It’s 7.02am. and I am standing steady at the end of the pier in my swimming trunks, toes clawed over the edge. Today sunrise is at 7.13am, but I know it for a fact that eleven minutes prior there is sufficient light to start my swim across the bay. I tested it yesterday morning, looking through the hatch of my cabin. The difference of one day is negligible.
The only two other boats moored on our pier are further away from ours, so I have a good chance of having a quiet swim, with no one around.
Silence will be welcome, a substitute for acceptance, my surrogate carer.
The bay is 521 meters across according to the nautical map we have on the boat, the other side is rocky and is on the east side, so I will be swimming with the sun rising over me.
I shall appreciate the rays coming from above but will captivated by the reflections they create below the surface. Between breaths I will see approximately 17 rays of the dispersed light, colours varying according to my angle of vision and the distortion of my goggles. They will look playful in their seemingly random movement.
Delight should not cause distraction. Objective should prevail over choice of course of action. Pleasure is to be kept in check — while desirable in certain, well apportioned quantities. Underwhelming is reasonable, overwhelming may get out of control.
For the first few minutes of swimming my progress will be hard to perceive. Speed will be disappointing. The shore across will appear almost as far as it looked from the pier. This will be due to my perspective and I should not attribute any particular attention to it. I must remember that I am advancing by about 3.3 kilometres per hour, about 55 metres a minute.
Feeling motionless does not equal not moving forward, I should remember that. The familiar sensation of not making headway is deceptive, easily disproved by reason and facts.
Soon into my swim the water will be very deep, 37 metres when I’m half-way across. Not that it matters — depth. More than neck-deep is too deep, in any case.
Questions will arise. Mainly about safety. Water temperature will be 19 degrees Celsius, bringing my body heat down by about one degree Celsius in 23 minutes. Open water swimming can cause sudden cardiac arrest. I have statistical figures on incidence, but none would take into account a potential sailing boat, or power boat, crossing the bay at, say, 5 to 11 knots per hour. Wearing an orange swimming cap would help.
Questions will arise. Mainly about doubt. Perception versus fact. Longing versus reason. A bet of sorts. A dizzying taste of the unknown. Hedging your position is no longer an obvious option. Sensation makes no sense any more. Belief is vacant, but it’s still more than a complete lack of reason.
Despite a low water temperature, it is beyond reasonable doubt that my spontaneous circulation will hold up and I will be able to swim across the bay.
And sitting on the rocks on the east side of the bay I shall reflect.
At 7.17am I’ll be be half-way through.