Greek swimming, high seas at Lambi Beach

Swimming in Greece

Lambi Beach is described as being wind swept with constant high waves. Which is why I’m usually the only one swimming there when we go. Sometimes it doesn’t have the high waves, but the higher and higher waves. Like today. The wind was very strong as we rode the bike through the winding roads to the other end of the island where Lambi is, and I kept thinking the bike would be blown off the road. Fortunately we were heavy enough to keep it upright.

We’re looking at small villages and swerving around goats, donkeys and the occasional other motorbike, but traffic isn’t a big issue on Patmos. You see chickens crossing the road. Probably to get to the other side.

Where we are staying is simple and lovely. You can hear roosters at 4 am. No baths, just a quick shower that you use for 1-2 minutes. (My kids would either die from the lack of long showers, or think they’d died and gone to heaven at the idea of just not bathing at all for 2 weeks and I fear for the latter.) We go to the market every day for more tomatoes and cherries, but we don’t need much and we can’t carry much on the bike anyway. By the time we buy water, it’s all she wrote. I keep trying to contrive to bring a watermelon up here, they look great, but who’s head will it sit on is the question.

So, we’re riding helmet-less to Lambi Beach and we get there to see the waves even higher than usual, white caps rolling in. I always try to get all the way out to the edge of the bay, past the windmills and disappear around the point, and sometimes I make it. But not today. I had to turn around at some point as the waves kept slapping me down, coming in over my head and rolling me around in the water like I was a little piece of floating shark fin.

Frankly, swimming straight out for an hour was as much as I could do and then still an hour to swim back. I kept taking huge mouthfuls of sea water, waves kept hitting my head side to side like I was in a boxing ring, I kept swimming hard up the side of one wave and diving into another. The only thing that kept me afloat is something which my size 4 friends in Los Angeles can only dream of. I have body fat. Yes, that’s what keeps you floating and upright in these situations and don’t forget it. Some skinny witch would have found her ass sinking, but not me, I lived to tell the tale. When I started in for shore, finally, it didn’t get any easier. Before I’d been able to face the waves, to occasionally get to the top of them. Turning around gave the massive suckers the chance to head smack me from behind. I could feel my ears filling up with water.

When I finally reached shore, the old lady brought me juice which was great. She spoke a great deal to me in Greek in a pleased sort of way. I believe she said, “You amaze me, you’re like a female Lord Byron,” but I can’t be sure. Whenever I’m alone in Greece, men come over and speak to me confidentially in Greek. I’m fairly sure that they’re mentioning my resemblance to Helen of Troy. But the problem is, I’m not really sure. I don’t speak a word of Greek.

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Published in: on June 16, 2012 at 6:38 am  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. :)

  2. You amaze me too! I am so afraid of the ocean’s power that I would be terrified to attempt that swim. Delightful humor in this post. Thanks. I have shared your blog with my best friend, Una who is frail and loves to learn about places she has never been and won’t see in her life time. On her behalf, I repeat, thank you. My sister and I are on our way to a 50th BD & Bloombury celebration. Let’s tip our juice to James Joyce!

  3. The story of this swim scared me for you a bit. I love to swim in the ocean and am a decent swimmer, but I can’t see myself swimming two hours under these conditions. I think that Greek woman was saying she thought you were a brave swimmer. Or crazy. One of the two. Or both.

    That last part CMU, which is old school for I was laughing and my gut was jumping up and down. These posts from Greece are Great.


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