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Journal Entries

swimmers: crete, greece 2011

Stella Johnson

Xrissa Kapagioridiou swims in the ocean every day in Chania, Crete. It's cold in January, around forty to fifty degrees. She swims with a posse of like-minded amphibians whose friends and families think they are crazy. I agree, but she thought I was crazy to walk the three miles from her house in Perivolia to Chania until she did it herself one day. And that led to swimming in the ocean in the middle of the winter. I knew why Xrissa was doing it, maybe a need to eat life whole, but I wanted to see for myself.

We arrived at an inlet. People in bikinis were power walking and playing paddleball on the beach in a questionable attempt to warm up before plunging into the Mediterranean. Xrissa says the water temperature is warmer than the air. Looking at them made me cold.

So I walked up onto the cliffs overlooking the bay, watching them swim. I took what I thought was yet another workman-like photo, something that caught my eye, but unusable since the swimmers were tiny in the frame. Seems the opposite turned out to be true. The tiny swimmers are it.

A change in the way to photograph. These friends in Crete are the ones who are leading me there but they don't know it yet.

P.S. Amphibian is a Greek word that literally means a creature who lives both on land and in water.

Stella Johnson