The Ocean Without Waves Is Like Sleep Without Dreams

Pictorial review of the 2014 swimming year – I

As I have mentioned too many times previously, I started taking photographs to illustrate this blog. Over the course of a few years, my photography has become a creative pursuit in its own right, while still being used to capture what I sometimes think of as open water swimming life. Unable to finance any big swim, I had…

the Doglet barking at Gararrus IMG_3810.resized

Copper Coast Bay to Breakers – II

Due to the goggle change the stop at Gararrus took about two minutes before I set off, the Doglet once again having a barking fit as I left (his normal reaction to me swimming). It was low tide by now so all the reefs off Gararrus were exposed and I had to swim out the…

Swimming into Gararrus IMG_3806.resized

Copper Coast Bay to Breakers – I

Sometimes an idea is so obvious you wonder why it hadn’t occurred to you previously. Ideas or inspiration though are often just a product of two things; timing and interest. It was a few years ago that I first heard about San Francisco’s South End Rowing Club’s Bay to Breakers swim. Ten kilometres swims are rarely…

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…

Copper Coast Distance Week Reefs, Rocks & Islands

2014 Cork Distance Week & the Copper Coast swim

After repeated poor wet cold summers, 2013 was pretty decent by Irish standards. Or at least mid-May to mid-July were good. After that it reverted to recent type but did allow me to run a Copper Coast Distance Week swim which had been blown out in 2012 by a ridiculous summer storm which stopped swimming everywhere that day.…

wm_Custom House Keystones (6)

Swambivalence

I live on the bank of one of Ireland’s longest rivers: The river Suir. At 115 miles length, you’ll appreciate therefore that Ireland is a small country. The river flows through three counties: Tipperary, Kilkenny and Waterford. The river forms the Tipperary-Waterford border for many miles and features in the most famous Kilkenny ballad. But it is most…

The Reverie of Cold

Look away, look away. My head whirls, sentences and clauses. Words and incantations. I need to hold the intent, remember the state. I need to write. I have swum, and now more than anything, I need to write. More than I need people or food, more even than I need heat, I need to vomit out…

Lough Dan Ice Mile Swim Attempt

Late last week the opportunity to make another Official Ice Mile attempt was offered by Dublin and English Channel swimmers Fergal Somerville and John Daly, this time the attempt to be made in Lough Dan, up in the Wicklow Mountains. Since the previous attempt I had already turned down another opportunity the previous week in…

photo 1946

Wayne Soutter’s historic new North Channel route – Part 3

Wayne’s narrative in grey on the left, Paul’s in green on the right. I was cold. So cold. Colder than I had ever been. I needed this to end. I suspected that I was going hypothermic… as I started to feel warmer… and I hadn’t changed anything – so that was impossible. And feeling warmer…when very cold, is a sign of…