Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Sea temperature: 16.5
Sea conditions: calm
Weather: clear, crisper than it has been
The moon had been spectacular last night, not only was it a 'super moon', but also this is the harvest moon season, the closest full moon to the Equinox and moon mythology dictates that it is a time of clear skies. This has been the case for the last 36 hours, with the sky clearing in time for the moonrise over the sea. The dogs and I decamped to the hut as the sun went down, just in time to get the candles lit and the telescope set up to watch it rise, amber over the sea, casting its path on the water.  Willow hunted, Luna gazed at her namesake and geese skeined over, heard but not seen - its hard to adjust from the tiny eyepiece to the wide sky without making your eyes water. Just watching the moon alone through the 'scope was magical - it was so big that it filled the lens totally, which makes it hard to photograph, but the detail was intense. At one point a passenger plane crossed in front, which startled me, I couldn't hear it but suddenly the silhouette crossed, trailing its distorting wake, blurring the surface. This morning it was still there as the sun rose. Here are a couple of shots from my phone.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Sea temperature: 16.4
Sea conditions: calm
Weather: it was glorious but quickly clouded over - I met The Weather Oracle on the way home and she said we will have the worst of it today, the only cloud will be on the east coast apparently.
There's been a formatting change on the website I get the tides from, so the above is a cheeky screen shot from till I work out the best way to lay out the info, it shows the main event of the day - not just a full moon but the last 'super moon' for a long time, so this makes the cloud even less welcome, as I was planning an evening of moon gazing. 
Yesterday I'd seen The Poet briefly and he'd asked that I take a regular photo to mark the changes in the shape and structure of the beach and this morning there was a marked change with new levels of sand coming higher and over the shingle. The easiest way is for me to stand where I swim, in front of the hut, and shoot north and south. 
Today this was the view and so is Shifting Sands #01.

The sun is lower in the sky now and yesterday at 6am the mist had been heavy in the low fields, but I hadn't had my phone with me, so no pictures. Today there was certainly a slight chill in the air, but I managed to get out before it clouded over, The LE came down to the water's edge as I was getting out and Jagger had a splash about, whilst Willow swore and shouted at him, all the while wagging her tail. She's such a bitch. The hut doesn't get the sun till later now, as it's behind a ridge, so hadn't warmed up. 
Sunday had been hut clear day and I'd painted the inside (blisters to prove hard work), and this had meant emptying the contents out first. The beach was quiet and so I had the space to myself, but a chap walked past at one point and asked if it was a beach hut or a tardis after he saw what I'd piled up outside. The next job is going to be insulating the roof, using leftover insulation from my Mother's recent work on her house, it's over egging it a bit, as the walls won't be done, but the insulation is free so in the words of an old boss: SNT (silly not to) and hopefully it'll be a little warmer in the winter. One day I'll build a new one, with insulated walls, that is as big as the regulations will allow and have a built in kitchen like the bigger ones on our stretch. It'll never be to the standard of the 'posh huts', like one The Drapers have, with bunk beds, wood burner, gas oven and fridge etc. but they have different rules and have more or less lived there all summer. 
The Artist is not well, I'm hoping she may read this and I can send her love over the ether and help her to stay in touch with Dr. Sea via this blog.
Stop press: just heard from The LE that there were 4 swans swimming in the sea this morning - so sorry I missed them, they might be the 4 I saw last year. She sent this, the swans are far left:

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Low Tide02:12 (1.00m)
High Tide08:30 (2.40m)
Low Tide14:48 (0.70m)
High Tide21:22 (2.40m)
Sea temperature: not taken
Sea conditions: calm
Weather: misty and grey
The tides were perfect this morning for me to take the board down to the beach just as the swimmers were coming out, so we had a quick chat but I wanted to get to the river mouth before the tide turned so had a quick hug with DK, who's back from his travels and jumped on. The water was very calm and the mist was thicker the further out I went, but it was easy going. The Ice Cream Lady was further up the beach with her family and we waved, I hadn't realised she'd taken this picture, which she'd put on Instagram before I'd even got home. I love it! At the river mouth I encountered a sailboat going out to sea, but they were drifting along so slowly that they hardly made a ripple, it was only where the strong eddies met their wake that it got a bit wobbly. I remembered Jochem saying "just kneel down if it get's wavy" so I did, and was able to power through the ripples. Going up river with the tide at this time of the morning is effortless and silent, you hardly have to paddle. But when I stopped to check the time and take a photo and was motionless on the board for a few moments in the calm at the top of the meniscus, created by the river walls, the board slowly turned around to face against the flow and I began very slowly inching upriver, backwards. I find it all fascinating and have booked a lesson in the surf next Friday evening, if there is any, so that I learn about that side of paddle boarding too. After all, it's not going to be calm all winter...

I'd asked Mertz to walk the dogs over and meet me at Novoboats with a top and some trainers so that I could walk home in comfort and not feel like a prat and the timing was perfect. Just as I reached the Bayley bridge they were coming across it, the poor dogs didn't know what to do, but I'm hoping to train them to walk parallel with me when I go upriver so this was a good test. As I turned against the tide it was slower going but they stayed  with me even when Mertz got ahead, so maybe it'll work eventually. There was a young guillemot struggling against the tide by the bridge and I'd have loved to have given it a lift to wherever it was going. I rescued one last year and they are such beautiful birds. 

The dogs were still with me by the time I got back to the slipway, and they greeted me there, then we all walked home together. Unfortunately Mertz had forgotten the shoes and top so I had to walk along the tow path and through the village in my wetsuit and my swimming shoes - a long soak in the bath and foot balm was much needed on my return. I love weekends.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

High Tide06:11 (2.30m)
Low Tide12:22 (1.00m)
High Tide19:05 (2.30m)
Sea temperature: 17 degrees
Sea Conditions: good, little rollers
Weather: slightly misty, sun low and glowing
The last few days have been stunning on the beach, that kind of weather that makes you gasp, not from the cold but from the magic of light. There's been a golden light every morning and every evening, way beyond 'magic hour', more like 'magic 3 hours'. I took advantage of no commitments and paddled upriver on the board yesterday at 5.15 on the high tide. There wasn't a soul about and the water was slow by the time I reached my new favourite mooring post. Waiting for the water to slacken I rested in the reeds and then drifted back, occasionally dipping the paddle till the wind got up and I had to put a bit of effort in. As the mouth of the river came into view it felt as if the tide had turned back, but it was the funnel of wind powering west against me. Back at the slipway the sun was going down and some Webblets were on the Studio balcony waiting for the unrivalled view of the sunset that they get from there, if I hadn't been so shattered by then I would've joined them.


'Joined by' and 'topics' are not relevant at the moment as I don't see the group to swim with, just occasionally as I'm walking home. This week I caught up with The Pirate briefly and he told me about his impending adventure to New York. It all sounds very exciting and I'm rather jealous. In true Pirate style he seemed more concerned about whether or not it was acceptable to wear shorts in the city.
The LE sent DK and me an update as he's away at the moment, his photographic update, sent from Legs, follows:

Watched a wonderful John Betjeman documentary last night on BBC4, in which much was made of his love of Cornwall and the coast. He said: 'I so enjoy watching the sea that I wouldn't mind if all television programmes were just about breaking waves and sea noises. Living inland makes me so long for the sea that I sometimes find the longing becomes unendurable'.
Aren't we lucky?

In other swimmers' news...
Sunday morning - The Pirate swam early  ( as he had to do the reading in church) and found himself bathing with sea nymphs. Two naked  20 something girls frolicked in the surf and had to head for Dunwich with his eyes closed.
Monday morning, his first words were 'I wonder if they'll be back?'

Also on Sunday. Jagger had been praised for good behaviour and excellent recall and I was starting to relax. But then, there was a yelp from Sara, 'He's peed on my jacket!' Back to the naughty step.

TBC and I are planning to start a collection of the Walberswick Wallies Stone  Family - stones with faces. Not necessarily hagstones, just ones with eyes and a mouth or nose. We'll start a children's bowl in the Anchor. Barmy or a good idea? Bit of both.

The Artist swam out, on this beautiful morning towards a shaft of sunlight, announcing she was going to float away to  meet her Maker. 'Not today, I said 'I want to go to Waitrose.' It would have meant hanging around and paperwork and you know how busy that car park gets, after 9.

Come back soon, DK, we miss the singing!!

DK's current swimming site, it looks as if they've got some serious issues with the H&S exec - never seen so many 'do's and don'ts'!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Low Tide 05:06 (0.90m)
High Tide 11:19 (2.60m)
Low Tide 17:34 (0.60m)
High Tide 23:58 (2.40m)
Sea temperature: not taken

Sea conditions: grey
Weather: grey
Joined be: no one
It's feeling really rather autumnal here today, the air temperature has dropped and it was on 8 degrees inside the hut this morning. The Allotment Bonfire Captain also decided it was time and lit the huge pile at dawn, as there was no wind and the smoke was going straight up. The weather is due to get wetter by the hour, so his timing is great, but the smell made it even more autumnal. The aftermath of the weekend is also obvious, with litter everywhere, but I see no point in clearing it today as we still have this Bank Holiday to go - nor did I mention to the family with a full size tent, bonfire and barbecue on the beach that it was not best practice. I don't like confrontation, especially first thing in the morning.
We've got 3 dogs this week and Raffi has a tendency to bully other dogs, so I'm trying to keep him by the hut whilst I swim, but he's a natural hunter and takes his little sister under his wing and off they go. On Saturday Mertz came down later for breakfast and found us all snuggled up - they did all settle and it was actually warm enough to sit there till about 10.30.
Mertz seems to have found the 'autumn' filter on his phone!
David, the Drone man sent me this link to some of the footage he shot over the beach, it's really interesting to see oneself swimming in the sea from above!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Low Tide 01:29 (1.00m)
Low Tide 02:05 (1.00m)
High Tide 08:29 (2.30m)
Low Tide 14:38 (0.90m)
High Tide 21:22 (2.30m)
Sea temperature: 16 - a massive drop in a very short time!

Sea conditions: perfect but markedly colder
Weather: glorious
Joined by: no-one, but I did see the others as I was leaving
I say no-one, but I'd met David Hughes yesterday, a photographer who is staying in the village and has been on the beach first thing the last couple of days. I first noticed him when I heard a familiar sound above my head and followed it back to him as his drone went home. I hadn't realised that they do this if their batteries get low, it's rather sweet. David is a professional photographer: here's his website and is just starting to work with drones, so a quiet beach on a summer morning is a great place to get  in some practice. He was modest enough to say that it's easier than it looks, but that wouldn't be hard, it looked like you need to have exceptional powers of concentration as well as being able to think backwards and upside down. Here are some shots he took of the water's edge, they really make my heart sing.

This morning wet met again and talked moving pictures, and then I swam for a good time as the water was my kind of temperature, I like this cooler edge. As I was floating on my back I looked up and there, about 50 feet above me was the little drone, I nearly waved and then though "idiot, it's a robot".... I look forward to seeing the results once he's had time to edit it.

Friday, 15 August 2014

A strange structure, but what Vivienne Rickman Poole, a regular contributor to the Outdoor Swimming Society, has to say in this music video/documentary short film rings true to me. It may not to everyone, I accept.