The Day I Turned Left

I am a lucky man.  In many ways I am a lucky man!

Amongst the numerous things I am thankful for, I include the fact that my work requires me to come to San Diego 3 or 4 times a year, which happens to be one of the Open Water Swimming meccas, right up there with Dover, Aquatic Park in San Francisco, Sandycove in Ireland.

I am also lucky to get the chance to swim with Dan Simonelli when I come and visit.  Dan knows the Cove like the back of his hand, as he swims here most days, and runs an Open Water Swimming Academy (

I swam with Dan twice this week.  Firstly on Monday we swam out from the Cove on a ‘Tour of the Buoys’, on to Scripps Pier, and back to the Cove.  2 Peachy hours in ideal conditions: water at 58 F, sun coming up over the hills, kind water conditions with little surf or chop.

It felt like I could have swum for hours that day.  Just ideal.

Wednesday was a slightly different story.  The sun curiously (for San Diego) absent, a bit of wind and swell, and some 5-6 ft surf rolling into the Cove.  We set off out to sea and straight into a set of 5 or so waves.  Not the first time that this had happened, but this time was at low tide, and was hard work.  I didn’t want to duck dive too deep under the white water for fear of hitting the rocky bottom, and it was hard work making much progress out to sea.  I could understand how people get into trouble at that spot, as I was starting to feel quite tired, with the waves continually trying to push me backwards onto the rocks, where the seals gazed on dispassionately.

Soon enough, after 5 or 6 waves, the set relented, and we swam out into the Cove.  This time, rather than heading out into the Cove towards the Shores or Scripps Pier, we turned left and headed up the coast in the other direction, for a mile or so.  The water was pretty flat outside the breakers, and it was good swimming.

Wednesday, Swimming Outside The Surf

Wednesday, Swimming Outside The Surf

We then headed back towards the Cove, over to the Marine Room, before slogging out through some choppy water to the A-buoy, and from there back in to the Cove.  Just outside where the waves were breaking, we paused and chose our moment to dash back in.  We only got part way in though, before Dan motioned us to swim back out again, under a mini-set of 3 waves.  Then back in again swiftly and up onto the beach, just in time to see a large and angry looking set of waves crash in behind us.

Another 2 hours under my belt.  Not as idyllic as Monday, but probably more valuable!  Thanks again to Dan for training with me, and giving me the benefit of his knowledge of the Cove.  See you next time!

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