October 14th 2017 Spanish Island swim @ 12.30pm
Low Tide 07.01 (1.30m)
High Tide 13.18 (3.10m)
Low Tide 19.44 (1.30m)
Waning Quarter Moon
This is the second year of the Spanish Island Swim, which is organised to help raise funds for Baltimore’s Wild Atlantic Pool. I missed it last year, so it has been my goal to swim the 4 k around this island which is one of many, that creates Baltimore’s sheltered Harbour.
Ned Denison gives the all important briefing. All swimmers should be used to open water swimming and to have completed at least a 3k swim in Irish waters within this year. I look around the room and can tell that there are an experienced, fit and friendly bunch who just cannot wait to get going and get around that island. There are of course a gang of Lough Hyne Lapper’s, to some this is a short dip and others are helping out kayaking, for me it is the longest swim I have ever swam in one go, so I am a little nervous to say the least.
We car pool to the island of Ringarogy . A local farmer has allowed us to swim from a small rocky inlet from the edge of one of his fields. Not the most glamorous of swim starts but nobody here is a diva and just gets on with getting ready to get into the water.
My husband Richard and daughter Lucy are in our punt and will be positioned at the top of Spanish Island to keep swimmers from taking a short cut through rocks.They came to cheer us in at the start.
Some locals have also shown up to cheer us in.
A good number of skin swimmers in October in Ireland I am in awe.
When we get in the water is brown and murky and feels thick. We are heading anti clockwise around Spanish Island so hanging a left once out of this inlet.
We have plenty of boats and kayakers to keep a watchful eye on us and they guide us down Hacket’s Creek which leads into Baltimore Harbour.
The water is not cold at all and but is still murky and I spot Anne-Marie ahead, I know her splash. I keep up behind her up until we get into the Harbour.
I keep well away from the rocky edge and can see the white spray. I see other swimmers much closer to the rocks, the waves and lifting me up and down and I just try and keep going. I lose Anne- Marie completely.
I get a shock when I see a bouy I am a bit too far out and have to come in to get around the corner and up “The Sound”.
I see Owen Ryan on the safety rib right behind me, I cannot see any other swimmers and I realise I am last.
The water is still murky and I still keep clear of the rocks to my right and try and swim to try and catch up .
I do notice the further I get up the water does get lighter and greener, I think the water from the river Ilen is flooding in.
I am more familiar being in a boat in these waters and I have to pinch myself to realise I am actually swimming here. I really start to relax and enjoy it and am not at all worried about being last, I just want to take it all in no need to rush the experience.
Owen is my own private safety boat I am very lucky, thank you Owen.
I spot Richard and Lucy expertly anchored at rocks at the top of Spanish Island. They confirm I am the last swimmer and tell me to stop taking photographs and swim !!
I think this captures the mood of the day.
I now have two boats following me.
A little bit of colour as I turn down towards the final stretch.
I swim into seaweed and the kayakers are waiting to guide me back.
I swim through sea weed and over rocks and I was told afterwards by fellow Lapper Debbie who was kayaking that about 5 or 6 rather large seals were behind me.I am glad she told me afterwards, although it would have been great to finally get a shot of a seal with me in the water.
I can see splashes ahead of me so I am behind swimmers and see the finish, guided in by my very own entourage of boats and seals, I finally reach the shore and have completed my first 4k swim.
Back at Casey’s of Baltimore for some well deserved refreshments. Steve Black awards Carol Cashel the first swimmers back in an amazing 56 minutes, and Ned Denison just two minutes behind. I was about 1 hour 37 mins so a wee bit of speeding up to do, but I am a very happy swimmer even if was 49th. Congratulations to all 49 swimmers and all the organisers, safety boats and kayakers. I cannot wait to do it again and swim longer distances in the future.