Monday, 29 February 2016

The secret swim - with a bonus sea slug

Anna, Yaara and I were walking along the Salcombe estuary when we saw an enticing little gate in the hedge.  Well naturally we thought, 'what's down there?' especially as we were tantalisingly near the water.  We made our way down a very overgrown path, to find a metal gate at the bottom, which astonishingly wasn't locked. It led to some little stone steps down to the rocks and the deliciously alluring looking water.  The perfect swim spot! The sun was blazing and we went in off the rocks, just like you do in Turkey or Greece, and headed upstream where we found a lovely little beach.   It was the end to a perfect day, which had already started well when Anna and I had spotted what we later learnt was a sea lemon (a sort of sea slug) along with its eggs, which looked bizarrely like wontons.

Sea lemon top right and its eggs, bottom

Monday, 22 February 2016

A Cornish sojurn

Poldrimouth wreck
Lantic Beach
I've been visiting Du Maurier country.  I absolutely love Daphne du Maurier.   Her romanticism, her evocation of Cornwall, and her love of the sea. We went to stay in Polruan, a little village at the mouth of the Fowey estuary.  I could pop down for a swim in the river before breakfast, and explored the coastline all around.   We walked west from Fowey and came to Poldrimouth Cove, which was where Daphne swam - it was a short walk from her house at Menabilly.  There I swam around an old wreck which has been there for absolutely years. We also discovered Charlestown, a beautifully preserved old port; Anna and Ellie came down for the day and we walked along the coast to Porthpean where we had a swim. Finally, on the last day we discovered Lantic Beach, a wonderfully isolated and wild cove, where there was a terrific undertow.

Anna and Ellie at Porthpean

Spring at Spitchwick

As I left the house for our regular Sunday morning Dart dip it felt positively balmy.  I think I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of frosts we've had this winter.
At Spitchwick, Rachel arrived with a bunch of daffodils, which we all wore as we swam (some held them between their teeth, others had them tucked in their collars).  For the first five minutes the temperature on my watch remained in stubborn double figures. Finally it dropped down to 9.2 (Judy's said 7.6)

Monday, 8 February 2016

Stormy swimming

Storm Imogen has been battering Devon for the last twenty four hours, the culmination of three days of atrocious weather.  Ellie and I were both desperate for fresh air and a swim, and headed off to Brixham, which we guessed would be the most sheltered spot.  As we drove along the coast road and got our first glimpse of the Bay, we could see it was dotted with white horses, an unusual site in these parts where the sea is so flat.   Down at Fishcombe, we happily got changed and headed down to the water when who should pop up but the local seal. Neither us felt like swimming with it so we got back in the car and went to nearby Breakwater Beach, where the sea was frisky but manageable, and there were no seals in sight.   We swam along towards Berry Head, bumping through the chop and being whipped by angry little gusts....and admired the Gothic house with its widow's walk towering above us.  We turned back towards the beach.  As we neared the Breakwater it started to 'sing' in a rather eerie but also beautiful way, a sort of musical howling.