February 11th 2021
Swim Distances over the past 3 nights
Feb 10th 808m + 372m
Feb 9th 1.21km
Feb 8th 1.15km
Feb 7th 1.45km
THANK YOU FOR CONTINUALLY SHARING AND DONATING. Donations now over the £9000 mark!
NOTE - I apologise for not publicising when I am swimming as I know there are people who want to come and support me but we just cant risk it with covid and the regulations. I do post quite a lot on instagram so please follow along there, your support is greatly appreciated. It really spurs me on. I have a couple of people who are extremely experienced emergency responders so know that I am well looked after! I live extremely close (seconds away) to the beach but I cannot ask that any of you come down to support from further afield even though I know some of you reading this would like to and I would like to have you there.
The last few nights have been 'interesting'! The bitter weather and snow has not put me off in fact I look forward to swimming on those nights! To be honest the water is often much warmer than the air and once I am in there its not much different to any other night in terms of temperature. The 8th of Feb was one night for the first time though that I noticed the cold a little more as I swung through each swim stroke, my hands exposed in the late night black air felt the bite. After each swim I usually have to walk the same distance back. That's often way colder. Anyone that has been supporting me has to do this walk twice!
Last nights swim was the most difficult in several weeks. Through a few unplanned events I ended up swimming at Castlerock against a bad current. To an onlooker, the sea looked smooth, glassy even, with a small clean rolling swell. It probably looked quite inviting as the sun set (despite the cold). But these nights are by far the most unpredictable to swim a kilmoter in. The lack of energy in the swell and the overspilling high tide makes for a lack of defined deep water gullys and the water tends to swish around but not in any particular direction for any length of time. I started the swim which was an absolute mission. There were hardly any waves so I had no froth on the surface to light my way then the sniper waves came out of nowhere trying to disrupt my progress. The current was so steady against me that I decided after over 300m to conserve energy, go back ashore and walk to the far end of the beach. Often on nights like this a little fight here and there against currents gets me across a sand bank and into another flow but the overfilled tide was filling any gully to the point it lost all traction. When I next entered the water at the far end of the beach I was faced with another current against me but this time from the east. I had no choice now if wanted to complete this swim but to persevere. I got to it. Front crawl, side stroke and anytime a wave came trying to get ahead of the current for a moment or two. Eventually I swam all the way back to the pier and completed in total over a kilometer. Moral of the story....Still waters run deep!
Please if you are reading these blogs, use what I am doing to stay motivated. Keep active, get outdoors if you can and if you cant, open a window at the very least. The outdoors and exercise are great distractions from the world we are living through at the minute. I found a great resource that I think might be of interest to anyone who for some reason maybe cant get outdoors at the minute. Its called BBC Soundscape and you can listen to all sorts of sounds from the outdoors. Take a listen, it might be of use and or help during these times. https://canvas-story.bbcrewind.co.uk/soundscapesforwellbeing/
Remember to look at yourself and those around you for signs that may be of concern. Here is a link to some of the things to look out for on the AWARE website....
Info - I am swimming a total of 100km through the darkness, in the darkest and coldest months of the year off the North Coast of Ireland. My aim...to inspire those who may be struggling in dark times to keep going. I also aim to raise awareness and funds for the depression Charity Aware. We all face dark times in life at some point and it can be extremely overwhelming.
Safety - Please don't think that because I am doing this that you too should do this or something similar. I am very experienced in the sea with knowledge that is only gained through many years of exposure to the sea in all her moods. I have a safety and location system in place including continual contact with people on land every time I swim.