A Sophie-Swim today, from Goodrington to Broadsands near Paignton. It’s hot and sunny and the sea is flat and warm; light splays off red sand, still wet from the retreating tide. It smells like summer. We swim face-down through forests of weed, some of which stroke and pull at our limbs, while others scour like brillos. A school of tiny, blue fish zip past, dodging through a mini-canyon.
As we approach Arm Chair Rock, the sea turns turquoise and is tepid as bathwater. Water ebbs and flows around curiously pitted and holed limestone formations with a sound like vindaloo-induced indigestion. Sophie wallows and exclaims, transfixed by the shapes and the sounds.
I venture a couple of short runs of butterfly, but it’s difficult getting the timing back after my injury. Switching back to crawl I hit a thermocline where the water is suddenly icy, sending a shiver through my bare feet, hands and head.
Approaching Broadsands beach I feel then hear a strimmer sound cutting through me from the surrounding sea. I turn to see a couple of speed boats shooting across the bay, ejaculating sea water from their engines as they pass. It’s a horrible return to the real world, as annoying as a mosquito in your bedroom.