Swimming in the Aegean


The soft Aegean

Rocks and salts my palid skin

Burned red by hot sun

A haiku for my writing group, the Thistle Scribblers. Thanks for revealing and sharing the mystery of haikus.

Comparing notes with my sister yesterday, we agree that the Aegean is unusual – soft, it moves slowly. It appears to have no swell or breakers to speak of, the shoreline disrupted instead by waves generated by those in speedboats offering rides and thrills out in the flat waters just beyond the swimmers.

Where we were staying, on the island of Thassos, it proved easy, once beyond the pebbly shoreline, to swim in the cool, remarkably clean and clear water, which never felt very deep. There are platforms of rock everywhere to make it easy to stand upright in the waves, and the only hazard I found – apart from the sneaky hot sun – was in swallowing excess amounts of salt with the water.

We were warned to swim wearing sand shoes, which we did, to avoid the prickles of sea urchins, which I never saw up close. I could see those black spikeys hugging the less disturbed rocks directly below the lit-up terraces at our hotel in the evening. I suspect they need still waters to thrive best.

Which left me wondering – sometimes I wish I didn’t wonder so much – how much of plant and animal life is disturbed by the presence of swimmers, boats, dinghies, and water speeders of various sorts. They cross the surface of the ocean harmlessly enough, and relatively close by, but as I say, the Aegean is soft and slow, and I wonder whether even the smallest disruption has adverse effects.

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