Swim Start Time 5:49am
January 2 2021
Charity AWARE NI
Swim Distance 1.31km
All that snow you lot have been playing in up the hills must have made its way to the mouth of the bann cos this morning was much colder than the last swim! My hands are big enough as it is but the cold made them swell like sausages this morning for the first time this winter.
The north wind has been plaguing the north coast for the past few days and if you have been reading my previous posts you will know I prefer not to swim in that wind cos it tends to bring river water and all sorts with it. There was to be a slight change in wind direction this morning for a few hours so I decided to swim in the hope that any dirty water from the river might be pushed east before the wind veered more north later.
Steel grey sea and a bitter wind greeted me as I entered the water at about 549am. I was clad in 6mm of rubber ready to swim to the west. The waves were small and considering it was locally generated wind swell, the lines of whitewater were well spaced and organised close to shore which makes my job easier! The moon was high in the sky peaking through gaps in the cloud blowing across its view. One minute it was like a huge spot light was shining down on me, the next a cloud would cast a shadow over me.
I know I say this all the time but there is something about the darkness being freeing. It shouldn't be, I suppose, as one of the senses is impaired. It is never pitch black by the way, there is always streaks of white left from waves that cross my path that help guide me and I always know precisely where I am despite it being dark. I use distinctive peaks in the sand dunes and a church spire, among other things, that all break the sky line to gauge my position at all times.
Yesterday I saw lots of cold water dippers in the sea during the day. I've swam, surfed, supped and everything in between at this beach since I was born and I've never seen so many people use the sea as over the past 10 or 12 months. Lots of people are getting all sorts of benefits from being outdoors and in particular in the sea. I know a few frontliners that literally leave work and get to the sea, some to surf but others to cold water dip. The sea and the outdoors in general seem to have become a lot of peoples saviour during the past year.
Thank you for reading this far! Please if you have a few spare quid use it to help the charity AWARE NI via the link here.... A massive thank you to the few of you who have donated so far! I cant reply to you on the justgiving site but know that your words and the money for charity are greatly appreciated. I know how hard it is for everyone at the minute and to find something to donate is a great and kind thing thank you! https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/al-mennie
More north wind is forecast but I will find a window of opportunity and take it.
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 NI. 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.