Although not technically a solo traveller on this trip, the extraordinary ability of teenagers to sleep until noon means that my morning endeavours are indeed solitary. It suits me that way.
My inability to sleep beyond 6am comes with the advantage of many hours of quiet contemplation, 50 pages of reading, coffee – and a sea swim. You see, we are currently in Bol on Brač, Croatia. Endless pictures of turquoise waters sold this to me on the internet. That and cobbled streets, quaint houses and the promise of fresh fish. Sunshine we seem to have in abundance at home in the UK at the moment, so didn’t come for that.
As an experienced pool swimmer I am very au fait with chlorine, floating plasters, hair of all lengths and origins and irritatingly slow swimmers in the fast lane. My sea swimming endeavours beyond my childhood conquering the surf in South Africa, stretch to a couple of swims off the coast of Greece. I clearly remember repeating the mantra “there are no sharks in the Med, there are no sharks in the Med” back then, only to see a headline last week “Great White Spotted In Mediterranean”. Bollocks. Oh well, I had watched enough Instagram videos of putting sharks into a catatonic state by rubbing their belly or head or chin, so I was confident I would be just fine.
The bastarding shingle however would nearly prove to be my undoing. Somebody called this a young beach. Makes perfect sense but at the age of 47, youth is clearly overrated! So bloody hurry up and join the rest of us oldies in Sandville so that my pasty white wobbly bits would not be highlighted by a walk that started off with full Ursula Andress intentions but ended up looking like a Mr Bean tribute act. I was belly crawling through 40 cm of water, barely enough to cover my backside, to save my pathetic shoe spoiled feet. It wasn’t my most elegant moment.
My body image issues were soon allayed by the water temperature though. Once I actually got my breath back, I revelled in my newfound Size10ness, as we all know, the cold shrinks things.
And thus I swam in the glassy waters next to a Monastery, which rang its bells with exquisite clarity at 7am, encouraging me to carry on for another width of the beach. I was completely alone (apart from the man asleep on the beach, but we won’t go into all the overthinking that happened when I spotted him on my walk down). I floated on my back marvelling at the setting moon and the stunning early morning colours. It was truly magical. I even saw some tiny fish jumping en masse out of the water. I thought: “Oh look how wonderful, little tiny fish jumping out of the water”. Then I thought: “Little tiny fish would only jump out of the water if something not so tiny was chasing them!”
I got the fuck out of there. Daniel Craig had nothing on me.