I’m looking for the pier at Mon Repos that we saw from the boat on the way to Paxos, but I can’t seem to find it. What I do find is a beach bar, gates locked, and then a narrow edging of muddy shingle at the base of a stone wall beside the road just next to it. It may not be what I imagined, but I’ve come this far so I decide to get in anyway. A large greek lady is changing from her morning swim, which encourages me, and so I wade through the shallow, seaweed encrusted water to get to a point deep enough to swim.
The water’s depth is uneven, fluctuating between easily swimmable and knee grazing. The flat grey ribbons of sea-weed that grow in clumps all over the sea shore are thick here and navigating through them is a challenge. When I get deeper out it seems logical to aim for the pier.
Its wooden and not very old, not the one I was looking for, but still, it gives an elevated vantage point from which to stare at the blue sea stretching away and the dusty mountains of Albania lining the horizon. Another woman joins me on the pier. Behind us on land, the beach bar is opening for the day. Staff bustle about cleaning off sunbeams and look out at us, wondering how we got onto their pier while the gates are locked – and why we would want to.
I get back in the water and swim back to the narrow shoreline, trying to avoid the thick weeds, my path curving one way then the other as I try to weave between the deepest beds of foliage. The water here is far from perfect, but it still wakes me up and, as the morning begins and the rest of Corfu town awakes, it feels good to already have salty skin and big, wind-dried hair.
I’m raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society. Please sponsor me at http://www.justgiving.com/swimbonnieswim