Solitary Swimmer

Maidencombe Beach was deserted.  It was only 9:30 it was true but it was also a perfect summer morning with barely any breeze and the beach faces due east into the morning sunshine.  surely I couldn’t have it to myself. But I did.  The water appeared deep blue to almost black against the reflected sunshine and it was flat calm with nothing you could even pretend was a wave lapping at the shore.

Rather than swim from the beach this seemed like the perfect opportunity on the receding tide to walk out onto the slab of rocks jutting out into the sea and swim down around the submerged rocks.

My isolation did not last more than 5 minutes and as I was wriggling into my swimming shorts, wet and clingy from the last swim only half an hour ago, the next people came plodding down the steep, hairpin steps.

The water was full of ghostly ‘crystal jellyfish’ (Aequorea victoria) which, seen from above, were almost invisible against the seaweed and sand. But seen from below against the blue sky with the sunshine lighting up their ethereal bodies they shone out like silk parachutes.

A shoal of sand eels  darted amongst the rocks glittering as they twisted and turned.  On the bottom a small fish buried itself into the sand with a small puff of grains and a small starfish spread out motionless.  A large dog whelk shell lay conspicuously on the sand and fetching it back to the surface the hermit crab that had set up home there waved a long ferocious claw at me as it squeezed further into the spiral recess.  then there was just a single solitary compass jelly beating its way down into deeper water.

Back at my towel I scanned the beach which was filling rapidly, I will have to remember to get here early next time too.

My 100 Swims South-West Google map.


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