Well not quite, but I was lifting the paddleboard down the steep lane to Anstey’s Cove as the rising sun bathed the cliffs, trees, water and yachts in a rich orange glow.
I headed off across the oily calm water to Redgate Beach in the shelter of Long Quarry Point to find my balance, but a few meters out from the beach and I was immediately distracted by the ‘crystal jellyfish’ (Aequorea Victoria) swarming in the clear blue water. They are quite harmless to people but there were dozens of them, 100s, 1000s, there was no end to them and every now and then the dark brown striped bell of a compass jelly trailing is long stinging tentacles or a small pulsing blue.
Out beyond the point the water was much rougher with a strong swell, there was no sense paddling in that so I turned, made a long sweep back around the bay and out around the far headland in relatively calm water. The abundance of crystal vs compass jellies was more or less reversed, this was certainly not the place to go swimming, but from the vantage point of the paddle board I was able to look at the limestone cliffs that had been pushed aside by the sharply contrasting basalt of the descriptively named Black Head. Just drifting and the current carried me slowly past Brandy Cove and Hope Cove, but neither are more than a scoop of shingle thrown against the foot of the cliffs.
What little breeze there had been had now faded but the sea was still bobbing, though the surface was no longer ruffled by cats paws. Heading offshore and circling back the water was even clearer and the jellyfish became quite infrequent. Sitting on the board I wriggled my arms out of the wetsuit, slid it down my thighs, pulled it over my right foot with a jerk and upended myself into the water, which was surprisingly fresh having been in a sun warmed wetsuit for nearly 2 hours.
Back on the board I headed over to Long Quarry again and the now glassy calm water, touring the bay a third time and running ashore on Redgate Beach. It is perhaps the finest beach in the whole of Torbay, sheltered, enclosed, steep, tree lined cliffs, we used to come here a lot as a fledgling family. Then the beach was closed, the promenade torn down and of course the children grew up and we moved on. Back in the water for old time’s sake and because it is too good to leave.
But leave I must.
My 100 Swims South-West Google map.