I went for a swim today in the Ionian Sea. A first! We’re travelling around the bottom of Italy, in the ‘heel’ of the boot, and today the sun was shining, the wind was calm and the clear blue sea beckoned.
It was a bloody beautiful swim. The water was warm, but not so warm as to feel icky. There were no waves, but a gentle bobbing swell kept the water moving. The water was so clear you could see the wrinkles in the sand below.
I paddled out to a buoy about 100 metres from the shore, and then turned around to paddle back. Imagine my horror when I realised I wasn’t moving at all – I was stuck alongside the buoy! I had a slight panic as I thought that I must be caught in a rip – but the water was so mild! This wasn’t even a real beach! Maybe I was caught in the net that the buoy was attached to. What a horrible way to go!!
I regained my head and looked at something on the shore as I swam. I was definitely getting closer to shore, but so was the buoy. It was moving with me! It was then that I realised that it was attached to a man who was snorkelling. Perhaps it was so his wife on the beach could see where he was out there in the bay. Perhaps she was wondering why an odd Australian girl was so keenly swimming alongside her husband.
The beach was by the small seaside town and port of Gallipoli (not the one in Turkey that all Australians know). Of all the towns we’ve visited here in the south of Italy it’s the only one that has felt like a truly living city, a city where people actually live and work and play. It is, undoubtedly, touristy, but it also had an independent life about it.
Unfortunately, we missed out on seeing the underground olive oil press because we were caught out, once again, by siesta. We had to go home with nothing but bellies full of delicious seafood and the feel of the ocean on our skins. Not a bad catch.