One of the coolest parts of my life has been that I am from Santorini.
And one of the most amazing accidents of my life is that my grandfather decided to buy a house on the beach.
right next to the mountain that separates Kamari from Perissa, is one of the anchors of my life.
And that mountain has always stood there as a forbidding barrier. And ever since I ever walked on the beach staring at the mountain, I swore I would find a way across it.
As a teenager, I took a boat around the mountain to Perissa.
After college, when I lost a lot of weight and got into shape, I walked over the mountain to Perissa.
Later on in life, my wife and I biked from Kamari to Perissa.
Now at 40, all that remained was to swim around this mountain and I would have conquered it. This fearsome obstacle would be just another pile of rocks that stood between me and where I wanted to go…
Now swimming around the mountain is a challenge for three reasons.
- The distance is non-trivial
- For a small but significant section you are swimming in truly open water
- The weather had to cooperate
And of the three reasons, the first was what stood in my way all these years.
But thanks to my recent efforts to get into shape for a triathlon, and soon to be half-ironman and perhaps later ironman, my ability to swim long distances has improved significantly.
And so just before I did my first Olympic Tri, I decided to map out the distance and discovered it was less than 1500 meters …
Convinced the time had come, I plotted and planned to swim around the mountain to Perissa.
Arriving in Santorini, my one main obstacle was a support crew. Although the distance seemed short enough, I was worried about other boats, and random bad luck turning an adventure into a tragedy. Fortunately my cousin Kostis and his two sons Vassilis and Dimos
came to the rescue. Kostis has a small inflatable craft that he offered to navigate next to me while I was swimming providing support during my swim.
The day before my historic swim, I tried to swim out around the point visible in the picture of my house. And 10 feet from the point, I had a panic attack. I realized that for so many years this seemed like the edge of the known world, and that swimming beyond the edge of the known world was damn scary.
And then I remembered how scary the dark blue water of the Aegean is, and panicked some more.
And then I wondered what the hell was I doing. But the plans had been set in motion, and the swim had to begin…
After all Kostis and his two sons planned to show up at 8:30 in the morning for what was going to be a 30 minute, 1500 meter open water swim…