About a year after beginning this blog, I got interested in open-water swimming, and it's been my passion ever since. Here's a list of some swims I've done.
The weather down here usually involves tradeoffs. You can have warm, but that usually also means wet and/or windy, or you can have chilly, which usually brings brilliant sunshine. I prefer the latter, because it means very swimmable conditions in the gulf, with the colder north wind creating very calm water conditions in my south-facing beach. (Since the water is fairly shallow, strong winds from the south can make for surf that breaks unpredictably until you get a couple of hundred yards out, and they can also blow in massive man-of-war invasions).
And cold and clear is exactly what I got today. Shortly after sunrise I could see mist rising up from the gulf, there being that much difference between the water temps (around 60) and air temps (around 30). While I was sitting on the balcony admiring the view I noticed a pod of dolphins swimming and bobbing in the water in front of me. They stayed between the first and second sandbars—ie where I swim when I venture in--and were moving back and forth very slowly. I watched them for about 20 minutes before they moved further down the beach.
By early afternoon the air had warmed up to the 50s, and the water was very calm, almost glassy.
View to the east
I decided it was time to go for a swim. I was expecting water temps in the low-60s, but double capped and wore earplugs just in case. I was glad I did, because the water seemed a little chillier than that. I swam the same mile-plus course as last week, down to the beach flag to the east, then back. I swam a little further out from shore than last time, hoping to avoid any hooks and lines from the guys who were surfcasting. The water was more blue than green today, and a little cloudier than last week—I could see the bottom, but couldn’t make out the shrimp tunnels or furrows on it once I got out to swimmable depths.
It was easy going both ways—there was some wind from the north, more noticeable in the water than on the beach, which is sheltered by a 30-foot bluff, but there were no waves or swells. It almost felt like swimming in a big pool. I swam with less skittishness today than last week, and halfway hoped I would see the dolphins that had swum in the same area this morning. I didn’t though, nor did I see any skates, although the mermaids’ purses I saw washed up on the sand suggest they’re out there somewhere. The water felt cold on my skin the whole time, but I never felt cold inside, just happy to be out swimming under the welcoming sun. I stayed in and floated on my back a little after I was done, then waded the 50m or so over the sandbar to get back on shore. It was a good day.