A Drop in the Ocean: The Best Places in the World to Swim
There’s really nothing like taking a dip in the ocean, and once you have experienced the salty, turbid waters of the sea you will never want to go back to the boring old swimming pool. The freedom of the open water, feeling the waves rush over your body and the natural buoyancy of salt water make natural swimming one of life’s great adventures. Of course some places make better swimming destinations than others, so here is a look at the five best locations in the world to get your feet wet and embark on a swim.
Photo by Laszlo-photo on Flickr.com. Used under Creative Commons License.
Hawaii is a great place to step off the beach and into the ocean, with superb sub-tropical landscapes, calm seas and mild waters. Yet what makes this location special is the array of stunning marine wildlife swimmers can see here, including friendly dolphins who love nothing more than playing with their human counterparts. Off the shores of Oahu you can swim alongside 13 species of toothed dolphins, with bottle-nosed and spinner dolphins amongst the most abundant. To avoid disappointment, think about hiring a yacht rental with a captain experienced in locating plentiful dolphin pods, this way you are all but guaranteed sightings of the friendly sea mammals.
Swaying palm trees, pure white sands, windswept lagoons, azure seas and luxurious accommodation all mark out the Maldives as one of the finest places in the world to swim. What’s more, this exotic archipelago of islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean is also a fantastic place to snorkel, with coral reefs populated by beautiful multi-colored fish, sea turtles and other aquatic species. The shallow waters that surround most of the islands mean you are rarely in particularly deep water, making this location perfect for amateur swimmers, or those who haven’t yet discarded their water wings.
Photo by pdbreen on Flickr.com. Used under Creative Commons License.
Not all swimming vacations have to be warm, tropical affairs, as foolhardy swimmers in Sochi, Russia, discover each January 19th, the feast of the Epiphany in the Russian Orthodox calendar. Brave locals assemble on the Black Sea coast at midnight and take the plunge into the near freezing waters in order to join in an ancient religious ritual that is said to cleanse the body and soul. And despite what you may think, most who take part claim that the waters do not feel particularly icy; because water retains residual heat far longer than air, swimmers can find the temperatures relatively balmy.
The Aegean Sea
The crystal clear waters of the Aegean Sea offer some of the most enchanting vacation spots in the world, imbued with ancient myth and legend, warmed by generous sunlight and never too far from land. The waters in this part of the world do get occasionally choppy, so stick to flagged beaches with lifeguards if you are not the most confident swimmer. Those seeking something of a challenge can even arrange for bareboat charters to take them out into the most isolated parts of the sea, where diving for ancient treasures and romantic shipwrecks is a common past-time. Make sure you familiarise yourself with Greek beach attire before you go as the more relaxed attitudes to partial and full-nudity may take you by surprise!
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
The astonishing waters at Cabo San Lucas were famously documented by pioneering marine biologist Jacques Cousteau in the 1960s, and are now one of the premier swimming locations on the planet. Underwater sand ridges, steep canyons, secluded shallows and waters as warm as a hot-tub make this an interesting, easy and relaxed place to experience wild swimming. Take a boat out to dramatic limestone rock formations and find cliffs safe enough to nosedive from to add a bit of extra spice to this wonderful wet water experience.
Biog: John is a travel writer who has sailed the seven seas in everything from a catamaran and yacht rental to commuter ferries and cruise ships.