International Women’s Day Celebration 8/3/2020

NO-ONE would actually admit to coming up with the idea of a sunrise swim to celebrate today yet despite the complaints of disturbed nights and lack of sleep some 22 people braved the water in Sandown Bay and it was glorious! And as you can tell, we are so fashion conscious! The post-swim chat, the BBQ and hot drinks, courtesy Yetta and Eric, were the icing on the cake and whilst it was raining in Gurnard the sun made a timely appearance too.

Just before dawn

And then it was off to Gurnard, some of us double-dipping, joining the regular 9am Gurnard Dippers whilst the sensible ones headed home to the warm and dry. Another huge turnout, plus a talk from a lovely lady from Wight DASH, the women’s charity for which we had a collection at both swims.

A Confetti of Swimmers at Gurnard

Everybody’s body is different

…and not only that, it is different on different days – very confusing. This comes about because one of our lovely group said she felt colder today than last weekend even though there was less of a wind chill factor and the sea was more or less the same temperature. This happens to everyone and can be caused by so many factors. think of your body as that of an athlete – and no I am not being facetious – think about the occasions when they have changed one small thing, maybe in their diet or the way they place their feet – it can be the difference between setting records and coming last. It is the same for anyone, have you had a good week or been stressed? Have you resorted to a less than healthy diet? Are you at the beginning/end of a cold, tired – ALL of these can make a difference. The main thing is LISTEN TO YOUR BODY, don’t stay in for too long, just love the moments, always make enjoyment the aim and know that there will, more than likely, be another time to throw yourself in the icy waters with alacrity and aplomb 😊

Saturday the 7th of March Accuweather – temp 9 degrees, real feel 5, wind WSW 24 km/h, gusting 30, pressure 1017. Met Office – temp 8 degrees, real feel 6, wind SSW 16 km/h, gusting 35, pressure 1018. Channel Coastal Observatory wave height 0.59m, max 0.99, sea temp 8.3 degrees.

Wet & Windy but HAD to be done!

Probably not a subject about which everyone wants to know but, having put it off for a year (my excuse is always ‘circumstances beyond my control’) I finally had my smear test today. Hence, I definitely and absolutely needed to purge all stress and what better way than to throw oneself into the nearest body of cold water, namely Sandown Bay 😊 The recuperative power, for me, is so powerful! The only downside were the wet and windy conditions so it did take some time, a sausage bap and two large mugs of tea (do all Morrison’s offer unlimited tea and coffee?) before warmth touched the places that icy fingers had previously reached. Bit rough too!

Accuweather 7 degrees, real feel 3, wind SSE 18 km/h, gusting 24. Met Office 7 degrees, real feel 4, wind SE 19 km/h, gusting 35. Channel Coastal Observatory average wave height 0.52m, max 1.19, temp 8.4 degrees.

Sea Swim Junkies

We feel furtive approaching the designated spot. Who else will be there? What will they have with them? Will it be better than my ‘stuff.’ Can we spot them, the eclectic dress, the bags of kit? Is that a meander or a purposeful walk? The gathering begins….and then….we are spotted!

And we had a blast! The waves seemed gentle, if large, the wind caught their tops, the spray glistening in the, albeit brief, sunshine. Glorious! Then hot drinks and chats at the Isle of Wight Zoo. What a way to start the day.

Accuweather 7 degrees, real feel -1, wind W, 35 km/h, gusting 54, pressure 986. Met office, 7 degrees, real feel 2, wind WSW, 33 km/h, gusting 58, pressure 986. Channel Coastal Observatory, wave height 0.88m, max 1.2m (this dropped from twice this at 8am.) Sea temp 8.6 degrees.

Life outside swimming

I thought it might be a good idea to point out that i am not all-consumed by sea swimming, mostly – yes, but not entirely. Yesterday I was taught how to weave a basket. As with all of these wonderful skills, it is far more involved that it looks, has its own terminology and wow are my fingers sore this morning. But, it was a wonderful day, led by the lovely Heather and hosted at The Salix. I thoroughly recommend it.


Please be aware that as of the 1st of March parking charges will apply in so, SO many places! All along Sandown Esplanade, Shanklin, the same… if one of the machines is covered from this point on, it is probably out of order and you will have to find another. Parking is still free, until the 1st of April, in the public car park between the Dinosaur Museum and Browns.

Join the zoo and it is £40 for the YEAR including free parking!!

Mid-week Dip – in the SUN!

Something I will probably often repeat but we are SO lucky to live where we do. Yesterday we managed to coincide a few of us, a calm sea and even the sun came out to join us for a lovely, almost completely calm (once you were in) dip. The recent heavy weather has seen the usual transformation of the beach and the most beautiful swirls of tiny pebbles caught for a moment, resting until their next encounter with a lively sea. I would like to take photos from above and if I can ever master my tiny drone, this may be possible – who knows!

Car temp 8 degrees. Accuweather 7 degrees, real feel -1, wind WNW 35 km/h, Gusting 43, pressure 1007. Met Office temp 7 degrees, real feel, 3, wind WNW, 32 km/h, Gustine 54, pressure 1007. Channel Coastal Observatory wave height 0.74m, 1.02 max, sea temp, 8.7 degrees.

Mini review – Gloves and Socks / Boots

If anyone has any other recommendations – let me know. User experience is so valuable. These reviews will also be available under Kit, Hints and Tips

Blue Seventy Gloves – I do wear gloves and socks in the colder weather, my current ones are made by Blue Seventy ( socks, £15 to £37.50, gloves, £27 to £35) I am disappointed that the gloves have started coming apart after less than a year though. Would I buy them again? Probably not, too much of a ‘throw away’ product.

C-Skin 3mm gloves £24.99 (as reviewed by fellow sea swimmer) Feel well insulated, good fit, don’t ‘flap’ when swimming. Seem to keep hands warm, easy to put on and off, quick to dry. Cons: none. Would buy again.

Blue Seventy swim socks – Initially delighted with these – they even seem to have a left and right BUT despite having a textured bottom, large holes have appeared in the bottom. At £37.50 direct, I would shop around as they are not robust enough for frequent use. As they wear out quickly if you walk over any hard surface either wear e.g. Crocks over them or flip flops and put the socks on when you reach the water and then put the flipflops up the back of your swimsuit! 

Orca 3mm Socks – £29.00 (as reviewed by fellow sea swimmer) Pros: Very comfy, like wearing nothing. Seem to keep feet warm, easy to put on and off, lightweight and dry quite quickly. Cons: Can feel a little lightweight, flimsy. Year on, let in water so have ‘jelly’ feet. Would buy again. Ed: Currently seem to be only available from Orca (see link above)

Neoprene Sock liners – aka Bread bags – worn in tight neoprene socks greatly aid getting on and off without ripping your QL. Not sure if bread bags count as kit but they work and they’re virtually free and they don’t fall off 😊 Also, it doesn’t matter what type of bread you like! (Is there an emoji for tongue in cheek?)

Sunday ‘dechlorination’ dip

I love swimming AND I love being IN the sea. In the summer, I can combine them but it’s that time of the year when for fitness I have to use the pool. I don’t mind the pool, but I don’t like the chlorine so a quick 1km in the pool, Dryrobe on, park on seafront, throw oneself into the sea with equally like-minded sea addicts.

Car temp 13 degrees, Accuweather 10 degrees, real feel 5, wind W, 33 km/h, gusting 41, pressure 1020. Met office 12 degrees, real feel, 9. Wind WNW, 24 km/h, gusting 53. Channel Coastal Observatory wave height 0.94m, max 1.3m, sea temp 8.9 degrees.