A lunchtime Greek getaway openwater swimaround

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The last few days, and for the next number of days, I’m attending a slew of meetings in Greece.  My schedule is pretty packed from morning till night, but today I had a brief break around lunchtime for precisely one hour – which afforded me just barely enough time to swim across a bit of a bay and back.

The hotel the meetings are being held at is out on a bit of a thin peninsula, stretching out into the Mediterranean with crystal clear water on all sites.  There’s little bits of sandy beach, but mostly just areas carved out to put a beach chair down.  So as soon as my one hour clock started I zipped back to the room (.33 miles away, I measured via GPS – it’s a very spread out hotel), and then backtracked down to one of the many small beaches around the resort to start from.

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For today my goal was really just a 30-minute swim.  No particular effort or intensity.  Simply really anything other than running.  My training schedule right now has entirely dropped swimming otherwise, and I’m purely just doing a ton of running with bikes mixed in between mainly to keep me doing something on the days in between that doesn’t involve pounding on the legs.

So given that, I could pretty much just play around intensity wise and thus also play around with different devices.  I was curious, for example, how the semi-recent Suunto Ambit 2/2s firmware update addressing some of the openwater swim accuracy pieces would look since my initial review.  Further, I also wanted to take the FR220 along for the ride, simply because many folks ask what the data looks like on the wrist.  Of course I already know the data will look less awesome because it’s not designed to be swam with from a measurement standpoint (waterproofing is solid though).  Nonetheless, folks are curious, so now I’ll have an answer for the final review.  The FR610 acts as my standard swimcap method baseline, giving me true distance for the swim.

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With that, into the water I went.  After all, I really only had 30 minutes of swim time, plus time to run back to the room (called ‘bungalows’ here), shower, and then back to the main conference area.

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The initial little mini-bay was shallow, but it quickly dropped off as I rounded the bend of the dock area.  The water was incredibly clear, though it’s hard to see that in some of the photos.

My main ‘line’ was a series of buoys all the way across the bay.  You can see them in the photo at the top.  This was what protected the swimming area from the boating area, and made for an easy path to follow.

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Eventually the buoys changed color temporarily.  I believe this was to mark a short ‘road’ for boats to get to the beach.

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At just before the 15-minute marker the bottom quickly came up towards the surface:

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And, sure enough, I had reached shore:

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Nearby on a beach was a lone woman sunbathing…albeit without clothes.  She’s hidden behind the rock though from this view.

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Then, I turned around and headed back towards the hotel across the bay.  Looking to the left as I made my way across you can see the long beach with tons of beach chairs on it.  This isn’t part of the hotel, but butts up against it.

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Shortly after passing the beach I noticed something large underwater out of the corner of my eye.  Given the distance I was from the beach I assumed it was some oversized fish (and hopefully not one of my friends).  Turns out, it was just a woman out floating around.  She’s actually quite some distance from me – perhaps 30 meters/yards or so.  But just goes to show how clear the water is.

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In fact while she wasn’t out doing a swimming workout, many people are/were.  From the conference room windows I’d watch swimmers going back and forth across the bay from dawn till dusk.

As I was following my buoy trail I find one slightly misplaced buoy:

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Soon, I was back within view of the hotel.  I swam much faster on the return than on the outbound.  Mostly because I stopped a bit more on the way out.

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And then, back in shallow enough water to stand up.

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Looking at the final distance, the Ambit 2 and the reference swimcap FR610 were nearly spot-on, a very nice improvement over the past.  Of course, one test can also be dumb luck, so I’ll be playing with it more over the next few days.  The FR220 measured a much more jagged path, as expected (it was on my wrist).  This is normal because it’s losing satellite coverage each time it goes under the water and doesn’t have any algorithms in it to compensate (like the FR910XT has).

Obviously, that’s a pretty slow pace for the distance. But I didn’t bother to stop the timer for pictures, etc…  It only took about 10 minutes to get back, so there’s probably about 6-7 minutes of goofing around on there.

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Back up to the empty beach I went to grab my flip-flops, backpack and run back to the room.

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Here’s the view as I walked back, looking out over where I swam:

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And here’s the GPS track from the swimcap reference FR610:

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I forgot my charging cable on the Suunto Ambit 2, so I’ll have to wait till the weekend when The Girl joins me to get that data off.

Meanwhile, about 6 minutes later I was rushing back to the meetings.  Nope…no sign at all that I was out swimming with goggles on… ;)

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More to come from the rest of my Greek adventures…

Thanks for reading!

Oh, P.S. – Here’s a few past Athens related posts:

Hanging out in a Greek Olympic Stadium (a really old one)

The Not-So-Big-Fat Greek Runaround…and a side trip to Switzerland.

The Honeymoon: Part II

17 Comments

  1. Panos

    You are staying in one of the best hotels in/around Athens, so let's pretend all hotels are like that. Since the girl will join you soon, I would recommend stroll in the city centre to experience another part of Athens - but only if you can simultaneously keep up with your review schedule!

    Reply
  2. Alexandra

    Welcome to Athens! You are staying at an exquisite area! FYI, in one month's time the annual bay crossing shall take place at the nearby club. Looking forward to your reviews,

    Reply
  3. Amedeo

    I love greek sea and greek foods!
    Please, eat gyros and baklava for me

    Reply
  4. Panagiotis

    Welcome to Greece. Have a nice stay!

    Reply
  5. prasinos paris

    Welcome in Athens mate!

    I would love to show you around the city if you have time

    Reply
  6. Matteo

    Hi, Great place!
    Can you share Hotel's name?
    Just for swimming...of course!!!

    Reply
  7. Στέφανος

    Καλώς όρισες!

    Reply
  8. Ron

    Nearby on a beach was a lone woman sunbathing…albeit without clothes. She’s hidden behind the rock though from this view.

    My vote for worst DCRainmaker caption ever.

    Reply
  9. Shawn Bohrer

    Where do you stash your camera while you are swimming?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I slide it under the leg of my swimsuit (longer jammer-style). It stays put nicely. If in a wetsuit, then I slide it just down the edge of my neck (no wetsuit here).

      Reply
  10. a

    Good job documenting that water transparency! I too believe that it is vital to promote environmental sustainability by bringing such matters to larger audience. Although, it wouldn't hurt to provide a bit more of the research material.

    Reply
  11. Graham

    Out of interest what was the water temperature at this time of year. Must have been ok given that you made no mention of it!

    Reply
  12. Amazing! Was looking at these pictures thinking "wow, that looks a lot like where I used to live" clicked on the GPS and sure enough Vouliagmeni. Glad to hear you've enjoyed the clear waters :)

    Reply
  13. Helen

    Hi Ray!
    Love your raccoon eyes photo. Do you happen to have a photo of FR220 on The Girl's wrist? I'm waiting for my pre- order on 220, and looking at the photo of it on your wrist makes me wonder how it would fit on my 5.25"

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I just took a pile a few minutes ago. I'll try and get them added into the FR220 post later today.

      Reply

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