Bermusings 2013

It’s 74 degrees at 7:30 am. The sun struggles to part the stubborn storm clouds. Winds amplify to 15 miles per hour, and the 4K swim race. Harrington Sound is just hours away from beginning.

Magnus and I enjoy a light continental breakfast on the hilltop
dining room overlooking the mesmerizing Bermudian waters, visit the
resident hotel tabby cat, and I return to the room to make my final swim preparations.

I meditate on our covered outdoor deck, shielded from the gusty winds, and visualize the start of the race. I’m worried about the waves, the wind, and the weather. The prior evening brought torrential rains, heavy winds, and chop.

At the starting line. Photo courtesy of Magnus Nirell.

We will be walking out on a makeshift dock to enter the water and begin the race. The race officials instructed us to avoid slipping on the treacherous rocks and jagged coral as we jump into the turquoise protected area called Shark Cove.

My final step before the 10:45 shuttle departure involves creating my playlist in Evernote. Knowing that a 1-2 foot chop will dominate the second half of the race course, I plan to make my brain focus on my favorite workout songs. “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones, “All I Wanna Do” by Sheryl Crow, and “Ya Gotta Be” by Des’ree make the cut.

Our bus drops us at Shark Cove one hour prior to the start. We “power up” by getting our numbers painted on our arms and legs, and swig our last bottle of water. I relieve some stress by chatting with a few of the swimmers I’ve met throughout the week. We practiced together each morning at a different beach, finding our way with the unfamiliar tides and currents. Some swimmers are locals; others have traversed thousands of flight miles for their annual pilgrimage.

Like penguins, each swimmer awkwardly enters the water in sequence. I’m #328 and follow the crowd dutifully. The starting gun sends us off to the unfamiliar course, and I am relieved.

Although the final 2000 meters felt like swimming in the spin cycle of our high-efficiency washing machine, I keep plodding forward, tacking my way towards the final oversized orange buoy.Whenever I am about to swallow water or lose my sighting, I play a new soundtrack in my head. Works like a charm.

I nearly miss the finish line chute, but the seasoned volunteer kayakers point me towards the finish. Celebrations ensue, and I see my beloved at the top of the ancient, slippery steps.

IMG_0719The finish “chute.” Photo courtesy of Magnus Nirell.

One hour and seventeen minutes later, I have discovered yet another swimming Nirvana. I have placed 17th among the 4K enthusiasts, and 5th in my 40-59 age group. A good baseline for my 2014 swim!

I am grateful to have seized the chance to celebrate this blue planet with my fellow dolphins, mermaids, and sharks.On my final evening in Bermuda, I fall asleep to the cacophony of the tree frogs outside our room.

As Mary Oliver once asked, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Share your adventures in the comments below.

Tobacco Beach in St George
Tobacco Bay, photo courtesy of…Magnus, who else?

copyright 2013, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.



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