A Cautionary Tale: Have you experienced anything strange while swimming in Open Water?

Submarine while swimmingAlmost 5 months down the line, swimming in open water is only slightly less scary for me than it was before our Gibraltar training endeavor.

I have made an important improvement with cold water during the last couple of months.  The sea always looks menacing to me and a freezing sea is just that much more threatening.  But I actually go in the sea during the winter now and I have come to appreciate winter open water swimming*(see note) because of the dearth of visible marine life.

Small fish still make me jump and these days while swimming in the ocean.  I wonder what on earth I would do if I saw any life-size animal, which is why I found these photos sent to Susan from Francisco Hernandez in Alicante so bizarre.  He was preparing for a swim and was shocked to almost be “run over” by a submarine.  I imagine it felt something like what animals must feel like when we pave a road through their forests and they come across a moving vehicle.

So, on top of worrying about getting torn apart by a shark, swallowed by a whale, taken away by a school of fish, swimming through someone’s garbage, getting tangled in seaweed, being clobbered by a tanker, we can now worry about how a submarine might end our lives while enjoying an OW swim.

Has anyone else seen anything funny in your open water swims? Please share them with us in the comments section or email us the stories and pictures so that we can include them in future posts.

*As a side note, I want to clarify that my cold water acclimation is nothing like the crazy Irish Polar Bear-Human who post about how 18℃ doesn’t really exist.  I find this temperature scale comical. It is so out of my comfort zone that it serves to remind me of what a wimp I really am.  My goal is that by the end of the winter I can swim in 16-18℃ water for more than half an hour with no wetsuit.



Categories: Open Water

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6 replies

  1. When I die and got to swimming heaven, the water will always be exactly 16C!

    I actually had pictures and video and wrote an article on the oddest thing I saw this year. I still don’t really understand it. http://loneswimmer.com/2012/06/03/creeped-out-on-the-waterford-coast/ !

    • That might have kept me out of the open water permanently!
      I have some specific cold water questions for you but I need to review your blog to make sure you haven’t already answered them yet.

  2. Since you ,mention Gibraltar, you might want to know that we (Bluefin Open Water Swimming Club) are ‘enjoying’ our winter swimming now. Last Sunday we measured the sea temp at 11 degrees Celsius, though it felt even colder on Wednesday, so could have been 10 degrees or under (for 30-45 mins, depending on the swimmer). We’re used to training in the harbour and are accustomed to harbour vessels such as tugs passing as close as 10m. Since we’re swimming parallel and very close to the shore this is not really an issue, but you have to get used to it. We are used to seeing quite a lot of fish when in the harbour (principally gey mullet and bream), whilst at the beach we swim over a sandy bottom between two rocky groynes, so actually see less marine life there. Last January I had a Marbled Electric Ray swim directly under me whilst swimming very close to shore at Eastern Beach, Gibraltar.

    The biggest challenge we face here is avoiding Mauve Stinger jellyfish (Pelagia noctiluca). During Westerly winds the Bay of Gibraltar is prone to influxes of the stingers, so we swim on Gibraltar’s Eastern coast, which are usually free of them. Conversely, Easterly conditions will bring the stingers in to the beaches on the Eastern side (as well as rough conditions if windy), but we can then swim in sheltered waters within the Port of Gibraltar. The worst conditions for us are winds with a Southerly element and variable winds, when our entire waters can be affected by large numbers of jellyfish, leaving the ‘chlorine hell’ of the pool as the only option.

  3. I expect that there are lots of things that float about near you when doing open water swimming, expect keeping your mouth shut helps.

  4. Submarines with horns and Policía Local in the water: Hey you, Stop your submarine inmediately and blow here; you nearly run over that OWS! (Nightmare!).
    That day I didn´t swim.

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