For the final time, we're ready to launch ourselves headfirst into another 20 astonishing adventures in seas, rivers, lakes, ponds - you name it! It's the final stretch in our open water odyssey. So, what better way to keep up our momentum than by chucking more adrenaline and wonder into these mythic tales of endurance and exploration? Keep a look out for entries every Thursday and please do continue to share any of your own stories with us as we thunder to the finish line. We hope you enjoy Part Four of this global feature series: Around The World In 80 Swims...
- Saoirse McGrath (Greek Cyclades, Greece)
- Caoimhe Gowran (Crete, Greece)
61. Saoirse McGrath (Greek Cyclades, Greece)
At the time of speaking to us, Saoirse was guiding on our Greek Cyclades trip...
"I absolutely love the Greek Cyclades. Each island is beautiful and vibrant in its own way. They allow you to see an authentic perspective of the Greek Islands, more genuine than some other, more populated: 'holiday destinations'. From the generous and kind locals, to the white-washed cuboid houses, the old windmills, and not to mention the ridiculously tasty food, the Greek Cyclades SwimTrek allows these idyllic images to become a reality."
"From growing up on the West Coast of Ireland, I've been so used to swimming in dark green, murky water, only able to see a couple of metres ahead of me - even getting caught in random pieces of seaweed! By comparison, the crystal clear Aegean sea is truly stunning to swim in. The rays of sunshine glisten through the water, while you spot the shoals of fish below. The scenery above and below the water constantly reminds you of how incredible the locations are. Having access to uninhabited islands and unique routes makes this trip extraordinary. You get to swim beside breathtaking natural wonders such as cliffs, caves and unspoiled historic monuments. You'll find yourself quite often needing moments to take it all in."
"Every guest is blown away by the picturesque landscapes and relaxing atmosphere on the islands. When it's time to finish a swim and hop on the yacht, they never want to get out of the water! By the end of the trip, the guests tell me how well the group bonds together and how they've surprised themselves in terms of their swimming abilities and overall confidence. I don't think I'll ever meet anyone who dislikes the Greek Cyclades. It's absolutely amazing."
"We have 2 swims per day which involves a perfect mix of coastal and crossing swims. The coastal swims allow for more exploration and discovery by swimming through caves or identifying the sea life. The crossing swims are great for a bit more of a challenge as you cross from one small island to another, practicing your sighting and techniques. Each day is different and each day you will discover something wonderful, whether it be about yourself and your own personal development, a cool underwater feature, or perhaps a turtle or some dolphins!"
"I don't think I'll ever meet anyone who dislikes the Greek Cyclades. It's absolutely amazing..."
"One of the main reasons I got more involved in sea swimming was because as I grew up, I got tired of the same chlorinated box of water. I quickly realized there's much more to swimming than following a black line at the bottom of a pool! There is something about the ocean that is so majestic and everlasting. I have met countless pool swimmers who go from fearful of the ocean, to playful with the ocean. If you can do the distance in the pool then I am confident you can do it on this trip. The salty Aegean sea increases buoyancy and the clear blue visibility will pleasantly surprise your transition."
62. Caoimhe Gowran (Crete, Greece)
"On our way to Loutro I found it hard to keep my mouth shut in awe of the scenery. Coming close to Agia Roumelli, which sits at the bottom of the Samaria Gorge, we passed beautiful sea stacks, caves and cliffs dotted along the edge of the deepest blue waters. I looked down on the map of our intended swim destinations, tick, it’s on the list! We continued East along the coast and I could see the week of swimming unfold before my eyes, ticking off the swims and getting ideas for new ones as we pottered along below the cliffs. I was so excited!"
"We took a left turn into the bay of Loutro. A semi circular pebbled bay, with stacked white buildings which looked tiny under the face of the mountain behind them. I hopped off my little boat and again with the help of the ferry men, the big heavy bags were passed out onto the port. Hotel Porto Loutro on the Hill, wherever I had to haul these bags to next I knew it was had to be up! I asked a man on the port if he could point me in the direction of Porto Loutro on the Hill. He smiled and asked if I owned all of the bags sitting at my side. He threw them into the back of his pick up truck and drove straight up the road, the only road in the village, about 50m behind the port. I had arrived."
"Early to rise the following morning, to recce our first walk before the sun rose too high and too hot. We found the trail marked along the E4 path, East, in the direction of Sweetwater Beach. An easy hike just above the waters edge, we shared the path with gorgeous little mountain goats ringing their bells to wake up the sleepy village at sunrise. Sweet water beach was where we would begin our swim to Sfakia. The mountain water springs just beneath the pebbles gives the water a cooler, refreshing touch and slightly sweet taste, perfect after your hike. Just like the village of Loutro, this beach can only be reached by foot or by boat, so even though it is one of the most popular beaches in the Sfakia region, there are no crowds to spoil the tranquillity. Back to Loutro just on time for breakfast. On the terrace again after the sun had drawn itself up from the mountains to glimmer over the ocean for the day."
"On SwimTrek, us guides probably (definitely) get the most feedback on the subject of breakfast. 5 stars all round here! Fresh fruit pots, granola, meats, cheeses, omelettes, cereals and breads. A highlight for most guests with the early mornings, fresh coffee for all! We caught the ferry to Sfakia to meet the man himself, our boat captain, Damulis. Head of the dive centre and water taxi services in Sfakia, he made time for us to go over the swim plans, start times and boat logistics for the coming weeks. The schedule was set, making sure we were doing the right distances each day and having alternative routes depending on the weather and water conditions. Our little boats were to arrive in Loutro the next day and be moored up so we could give them a little test drive before the start of the trip."
"Coming close to Agia Roumelli, which sits at the bottom of the Samaria Gorge, we passed beautiful sea stacks, caves and cliffs dotted along the edge of the deepest blue waters..."
"More swimming that evening to go over our SwimTrek on going training, it keeps us proficient with our lifeguard skills and it also allows new guides to learn how to work with one another, and another excuse for a dip! We choose a restaurant for the evening to make sure it was suitable for the first night’s group meal. Thumbs up for quick service, delicious food and sitting right out on the water, you couldn't go wrong in any of Loutro’s restaurants. Restaurant booked and the welcome letters out for the guests arriving the following day! We were up the following morning to beat the sun again for another recce walk, this time West to Marmara beach. More goats and pebbled beaches along this track, a little trickier to find our way on this one, that’s why we’ve got to recce! I will never be able to describe the caves in Marmara beach to what my eyes saw, no photos can do them justice. You will just have to go and look for yourself! It is my very favourite swim route on this trip. Just to float in the turquoise, sparkling blue waters that light up these fiery rusted rock caves above you, this is my highlight and what I have in my mind when I’m urging people to pay a visit. Back home, we put our navy collars on, ready to meet that first bunch of SwimTrekkers."
"These swimmers were about to be the Pioneers of the very first Crete Discovery SwimTrek trip. And they did a fantastic job!"
Catch up on all our worldwide fun so far!
- Around The World In 80 Swims (Part One) READ NOW
- Around The World In 80 Swims (Part Two) READ NOW
- Around The World In 80 Swims (Part Three) READ NOW
New entries every Thursday!
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