I have a new watch which takes the temperature of the water. (As well as doing all manner of other things: it has a barometer, an altimeter and no doubt will take my inside leg measurement if necessary). I am fascinated and am fast on my way to becoming a water temperature bore. This weekend, at Sharrah Pool, the water was 14.3, and in the sea at Bigbury it was 17.9 - no doubt a reflection of our wonderfully warm and dry September. I am particularly looking forward to using the watch as the temperatures go down in the next few months! I am going to start keeping a "Captain's log" - click on "Water temperatures" at the top right hand side of this page.....
Today my friend Catherine's black labrador Jessie became the first dog to swim around Burgh Island. Quite historic I think you'll agree. She started off by trying to herd us all together, and then realised she was on a hiding to nothing, and so kept as close to Catherine as she could. She was incredibly fast - none of us could keep up - although she did keep getting out onto the rocks for rests. She would then re-enter the water with a huge leap, making a massive splosh. After watching her technique underwater Kari observed that she looked like a 'prancing Icelandic pony'. Dogs aside, it was the most beautiful swim, in perfect conditions. The sea was flat calm and warm - 17.9 degrees - with fairly good visibility, so we had the perfect pootling circumnavigation, chatting, exploring gullies and pools, watching the shiny brown kelp swaying underneath us, and watching cormorants and seagulls.
My friend Queenie throws great parties, so when I heard she was
'throwing' a big swim I was excited. The concept: a group of swimmers
each swimming a section of the 22 miles of the Torbay coastline
simultaneously, going all the way from Maidencombe in the north to St
Mary's Bay in the south. Why? No reason, other than it would be a great
thing to do. In true British style, the weather conspired against us,
with howling Easterly gales meaning the usually placid waters of the Bay
were rolling and rough...but in true British style the show went on.
Fiona and I did the section between Meadfoot and London Bridge - a
natural arch. We got a little bumped getting in but after that we
bounced along quite happily, enjoying the feeling that our friends were
all - at that very moment - doing the same thing. It was all a great
success - apart from the knickers in the car park incident - about which
I will say no more. Afterwards, we all met up to share our adventures
and increasingly tall tales about our various feats. Thank you Queenie,
you're a legend!
Over the last week my walks to my Dartmoor swimming spots have been getting increasingly slow and meandering, as I keep getting diverted into thickets and under trees by the siren call of the mushrooms. It seems to be a brilliant year. Our hotter than average May, June and July, followed by a damper than normal August seems to have created the perfect conditions. In particular, I've found more Penny Buns (aka ceps and porcini) than ever before. The Chanterelles are looking good, and thanks to Yaara's son Tom, we found the biggest haul of Wood Blewitts ever. Each swim seems to come with a fungi bonus!