Wild Swimming in West Crete

Early in the summer of 2021, we spent a week going around the stunning beaches of West Crete, finding beautiful spots to quench our thirst for sea adventure.

With a lot of anticipation from a keen group, we started with a little known secluded beach. We know it as a bay that is always sheltered by the North winds, where the shades of blue and turquoise shine in the foothills of the mountain above. We walked down the rough track then the swimmers swam, and loved it.

Next we went for a different type of swim, starting from a beach without seeing the destination, which was a little cove around the cape. The sea posed a challenge on this day, sending rolling waves for the swimmers, showing what it can do. From the beach we walked up the valley, through the gorge, to catch our breath in the shade of the plane trees, and eventually come out on a village high above. Then our host at the beach taverna entertained us with fervid stories of local celebrations.

We chased the good wind, and on the following day we visited natural sea pools hidden from view, a tiny yet deep crack in the rocks where the swimmers could enter and find the night-in-the-day, and a cool long bay, where the sea again rocked the swimmers till they emerged on the shore.

On the fourth day we hiked along a narrow trail. We rose above the cliffs and scoped out the gulf from above. Then with the swimmers we swam into the meanders of a cave, came out and followed the fish. We had a propitious sea gently moving along with us, smoothing the way between the emerging rocks and the stony shores.

As we grew familiar with this sea, our desire to spend longer hours in its embrace rose naturally. We set a new challenge to reach a far out islet, right on the edge between the known and the vastness out there. We took a sip from the chalice of the unknown. It left a taste of exhilaration in our mouth, just before the waves reined us back into tranquil waters. We paused. We had to barely scratch the sea surface, the earth surface, to reveal recent and ancient histories. Then we continued. The swimmers swam long, and it felt right.

On the last day we went for colours, feelings. The idea of another continent in the distance, the sunlight turning from blinding to magical in the water. The swimmers swam around rocky dots, gulls calling, under the watch of the tall wild garlic. We swam together, we opened our hearts. The sea so clear before our eyes. We have shared our love for the sea, all things are good.

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