The Great Catalkoy Swim-off!
It's beginning to look a lot like ... Christmas?!
Christmas may be well and truly over, but the spirit of the season is still with us here at H&H! We recieved this fab story from our friends at KAR in Northern Cyprus over the Christmas break, and we just had to share it. Be warned – it's sure to make your toes curl and have you running for a blanket! Brrr!
"Christmas morning 2015 broke with clear blue skies and bright, bright sunshine. All across the TRNC (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus) 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 Mayors 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 towards that all important 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 – to the cold December sea. There was much merriment and laughter from the spectators and supporters (their sadistic tendencies begining to emerge), who stood around in their warm fleeces, trousers and dry clothes and watched, encouraging the swimmers to stay in longer. Before hypothermia set in and parts turned blue, the intrepid 24 began to emerge from the freezing sea. They were greeted with cheers, 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 Christmas 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 Christmas crowd began to leave amid calls of “See you next year” and “I’ll do it next time.” – The Great Catalkoy Swim-Off had come to a close.
"Beforehand, on the day and afterwards, questions were often asked of the event’s organiser, Barbara
Fursman, and the swimmers: “Why do you do it?” “Was it worth it?” “What is the point?” Well, just maybe The Great Catalkoy Swim-Off (and 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 certainly achieved all that, culminating in an amazing present of 13,011.00TL, shared between three charities: KAR, NCCT 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
Christmas in 2016!"