January 24 2021
Charity AWARE NI
Swim Distance 1.62km
THANK YOU FOR CONTINUALLY SHARING AND DONATING. Donations now over the £4,000 mark!
AWARE NI https://aware-ni.org/
The sand was frozen solid. The water from the waterfalls running onto the sand was frozen and slippy! Big clear skies with huge snow clouds pushed through. A strong moon over powering the starry sky. The surf was pounding! Really heavy surges. Lots of white froth was being lit by the moon so I actually could see every wave last night. That is a huge difference to the nights when there is no moon and its almost pitch black and im relying on the movement and the sound to guide me forward.
A skydiver I know asked me yesterday how I swim in a straight line cos she had recently been surfing at Castlerock and noticed the current was really strong. I DON'T. When there is surf I get hammered and moved in and out as it draws water towards it and then pushes water in front of it. Take a look at the chart below from last night. Notice the big spike out towards sea. That was a rip current that formed between the surf. It moved me quite a way out. Lots of people are told that waves dont break in rip currents and that you should always just swim across them. Thats the theory but the reality is often far from that. There was, as is often the case, continual surf washing through the rip. I have learned through big wave surfing that a really smart tactic in currents is to make myself as big as possible. So instead of ducking under the surf I let it wash me in. As its washing me in counter to the rip current I work my way across the flow. To be honest that makes it sound easier than it is but it does work for me most of the time. That's exactly what i did last night. It was pretty straight forward last night. Some of the sand banks were relatively shallow and then there were some deep holes. I set off with the plan to swim 1.2km but when I turned to use a current that had formed against me I just kept swimming until the current died out bringing the swim to 1.62km in the end.
The wind chill last night was insane. Mark my lifeguard persevered through minus I dont know what degrees windchill. It was really cold. Not so much for me cos i was active and in the water but very difficult for him. I expect tonight may be similar.
Thank you for reading this far! Please if you have a few spare quid use it to help the charity AWARE NI via the link here.... A massive thank you to the few of you who have donated so far! I cant reply to you on the justgiving site but know that your words and the money for charity are greatly appreciated. I know how hard it is for everyone at the minute and to find something to donate is a great and kind thing thank you! https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/al-mennie
Donations have broken the third target! Every single donation is incredible thank you. To take the time to send some money across is great thank you! To be honest I was moved to tears last night when the 6k mark was broken by someone in Mexico donating enough to break the third target the same day that I set it! Also another large donation came from America from a friend. The donations from pennies to hundreds of pounds all mean so much. It is great support all round. Thank you so much.
Please also, use this as motivation to look out for yourself and those around you. We are promoting exercise and the outdoors, please embrace them and they will embrace you.
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 aim...to 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.