Mornings can be strange when winter sea swimming is a regular habit. The times we swim are predicated by tide times and anticipated weather. The weather is the least important. It has become entirely normal to wake up, look out at frosty cars and know that all we actually need to put on for breakfast is a pair of swimming knickers and a wetsuit. The contrast is even madder when we realise that only twelve hours before we had felt cold dressed in several layers of thermal underwear and winter clothing to walk the dogs at the same location.
Sea swimming is a massive, positive, side effect of the pandemic. We have formed an informal group of swimmers and watchers so that anyone who wants a swim can find a swim buddy on our Whatsapp group. Everyone in the group knew someone but before winter swimming most of us did not know each other. We have never seen each other with our clothes on!
Equipment is the thing, in the balmy days of October we rocked up in normal clothes and congratulated ourselves on this wonderful free hobby that we had discovered. Incrementally winter started biting at our resolve to ‘keep things simple’. Birthdays and Christmas came and went and with it the gifts of accessories for our new hobby. One person gets something new and others fancy getting the same. Recently this took us to a strange place. Researching Sinx gloves on line is not for the faint hearted. Coupled with the phenomenon of jabbering like crazy beasts when the endorphins hit, our post swimming ‘ bobbing’ chats are far reaching and without the usual social restraints that you might expect in a group of people who don’t know one another well. Over-sharing might be the correct term. To onlookers it probably sounds like the random squeals and hoots of a seal colony. Social distancing doesn’t help matters but I think we would be loud even in a close knit huddle.
Pandemonium in a Pandemic might be the word.