Risking a swim in a giant rock pool

It took 5 days, but when the sun finally shone over Thassos Island, without a cloud in sight, it was hard to believe it was October. We headed straight to Giola, a large natural rock pool which you get to from walking 2km along a dirt track. We were the first people there, and the rock pool looked menacing. The wind was easterly and the sea on this side of the island was really choppy. I’d read that it’s best to visit the pool when there’s a big swell, to refresh the pools water, otherwise it can be murky. That was not a problem when we visited!

It was a large circular hole with steep edges and a flat ledge leading to the ocean, like an infinity pool. Ideally, you would use this ledge to exit as the sides become to high. Waves were pounding into the pool, and a constant river of water was flowing over the ledge back to the sea. It was far too dangerous to go in. If the river of water pushed you back there was a 2m rocky drop to where you would be beaten by waves. We sat and waited, maybe the tides were changing. Eventually more people turned up and a few people went in, making it seem a lot more appealing.

There was no chance of me going in though, I wanted to, but it was maybe 3m deep, and nowhere to hold onto. I’d panic and sink like a stone. Plus I know I’d be the one to get swept off the ledge like a beached whale. Craig went in though and thoroughly enjoyed it. It looked amazing when there was a break from the waves, clear and a deep emerald colour. But when the waves crashed over the whole surface was like a frothy washing machine and I could see people trying to swim and not getting anywhere. It was a full moon though, so the tides were just too high. And it’d be nice to continuously jump in and climb out, but the exit was so rough that it wasn’t possible, everyone that went in had scratched bellies.

Now, for the rest of the day we wanted a nice beach. So we drove along the coast road, lapping up the amazing scenery until we found a really turquoise patch of water. We pulled up, and walked down to paradise. It was a tiny beach on the southern part of the island. Sandy with some fine grit, and a dozen deck chairs but no one manning them or any tavernas. So it was really peaceful, and only 8 other people were on the beach all day.

The beach was actually stunning, even better than Aliki. The sea was really calm and shimmered in the sun. It was so clear that I felt like I was swimming in bottled water with a couple splashes of blue food dye. Craig decided to make lunch on the beach; a fresh Greek salad (better than in the restaurants!), delicious doughy bread and a few crunches of sand. Living the high life!

We spent the evening at the next beach along called ‘Sun Beach’, it was bigger and we could actually drive onto it. So we cooked dinner and drank ouzo as the sun set over the Agean Sea.

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