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Shipwrecks & Christmas Trees

December 16th 2023

Causeway Coast

Charity AWARE

Swim Distance 1.86km

Air temp mild

December 17th 2023

Causeway Coast

Charity AWARE

Swim Distance 2.12km

Air temp mild, sea chaotic

December 18th 2023

Causeway Coast

Charity AWARE

Swim Distance 1.93km

Air temp mild, sea chaotic

I apologise for skipping a few days of writing this. To be honest I've struggled to find the time.

On day three of Swim Through Darkness, a 30 foot fishing boat was lost to the sea in heavy freezing sea fog. The crew were rescued. The next day part of a ships wheel house washed up. I didn't really connect the dots right away but then I realsied it might be part of the boat. So, since I began this years campaign, I've been swimming with the concern in mind that more of the boat might appear in the dark one night. And, a few nights ago that happened. Thankfully the piece was in the shallows and I didnt swim into it. Since then more of what appears to be from the same boat has also washed up including the bow (and a xmas tree). In the water ive felt a few things including a section of what I think was net. So, ive been concerned to say the least especially on the extremely wild nights.

Yesterday I spoke to eveyone involved and we discussed postponing, moving location or altering the challenge. We do have some back up locations for me to swim but they involve more time and in my own personal opinion they have far more risks to my safety than the remote potential that more boat might wash in and hit me.

So, we decided to stick to the plan and get more safety gear on me incase. I weighed up the risks, adapted slightly and the plan was to keep swimming...yes keep swimming like im always banging on about.

I was extremely uncertain last night when I waded out into the surf. The horizon was clear but I could see heavy blackness out to the west and so I knew before long the headland would be obscured by dark weather. I relunctantly lay into the water and began to side stroke out into the surf. My eyes were on stalks, not the way I like to swim in the dark but it felt completely necessary.

As I swam I realised that the fear is once again in my mind and I needed to accept the situation and keep swimming. There was no point in half assing this, it simply isnt possible. So I committed and I swam harder believing that the sea would show me what i needed to see, when i needed to see it. In the end I had to swim the entire beach and at the end I turned because the currents and the surf were clashing in wild chaos.

I was proud of myself when I came in from the surf having swam another couple of km. I now face another 16 or so km and what appears to be the first proper winter storm, 6 days of raging westerlies. I'm thankful for this wild weather, it helps me progress and it makes me feel more at ease knowing that the sea is wearing its heart on its sleeve. I do not like the murky dark mysterious nights when I'm constantly wondering what may or may not be coming. The wildness shows itself to me, I like that and I find it much more comforting.

So, I hope I can keep this going until I hit the 50km. I will still be slightly nervous but I hope things will be better for me swimming in the dark raging north atlantic surf than if i was to stop.


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