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Deep Black Sky, Heavy Water

January 9 2021

Causeway Coast

Charity AWARE NI

Swim Distance 2.51km

An old stone and concrete pier stands defiantly in front of the raging North Atlantic. From sunset, the ocean began to roar. That roar interspersed with deep gut wrenching thuds as waves that had marched across the deep dark Atlantic were pulverised as they detonated against the old pier. The old pier stands strong. It takes no prisoners. It destroys everything that attempts to overcome it.

The tide was super low, the sea and the horizon as black as it has been to date. The ocean and darkness engulfing me, the thud and the plumes from the waves being destroyed against the pier alerting me to the new swell I was entering.

As I turned and faced the west, the sea was black. Despite so much surf there was little light being reflected off the white froth left behind each wave. I worked my way along the coast as normal. The sea drew me with it as it breathed in and out, in and out. Waves washed over me but I was at ease. The section of the beach to the east of the church was my friend tonight. The water was dark and the surf heavy but I was moving along my course well. The section from around the wooden posts to the rocks was much different. The shallow low tide sand banks had some great deep gully’s for me to swim through with ease, but then some shallow sections with waves folding in two and detonating into plumes and surging over me. It was consistently doing this for a bout 300 yards as I swam to the west but I enjoy that, it makes me feel alive.

Some of the dead calm nights are beautiful but they don’t fill me with adrenaline and excitement like tonight did. I don’t feel out of place in the sea, I feel like I’m part of it, its part of me. Especially here, where I have spent countless hours since I was a tiny kid. I know it well, it knows me.

Tonight was tough and it was cold so I decided that once wasn’t enough, I needed to face this twice and so I did two swims totalling 2.51km.


Picture by Leigh Hawthorne. Me walking back for the start of the second swim.

First swim tonight

Second swim tonight

Info - I am swimming a total of 100km through the darkness, in the darkest and coldest months of the year off the North Coast of Ireland. My inspire those who may be struggling in dark times to keep going. I also aim to raise awareness and funds for the depression Charity Aware NI. We all face dark times in life at some point and it can be extremely overwhelming.

Safety - Please don't think that because I am doing this that you too should do this or something similar. I am very experienced in the sea with knowledge that is only gained through many years of exposure to the sea in all her moods. I have a safety and location system in place including continual contact with people on land every time I swim.


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