Drizzling, Dark, Dank…and Dangerous?
Ned Denison and Ger Kennedy – and their colleagues – train year-round in cold-water temperatures and, often, in rough water conditions. Swimming in the open water in Ireland direct results in the Irish swimmers becoming some of the most hardened and best acclimatized individuals in the world to cold water and rough conditions.
“Instead of the sunny clear conditions that I am comfortable with, there are occasionally days that are darkened with clouds, where the water temperature drops, and the entire ambiance of the beach is dank,” observes Steven Munatones. “From La Jolla to Huntington Beach, from Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz, there are channel and ice swimmers in California who toughen up and bear with these conditions. They enjoy it; they thrive in the cold. But it is tough for us less acclimated types like me.
While the water conditions in Southern California are not as difficult as in Ireland, the local waters seem to be increasingly crowded with different marine life.
In addition to the Great White Sharks that are being increasingly numerous in the shallow coastal waters of Southern California (as documented by The Malibu Artist – see below), there are also an increasingly number of orca, lancetfish, and anglerfish sightings.
“That is pretty scary,” said Munatones. “I know humans are not on their menu, but just swimming in the same area as Great White Sharks, orcas, lancetfish, and anglerfish is frankly scary to me. I know some swimmers are confident that they will punch a shark in its nose in a shark encounter, but if a shark swims near me, I do not have confidence that I would calmly stand my ground and throw a jab in the shark’s nose. More likely, to be perfectly honest with myself, I would swim crazily and frantically away – which seems like a losing proposition.”
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