Day 2/ Swim 2: Lough Ine
Back into the car, a 1.5 hour drive and we arrive at the finish point of our upcoming swim, a brief meeting then we all jam into a handful of cars and head off to our starting location, Robbin drives us over, we arrive at a lovely sandy beach equipment with facilities and a lifeguard station, very nice. We arrive just in time to hear Ned approach the lifeguard, ” just want to let you know that last time we came to this beach we lost 60 swimmers, you are about to lose 50″, Ned says with a grin like a Cheshire cat, the lifeguard looks a little stunned, here is his station….
We all go about getting ready for the swim, along with visiting fellow swimmers, I am excited to finally meet a swimmer whose first name is Brynn, he has an August 8th – 16th tide also this year, this is us ready to swim……
We break into 3 groups, the slower swimmers leave 7 minutes ahead, then group 2, finally 2 minutes laater group one, I am in group one with 7 other swimmers, here we are ready to enter the water……
I am excited to swim this point to point swim, the rain drys up and the sun starts to shine, we are off, I wade out with my elbows lifted up high out of the water, what a skirt! My Irish swim buddy Colm, ploughs in splashing us all like it is a hot summers day….in Florida perhaps, not in Ireland.
Now to the task at hand, swimming out of the bay into the open ocean, along the coast then cutting into Lough Ine and riding the river rapids back to the finish location, sound exciting? It is .
Out the bay we go, I pull alongside Colm, he swims with long efficient strokes, every now and then he rolls onto his back for 5-10 strokes of backstroke checking in on the rest of the group. The water feels great, a few hundred meters out I start to see the odd Jelly below, the water temperature plummets and the jellyfish numbers flourish, we swim on.
There are hundreds of Jellyfish, they vary in size from that of a grapefruit to a small melon, they are white, some have a purple ring around them, they bounce off my feet, my arms, my head, I enter my arm, drop my hand and forearm to catch the water, I catch a Jellyfish, this way and that they bounce off me, I feel like I am in a Jellyfish Pin Ball game, I laugh as 2 bounce off my nose, ” I am a Jellyfish pinball wizard just for a moment”, I think with a smirk, ” how mesmerizing they are, elegantly flowing up and down, this way and that” I think in wonderment. Finally we make it out of the bay and in to the wide ocean, the swell picks up, each swell lifts us and the Jellies up and tosses us to the side, I feel like I am Jelly surfing, I am having fun.
We pull up to regroup, sight the turn off and swim towards it, only we don’t swim towards it, Colm, Barbara and I head further out to sea, after a bit we stop and see how far out we are, a shout from the kayaker to come closer and we swim in towards the inlet. It is a strange swim in that there are tremendously cold patches and then warmer spots.
Into the river mouth we go, the scenery is stunning, rugged rock cliffs to my right, a beautiful ridge of trees to my left, I am ready for the river rapids and dig a bit deeper as the river narrows, then all I can see is the aquatic plants and rocks whizzing by beneath me, I feel like I am flying, Colm is right beside me, we hit the rapids and drop into the lake like pond on the other side. ” 500 meters to shore sprint”, says Colm, I am grateful for the prompt and off we sprint, my heart pumps, my breathing gets heavier, my stroke rate builds, I lift my head, still a ways to go, down goes the head and I push on, Colm, edges forwards, I push harder, finally I can see the bottom getting shallow, I look over to see 4 Fly strokes, Colm is ripping out some Butterfly for the last stretch, what a character, I stick with my Freestyle and we both pull up, fist pump, DONE!
Next up dry off, cozy clothes on and wait for this one from my brilliant sister Robbin….Hot Chocolate with Jelly Babies in the bottom of the cup YUM, well worth 4km in 51-53 degree water. We drop some other swimmers back to their cars and start the journey home, with a pit stop that I have been looking forward to, Fish’n Chips from a roadside stand, YUM. They only taste good to me in Ireland, so this is my first Chips since July 2011. Here is me warming up….. I know, I look a little pale after the swim……
So did I get a sting? Yip, on the back of the Neck
What’s up next? In bed by 1:00am, alarm set for 5:00am to get ready for a 6:00am Sandy Cove Island swim
Will Sandycove remind me who is boss? I’ll keep you posted
You have to be in the fight to finish