Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Bobbing Up and Down Like This

This is how it often is when I go into the sea. This is how it was today.

The sea looks grey and chilly. It's fairly late in the afternoon. Nobody else is in the sea. I think well, perhaps I won't bother - I'll go up to the hotel and go in the outdoor pool, which is heated, and which looks more welcoming.

Then I remember my little mantra, which I thought of many years ago to remind myself on just such occasions of doubt. "It is always worth swimming in the sea."

So, swimsuit and goggles on - no wetsuit today - and straight down, and straight in. Gasp. Cold! Up I come, then instantly down again and start swimming. Cold cold cold - - and then, after a minute or so - - - not cold any more. So I carry on swimming, in amongst the waves, and after a few minutes - - well, I'm warm. Lovely!

Today I stayed in for forty minutes or so. It was bliss. It always is. I just feel free. I swam quite a way along the beach and then back again - - - and did it again and again, interspersed with a bit of floating on my back and jumping amongst the waves.

Yesterday was different, because I was wearing the wetsuit. When I swam in the lake in the wetsuit, it felt too buoyant - I felt too high up in the water. But I coped - and yet it was only half a mile or so.

The sea, of course, is even more buoyant than the lake. I felt like a floating beach ball, barely touching the surface of the water (and anyone who feels like remarking that I must have looked like one too can stop it right there!)

My arms were too high - - but that was nothing compared to my legs, which felt as though they were almost out of the water. I felt that I was curving my spine like a banana. On the "glide" bit of breast stroke, I put my face in the water - - but it was very difficult to get it low enough.

After a while, I came out of the water, took the wetsuit off and enjoyed swimming in just my swimsuit for the rest of the time.

I have been told by others that swimming in a wetsuit makes you more buoyant than usual, but this is ridiculous! I'm wondering - in my usual worried way - if it's because my legs are short. Some people with long legs find it hard to stop their legs sinking. I'm having the opposite problem.

I'll keep on practising to see if I can get used to it. Perhaps the wetsuit will become more flexible after a while, and perhaps I'll get used to the new angle of swimming. I can see why they insist that you wear one for the Great North Swim - the cold could make it really dangerous and I realise that most people mind the cold water more than I do. But meanwhile, it's a bit of a problem.

There was nobody else in the sea when I went in, as I mentioned earlier. But, of course, that was because my mother had just got out of it, after her swim. She's eighty-six, and has she ever worn a wetsuit? Of course not.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So did you cut off the bits that made the legs/arms too long? If not, are you wearing more rubber than necessary.
Have you tried getting water inside the wetsuit thereby displacing any air within it that may be making you extra bouyant?
Have you bought a wetsuit that is too thick? Some have thinner rubber than others.

11:15 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

Nude bathing or skinny dipping as it is sometimes called certainly can be invigorating - especially for voyeurs!

1:25 am  

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