Sunday, 25 December 2011
Christmas Eve. A Santa swim at Burgh Island. Ssswwwwell - and how. We set off, a motley crew of Santa-clad swimmers, into the surf that was roaring to the west of the island. A strong south westerly wind pushed into our bodies and faces, rolling huge walls of water at us. Every so often I got a massive mouthful and I can still taste the salt as I write. As we approached the first corner, and were bumped and bounced about in the most undignified manner, it was time to decide whether to push on or turn back. I was in two minds, given the roughness of the sea, but got caught up in the moment and decided to keep going. At the back of the island I had a moment of fear, as I got separated from the others, and started to feel tired. It just felt as though I wasn't going anywhere. I kept going and eventually pushed through it. Yet, even at that moment, I was also glorying in the sheer solitude in the water out there, in the beauty of the wild rocks and sea, and in that sense of being truly alone in the elements. The final part of the swim was much easier, as the wind was in our favour, and we got regular welcome pushes from the big waves - in the right direction this time. On the way back we stopped for a dip in the Mermaid Pool. What perfect peace, an infinity pool after after the angry sea.