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'!