On a couple of evenings, most weeks during the summer, I go for a swim in the sea.
The first foray into the water in early June after the winter and spring layoff always comes as a shock to the system. No matter how many times I return after the break, the anticipation of the cold sea usually makes me hover at the water’s edge for a few moments, waiting for other swimmers to climb up the ladder to my launching spot to reassure me. ‘It’s just beautiful’, is the standard reply I get when I enquire about the temperature from from the hardy all year round swimmers. It’s all part of the ritual.
I usually jump straight in from the lower levels of a diving tower in Salthill known as Blackrock, so I can avoid the unpleasantness of having to immerse myself more slowly via the adjacent gently sloping beach.
The sudden cold shock of the water and the initial panic I feel as I look down into the unknown of the dark bottomless ocean, usually make me want to get straight back out again. But there are people watching and because of a little manly pride, I usually resist the temptation to escape and so I start swimming. After an initial burst fast strokes to warm up, the water no longer feels cold and within a few minutes I’m feeling good, into my rhythm and calmly pulling myself through the water a few hundred metres out to sea. Before I know it, I’m climbing out, reassuring the incoming swimmers that it’s just fine. ‘Its just beautiful’.
This week I’m back in the office after a week off and I’m getting a familiar feeling. Lets hope there’s no jellyfish…
Image of Blackrock from Flickr by Eoin Gardiner