Orange hat ladies, Isle of Wight, sea swimming

Autumn wobbles

It’s not too hard swimming at dawn these days … well obviously it actually is as getting up and getting straight into cool sea water first thing in the morning is never that easy. When the alarm goes off and the dulcet tones of the R4 Today programme begin to filter in my ears but the light seems just a bit too dull to enthuse a bounce out of bed, there’s an enormous temptation to just turn over and snuggle in. But the reality of swimming first thing does in fact, have many positives. Not least, as Karen is apt to point out, you get it ‘done’ and out of the way immediately. Whilst we do enjoy daily dipping it can sometimes be a problem when trying to juggle real life alongside the times of high water (see the Clockwork Oranges blog for more thought on this), so getting in the water early morning helps frame the day ahead. Well that’s what I’m trying to convince my still slightly reticent swim buddy of as we head towards another winter and the temperatures are falling.

The ‘good’ news is that now we’re past the autumn equinox the chance of catching dawn in its full glory is getting more and more accessible without us having to get up at stupid o’clock. Today, Saturday 16th October the sun rises at 0729 in Cowes so it’s not too much of a stretch to get up and play, especially when we’ve had such beautiful, sunny weather this week. I should point out that with the clocks going back at the end of the month the latest it’s really going to get for a dawn swim here on the Island is just gone 0800 in late December, so this is almost as good as it gets for sleeping in vs dawn swimming.

Orange hat ladies, Isle of Wight, sea swimming

So yes, the blue skies and sneaking sunshine has been great this week although the water temperature has definitely begun to drop…. and with it so has our belief that we can get through another winter of sea swimming. Karen and I have been trying to buoy one another up taking turns talking of how we can start wearing gloves and socks etc, about flasks of tea, and each wondering where our woolly hats have been stashed away over the heady days of a busy summer. But we have to admit that we’ve been feeling a little lack lustre and reserved about the dropping temperatures. Hopefully we’re not alone in this apprehension, despite my insistence that there is actually something quite ‘nice’ about it being cold?!

And then we remembered – what we needed was a bit of Fiona fun. On a rather glorious, sunny Wednesday morning we took to the water with a spring in our front crawl. Karen precariously encased her phone in a waterproof holder and we filmed ourselves frolicking and generally pratting about. I’m pleased to say that we did swim properly for a while but mainly we splashed, floated and dived. Karen even managed to FaceTime her daughter in Malta from the water to share the moment ha ha. We had found our smiles again. What we realise is that we had forgotten that this is meant to be fun, that we can laugh and giggle and it absolutely doesn’t matter who’s watching us. There are notably some swimmers who are much more serious than us but if there’s one thing everyone has hopefully learnt from the pandemic these past couple of years is that life is short … and as such having a giggle with your friend brought on by cold water immersion should be celebrated alongside all the other things that can bring a smile to your face.

Embrace your Fiona moments for they are to be treasured!

Orange hat ladies, Isle of Wight, sea swimming
Orange hat ladies, Isle of Wight, sea swimming

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