Cold Water

I’ve just been for my first swim of the year in Henleaze Lake – a cool 16.5 º C – hardly Bondi Beach and not what I call warm. But my friend had been and I thought this was getting a bit ridiculous, what’s the point of joining a club, waiting for years to climb up the waiting list if you don’t actually go. Shopping was what was required, so I went to Beachshack and bought a shortie wetsuit today.

Arriving at the Lake, the wind blowing in the willows, the water looked decidedly chilly. Someone was sweeping up, and there were a few people around, one woman cheerfully swimming out past the sculpture towards the lily pads.

I wrestled with the long zip taggy thing in the changing room and feeling more than a bit like Captain Blimp, walked over the grass to the long steps down to the water…..

…And then I was in, the wetsuit really does work, I was most impressed, though I couldn’t swim very fast as it really was a bit cold for me. I swam down to the pontoon and then back again and got out. That’s enough for a first swim. I hope it warms up a bit more than this!

My reward?  Crispy duck with pancakes for supper. Bring it on!

24 thoughts on “Cold Water

  1. heidi

    ‘m headed to the Pacific Ocean next week.
    Not planning on swimming- I don’t have a wetsuit and it is too cold to swim unprotected.
    So, I’m just going to wear shorts and walk in the surf- my brother has rented a house in a beach town.
    A wetsuit sounds like a good investment when you have a lake as close by as yours.
    And I like your idea of a reward- crisp duck and pancakes- Yum!

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Have a wonderful time Heidi! I believe the Pacific is Terrific, or is it the Atlantic that is Gigantic ;)
      I saw somewhere yesterday that one can hire wetsuits…. they are very empowering and definitely do a wonderful job of holding the tummy in at the same time as keeping you warm.

      We burnt the top of the duck, but did we care? Not a bit!

  2. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    I would have love to have seen you in your wetsuit – bet you look like a superhero! :) I’m sure it kept bits of you warm, but the problem is always the bits that aren’t covered up! I had such fun reading about your lovely lake last year – how quickly time flies, and now you’re back swimming there again! :)

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Celia, I toyed with the idea of a full suit, but they are twice the price, even at the most basic level. Of course if I was going to metamorph into an IronWoman then I would do that but I don’t think I could manage a triatholon, I”m not a very driven sort of person.

      What gets me is the people just swimming in little cossies. There are people there who go in everyday it’s open. They have fish blood in their veins. they swim in the midst of winter. A long and noble Brit tradition, akin to going out in the midday sun ( mad dogs and Englishmen) If you’re very lucky I will get B to take a pic, but don’t hold your breath ;)

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      It’s all about the wetsuit C… but it was cold, I reckon it needs to be at least 20 C in there to feel vaguely comfortable. I slept like a lamb though, even after eating more duck pancakes than are seemly :)

  3. Amanda

    I’m not sure if I admire you or think you’re mad! Unlike when I was younger, now I’m such a pussy when it comes to total immersion in cold water. We have a solar heated pool in the back yard, but the weather has to be seriously hot (at least 35C) before I’ll consider getting in.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Hee hee Amanda, if I waited for the air temp to hit 35 C I might never go in. I can’t remember the last time it was that hot here. LIfe is short and full of surprises; I don’t push myself very often to do anything outside my comfort zone, so I guess this is my one gesture in that direction ;)

  4. cityhippyfarmgirl

    The only way I could possibly be lured into water that cold is the thought of crispy duck pancakes for after. Brrrr!
    (Just looking at your garlic pics on flickr- they are huge!)

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Hi Brydie – the veg bed is in a bit of a muddle this year, but those garlic were quite splendid. We have two more little rows of different varieties which are ready later. I know an Aussie firefighter who walks his dog and scoots his little ones round the woods who swims there sometimes, but yesterday there were exactly two swimmers in there and a few people sitting out on the grass contemplating. You feel magnificent afterwards, ready for anything!

  5. jan trounce

    Oh, I love that Joanna, aka Captain Blimp. They only way to wear them is with your head up, a purposeful gait and looking neither to left nor right. I would try it but I know Green Peace would be alerted and come to save me from possible scientific research! All hail Joanna the Intrepid:)

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Jan, there is a moment as you walk down the steps, when you are about up to your knees – and you think am I really going to do this? How foolish am I? No standing on the bottom in this lake, the bottom is a long way down.

      The real question is can I keep it up. I was going to look up whether you burnt more calories swimming in cold water than warm… I hope so :)

      1. jan trounce

        When walking with purposeful gait and up to your knees – it’s no time to turn back and with the bottom a long way down, you absolutely have to keep it up! On the plus side, I’m absolutely certain your shivering body requires extra calories, yeahy!!!

  6. Nip it in the bud

    blimey, I’m so impressed. I love the idea of swimming outdoors and read ‘Waterlog’ after watching a programme on iplayer about wild swimming. The lake looks beautiful but I imagine my poolside master strokes would become a sort of lazy floaty doggie paddle as I just mooned at the view!

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      If you want to visit the Lake with me one day when it’s a bit warmer, feel free to drop me an email Nic. My ‘elegant’ pool crawl has turned to a rather slow breaststroke and if it is windy it makes progress even slower. Your potatoes are looking very healthy in their pots by the way :D

  7. Tutak

    I have lost my wetsuit. It was super cheap and lovely and I bought it in France and it enabled me to stand in the cold Atlantic breakers guarding your nephew as he jumped the waves…..where is it? Where are my summer sandals, the only shorts that ever suited me, the sun dresses that covered arm pits and didn’t crumple too much and were presentable even with a slightly damp swim suit underneath when stopping off at the boulangerie on the way back from the beach? Are they all lurking together in some mysterious invisible container somewhere in the whirling vortex of hell that is the garage? Given away by accident to the charity shop? And where are my new sunglasses, owned for all of two hours before I put them down somewhere never to be seen again…..Borrowers. That’s who I suspect. They have probably turned the wetsuit into a post-modernist ski slope and are slaloming down it right now….

    1. heidi

      Borrowers have stolen from me ALL of my life!
      I look into every crook and cranny and then listen carefully for the quiet laughter than follows my constrained consternation! I KNOW they are there- and no one can convince me that it is my imagination! LOL- so glad to hear I’m not the only one with an infestation !

  8. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

    Tutak darling, I borrowed them all (come to think of it I think I hid them in the Magic Glove) and I stole your sunglasses. Will you ever speak to me again?

    Heidi I think you and Tutak should talk – there is obviously a worldwide conspiracy going on here… xx

  9. drfugawe

    Hmmm …… more strange things, Jo. I remember doing a comment yesterday, but nothing’s here – any comments awaiting OK?

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      I’ve looked, I usually check the spam every other day – I can’t see anything. As they say in all the movies, ‘it’s probably me, not you!’

  10. The Richest Girl in Bondi

    I’m so impressed that you’re swimming in such cold water… I take my beanie off to you! I have to say, the water temp at Bondi is probably a couple of degrees higher but there’s no way I’d be jumping in there in a hurry.

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