Thursday, October 11, 2012

Things go swimmingly

People familiar with the sea and who can swim, will read this and wonder what the big deal is but for a flatland prairie boy for whom 4" of water on a Saturday night bath was significant and who never learned to swim, it is an achievement.  I let go of the shore line this holiday and ventured out into deep water.

They say during the Second World War that prairie boys signed up for the navy and merchant marine in great numbers.  Partly perhaps, because vast empty expanses with horizons at 180 degrees held no fear for them and partly because they already knew how to work and being a grunt held no attraction for them compared to shipboard with no marching under heavy packs.  But maybe mostly just the sight of so much water at one time.

Water deeper than 3 feet and wider than I can see across has always fascinated me and I have paddled around in lakes when opportunity afforded it and a few times in the ocean - once in the Pacific, twice in the Black Sea and now four times in the Mediterranean.

This was the best holiday ever for me and our fourth vacation in Turkey.  I had nothing hanging over me and was able to totally relax.  The sea is almost always calm in the mornings; some mornings there aren't even wavelets washing the shore. And it was warm; 27C or 80F.  It wasn't like I hadn't been in the water there before but for some reason it dawned on me I could not sink regardless of what I did.  Tanya said that the Mediterranean has 30 grams of salt per litre, which combined with my body massive index mean I was pretty much guaranteed to float unless I hit an iceberg.

The fat in my head and the lead in my ass balanced so well that I stood at attention in deep water and floated, with my head above water.  Long ago I had learned to float on my back even in lake water so I was off.  Using my arms as oars I rowed my way around.  A rowboat from Ukraine; a veritable Hunky Dory.

Now I didn't move very fast and sometimes when Tanya was in a hurry to get to shore (lunch time??) she would get behind and push me like a tugboat pushing a barge.

There was a rope barrier way out there to separate swimmers from boaters and I actually swam/rowed my way out to it twice every day, a few times three times out and back.  It was an awesome feeling not to panic simply because I had no sea bottom to touch.  The only time I did almost panic was one morning I got out there and found the barrier had broken and drifted away.  There was NOTHING between me and the entire Mediterranean.  There was no limit to how far I could go and that was scary.  A good psychologist could have a heyday.  Analyse this!

Narrow gravel beach.  Drops off quickly.  Great swimming

The rope barrier is about where the white line is.

Along the beachfront are piers every so often for sunning and diving

About 2/3 of the way there and rowing for all I am worth.


  1. I'm proud of you! I am not a great swimmer but give me a life jacket, my snorkel and a warm ocean and I couldn't be happier! I would be much happier on a warm beach than on the cold prairie right at this moment!!

    1. Holidays here tend to be summer events. Both the Black Sea and the Mediterranean get pretty rough in winter and the Black Sea gets even colder. Maybe Egypt?

  2. In 1964 we were flying as part of a military training exercise with Greece. We had a hydraulic failure and aborted to an airport in Turkey. Our nose wheel collapsed on landing. The Turkish military responded and confiscated our aircraft and placed the crew under house arrest: in a plush hotel - all expenses paid, but with two Turkish soldiers with automatic weapons at both exits... we were told not to leave the hotel. Three days later our squadron flew in another flight crew and a repair crew to fix and retrieve our downed aircraft and immediately flew us out. That was my only experience with Turkey; but, I would love to vacation there - of course I can not afford it.
    the Ol'Buzzard

  3. Great to know that you got into the swim of things in Turkey. And that you got home safely, afterwards.

    1. Ol'B, I think you could afford it is you did some digging into airfares. Turkish Airlines is not expensive to fly.

      RB, swimming out is one thing. Swimming back is the main thing.

  4. I'm not much of a swimmer and can't even float very well in spite of having grown decent flotation gear myself. So when I went across country once I was looking forward to the Salt Lake where, I'd heard, you can practically sit on the water, it had so much salt.

    I'll never know. That there is one stinky lake.

    1. We have lakes like that in the area I grew up. Aroma Lake, Stinking Lake may give you an idea. Manitou Lake must not be too bad as it is a popular resort area, where people go to "take the waters".


Comments are encouraged. But if you include a commercial link, it will be deleted. If you comment anonymously, please use a name or something to identify yourself. Trolls will be deleted