The sea around Kalymnos, especially off the beaches of Massouri, is heavenly. It is about a kilometre across to Telendos, the island that peeps into the background of all the famous climbing photos from the Grande Grotto.

We had enjoyed a few little dips at the beaches but hadn’t had a ‘proper’ swim. So on a rest day the Ginger hired himself a kayak and, beer in hand, he chaperoned me as I swam across. I think the people watching from the beach were a little confused about why he wasn’t letting me in the boat.

It was a beautiful and still day and the water looked like glass from the beach. Even in the water it was remarkably calm, only a few little ripples of wave. The best part (and the freakiest part) was the endless blue of the sea as I looked down into it – it is so remarkably clear that you can see for at least 25 meters…it’s just that there is nothing but blue to see.

There is something really really cool about a long salty swim and then emerging dripping from the water. You can imagine yourself as some kind of cross between Botticelli’s Venus and Demi Moore in Charlie’s Angels (although, to be honest, I don’t recall either of them coughing and sputtering quite as much as I did). Stepping onto the land combines the triumph of the swim’s completion with the sadness and regret of loosing the buoyancy of the water – perhaps some long forgotten recess of the soul is recalling our primeval beginnings or the warmth of the womb.

We had a rest on the beach over there and I drank some fresh water (I now really understand why it is called ‘sweet’ water). Then I swam home.