I gazed at the cliff face on the other side of Loutro Bay. There was a man about to sketch the scene, and we were chatting, sharing stories. I tried to imagine how he would see the colours, the textures, the striations. And then I noticed that at several points in the cliff, or lower part of the mountain, there were large gouges, like caves, perhaps where a spring ran or for no reason at all, huge hollow areas, and nearby, further down the slope, a large boulder, or rock of similar shape. Suddenly, I saw that the boulder almost fit the cave shape, in every case. In the same way that I see sometimes that continents on a map were once conjoined, when earth had larger masses of land and the sea had not divided us.
And so, I dived into the sea just past the west promontory of Loutro, and we began our long swim along the coast to Marmara. Winding in and out near the shore the same theme continued, only now, with my sea goggles I was looking down into the water. I was swimming at the fringe, where the land had tumbled into the sea, perhaps millennia ago. Rocks and stones and boulders choosing to become seabed. Or pushed into the water by the bullying winds and storms. Caught up in a rockslide, or recklessly rolling all the way down, away from the heat and the dust and into the calm, calm cool. New homes for sea creatures. The colours of the rock, fresh and deepened by the water, made bright by the filtered sunlight. The fish are more plentiful in these sheltered areas. Sometimes low on the cliff face, for whatever geological reason there were large hollows and we could swim into these watery caves and gaze up at the raw rock. The temperature changed often around these caves, making me think there was a freshwater spring nearby.
And so, I did it! Over 4k in one long beautiful coast swim, from Loutro to Marmara, where all the stone on the cliff face is marble, we were told. A sea cave there displayed in magnificent form, deep red ochres, bright yellow ochres and blond sandstone colours. I was immediately transported to our own Gondwana land, the desert reds, the coastal blonde, the striations on a river gum, the rich oils of a Drysdale or the lines of a Rover Thomas. We ate in a taverna perched on the hill at Marmara. Tonight I wandered to the far end of Loutro and had Sfakiá cheese pie for dinner. We start early tomorrow, so I’ll say kali nichta!