We stole half an hour for flat whites and carrot cake in our local café/grocery store this morning. I was ill tempered and tired of being woken early again and again. It was warm.  The wooden floor was swept.  Staff and customers were Saturday morning slow – getting stuff done but at their own pace.  A woman in a sea green knitted jumper with long, wiry hair was persuading her friend to join her for a wild swim.  We started to talk and, with the novelty and warmth of new connection, I began to find my enthusiasm for the day.   Minutes later there were five women sharing their love of swimming in deep natural pools, tidal rivers and the open sea.  For months I have wanted to dive in to the restorative flow and embrace of water.  It’s spring here.  Cold but alive.  Now is the time.  So we decided to buy a notebook and to leave it in the café on a shelf, next to the bread.  When one of us has found a new swimming spot, we’ll write it down – maybe we’ll pencil a map and the small details that will lead others to a new cove or the curve in a river where the bank is shallow enough to wade in.

The cure for anything

is salt water:

sweat, tears or the sea.

(Isak Dinesen)

A couple of books came up in our conversation:  Waterlog, of course, by the much loved Roger Deakin and Wild Swim by Kate Rew (founder of the Outdoor Swimming Society) and Dominick Tyler.  There must be more books and thousands of hidden places around the world to share with each other..Come to think of it, last summer I read Breath by Tim Winton. It was disquieting but lovely in places. He wrote about water, breath, fear, the thrill of fear, coming of age and the price of being more than ordinary. And he wrote about surfing and the joy of, ‘doing something completely pointless and beautiful’.


Diving in
Posted by Louisa Thomsen Brits on 5 May 2012