The day has failed to come clear and now, whilst only 3pm, on this early December day it may as well be early evening and with the light fading it surely won’t turn out right now. I have taken over a little nook at Ayrmer Cove emptying out my bag on the dry sand above the high tide line. Strange is it not how the item you need has somehow always found its way tot he bottom.
As I change I watch a distant yacht under full sail way out on the horizon catching what very little breeze there is and is drifting imperceptibly into the sunset.
Closer to shore and the rock out in the middle of the bay isn’t so far away and the water is not so cold, though it did leave me with little pink gloves and booties after my earlier swim on the bits not covered by my wetsuit. My aversion to wriggling into a very cold and clammy wetsuit is really the deciding factor.
It doesn’t matter that I tell myself it’s not too cold, the simple fact is my diaphragm is refusing to let me breathe. With each gasped breath it ratchets down another notch, drawing tighter across my middle and so each breath becomes more laboured and shorter than the last. Meanwhile the guillemot that is the solitary bird afloat on this calm pool regards me with a steely eye whilst paddling nonchalantly out of my way.
The rock is dotted with sea birds but not for much longer. As I puff closer they stand up taller and shuffle. Finally, whilst I am still comfortably out of reach one of them breaks ranks and the others follow until they reach out across the bay like a string of white pearls. The solitary cormorant stands his ground but in the final yards of my approach he stumbles and without an ounce of grace flops into the sea.
Had I any feeling left in my feet I would have been tempted to climb out on the rock but as it is I satisfy myself by giving it a friendly pat ‘Hello rock’, turn and swim away.
Though the beach looks a lot further off than ideally it should be I seem to be returning faster than I went. And the sky is brightening, not much but enough to make me think it would be a good idea to go for the camera then swim out a bit for a photo for the blog. As I have said before it is once you begin to think the water is not so cold that it is time to get out. Now I can’t feel my hands either and I get a blast of ice cream head when I duck under and swim to the rippled sand below.
My timing is about spot on and the first shivers run down my back as I slip my sodden boots back on in response to warmth returning to my skin, only then do the nerves realise they have not been doing their job properly in telling me it’s cold, get out of the water.
As I walk up the hill getting warm again the wind gives way completely and the sky clears. Somewhere there is a nice sunset breaking out but not here. Here the evening chill spreads like a blanket over the car park and as I pull away tendrils of mist begin to fill the hollows in the valleys. Within 20 minutes I’m driving in a total white out, well, that wasn’t expected.