mosaic of seagrass beds and chalky white sand. I turn to breath and glance out over aquamarine waters. I am surrounded by islands, the one I am circumnavigating and those about a kilometre away. They seem to float just on the surface of the sea, each circled by a slash of white sand and dotted with green, their peaks might struggle to be classified in height as mountains. All manner of pleasure craft pass by, I am buoyed by a group of puffed out sails, standing tall, chests proudly jutting forwards.
People stop and watch as I swim past and I wonder what they are thinking. One man turns and stares down at from the footpath above. As I swim ahead he steps forwards again, matching my pace he flanks me, checking my progress as he makes his way up and down the path alongside. We both grow tired, he seems satisfied, question answered, he picks up his step and is gone over the next rise.
Houses take pride of place on the shoreline; small concrete jetties are prime sun baking spots. The island has woken up and lots of people are busy at rest and play. I am thinking a lot about drinking again, my tongue has that furry, salt-laden feeling and the high morning sun is warming the sea surface.
I swim into a mini harbour with a cluster of houses and people sitting looking out. I swim slowly to shore like an odd landing craft, wallowing over slippery stones and emerge to search for another tap. What I spotted from the water appears to be some other attachment to the external stone of a house. I ask and gesticulate and am pointed towards one of the jetties. I'm not quite sure what I'm heading towards but I wander over and hope that a wide smile will help. There's a shower and a man talking on his phone. I ask again and try the shower, a small trickle stops, teasing me, and I resign myself to continuing on. He says something and heads into his house and the shower springs to life. I take greedy handfuls feeling slightly guilty, but thankful. Still on the phone, we smile and I jump off the end of the jetty and start turning my arms over again.
This harbour is busy and I paddle across like a water polo player, head high, watching for any ditzy charter boat drivers. I make it to the relative safety of another cluster of moored boats, swimming to each, one by one. I surprise a couple enjoying their Saturday morning, they can't see my expression behind the polarized lenses but I can see theirs.
This side of the island is a little more rugged, the tree line meets the water in many places. Swimmers and sun bakers are randomly dotted amoungst the trees and on the rocks. An elderly gentleman tugs on a hand line in the distance and I move out to avoid being snagged. He signals energetically as I pass and I realise his line is caught and he wants me to release it. I find the point it submerges and then try to sight it underwater. It's almost invisible and I need to hold the line and swim it's length downwards. It's caught a long way out but I manage to hold on and then to dislodge it, surfacing would have meant I'd have lost sight of it against the rocks on the bottom. He tips his hat to me as he reels in the hook threaded with an octopus tentacle.
I'm hoping the main harbour is not far now, I've started to think about where I'd like to go for lunch. I'm looking forward to sitting in the sunshine, looking out over the blue and replenishing my energy stores over a couple of courses. The wind is up and is pushing wavelets towards me but I'm moving forwards according to the underwater terrain. I round the corner and there is another, I wonder if it's Karma as I often say 'it's just around the corner'.
Lupac is in front of me and I know I'm not far off, Prvic provides some shelter from the wind I've been swimming into. It's strangely quiet and I realise that everyone else is at lunch and then siesta. I've been swimming for quite some time. I breaststroke across the harbour and over to the ladder I climbed in what feels like a lifetime ago. Only the local cats look up as I wander past dripping and smiling. There's a waterside table at my favourite place, lunch is really looking good now.