So…it turns out that it really is never too late to start something new.
Despite enjoying the occasional dip in my local pool, I’ve always shied away from joining the open water brigade. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve admired (from afar) the bravery of the people who are prepared to take the plunge in all weathers and conditions, but I’ve always thought it is just too cold for me and deep down I still harbour the fear of a large great white making an appearance.
However, recent events have changed all of that. Not least of which has been a house move to Devon coupled with my daughters’ encouragement to “just give it a go mum…jaws doesn’t live in Devon, anyway”. So, earlier this week I donned my brand-new neoprene wetsuit, fluorescent tow float, ear plugs and, of course, one of my Scorpia swim caps (N.B. Terra!) and went with Rachel to go for my first official sea swim at one of our local beaches (shoutout to Goodrington Sands)!
The weather wasn’t particularly great – none of the scorching heat we’ve had in recent weeks – but the sun did come out as we stepped onto the sand and headed for the waves. I felt sure that this was a good omen and, I have to say, I felt quite the part in my new gear (even if I didn’t have any idea!).
I was used to having all manner of paraphernalia with me on a trip to the beach, so it was strangely liberating to be able to stow all of our essentials (flip flops, car keys) in a dry bag around Rachel’s waist.
Entering the water, it wasn’t anywhere near as cold as I’d imagined on my toes and, of course, my new wetsuit meant that the usual biting cold of the sea was avoided…result!
I’m not exactly a fast swimmer but it seemed we very quickly left the hubbub of the beach, and as Rachel swam ahead I decided to lie back and enjoy a moment of pure solitude.
I felt privileged to see the coastline from a completely different angle. I took a deep breath and gazed up at the sky, at the same time discovering that tow floats double up as superb pillows (that tip’s for free!).
In all, we were in the water for about 45 minutes. Although a good portion of that time was spent lying on my back and admiring my little painted piggies, I was absolutely knackered by the time we left the water and peeling off my wetsuit just about finished me off!
The whole experience was totally new and utterly exhilarating. Am I going to do it again? YOU BET. I might even try and do a bit more swimming next time!