A couple of years ago I went on a holiday to Turkey with a company called Swimtrek. It had been something that I had been meaning to do for almost 10 years and it since became one of my most favourite holidays. So two years later, another escape was booked again. This time to Mallorca.
Swimtrek is a company that organises swims and in beautiful areas. You don’t have to be a fast swimmer or a particularly brilliant swimmer, just enjoy swimming. The distances vary (and you can stop whenever you want to) and the locations are spectacular from beautiful Cornwall, swimming along the Jurassic Coast, to spending 10 days on a boat in the Maldives and swimming in the warm, clear waters.
I arrived on the Tuesday morning to drizzly rain. I had arranged to meet another trekker at the airport as he had booked a car and it wasn’t long before we were heading down towards Santanyi.
After booking into our rooms (five star hotel, thank you very much) we then met up with the rest of our fellow swimmers and our two guides, Shelley and Telle.
Next on the agenda was our acclimatisation swim, down at the private beach. The water was a delicious 23 degrees and by this point, the rain had disappeared and a clear evening was promising. We had previously each entered our estimate of how fast we were over 1km and so were given different colour swim hats for whatever groups we were in. I was in the pink group with four others; a mother and daughter; the only man in the group and one other female. We nearly all had some history of swimming. Swimming clubs, masters swimming, triathlons and teaching children to swim. We were asked to swim out of the bay towards the orange buoy, take a left and head to the other side of the bay and then swim in. We did this about 3 times and our little pod was perfect to swim with, with each of us keeping time and staying close together. There is something quite wonderful about swimming with a bunch of swimmers who are of the same ability and it can be quiet mesmerising as you swim along.
Our swim done, we then headed out to the little town to enjoy tapas and drinks and get to know each other better.
The following morning, after a delicious breakfast where we loaded ourselves up, we met up by our boat, the Ancapi and met the owner Sebastian. After being vaselined up, we set off round out of the harbour and turned right, along the coastline.
First into the water was the yellow hats. Three ladies who knew each other already, bravely entered the water and set off and the route that had been pointed to them.
After the yellows were the two orange hats and then it was our turn. We had had our briefing the night before about jellyfish and that they were there as, after all, this was their habitat. Both our guides had already cruised up and down our patch of coast we were swimming and had said they hadn’t seen any, but to keep an eye out.
Josie went in first, with me quickly behind her. It was cool on my warmed skin, but once I got moving it was wonderful. I dunked my head under the water to sea below and could see nothing except beautiful deep hues of blues. The other three were in the water by this time and, after checking that we were all ok, we set off.
Quite quickly, we got ourselves in a nice little formation. I comfortably breathe to my left and could see Josie every time I took a breath. To my right was land and below me I could see fish and the coastline falling away into nothing. It took a bit of time to get the rhythm going as there was a small amount of chop and I didn’t want to be inhaling seawater. Every now and then, below me I could see a jellyfish, drifting in the water. And then there was one on my level. I swerved and pointed out to the others to keep track of it and they tucked in behind me as I seemed to become scout. After about 15 minutes of swimming, we took a breather and Telle whizzed over to throw us drinks of either water or grapefruit flavour energy drinks (it takes away the taste of salt plus gives you a bit more feeling on your tongue). She asked if we were all ok and we informed her about the odd jellyfish. We then set off again, keeping a watchful eye out.
I was cruising along quite happily, dodging jellyfish and leading the group when I felt a jolt of pain on my face. I yelped and stopped and then felt another stinging sensation on my leg. I had swum into a jellyfish.
Sebastian radioed to Telle who came speeding over to check I was alright. After a quick chat I decided to climb into the RIB as my jaw felt bruised as though someone had thumped me. The others carried on swimming whilst I applied vinegar to my face and leg. We had been told that the best thing to do was to keep going as the salt water would help and I was feeling very jealous of the rest of my team swimming along. By this time, more jellyfish were being spotted and all teams had caught up together when it was decided that we would get out and move along to find a jellyfish free patch of coastline. Unfortunately, the route to the Ancapi was through a cluster of them. To a chorus of ouches, my fellow swimmers climbed abroad. Our guides were great at administering the vinegar and all of us felt a sense of relief that the worst was over. We had all been a bit concerned about our first jellyfish sting and once it happened, well, we knew what to expect.
The guides headed off to check the waters and once again we were in. My little group was advised to hug the coast as this would clock up distance plus would give us the opportunity to explore any caves we came across.
Finally, 3k later in total, we came upon a beautiful cove, which was where we going to stop and have our stroke analysis for later discussions (if we so wanted it).
There was only one swim planned for that day and the rest of the time was spent back at the hotel, enjoying the five star facilities and lazing by the pool. After an extremely useful stroke analysis later on, the day was finished with dinner in one of the local restaurants as the sun set. Our next day was a day full of swimming so a good night sleep was needed.
The three days of swimming past way too fast for me. The two 3k swims on the Thursday were perfect with jelly fish free waters.
Caves were explored and I managed to adjust my stroke for pain free swimming. Lunch was had on the boat on the Thursday, with time for food to go down before swimming another 3k again.
The three days passed much too fast. I felt relaxed and energised and keen to plan more trips for the following year. It’s lovely to meet people who have the same interest as you. All things of day to day life such as work, income (my pet hate) and life are rarely talked about as you are there to swim and enjoy the time. I thoroughly recommend Swimtrek, but there are other companies that do the same sort of thing, so take it look around if this sort of thing floats your boat.
And now, to decide on next years water adventures 🙂