Well it’s not exactly lonely, but there is a magnificent solitude when you are training for this type of thing. Several years ago (over a quarter of a century in fact), when I used to do some long distance running, one of the things I really enjoyed about pounding the pavement was the opportunity to just clear your head and think about nothing but the next step. The swimming is pretty similar except that with your head immersed in water it is also strangely quiet and the only thing you can really hear is the rush of the water and your own breathing. There is the additional sensory deprivation of pretty much zero visibility so your mind really does get a chance to mull things over.
Thoughts so far;
Swimming in the sea (or even just in the open air) is really liberating and in May the temperature is refreshing. So much nicer than being in a crowded swimming pool, and the blast of cold that hits your face as you submerge it is actually quite nice.
The visibility in the sea is really disorientating. I have had to rely on landmarks so far but when we get to the actual crossing, I’m guessing there won’t be many as we head away from land and I find that approaching things are difficult to see. I’m going to be quite reliant on a kayaker for spotting and direction.
Lube, Lube, Lube (and then more Lube), our pier to pier swim was the first time that I’ve really been chafed by my wetsuit. Salt and sand with tight rubber aren’t the best of bedfellows, and whilst I’m nowhere near as rednecked as little bro, I did wake up not wanting to put a wetsuit on the next day.
Bouyancy, wow are these swimming wetsuits buoyant. No need to tread water when you are at a stop, the suit bounces you out of the water in fact it’s quite an effort to get it submerged. Apparently enough float to enable you to deal with cramp if it strikes. Lets hope we don’t test that theory out.
Seawater doesn’t taste very nice. I quite often get a mouthful as I take a breath and sometimes a nostril or two full as well, not nice.
Loneliness, I said at the start its not lonely but even when you are quite close to someone else in the water you are quite isolated.
But for all that, it is a great feeling to be testing yourself, feeling the improvement and its a bit of time to just clear your mind and get close to nature.