7-9pm Speckled Door or around Sovereigns
Thereit is tonight’s swim in black and white on my schedule, we meet at Sandycove Island, it is a stormy night with a blustery wind and driving rain, the sea reflects the mood of the current weather it is gnarly and unpredictable looking, we hover around Ned for our meeting…..
We swim up the coast along the cliffs to land pieces out there, there is NO exit, you are responsible for when it is time for you to turn around, we swim in groups and pairs after turning around we ride the current back with the incoming tide, Ned looks up the coast, the landmarks are big, things seem further away than they are, they get big fast, if you can see it you can swim it”
We all scatter to get ready, cap, goggles, ear plugs, grease on and down to the waters edge, I am swimming tonight with Billy, Colm, Carol and Ned, we head down the slip, the air temperature is 14.5 C( 57 ish) the water 11-13 degrees C ( 51.8-55).
No launching off the slipway tonight the tide is low, the Sandycove Island lap is unrecognisable to me yet we manage to slither out through seaweed and rocks and with that take to swimming up the coast adjacent to the cliffs, it is the most breathtaking view yet dark and grim all at the same time, the rugged nature of the cliffs, the height of them fascinates me, all while leaving me with a hollow gnawing feeling inside….NO EXIT POINT. That is a fact, the waves are crashing into the cliff face, to try and exit there would not end well knowing how sharp the rocks are and then if you survived the landing where to go and how would someone get you out, nope firmly ingrained in my mind is ” I am swimming this out”
So we swim, and we swim, I am enjoying the pace and the rhythm, after a while Ned stops, are you good, ” Yes “I reply, we continue, I can start to make out the shape of the land pieces, they look like tall sea versions of sky scrapper jetting up out of the water, perfectly formed and surrounded by the sea, ” I am going to swim to them tonight, must swim to them”, well looks like my brain has decided that we are swimming the whole enchilada tonight….wonder if my body knows that yet?
On we swim, our group has turned around to head back, Ned asks ” time for you to turn around?”, ” not yet, a few more minutes”, I reply doing my best to speak clearly and concisely, we swim on the land pieces are getting larger, any thoughts of how to exit and the return swim are gone I want to see the land pieces, ARE WE THERE YET?
Finally we are, it was worth the effort they are magnificent, so tall, so perfectly formed and what a view from the water. We turn and head for home, swimming with the current is a blast, I feel so fast thanks to the push of the current, back comes the race horse pace and we are off thundering down the coast, I am having FUN, I am getting colder as we swim, I have no choice but to swim with all my might and get back to Sandycove Island FAST, we swim and swim and swim, we come across Colm and the three of us swim together side by side and still I get colder, my feet have lost feeling, that’s OK, I can manage that, my hands claw up, no problem I can manage that but then my speed drops, UH OH, that will take more effort to manage, I pick up my stroke rate, it helps but my arms seem to be spinning there is not as much power in my pull, I stop and look around, ” How far, how far” I repeat it in my head, while I do this I am not swimming, the worst thing I could do, as I am pondering how far I hear a booming voice SWIM, and I put my head down and swim, after a bit I slow again and pick up my head…. ” SWIM, SWIM NOW”, there is that voice again, I obey and put my head down and swim, then I begin to drift away, my mind that is as clear as a bell I hear my son’s voice, he is quoting a line from Family Guy which always makes me laugh ” I might not be able to go to the bathroom by myself but I can STILL DO THAT”, he says it in the funniest voice and pulls a face to match, my frozen jaw gives it’s best impression of a smile…..” Yes I can still do that I can swim home’, with that I hear SWIM, Ned is bellowing loudly at me and I swim and I swim and I swim.
Soon I can see some tiny specks in the distance, THE RED HOUSE, THE RED HOUSE…IF I CAN SEE IT I CAN SWIM IT”, with that I swim with all I’ve got, the Red House does not get bigger as fast as I would like it too, my mind keeps drifting off and I force it back to THE RED HOUSE, there we are in the inlet it must be less than 500 meters, give it your all DO IT!
Little did I know Robbin was up on the cliff watching us, worried of course but also amazed, amazed because we had a guide a big seal was leading us home, guiding us in, Robbin could see him porpoising underneath Ned, Colm and me, sometimes behind us and sometimes right underneath, he helped me back, Ned helped me back, swimming beside Colm helped me and my son Soeren spoke to me out there in those cold evening waters, ” you can still do it Mum” and I did.
Into the car to defrost, Robbin wraps me in blankets, she is soaked from the rain, I thank her for her help in a faint little voice “tank you”, an abbreviated thank you, then Robbin gets her new nickname….amongst my mumbles I say Blobbin Zinzabar, I repeat it many times and we laugh, it sticks.
Off to the apartment to shower and change we are all heading to Craig’s for dinner and then home to catch some zzzz’s to be ready for another Sandycove Island swim at 6am, 10 swims down 6 more to go, how far have I swum in the last 5 days? 55,000 meters
Closing thought: The tougher the job the greater the reward