sea swimming, orange hat ladies, wild swimming, swimming women, isle of wight, outdoor swimming

Warmer Waters…no really!

Finally! Yes, the weather is beginning to improve and the water temperature is securely in double figures (just over 12C so positively luke warm!). But quite frankly it couldn’t have been much worse recently could it? We’ve struggled these last few weeks with extreme winds, lashing rain and continuing low temperatures. Karen and I have persevered in getting in the water but disappointed not to be able to swim too far due to the turbulence, or the cold or… perhaps a general lack of oomph that we had anticipated washing over us come late Spring. But we’ve stuck at it and bobbed around in unseasonably poor weather and giggled in clumps of washed up seaweed – although why we’re not quite sure!

The dreary, chilly weather has also meant that those walkers braving a jaunt along the seafront, still in scarves, hats and cold weather winces have continued to comment ‘how brave’ we are swimming. As we often retort – “maybe stupid rather than brave!” Hilariously people do love to talk about how cold the sea is just at the moment that you’ve gotten out of the water and begun to have a chill running through you. So many want to stand and natter at the exact moment you are aiming to wrap yourself in a towel and a robe. But we do feel that sharing a chat and a laugh is a real plus of daily swims and consider it a perk of sea swimming.

It’s wonderful how friendly everyone is, especially those that we see regularly. We don’t of course ever know everyone’s name (or more likely we’ve forgotten them) but it doesn’t seem to matter. There are the dog walkers and the strollers, the bike riders and the runners, and of course the other swimmers. There is such a sense of mutual enjoyment, a camaraderie and togetherness, shared next to an ever changing seascape. There’s perhaps been more of sense of collectiveness during the pandemic when people are unsure of connections and feel pleased to be able to share a short moment with someone in amongst periods of separation. Let’s hope that this continues as we move forward.

It’s a regular discussion with those passing that they’d “love to go in but… (fill in a suitable reason)” and hope to “start soon”. We often suggest that they can join us if they like but the offer isn’t generally taken up. But now that the warmer weather is starting hopefully many more will want to try a dip. Over the year it’s been wonderful when we’ve seen people swimming who say “We saw you two going in and thought well, if they can do it then we can too” ….which we think is a compliment?!

It’s free, it’s local and it can make you feel great… and you don’t have to wear an orange hat to enjoy. There’s a beautiful energy and reassurance about people coming together through the mutual enjoyment of the sea. As we each start to hopefully climb out of the pandemic, now just might be the moment to give sea swimming a go?

karen mead, orange hat ladies, sea swimming, wild swimming, swim blog

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