Um, I’m noticing how many of my posts now begin with
something along the lines of ‘I was in a bar the other day...’ but what the
hell? I was in The Rock bar
the other day either after or before my usual ‘big
swim’ (this is about three-quarters of a mile, topped off to a mile with a few
additional smaller swims) and feeling a bit bored, peevish, whatever. I can’t
keep swimming for hours on end and lying in the sun or drinking beer, though
enjoyable, have limited entertainment value. Anyway, Chris – co-owner of The
Rock and the guy who took me gorge walking – said, ‘Why don’t you take the
Pictures here are courtesy of Phil Toseland who, along with
me, has the unfortunate honour of being a founder member of the Dead Wife’s
Society. He too, a year before me, has been through the nightmare of watching
his wife die.
Chris and I got the thing down and after an hour of getting
the hang of it I realised I was having fun. I took it out a couple of times
that day and certainly felt the effects. My neck and upper back were very stiff
for a couple of days. Since then I’ve been taking it out two or three times a
day, pushing further every time. I’ve rowed to the harbour, round the point to
have a beer in the Stratos restaurant, to the point on the other side of
Makrigialos bay, but haven’t yet ventured round that to Diaskari beach.
It can be said that I’ve travelled from Sitia to Ierapetra
in the thing, just as I have with my swimming. When a Greek said to a tourist
here that Chris swims between these two towns she was gob-smacked, until
Chris’s wife Claire kindly pointed out that Makrigialos divided under the two authorities
so what was being said was sort-of true.
I’ve also acted as a water taxi taking a friend called
Pauline for a spin. I’ve learned how critical it is to keep the kayak pointed
nose in when beaching it while the sea is rough. Getting flipped over and
having the kayak bounce off my head didn’t hurt much, but I certainly lost a
lot of poser points. I’ve also tried one Eskimo roll and I won’t be trying it
again. This ocean kayak is far too stable both the right way up and upside
Because of all this extra exercise I’m finding that my usual
blasé attitude to food is fading. I need fuel and my body is not shy of
informing me of this fact. Muscle development must have been rapid, especially since
I’ve continued with the swimming too, and my weight is climbing. I guess this
will come as a relief to those who were worried I was going to disappear at
some point in a small implosion.
In fact, I’ve been
enjoying this so much I fully intend to buy one back in England and use it
around the Essex coast and in the rivers there.