KAR and the Great Catalkoy Swim Off
By Kim Betts…….
Kyrenia Animal Rescue……
Christmas morning 2015 broke with clear blue skies and bright bright sunshine. All across the TRNC many people were indoors in their onesies opening their pressies and munching on goodies. But many others were donning Lycra, funny hats or shorts (but not a thong in sight) and getting ready… ready for The Great Catalkoy Swim Off.
Down at Shayna Beach the restaurant staff were getting prepared for the onslaught- the ovens were lit and the tea was brewing.
Soon spectators and supporters (sadistic tendencies in both surely) began to arrive. Celebrities (such as the Catalkoy Mayor’s assistant, one of Santa’s elves and even Santa’s cousins) could be seen mingling (or hiding) amongst the crowd.
Excitement (and dread!) could be felt in the air as the clock ticked ….ticked towards that all important hour.
The crowd gravitated towards the beach … and parted to open a way through to the sea.
Tick tock, tick tock — 11 o’clock —– and suddenly The Great Catalkoy Swim was Off. Forward the swimmers plunged, all 24 of them, and with a splish, splash, splosh they were in – amidst screams and expletives – into the cold cold December sea. There was much merriment and laughter from the spectators and supporters (the sadistic tendencies began to emerge) who stood around in their warm fleeces, trousers and dry clothes and watched …..and encouraged the swimmers to stay in longer.
Before the hypothermia set in, and parts turned blue, the intrepid 24 began to emerge from the cold cold sea.
They were greeted with cheers and warm dry towels and slaps on the back (to warm them up of course). Once the shivering had stopped and the swimmers had adorned more suitable attire it was off up the stairs for hot drinks and a hearty Xmas morning breakfast in the restaurant. All around the Shayna Beach Club restaurant tales of heroics (and much laughter) could be heard.
After being fed and watered (no sea water this time) the Xmas crowd began to leave – amid calls of “See you next year “and many “I’ll do it next time” – The Great Catalkoy Swim Off came to a close.
Often, beforehand, on the day and afterwards, questions were asked of the organiser (Barbara Fursman) and swimmers “Why do you do it?” “Was it worth it?” “What is the point?”
Well just maybe The Great Catalkoy Swim Off (its participants and sponsors) is a true reflection of the spirit of Christmas – it is about people sharing time together, having fun, enjoying the day and giving presents.
It has certainly achieved all of that …. and culminated with an amazing present of 13,011.00TL to 3 Charities (KAR, NCCCT, and Karakum Special Needs School receiving 4,337.00TL each).
From all at KAR we thank The Great Catalkoy Swim Off and look forward to wishing them a Happy Xmas for 2016!