Night Swimming

October 24, 2009

It seems I have abandoned the pool in favor of the ocean.  I have found myself a merry group of swimmers who meet at 6.30am every week day for a few thousand meters of ocean bliss.  While I know that 6.30am does not constitute night swimming, I think it probably has all of the same mystique and adrenaline-induced thinking patterns.

It is pitch black at 6.30 in the morning.  When we jump into the ocean we can barely see an outstretched arm in front of our faces.  The sky is dark and starry, and the water even darker.  On a calm morning the only thing you can see clearly is the sparkly green phosphorescence caused by our movements in the water.

And thus, invigorated and often fearful, we begin swimming into the darkness.  There are really fast swimmers and slower swimmers and on any given day I’m willing to be either if it means I have a swimming buddy to make me feel safer.

I usually spend the first several hundred meters sifting through my various emotions.  I am terrified of what might lurk beneath us in the dark.  I am elated to be swimming under the stars, literally immersed in nature and absorbing its beauty with my every breath.  Some days I feel so happy to be in that water at that time with those people, that I can barely contain myself and the only thing stopping me from grinning while I swim is the thought of accidentally swallowing a larval jellyfish through my smile (easy to do, I assure you).

Once we get to the turning-around point we tread water (or stand if it’s shallow) and wait for everyone to congregate in a sacred swimmer’s circle of laughter and chatter.  We talk about what we encountered (driftwood?  a fish?  some seaweed?) and count heads before swimming back.  On the way back, the sky turns a dark navy, and the oranges and reds start to make their appearance as the sun peeks over the horizon.  My phosphorescent superpower disappears and is replaced with shadows of coral and fish as the water turns a deep turquoise.  I try to savor every moment and every ounce of magic.  I remember to myself how fortunate I am to be alive and I give thanks to the Universe for another day.

2 Responses to “Night Swimming”

  1. Beth Says:

    WOW – what an amazing experience. I have to say though that I would probably be too scared to enjoy it!!! 🙂 I really need to get to that island to visit you…

  2. marit c-l Says:

    I didn’t think it was possible – but your writing makes me want to swim in the ocean! 🙂 And you know how afraid of, well, errr, some Marine Life I can be. I too would either swim super fast or super slow in order to keep up with a buddy…

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