Monday, 18 July 2011

Best Intentions

Just returned from a gentle swim at Seaton with Joe, in the water for 9:30am with the plan of an easy hour, just to stretch off and assess. The normal build up of grease and walk into the sea, it rarely feels warm, infact it actually felt cold today until we got on with it. High tide had been and gone so the normal northerly route was a ‘no go’ due to exposed rocks and other risks, we stood in chest depth water deciding our destination when up popped our friend Sammy Seal! Great…I really did not want to have a meeting with him and his presence always put me on edge. Once upon a time I would have exited the water at this point, today we decided to ignore him making our way out to sea towards the dreaded buoy…

Around 15 minutes later the big orange buoy came into view (you will recall it is easily visible from the car park, however it gets lost in the swell when at swimmers eye level) Joe had the bright idea that we should circle the buoy before heading closer to shore. Off he went…I had no opportunity to complain. A quick sprint and I was level with him, I could sense that Joe was pushing the pace, I didn’t want to push too hard as my neck and back are far from 100%, a few minutes later we had rounded the buoy and were heading back towards shore, a little spooked but very safe…phew!
The surface temperature was a little higher in the deeper water, with the days average being  59f /15c which was comfortable enough after 5 minutes or so, the cooler patches were a bit of shock to the system but I was inwardly hoping the cold would be of benefit  to my injury. A few stops later and the hour was up.
Swimming through the surf we were soon in shallow enough water to walk the last few metres. Then, to our surprise we noticed two uniformed Police Officers making rapid progress in our direction, what had we done now?, we chatted between ourselves, we hadn’t done anything wrong, so continued heading for the dry bag further up the beach.
Before we got there we were stopped and spoken to by the ‘bobbys’  it turns out that a local workman had called the police, explaining he had seen two swimmers heading out to sea but they could  no longer be seen, it was genuine concern for our safety so we should be grateful, the fact that the police helicopter was on standby is a bit more worrying,  but we cant exactly call the police everytime we go for a swim can we?, it’s a different matter when the lifeguards are in attendance who we always brief on our intentions.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Friday, 8 July 2011

Buoy oh Buoy

It was all going so well...Joe Hunter and I had been continuing our build up to the cold water, so that 90 minutes in 12C was becoming the norm.We stepped up to the 2 hour mark with little consequence, other than the odd sighting of jellyfish well below as we swam out to the dreaded buoy (which marks the edge of the shipping channel on the approach to the River Tees)...

I'm not entirely certain of the distance from shore to the big orange buoy, its difficult to estimate at the best of times, let alone when the conditions are so swelly that it cannot be seen even from the car park which is on slightly higher land. I was a little freaked out by the jellys in all manner of shape size and colour, probably as a result of never seeing anything but the familiar green murk. The conditions at Seaton Carew generally don't allow a swimmer to see beyond the length of an arm, never mind into the deep.
With the 2hour swim nailed midweek, last Saturday we arranged to meet with the plan of upping the effort to 3 hours, the sun was shining it was a beautiful day, however on arrival Joe was already in the water. I was surprised to see lots of breaking waves crashing onto the beach. We had previously agreed to do the 3 hours providing we fed every 60 minutes. After a ten minute battle to get beyond the breakers, I swam North in the large swells trying to locate Joe, I had kind of given up when he appeared on the crest of a swell. "Fancy meeting you here"

The swim was fairly uneventful, we swam hard against the swell and scared ourselves (well me anyway) at our distance from the safety of land, I was a bit concerned to find we had swam out to the buoys AGAIN despite my wishes against doing so! The second feed soon came around, we were greeted by KGB who had turned up out of the blue to offer a timely kick in the rear, the last hour was easier mentally, knowing we were going to reach the target time.

The sun was so hot that there was no warming up or shivers to be laughed at, in fact I set off home bare chested in my shorts. Ten minutes later it all went wrong....., waiting at a roundabout for a safe exit, my car was rear ended by another vehicle, to cut a long story short, I have been unable to sleep very well or train all week. The only saving grace is that I have been doing classroom course work at the University so there has been no requirement to take sick leave. The ice, painkillers and NSAIDs are slowly doing their thing,  feeling very frustrated and hoping to return to the water soon, who knows the cold may even help, providing I can turn to breathe.