Following on from Stu’s successful ladies night swimming experience the time had come for me to get in the bouncy stuff so yesterday we headed off to Boscombe together for a little sea swimming. Why Boscombe?, well apart from the fact that Stu is now a “regular” there it’s also had a certain draw since we started looking at the Solent swim as it is the venue for the BHF Pier to Pier. Parking up on the cliff above Boscombe to view the sea state and make a plan, we both looked at each other and like people that obviously need to go to Specsavers decided that Bournemouth Pier actually wasn’t that far away so we should get in and give it a crack in that direction and see how we got on.
This might sound a little impulsive but we had put a bit of thought into it the night before and had taken a sit-on kayak and eager volunteers with us to assist with spotting. How glad we were later about this. We also checked with the lifeguards before we entered the water, running our plan past them. It has to be said that they were very encouraging and informative but you could tell from the way they eyed us up and down as we talked about training for the Solent swim that they didn’t perceive us as your stereotypical open water swimmers. I’m still convinced that the fact that we had Kayak support was the bit that swung them from thinking we were just a couple of blokes on a day out for some care in the community. We set off with their blessing and the words “Stay inside the 8 knots buoys” ringing in our ears.
I was fully expecting this to be very different from pool swimming but just 25 metres away from Boscombe pier this exercise became a serious reality check. Bouncey as a rodeo bull, almost zero vision underwater and as for spotting the direction……….not a snowballs. Stay inside the 8 knot buoys………you’d need to be able to see them to do that!!
Everything had changed on this one now for me and from cruising up and down the pool feeling quietly confident, tapping out my 2.5 ks I was bobbing around in the sea feeling just a tad queasy and seriously re-assessing the challenge ahead.