The sign appears quite emphatic and there are others too, in fact no swimming signs in profusion. And all they say may be true, but actually none of those things singly or in combination actually means one should not go swimming, only that there is a need to approach with caution. Besides it is quite tricky to swim in shallow water and deep doesn’t make a lot of difference once you are out of your depth. Quite the contrary in fact as on a shallow beach you could be only 1 meter out of your depth but it could be 100m to sufficiently shallow water, whereas on a steep beach it may only be a few meters. Currents are obviously harder to read and I can see evidence of rip currents from the way the shingle has been sculpted, but they are not certain death so long as you understand them and don’t try to swim against them: swim around.
There is not a great deal of surf, nothing like on my previous visits when swimming has been blown out every time. Recent storm Brian obviously did throw up quite some surf as the car park is strewn with large pebbles and a part of it has been washed away. There is however one stranded Portuguese man o’ war, now why was death by ‘jellyfish’ not on the sign? But like the rest I’ll take my chances on that score. Besides will you just look at that sunset, what could possibly go wrong against a backdrop like that?
I am off and swimming, buoyed up by the gentle swell. As expected I have gathered quite an audience and it occurs to me that surely the mere fact that I am swimming here in the first place in the closing days of October is a reassurance in itself that I might have some previous experience and some idea of what I’m doing.
It further occurs to me that by applying that reverse engineering reasoning then where many people are at a beach in summer they must all be idiots. And as it is probably the case that far more people get rescued in summer than in winter it must be more dangerous to swim in summer. You see, it makes sense.
Unless of course the winter ones are simply never seen again much less get rescued. Hmmm, I suspect I have overlooked something in my reasoning.
Anyway here I am, by myself, swimming where I shouldn’t be out well beyond the end of the breakwater and I am still in search of the dangerous currents and killer ‘jellyfish’. It is true however that I am out of my depth though the water is a bit murky so without being able to see my feet it is hard to be sure. It doesn’t much matter anyway because I am quite content to let my feet float up and lie back and enjoy the sunset. Even I can see that winter is on the way and these opportunities will be few and far between once a few more weeks have gone by.