Halloween Swims (sort of)

It is strange not to be swimming quite so much. And really only for enjoyment. 

I arranged to meet Claire and Ali at the lake. So I was really pleased to find that Sam was also there. Ali decided to come for the social only and planned to arrive around 12.30. So Sam, Claire and I having arrived at 11.30 decided to get on with it. 

Well get on with it might be overstating the point. But we decided to swim so that when Ali arrived she would not be waiting too long for us to finish our swim. 

The temperature was recorded at 13.9. so it was significantly cooler than the previous week when it was around 16. (Believe me 2 degrees makes a difference at these temperatures).

We were ready to swim. It was warmer in than out as the thermometer on my car read 12 degrees. But as we were about to get in the sun came out. Lovely. 

Claire claimed the water was toasty. She commented that she had admired Heather and Julie’s approach the previous week (for the naked swim) when they had just gone for it.  I followed her in and I made a leap for it and immediately submerged. (Not wanting to be out done by Heather and Julie – not that I am competitive. Oh no!)

Sam made a hesitant entrance. She was finding it cold as well she would as she had not been swimming for weeks. Claire said that she would like to swim a lap. Sam decided that as she was not as acclimatised as us she would try a 400m. I nearly persuaded her to come with us.  But when she said she would have hot drinks for us when we got out, I thought better of it. 

Claire set of at pace. I cannot keep up with her these days. At least not to begin with. And to be honest, even later I would have a job on. Perhaps after about two hours  I could. (As I said, I am not competitive)

The sun was on our backs and the water felt lovely. I would say it was a bit warmer than 13.9 – perhaps about 15? But that may have just been the sun.

When we finished Ali was waiting for us. Sam had let us down with the drinks as she was still getting dry. You just cannot get the swim buddies these days. 

It was great to see Ali, whom I have missed this year. Due to her injury she has not been able to swim as much as she would like. And certainly not as much as I would like. We bullied her into saying that she will see her GP but I think she only agreed to shut us up!

 

sociable

 

It was good to be together. We reminisced about brutal Wednesdays and Saturdays. Especially the food on the Saturdays (courtesy of Miche’s Bistro – she makes marvellous meatballs.)

It was beautiful to sit in the sun and not feel cold after a swim in late October. We all supposed this was the last time we would be able to do it as the nights are drawing in and there is a nip in the air.

 

Sunday saw me meeting Victoria at 8am for an early morning dip. The tide was out and on its way in so we decided to swim to the bouy. We had tagged it with a sticker a few weeks before and wanted to go see if it was still there.

 

early start

 

It was a beautiful day and France was as clear as it as ever been. “it doesn’t look far” quipped Victoria, “22 miles” I replied. We decided not to swim to France just then though as Victoria had visitors for lunch and we did not think we would be back in time. 

Getting in with Victoria is always an event. She suffers from cold water tourettes and makes the most amazing noises as she gets in. But, for all her fuss, she invariably does get in. And then swims brilliantly.

It was Victoria who coined the phrase “flap attack” which I shall leave to the readers imagination. Suffice it to say, it has little to do with sharks. 

We swam to the bouy. It was quite breezy and the waves were brilliant. Victoria swallowed a few mouthfuls on the way but this did not put her of her stroke at all. We were disappointed to see that the vinyl tag and been washed away. There were the remnants of the paper sticker from several weeks earlier though.

 

we tagged the bouy.

Our plan was to swim into the waves toward the harbour wall. We used a crane as a sighting point and had a great swim into the waves. It was odd as on one hand the waves were against us but it did not seem too hard to swim. The tide was on its way in so was probably helping us toward the harbour.

The harbour wall is really tall. Particularly when you are lying down. I would think it was about the height of a house. The hover craft used to leave from Folkestone. For some reason (and not just because it is close to Halloween) the wall is really spooky. It provided protection from the wind so there were no waves but this just serves to make it spookier. We dared each other to touch the wall. Then laughed (hysterically) as we did not know what we were scared of. “I don’t think there is anything that an suck you under”. We laughed again even more hysterically. And then decided it was only a wall. 

 

spooky swim

I swam toward it and paused every so often. But then decided to go for it and I swam and touched the wall. Victoria swam behind me and aimed for the bit I had touched. We then had a look around. There is an installation that looks like something from war of the worlds. Then between two walls we could see the light house. We determined that one of these days we would swim through the gap. We thought it would be a good Coldwater Culture adventure. But not in winter when you are not only rigid with fear, but also rigid with cold!  Perhaps Kaz could kayak through with us I though to myself. I did not say this out loud though. 

 

me and the lighthouse

We then swam back to shore. We had been out for around an hour. The tide had passed the harbour (although it was not yet deep enough for boats to come and go) so we had timed it beautifully. 

Victoria decided that she would get a longer rope for her camera. I tried to take a picture of her but the reach was not quite right and the picture was a bit rubbish. Not known for my photography skills, I am not sure that a longer rope would have helped to be honest!

It was a bit chilly when we got out but not really cold. I had forgotten my shoes so had to walk back to my car in my swimming shoes. In Summer this is ok, but as it gets colder this a rookie mistake (and not one I will be making again). That said, it was mild enough not to be an issue today.

The sea was around 15 degrees. The air temperature was around 12 when we started but about 14 when we finished. So still quite mild. At least when you have your clothes on. 

With a promise that I would check the tides for next week, we went our separate ways. Both of us were probably hoping that the mild weather would remain so that we could avoid the shivers for a few more weeks. 

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