A risky Mediterranean experiment in Cabo de Gata

I take blogging seriously. I am even disposed to put my life at risk just to post an interesting article: a scientific article about a dangerous experiment, in this case.

The experiment question can be summarized as follows: Germans, Swedish, Finnish and all those crazy fellow Europeans from the North of the continent are able to swim in freezing waters with no harm. Moreover, they seem to have a lot of fun floating “on the rocks” like pale green olives in a dry Martini. I saw this on the TV news the other day.

I am sure that guys like myself -i.e. Europeans from the Mediterranean area (Spaniards, Frenchs, Italians, Greeks …)- are not genetically designed to withstand those freezing waters. But the specific question is: Can we withstand swimming in the cold waters of the Mediterranean Sea in winter?

I’m willing to try it.

The experiment will take place at the solitary beaches of Cabo de Gata, in the Mediterranean coast of Andalucía, Southeastern Spain.

By the way, Cabo de Gata is a very beautiful place to experiment anything …

The Experiment Team will be composed by a scientific director (Covetotop) and an intrepid volunteer (Covetotop).

So, my little bunch of friendly readers, stand ready to witness a once-in-a-lifetime-experiment. This post is an accurate and historical account of events arranged in time.

Let’s go.

Day One.

I’ve just arrived to Cabo de Gata.

Gata Cape

Cabo de Gata (Gata Cape) is an amazing coastal protected area, nominated as a Biosphere Reserve under UNESCO’s “Man and the Biosphere Program”.

This 175-square-mile Mediterranean park of wild, isolated and volcanic landscapes is Europe’s most arid region; it enjoys mild temperatures in winter and is pleasantly free of tourist hordes almost all year round. In other words, I cannot think of a better place to carry out this dangerous experiment.

My search for the perfect spot to take a winter bath in the Med begins now …

Palm trees and pines

I find a wonderful beach called “El Playazo”, but there is a problem: the wind is blowing relatively strong …

Windy beach

Yes, it’s blowing strong …

beach Almería

I’d rather look for another beach …

Mediterranean castle

That is not a beach. That is the little Rodalquilar Castle (ruins, 16th century). There are stone ruins of ancient castles and defensive towers scattered throughout the whole coast of Cabo de Gata.

Almería beach Cabo de Gata

“Las Negras” (pic above) is a wonderful beach, but there are too many waves. I love waves in summer, but not in winter. I’d rather look for another spot.

Tranquil waters

Finally I find some quiet, crystal-clear waters in a perfectly sheltered little corner … but a new problem arises: I’m hungry. I cannot swim when I’m hungry.

Restaurant in Cabo de Gata

Yum yum yum in Isleta del Moro village. A restaurant with a sea view (above)

Dangerous path

Spanish wines are superb, except if you plan to walk through a difficult path after lunch. Ops!

Solitary beach Cabo de Gata

I have just found an idyllic setting: “Playa de los Genoveses” (pic above). And now it’s blowing just a balmy breeze. Perhaps the time has arrived to carry out my experiment, but it’s getting a little late and my stomach is still full … No; I shouldn’t swim under these conditions.

Experiment delayed.

Scientific conclusion of Day One: None.

Day Two.

The landscape of Cabo de Gata is very peculiar …

Mediterranean landscape

The weather is great and I have just found a nice cove (pic below) with pristine waters, but it is very early in the morning. It is cold. I’d rather go on. I’ll do my risky experiment (swimming in winter) when the sun is high in the sky.

Virgin Mediterranean beach

Wandering through Cabo de Gata in search for the perfect spot to swim is an exciting experience …

Arid Cabo de Gata

Yes, this landscape is very peculiar, very “cinematographic”. Actually, Cabo de Gata (and the neighboring Desert of Tabernas) has been the backdrop of several noteworthy movies, including “Lawrence of Arabia”, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, “Conan the Barbarian”, “The Empire of the Sun”, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” …

Hiking Cabo de Gata

Talking about Indiana Jones … I am aware that Steven Spielberg filmed in “Playa del Mónsul”, the scene in which Sean Connery (as the father of Indiana Jones) shoot down a Nazi airplane with his umbrella shooing away a flock of seagulls.

Perhaps that is the ideal beach for experimenting risky adventures … Yes! I’ll go there … it must be not far away from here … but wait a moment … I am hearing a noisy motor … A frightening Nazi airplane, perhaps? …

Lonely boat

No, it isn’t! Thanks God it is only a local fishing boat over there …

There are wonderful beaches everywhere in Cabo de Gata …

Cabo de Gata Almería

Gotcha! “Playa del Mónsul! If Steven Spielberg and George Lucas selected this beach for an action scene of Indiana Jones, Covetotop selects this very same beach for his stunning experiment:

Mónsul beach

It is a wonderful and mysterious beach: dark volcanic rocks tumble into a sparkling turquoise sea.

I should carry out my scientific experiment. The sun is high in the sky, but the wind is blowing now. I do not want to freeze before having the chance to swim a little. I’ll be back tomorrow and I’ll do my risky business then, under more peaceful, tranquil, mild conditions ….

Experiment delayed.

Scientific conclusion of Day Two: None.

Day Three.

Oh my! It’s cloudy!

Cloudy morning Almería

Europe’s most arid region and it’s cloudy and windy today!

Savage beach

A cold front is crossing Cabo de Gata this morning.

Wild coast Cabo de Gata

I’d rather hike today …

Hiking route

Nice walk …

Nice walk

This afternoon I am visiting the typical Andalusian village of Mojácar. I will meditate very seriously about my scientific experiment here …

Mojácar Andalusia

Experiment delayed.

Scientific conclusion of Day Three: None.

Day Four.

Back to Indiana Jones’ beach. If the Moon had a beach, it would be like this one.

Indiana Jones' beach

It is a wonderful day: no wind, no waves, and the sun is shining high in the sky …

Playa del Mónsul

As a first step, I set the scientific camp. My top-notch scientific equipment is basically composed by: the towel I bought yesterday in Mojácar, a pair of old Nike shoes, sunscreen cream, a waterproof camera case and a cheap point-and-shoot.

Scientific base

My scientific camp (pic above) will be my reference point when I swim, especially if I am able to come back.

The time is now.

Phase 1: Initializing plunge. The water is very cold. I cannot feel my feet. I hope to survive and to blog about this.

cold beach

Phase 2:

pristine waters Almería

Phase 3:

Mediterranean beach

Experiment done.

Scientific conclusion of Day Four: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH !!!!!!!!!!!!


About Covetotop

A Mediterranean blogger
This entry was posted in Beaches and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to A risky Mediterranean experiment in Cabo de Gata

  1. Love challenging adventures such as this…we should all be so brave!

  2. trishworth says:

    Reading this was the most fun I’ve had all day. You make me 😆

  3. This was great! Glad you did it for all of us…

  4. Haha this was hilarious! I’m surprised you completed your experiment, because I know I wouldn’t have under such conditions. 😉

  5. Eres loco. Soy del sur tambien (de los EEUU jaja) y nunca lo haria!

    • Covetotop says:

      Estoy seguro de que si la ciencia te exigiera un sacrificio, también estarías dispuesta a realizarlo aunque hiciera frío. De todas formas, para ser sincero, y ahora que escribiendo en español poca gente nos entenderá, he de reconocer que el agua no estaba tan fría y que el baño en realidad fue muy agradable. Muchas gracias Emily por seguir aún mi blog, y por comentar en español, lo cual me resulta un gran alivio (fíjate que respuesta tan larga te estoy dando; si estas líneas estuvieran en inglés, me llevaría una hora su redacción) 🙂

      • Jajaja bueno, me alegra saber que tu experimento fue agradable! Que suerte vivir en España y poder nadar en el mar en el invierno. Y no te creo que un párrafo asi en ingles te lleva una hora, tus posts son muchos mas largos y no me imagino que pasas semanas escribiendo un post! Escribes ingles muy bien, no te dudes 🙂

      • Covetotop says:

        Muchas gracias! Por cierto, tu español es “superb” …

  6. harri8here says:

    Brilliant. This is fAbUlous … I laughed a lot, and as usual poured over the photographs.

  7. Brave experiment…. and beautiful pictures, what a lovely place. The last line is a real cliff-hanger! (kind of) 🙂

  8. Great post!, Cabo de Gata Natural Park is the main place of my hiking trails. I hope you’ll enjoy my blog: http://greengeedivan.wordpress.com/
    Thank you!

    • Covetotop says:

      Thank you! I’ve just visited your blog. What can I say about a talented artist’s work? Una maravilla. Y una de las mejores (y más auténticas) guías de Cabo de Gata que he visto.

  9. Pingback: Big Thank Yous! | Daydream Tourist

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