By: Blonde Two

One of the main (there are many) differences between outdoor swimming and indoor swimming is that usually when you swim inside, you know what is in the water with you (chlorine and too many other people). I am not brave about this and often have to give myself a good talking to when I start imagining, during my open water swims, what I am going to swim into next. This year I have knowingly swum with seals, eels and keels (sorry but I felt the need for a rhyme there). Goodness only knows what else has been in there with me!

After two years as an outdoor swimmer, I have decided that no two outdoor swims are the same and one recent morning, my swimming friends and I experienced the triple pleasures of a stunning sunrise, a surprisingly forceful swell, and a rather nosy seal. I had been getting up a tad late so the sunrise quickly disappeared but I spotted both the seal and the swell on my approach along the seafront. I don’t’ usually get into the water when seals are around but this one seemed pretty content to stay where she was and my fellow swimmers and I agreed to get in, swim the other way and look as little like seals as possible (bright clothes and breaststroke).

As we apprehensively approached our entry one chap suggested that what we needed was someone who looked a bit more like a seal to swim in the opposite direction. A decoy swimmer if you like. We were already in and couldn’t help but laugh when a chap turned up in a wetsuit and did exactly that (we were too far away by then to warn him). Ours was a short swim, mainly for reasons of seal but also because the rather mysterious swell was getting up. When we got out we couldn’t see the seal anymore but the wetsuit chap was having a rather nice time looking very seal-like with his splashing and diving. I found myself wondering whether or not he and the seal were in fact very good friends.