Adventure Sports: Swim Trekking the Islands of Naxos and the Small Cyclades

Adventure Sports: Swim Trekking the Islands of Naxos and the Small Cyclades

SwimTrek tours take swimmers island hopping, by (open water) swimming to and along the coasts of Schinoussa, Iraklia, Keros, Koufonissia and Naxos.

When SwimTrek founder, Simon Murie decided to launch his business his 2003, the first place he thought of was Greece and the isles of the Cylcades, more specifically, Naxos and the Small Cyclades’ Schinoussa, Iraklia, Koufonissia and Keros.

“At an average range of 1-2-4-5 kms apart, the proximity and geography of this group of islands was best suited for our concept of open water “island hopping” swimming, or being able to swim to, between and along the coast of these islands” says Simon Murie, founder of SwimTrek.

In addition, according to Murie, the islands’ natural environment of sandy coastline, water quality and clarity made for favorable conditions to select this group of islands as a SwimTrek tour destination.

The week-long tours of 11 swimmers begin in May and last through October. Participants who are interested in signing up for the SwimTrek experience, according to Murie, should be able to swim 5kms (3.10 miles) in one day.

Each group is divided into three categories based on level and swimming ability: fast, medium and slow. Each group is accompanied by an escort boat (3 boats in total; one of which is a yacht), two lifeguards and one pilot guide.

The fast level swimmers can swim approximately 1.6 kilometer (1 mile) in 18 minutes; medium level: 1 mile in 25-30 minutes; and slow swimmers, usually breaststroke longer than that.

“On average,” explains Murie, “swimmers are in the water for about 3 hours or less, and always have the option to get out, have a cup of tea, rest, and then continue.”

The daily swimming itineraries may vary depending on weather, but include swims beginning at 1-1.5 km for some coastal swims, around Schinoussa or Iraklia, for example; 2 km: Schinoussa to the islet of Fidousa, for example; 3.5km: Schinoussa to Iraklia; and the more challenging of 4km stretches such as swims from Ano Koufoníssi to Keros or Naxos to Ano Koufonissi.

“We usually begin with a morning swim of about 3-3 1/5 kilometres, and then swim a 1.5-2 kilometer swim in the afternoon,” he says. “And if it gets windy, because we are on the island, we can usually find a spot in which to swim.”

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