Monday, 24 August 2015

Swim to an island

Earlier this month I spent 10 days exploring Croatia, including spending 7 amazing days on the magical island of Vis. A relatively small island - around 7 miles long and maybe 4 or 5 miles wide - and is very quiet and not too touristy. In fact the place is like a little piece of heaven on earth. Here are a couple of photographs to help me try and prove my point:

Point proved right? 

While I'm here I'm mostly interested in relaxing, swimming and writing. But I also want to explore the island as much as I can and seeing how small it is and that I am here for a week, with the help of my borrowed bike: 

I should be able to see a good percentage of it. 

There is plenty to see and do on Vis. Fort George. The green cave. Blue cave. Disused submarine base ( the island as a long military history) etc etc. For somewhere that isn't particularly very touristy there really is a lot to do here. You can read all about my time on Vis in more detail HERE.

While I was there I also wanted to do a couple of things for the Year31Project. The first of which, my visit to a nudist beach for the first time, you can read all about HERE.

Now if you know me, you will most probably know that it was my dream, still is my dream and for as long as I haven't achieved it, it will always be my dream to swim the English Channel. By which I mean to swim the 21 miles of open sea that separates England and France. I have always wanted to do it, ever since I was six years of age and first realised that it was possible. I came fairly close to attempting it last year and the plan is to do it next year or the year after (depending how long it takes to save/raise the money required). 

So upon booking my holiday this year there was something that I wanted to do. I wanted to complete a swimming challenge. I wanted to swim to an island. Originally that was going to be in France but here I am in Croatia which has lots of islands - big and small - off it's coast.

Now as I write this I am currently on this amazing island. (As I edit it I am on a gruelling 15hr journey by ferry and then coach and as I post it I am in grey London wishing I was back on that magical island). However, I did not swim to it. In fact it took some 2.5 hours to travel here by ferry, so no I didn't swim here haha. However, having googled the island before flying out to Croatia, I already knew beforehand, that very close to Vis there are several much smaller islands. Including this one:

This is the island of Otocic Host, which is a tiny little island with a single house on it. A house that sleeps five people, which I know because you can actually rent it. I know where I'm staying next time I'm here (I will most definitely be back at some point). 

As you can probably tell from the above picture, the island is incredibly close to Vis. I'm not very good at estimating distances but upon seeing it for the first time, I'd have to say that it was probably no more more than around 200m away. 

So I find the island on the first day - at least I can see it, even if I'm not so sure how to get to it - but it's late and so I leave it until the second day before I go in search of how to get down to a good place to make my swim from. Sadly I fail miserably, getting stuck up a hill in the middle of nowhere, where I sit, watch the water, write poetry, eat strawberries - that I bought in a shop unfortunately - and decide to give up on the idea of swimming to an island for the day.

The next day I go off in search of a Nudsit Beach (which again you can and should read about HERE). And as I find the beach I'm looking for, I also realised that I am just around the corner from the island. So once I've done the whole strip down to my birthday suit thing, I popped my swimming shorts back on and followed the path around to where I find the perfect vantage point:

When I get there, there's no one around and no boats seem to be in the area either. So I prop up my camera - otherwise known as my iPhone 5c - using a rock, set it to time lapse and off I go. I don't worry too much about about my phone being taken. There doesn't seem to be much crime on Vis - I didn't have a lock for the bike I was using, I just left it wherever and nothing ever happened. Also the owner of the apartment I rented just told me to simply leave the key in the back of the door when I left - and I was right next to the nudist beach and so if there were any thieves around, they wouldn't have any pockets anyway haha. So I leave my phone on record, put my snorkel mask on and off I go. Now the swim goes... well swimmingly. There is a problem however, but it's not with the swim itself. The only problem is with my camera; at some point during the swim it decide to stop recording. Initially I thought it was due to lack of memory but that wasn't the problem. Instead I think that because my phone was "inactive" - surely it shouldn't happen when it's recording something? - the phone closed just a minute or so into my swim.

Which was really annoying because I did it! I made it to the island. It was really quite easy. It must have only been around 200m as I thought and so it took just 8mins 40secs to go there, do a little victory dance, jumping up and down, wave my hands above my head etc in the hope of being picked up on the camera and swim back again:

Of course it had stopped filming way before any of that.

But I did it. I swam to an island. Mission accomplished!


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