Waves & Wild Water

Before we relocated to South Wales, my favourite swim-spot was the Thames. To a lot of people, the river just doesn’t compare to the sea, and I’m certainly one of those people now – but for a while there was something about the Thames that just drew me back again and again, and with hindsight, I realise that it was the people…

My girlie swimming tribe was great! We all came from similar backgrounds – military wives and spouses, and we all had the same desire to escape the humdrum of the RAF married quarters where we lived, even if it did mean submerging ourselves in cold (sometimes questionable…) water. Some of us swam for the exercise, some for the mental health benefits, and some just for the company. Our swims usually involved coffee and cake, sometimes bacon rolls, but always plenty of laughter, and we always had each other’s backs.

When we moved to Wales, I didn’t know a soul. I desperately wanted to get into the sea but, if I’m honest, to start with I didn’t really know how…We had an unspoken pact at the Thames – no one ever swam alone, and I had no one here to swim with. I seriously missed my tribe.

Earlier this month, I stumbled across the Bluetits. I’d known about them for some time but didn’t realise there was such a HUGE group right here in my ‘home’ town of Burry Port. So, I pulled up my big girl swim pants and headed out to join them for a full moon high tide dip… (I never have been one to do things by halves!).

Nothing could have prepared me for what happened next as I rounded the corner on the path down to the beach. About a hundred people in swimsuits, wetsuits, bobble hats and dry robes were scattered across the beach. There were campfires, yogis, music and so much laughter. It was like I had stumbled across a beach festival on an exotic island somewhere (but without the weather and with more clothing involved!), not a little seaside town in South Wales.

I was immediately welcomed by the ‘Welsh choir’ section of the Tits, given a space around their campfire, and treated to spontaneous song as we got undressed. The singing continued as I found myself running with my new friends towards some of the biggest waves I think I have ever seen! (I found out later that a full moon, causes some of the highest tides, and this one was a whopper!) A few of the girls burst into song again, and a massive wave walloped me in the chest and sent me flying…

In the Thames we swam, here, we bobbed and jumped the waves. It was absolutely freezing but the singing and laughter kept you warm. And when we finally got out and got dressed, one of the girls had warmed up soup and a steaming mug and something called a rissole was thrust into my hand.

When I got home, I was absolutely buzzing! I had found my tribe but also, a love for the sea I didn’t realise I had - I had seized the moment and braved the unknown, and I had embraced the waves and the wild water.

(You can get your own 'Take Me To The River' t-shirt by clicking on the link)

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