Round the Pier

Posted: August 15, 2015 in Swimming
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Brighton Pier as far as the eye can see

I like the idea of swimming round Brighton Pier, it gives and objective to a swim and makes it a little bit more than just swimming along the coast. Swimming round such an iconic landmark gives the swim a little more purpose. I’ve swum round it once before as part of a group of swimmers but I’ve always fancied going round alone.

I was feeling quite nervous, standing on the beach at the start of the swim. The sea was calm and the air warm, idea conditions for a swim. I’d checked the tides so that I knew starting on the east side of the Pier would have me swimming with the current. I didn’t want the added complication of swimming against the current. I was still nervous. Swimming alone is different to swimming in a group and well; sea monsters: I’d dreamt about sea monsters. Nervous is good, it makes me check everything.

Once the water started lapping round my knees the nerves started to go. Soon I was heading steadily to the Pier, dragging a brightly coloured dry bag behind me. I’ve swum off this beach a lot and always thought the water was very cloudy, a sort of hazy green cloud, but today it dawned on me that it was really quite clear and the haze I could see was the bottom. I’m not sure why but that didn’t reassure me too much as the bottom was a long way away.

I passed the buoy that marked the edge of the swimming area, it was too early for the life savers to be out so there was no one to complain. The pier widens at the end so I aimed for the far end. I had no desire to go under the thing; I had no idea how much of the construction consisted of spiky metal bits and I really didn’t like the idea of being impaled.

Deep water has a brooding quality, it feels heavier and less playful than the water in the shallows, this water was starting to feel deep. As I started to round the pier I was assailed by the noise of the amusements and rides from above. It was an intrusion into an otherwise peaceful and rhythmic world.

My big fear was jet-skis, they are renown for being a little less than safety conscious, I wasn’t really prepared for the fishing boat that looked like it was heading toward me. It occurred to me afterwards that my dry bag may have looked like a loose buoy but at the time my thoughts turned to the more practical: get back to the swimming area as soon as possible. That line of yellow buoys would protect me from itinerant seafarers. The boat turned and headed out to sea, that made me happy.

I was now heading down the west side of the Pier, happy that the water was losing the heaviness and happy that I’d rounded the Pier with very little drama. The shingle beach waited for me to make landfall, today’s swim was a good swim.

And no sea monsters.

The world has gone mad I tell you

Rules, regulations and warnings, all safely ignored

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