The Open Water, An Otherworldly Experience

The Open Water, An Otherworldly Experience

Most of the humans in the world either cannot or do not swim. They may go to the seashore or head to the lakeside, but they never enter the water. They may vacation on a cruise boat or they may fish in rivers, but they never see the aquatic environment from below the surface of the water.

Like mountaineers who see the world’s peaks or fighter pilots who zoom across the skies at unbelievable speeds, open water swimmers enjoy experiences that are not shared by the vast majority of humanity.

And like mountaineers standing triumphantly on a summit peak or a jet pilot screaming upwards to space, we cannot imagine a worldly existence without the pleasure, challenge, and opportunities of open water swimming.

The beauty of swimming over a coral reef, or of swimming among bioluminescence at night, are joys of the open water world. The feeling of gently being lifted up and down by ocean swells, swimming under the moonlight, or being frustrated when making headway against currents, tides and wind chop are experiences unknown to non-swimmers. The thrill of swimming with dolphins or sea turtles or tropical fish; the heart-stopping zapping of jellyfish or the shock of a shark encounter are only a few examples of the uniqueness of the open water world.

Waking up early, walking down a sandy beach as the sun comes up, and jumping in a rough water ocean or a tranquil lake are what a majority of humanity never imagine or never experience. The solitary nature of swimming parallel to shore, past the surf break, or zoning out in a meditative manner out at sea is a smoothing, healthful exercise unknown to most. The experience of struggling through a training swim or race and finally coming up on the finish is a surreal experience that culminates in a profound joy when your hand touches the sandy bottom. There is a sensitivity that is nearly indescribable: upon reaching shore, the mixture of relief and self-satisfaction feels like it is erupting from your deepest DNA. Whether you are shivering with cold or exhausted with fatigue, your sensations are all encompassing.

As you take off your goggles and wrap yourself up in a towel, you have experienced an activity and a phenomena that few others do. Neighbors, co-workers, classmates, and friends can enjoy the terra firma world in myriad ways, but you and your colleagues in the open water swimming community have the additional pleasure of enjoying the other 70% of the Planet Earth.

Photo shows Linda Kaiser swimming in Hawaii.

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming
Steven Munatones