Before breakfast we had our ususal early morning swim. This event was a simple team relay race just for fun, nobody was keeping time. Only difference was that we all had to swim in hooded clothes with the hood up. Any outfit was fine, as long as it had a hood and long bottoms.
Team leaders did not race but could be thrown into the pool after the race, if their team felt that way. I was sure they'll push me in, so I dressed in my comfy staff uniform, red heavy jogging pants, yellow polo shirt and oversized hoodie.
As I reached the poolside I put my hood up to show team spirit.
They were all buzzing with excitement,
helping each other with their hoods.
Good fit was essential,
or the hood would cover the face.
Each team had four swimmers. At exactly seven o'clock the first race took off. As they dived into the pool in their tracksuits, a few hoods flipped back and those swimmers had to get out, put them back up, and start again.
During the race it would show how skillful the teams were when selecting their clothes.
If the hood fitted like a glove, they had a good chance of winning.
If it was too big they could barely see where they were going as the hoods went over their eyes.
This entertained the swimmers no end.
Some went round in circles with the hood covering their face.
The suspense was intense because I wasn't sure if I would get pushed into the pool. My clothes were still dry, except for some splashes from my team. I was getting a bit hot in my hooded jogging suit, so I sat down and dangled my feet in the pool, soaking my socks and shoes, and my pants up to the knees. Then I splashed some water over my hoodie, just to look the part.
The teams had a great time swimming up and down, or across, or in circles. They made up a new rule: If you bump into people you have to kiss them. That turned out to be hilarious.
Eventually Andy's team won the race. Being a keen hoodie swimmer, he probably taught his team how to best swim in a hooded top.
After the race all the teams grabbed their leaders and pushed them into the pool. Before I knew what hit me I found myself floating in my comfy clothes.
We splashed around for a while in the pool
and then enjoyed a healthy breakfast in the poolside restaurant
while the water ran out of our wet clothes.
Hoods had to stay up the whole time to get us used to wearing them out in the wet and wild.
It was a bright sunny morning when we headed for the beach. Joey reminded us to bring two or three sets of clothes and some windproof kit. We packed some extra gear into the minibus, like bodyboards, surfboards, and two surf kayaks. For the lunch picnic we packed lots of yummy snacks.
As the minibus rolled down the winding road to the coast we chatted about what fun we could have in the sea.
"I wonder what it's like to wear a hoodie and jogging pants in the sea," mused Andy.
"You'll soon find out," laughed Tim, who also was a fanatic hoodie swimmer.
We pulled into a car park right above the beach, grabbed our beach toys and ran for the water. There was no time to waste getting changed, we just hopped into the surf in the clothes we had on. We just didn't care.
It was good that we had learned earlier to pick well fitting clothes for each activity. On the beach and in the sea we stayed fairly warm and avoided windchill, but were free to move and have a great time.
"So, how do you like surf swimming in your hoodie?" I asked Andy.
"It's awesome," he replied with a big smile, "feels good, but is hard work."
We splashed around a lot, caught some waves on the surfboards, and rolled the kayaks. Everybody had a blast.
At noon we went back onto the beach for lunch. We all changed into dry clothes, like jogging suits, and huddled around the lunch box while some big rain clouds build up above.
After lunch we snuggled up for a little nap on the beach. Soon we were woken up by a heavy downpour and we were soaked to the skin. That could only mean one thing: Time for another swim.
We put on our rain clothes to keep warm and went back into the sea.
Swimming in the rain is a beautiful experience, especially when you're dressed warm enough.
Surfing in these heavy clothes didn't work out so well, but messing around in boats was great.
After an hour of serious wet fun we got out, changed into dry clothes and headed back to base. Most of us got a bit cold over time, but had enjoyed themselves big time.
"That was great fun, but I can't wait to get back into the warm pool hall," said Tim with a shiver.
On arrival we quickly unloaded the minibus and went for the hot showers by the pool. We felt so cold that we didn't waste time to take our clothes off, just went right under the hot showers. What a relief to get warm again, feel the hot water soak into our kit.
Finally we jumped into the pool, still wearing all our wet clothes, except the outdoor shoes.
Tonight's party had a tropical holiday theme. We dressed in comfy sportswear and went downstairs. From the pool hall we could hear some loud island music. This was going to be good.
As we got there it was pouring with rain in the hall. Someone had turned the sprinkler system on full. WHAT !?!
We stood by the door, speechless. The group of Thai students arrived and went in without hesitation, getting immediately soaked by the rain. "It's just like home," they said with big smiles.
The food on the buffet was kept dry by a roof cover made from ponchos. The rain running off this contraption formed a curtain of water around the buffet.
"Let's go for the buffet," said Andy and we quickly marched in. As we got there fast we only got soaked on our heads and shoulders. Some water seeped into our shirts.
The food looked delicious. We tucked right in before it got too busy.
More people arrived, getting drenched quickly as they walked to the buffet. Some had come in their ponchos, others stood under the water gushing from the food stall's roof, enjoying a good soaking in their clothes. They picked up some food and settled under the sun umbrellas or on poolside.
We left the shelter of the buffet to get an inflatable boat and float through the warm rain. Before we found one we were soaked to the skin.
The four of us poured into the boat, somewhat overloading it. As Andy pushed us off the edge we zoomed towards the middle of the pool and promptly lost our balance. With a big splash we all fell into the pool.
We climbed back in and sat down while the tropical downpour filled up the boat. The boat was deeper in the water at my end. Soon my white jeans were submerged by the water inside. Giovanni knew what was coming. He stepped my way and the boat flipped over again.
Alex turned down the sprinkler a bit to a light rain. That felt pleasant.
Many of the guests went to the drying room to get ponchos or anoraks,
and settled by the poolside to watch the rain run down their waterproof clothes.
Some relaxed in the shallow end, watching their baggy rain clothes float around them.
We picked some oversized hoodies and sat by the poolside in the light rain. There were chairs on artificial grass by some palm trees. It was nice to watch how the hoodies slowly got darker from the top down while we talked about the wet adventures of this week.
After about an hour of everyone chatting in the rain, having a good time, Alex turned up the music and the rain. Lights came on over the dance floor. The party was about to start.
Dancing in the rain wearing oversized hoodies was huge fun.
The dancefloor was packed with wet people, many holding on to each other.
We danced in the rain until the late hours, occasionally taking a fully clothed swim to cool off.
Giovanni and I drifted in the pool on a large air bed, getting to know each other better in the pouring rain.
What a party!