Sunday July 3rd
Swim # 2
Water Temperature: 13-14 Degrees Celsius
Air Temperature: 16 degrees
Swim Distance: 5.5km ( 5000 meters)
Day 2, swim # 4 of the 9 day Sandycove.Cork.Ireland-Distance Swim Week
The day we arrived seems like a lifetime ago, yet it was only 2 days earlier and now it is time for swim number 4, I have decided to take this one swim at a time, no point in wasting precious energy consuming myself with the thoughts of all that is to come, one swim at a time is digestible.
We meet at supervalu the grocery store in the centre of Kinsale, there are 3 other cars, we load up with gear and swimmer and are off, a 1.5 hour drive to Tragumna, we are swimming point to point, swimmers are to be shuttled to Tragumna, then swim to Lough Ine, where some of the cars will be to greet us.
While were waiting at Supervalu Craig a Kinsale local offered some great advice about what helps him get going in the cold water, he is a native of Tausmania and had recently had a trip back home swimming in warm waters, when he returned he started with 10 minutes in Sandcove, then 15, then 20 etc, he also said, ” Start out easy, pick up pace when you need too, don’t go out gang busters”, I am trying this tonight, now with a goal I am excited to start tonight’s swim, something to focus on and work towards…EXCELLENT
Riding in ” Pooh Bin” with us tonight is Alan Clack, from Montreal, he is booked for the English Channel in September 2012, one month after me, and Wayne from London, he was born in Ireland and is booked for the Channel in September this year and we are delighted to have a native riding with us and ask Wayne to speak Irish, we all try to mimic but repeat in an unrecognisable way.
We arrive, time to strip down, grease on, cap, ear plugs, goggles, I hold on to my towel and Gravis slip on shoes as long as I can. Team meeting, we are swimming in 2 groups tonight, group 1 leaves 10 minutes before group 2, the faster group, within our groups we are partnered up, I am swimming with Owen, he is the most remarkable young man I recall meeting, he is the youngest Irishman to swim the English Channel, along with numerous other amazing swims, he has recently met Queen Elizabeth II, when I asked him about it he replies,” twas a great day for the country, to have the monarchy in Ireland”, he is extremely modest and gives so much, teaching swim lessons, swimming with aspiring channel swimmers and now mentoring another young swimmer, Billy who at 13 is training for his turn to swim the Channel when he turns 16 years old, I feel so fortunate to be paired up with such a capable, experienced swimmer and person, 18 years old and wise well beyond his years.
So we are off, I wade into the water, first task to pee, Ned explained to me earlier that if I don’t pee I will get cold faster as my body will be busy heating the urine in my bladder, that was all I needed to hear, pee gone!
I remember what Craig said,”Start out easy, pick up pace when you need too, don’t go out gang busters”, I relax and stretch it out, Owen is right beside me, ” I am swimming next to a channel swimmer”, I think, ” in Ireland”, Wading in Owen had said ” I might get a bit cold”, I giggle to myself and think “you might get cold all right, I am Popsicle girl, you poor chap I will probably lower the water temperature just by swimming next to you”
We swim out the bay, nine swimmers in our group, Ned stops at a narrow point between the rocks, one swimmer at a time and a Jellie, Ned points it out I submerge but don’t see it, with that I swim on disappointed to miss it, I swim on and then I see a Jellie, then another Jellie, a third, they are fist sized, some bigger, some smaller, oohhh how exciting I’ve been waiting to see Jellies for over a year! We are now out in the open sea, swimming along a rugged coastline, big swells and waves crashing along the coastline……. I notice there is no exit point for me, no turning back to head to shore if the cold engulfs me, I feel Owen beside me, he is my guide, my only choice is to swim strong and fast to keep warm and make for a shorter period of time in the water, I pull harder.
Jellies continue to appear, they bump my head, my hand, they are under me, to the side, it is like driving in a snow storm at night, they seem to be rushing by, I am in star wars, it is an underwater jelly fish light show, an under water symphony, like their positions are all pre rehearsed, it is stunning, beautiful and hypnotizing, then I have a thought…..”I wonder if these ones sting”, I have swum through 100s already and no apparent issue, some are white with pale pinky purple bits.
We are still on the rugged Irish coastline, then we turn in an inlet as we swim along there is a drammatic steep ridgeline to my right, I see it every time I breath to my right, along with Owen by my side, we have a river of sea water now pushing us forwards and we fly, I feel empowered by my surroundings and the company of our group. The water starts to feel warmer and we hit ” The Rapids”, as the land narrows the incoming sea water river runs like rapids, we are kicked out the other side into a shallow open pond of sea water.
Owen stops, we can see the cars ready to greet us, “would you like to hold a jellie?”, I look over and he is holding a big Jell Fish upside down with both hands, I squeal in excitement, ” YES!”, Paul from Kent, shouts, “you alright Dorito?” ( the lads have nick named me Dorito, and given me multiple bags to eat to fatten me up!) Owen passes me the Jellie, it is really heavy, Ican’t believe I am in Ireland, holding a Jelly Fish upside down!. I pass back the Jellie, ( not sure why I didn’t just put it back in the water!!), then Owen dives under and pops back up and says in his Irish accent “would you like to see an oyster?”, the oyster is big, it is AMAZING!
With that we swim in, Robbin is waiting to help me navigate getting clothed, big heavy blanket around me and into the car for hot chocolate and chocolate biscuits and a new favourite after swim snack, Jelly Babies, new YUM YUMS, never would have guessed that one!
Swim Time: One Hour 10 Minutes
We line up the cars and head out one after the other for the 90 minute drive home, fast, on narrow roads,” pooh bin"”, struggles to keep up with the other cars, weaving in and out of the narrow streets, through villages and along the coastline we make it home at 11;30pm, I am depleted, food then into bed, time to get up in 4.5 hours for the next swim, Sandycove Bay, back to the Island that ” chewed me up and spat me out” on my first day, the goal 4 laps tomorrow, will I get them, I’ll keep you posted. Oh and did I get a Jelly Fish sting? Absolutely, on the forearm and I am thrilled with myself, we all stopped at a roadside “chippie”, for fresk ” Fish’n Chips”, there was vinager on the chippie caravan window, it went on my arm, sting gone!