Thursday, September 20, 2012

Crummock Water Swim - around Woodhouse Island

Woodhouse Island on the left

A choppy evening on Crummock Water but we headed for a swim from the usual spot anyway.  Having had a failed experiment with a waterproof camera housing on my last swim (the camera was fine but the clear plastic of the housing made the camera think that the lens was obscured), I wanted to try using my Garmin 305 to track my swim.

Now the Garmin 305 is a certain type of waterproof.  It all gets quite technical IPX numbers and all that.    The watch can apparently withstand being submerged in water for up to 30 minutes and not more than a metre in depth.  For a normal swim, unless something goes drastically wrong, the watch would not be submerged that deep and 30 minutes is a decent length of time for a swim.  However, slapping the watch against the water, as would be the case in the windmill action of front crawl, would mean that a lot of pressure was put on the waterproof seals.  The various forums seemed to show that some people had been swimming with their 305s for some time with no problem but others had broke their watch on one swim.

I decided it wasn't worth this particular experiment but then I read about someone using their 305 under a swim cap (you can also read about it here).  So I thought I would give it a go.

I put the watch in the waterproof camera housing, put that under a swim cap and then put another swim cap on top.  It seems to have worked fine, see below:

Aerial photo map from Memory Map - not too detailed but accurate
this is the aerial map from Bing - lots more detail but it shows us going directly over the island, which we did not do 
Ordinance Survey (Memory Map)

Overall swim distance was about 350 metres.  I started the timer going before putting the watch under the swim caps.  The time was 14 minutes but we were just cruising along, floating about and stuff.  Getting around the island was an achievement.  We had to swim against, and then alongside, some pretty big waves on the way out.  Swimming alongside was definitely harder and I had to change to breathing on the left so that the waves were hitting the back of my head rather than hitting me in the face.  I also needed to lift my head higher to see where I was going.  These are things I had read about so it was good to put them into practice.

We should have probably taken a wider route as we did end up walking across the rocky outcrops of the island at one point.  Once over this part, with the shelter of the island and the current behind us, we were able to swim to the shore really easily.

I'm gradually getting to grips with my open water swimming confidence.  Having someone else out there with me has really helped in this.  One of the big steps was getting used to putting my face in the water and not being able to see anything.  This is still a challenge but it's a fun challenge.  My fears are quite irrational, I'm expecting to see a huge sea monster or a skeleton come out of the darkness.  It's fun to play these mind games and push myself in this way.

steep side of Melbreak over the Kirkstyle Inn
The Kirkstile Inn is on the way home, so we thought we ought to pop in for a pint.  This is a really great place, they seem to have massively expanded their dining area since the last time I was there but it was still really busy.

As usual, grand plans were made over a pint, it looks like a lake crossing is on the cards.  Watch this space.

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