ZC2

How To: What is Wind Against Sea?

A regular blog reader (hi Gabriel!) left a comment wherein they mentioned wind against sea. My first reaction was that I knew right then that Gabriel was an experienced open water swimmer. My second reaction was to kick myself for not mentioning wind against sea previously. Wind against sea is a condition that most open water swimmers (who…

Guillamenes cove old steps IMG_2416_02.resized

Cold Turkey

The Internet sucks, doesn’t it? There you are, doing your best and still struggling. Everywhere you look online everyone else is telling you how amazing they are. That’s how I feel about it most of the time anyway. Just considering swimming, everyone else says they are swimming farther, longer, faster and better. They are also swimming colder and…

How To: Advice for Christmas or New Year swimming in cold water for irregular or casual open water swimmers

In Brief: PREPARE and OBSERVE If swimming by yourself, make sure you inform someone where and when and preferably have an observer. Your most important pre-swim action to make sure you know where to exit the water safely. Watch the water before you get in. If you have been drinking alcohol the night before, please don’t…

Open Water Swimmers Are Disgusting

As overheard. By which writers really mean, it’s something they may have said or wished they had said. “That’s the weekend swim towel so it doesn’t really probably need to be washed for another couple of weeks .” “Yes, he always pees on himself just before he starts a swim.” “Unexpected? Well, I was out in big chop and my sinuses filled…

The Cave of Light and The Cave of Birds – A film of the pure essence of open water swimming – by Sam Krohn

Sam Krohn is an Australian open water swimmer, resident in the south-east of Ireland since his family moved here when he was young, Sam’s a regular swimmer at my own usual location of Tramore’s Newtown and Guillamenes coves. He’s also a regular reader of and the most regular commenter to this blog. Sam and I kept missing opportunities to go…

Swimming out

Swimming for beginning open water swimmers and triathletes is like planting a tree. Twenty common beginner triathlete questions answered.

Swimming is very much like the old saying about planting trees.The very best time to start was ten years ago. The second best time to start was yesterday. The next best time is today. I myself did not start ten years ago but I did incrementally improve my skills and technique and open water experience and achievements.…

Swimming into the tiny cove with the Hood Tower behind.

Swimming Around Hook Head

Though it sits at the tip of the Hook peninsula, the historic Hook Head lighthouse is almost more remote than some of the Irish offshore lighthouses. The Tower of Hook, as it’s known locally, is the world’s second oldest operational lighthouse, and it’s said locally that the phrase “by Hook or by Crook” arose because…

Brief lessons from marathon swimming – I – Never eat a curry the night before a long swim

There’s a discussion thread on the marathonswimmers.org forum called Tips and Tricks and I’ve been writing my How To articles for a few years. But here’s a list of brief random items I’ve learned that I threw together, which  individually are too short for articles (right now anyway, who knows what’ll be possible mid-winter when…

Storm clouds grow behind Finbarr

Finbarr Hedderman and the North Channel – V – “That’s it. I’m done”

Fin increased his stroke rate after the feed and by 15:35 he’d made three kilometres in the preceding hour. Any half hour dip he suffered seemed to be compensated for in the thirty minutes either before or afterwards. First Mate Mark was plotting every 30 minutes by hand on a chart, separate from the GPS screens, and throughout the…

Quinton Nelson, the pilot who changed the North Channel.

Finbarr Hedderman and the North Channel – IV – Just Eight Laps of Sandycove

For the early hours of the swim, Finbarr was positioned and feeding (including a third of a Turkish Delight) on the port side, while one of the SeaCat fast ferries to Belfast was rapidly approaching about a kilometre south on the starboard side. This threw a large wake which reached Fin a few minutes after his feed, bringing the…

Donaghadee Harbour Lighthouse IMG_3005_01.resized

Finbarr Hedderman and the North Channel – III – Anyone for an early morning dip?

There are three overarching obstacles with the North Channel, all similar to the English Channel but two at least are usually worse. The first that had already affected us in the earlier call then stand-down, then call again, was the very unpredictable weather, similar to the English Channel. The North Channel just happens to be another 200…

Finbarr & Craig argue before the swim. Craig says Fin is getting off easy as he won't be stuck with me on a boat for a day.

Finbarr Hedderman and the North Channel – II – Famous Pilot, Famous Boat

Finbarr, Craig Morrison and I arrived in Donaghadee on Saturday evening after a long drive. A not-so-brief trip around a Bangor supermarket saw we accumulate the usual Channel swim expedition-load of food, stopped off at our accommodation and proceeded to meet pilot North Channel Quinton Nelson on board the boat down in Donaghadee before sunset…