Thursday morning, 7.00 AM, La Jolla Cove, southern California.
Palm trees gently swaying.
Idyllic location for a spot of open water swimming.
Unbelievably though, for a spot where rain is a rarity, it had been throwing it down most of the night, and still was, when at 7 AM I met my very kind guide for the day, Dan Simonelli. Dan runs his own open water swimming academy, but showed up out of the goodness of his own heart to guide me around the cove, in the best possible way:- in the water.
We stashed our stuff by the steps down into the ocean, donned hats and goggles, before setting off into the pleasantly warm water (16 C according to Dan). A pleasant pace took us out to the 1/4 mile buoy where we stopped and Dan took a photo with his waterproof camera (nice toy – want one!).
We then swam across the cove, a couple more photos, then back to where we started. Slightly tougher on the way back as there was a slight current against us, but proper lovely swimming!
La Jolla Cove is famed for clear water, and lots of wildlife to see. Due to the storm and lack of sunshine I didn’t see a lot, mainly kelp, but that really didn’t matter. I notice from Dan’s Facebook posts that he was joined by a pod of dolphins the day after. Now that would be magic – I am definitely going back!
I also got to try out my new toy, the Garmin Forerunner 910XT. I got it charged the night before, and read the instructions before meeting Dan. Sadly I couldn’t get it to start logging my swim after I got in. Turned out I was pressing the wrong button (should have done it before I put my goggles on!). But I got it going at the 1/4 mile buoy, so it started logging the swim from there onwards.
It uploaded perfectly to the website afterwards, and out popped this summary of my swim.
I have never had the opportunity before to log an open water swim properly, so I was pleased to see that my pace while moving was around 27 minutes, which is not far off what I would do in a pool, and I wasn’t pushing especially hard.
While I will have swum in excess of 600 km this year in total, only a tiny fraction of that will have been in open water. Only the Dart 10 K, the Great East Swim (2 miles), and some breakfast time dips in Broadstairs, so I am really a very inexperienced open water swimmer. That is why I am so grateful for Dan for showing me the ropes in La Jolla, so I could avoid the newbie mistakes like standing on the stingrays. I would not have had the confidence to swim to the other side and back if I was on my own. I would have been too busy worrying about currents I didn’t understand, so it was great to eliminate that from my mind, and just have a lovely swim.
I hope to be able to return the favour one day, when Dan comes over for his own English Channel Attempt, which I have a funny feeling might not be too far away……