Saturday, 19 April 2014

Kaleidoscope in the caves

The sun was shining in Torquay and we were meeting for a high tide swim through the sea caves at Livermead.  I have never before seen quite such vibrant colours in there.  The oranges and yellows of the walls, contrasted with the turquoise of the water, were stunning.  It was a particularly happy swim.  Lots of lovely people, including two children, having fun swimming through the different 'rooms' and marvelling at the exotic beauty of the sandstone shapes. And it was all topped off with a feast of hot cross buns, eaten in one of the caves, looking out of the 'window'.  Well it was Good Friday  - it would be rude not to.  Swimming back through one of the caves, the light effects were positively pyschedelic; the water seemed to glow.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Swimming into the sunrise

The predicted conditions were converging in what seemed like a perfect combination for a dawn swim in Torquay: full sunshine, very little wind, and a high tide.  So we decided to go for it.  As we set off the dawn chorus was deafening. It was already light and when we got to the beach there was a warm pink glow to the east, behind the Big Wheel.  As we changed, the colours did too. a constant evolution from pink to orange to yellow.  We slipped into the water and swam towards the sunrise. The sea was like silk.  We started to swim around Corbyn Head,  a sandstone headland studded with caves, and a few moments later the sun popped up over the houses in the distance, bathing the cliffs in gentle yellow light.  

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Through the ravine

I just love Sugary Cove in Dartmouth and not just because of its sweet name.  It has a secret channel - known as the Ravine - which connects it through to Castle Cove next door.  I was first alerted to the ravine by my friend Mark Green, having swum several times there without actually realising it was there.  As we gathered just before high tide there was a real old Devon mist, although the sea was a surprisingly nice colour given all the rain we'd had the two days before. As we swam into the channel I was possessed with that excitement I always get when entering a natural place which has that indefinable magic.  The grey and purple stripes of rock at angles rising above us either side, with a tree hanging perilously overhead,  that sense of drama heading through the ravine and being immersed in the watery passage, and the feeling of passing into and out of a secret world.