I joined the local Mermaids wild swimming group in April this year and have already fallen in love with wild swimming in the sea and I have made friends with some lovely ladies who share my passion for an early swim. Today was a special event in the Mermaid calendar, the Solstice sunrise swim and I was very excited to be taking part this year, having seen the spectacular photographs from last year.
Some Mermaids, the night owls, went to the beach at 10pm last night and stayed on the beach, around campfires all night. Us early birds preferred to sleep in our beds for a few hours then aim to get to the beach before sunrise. My best friend joined us for the first time and so we sat up chatting until midnight – blowing all plans for an early night – and we set our alarms for 2.45 this morning, when it was already getting light. So we were on the beach, on my picnic rug, for 3.15, soaking up the atmosphere. Nearer 4am, the rest of my early bird group joined us and we were in the sea before 4.30. There must have been around 100 swimmers in total, all bobbing about in the North Sea, squealing as we got critical body parts wet. Some rush into the water and submerge themselves instantly, others pick their way slowly through the waves until they are ready to swim. Once I have got my bottom wet, I tend to swim away rather than prolonging the agony of wading out to sea.
It was a spectacular sight : the clear blue sky, the bright orange sun rising out of the sea and all the neon floats in the water. I stayed in for around 30 minutes, swimming towards the sun and feeling its warmth. It was beautiful and really rather moving. The coldest part is not in the sea, but when getting dressed after the swim so I tried to get dressed as quickly as I could. Then we sat together on rugs and blankets, enjoying the homemade lemon drizzle cake and ginger cake that I and another Mermaid had baked, with our flasks of hot drinks to warm up our insides. We chatted happily, and admired the view before packing up.
I was back home for 5.50 and now I am ready for a warm bath. I would not have missed that experience and adventure for the world, it was brilliant and I am already interested in their Winter Solstice swim. This is a new pastime that I have discovered and that I love and so I am not intending giving it up. I find that people who I tell about these early sea swims either think that I have gone totally mad or they are fiercely jealous that we live so close to the sea, so that this is an option. All I can say is that I love it and it is something fun, just for Me.