"The Little Book of Swimming Safely: Incomplete Advice for Wild Swimmers" was written last year in the middle of the pandemic with closed public pools and a huge increase in the number of people heading to rivers, seas and lochs near home. Even before lockdown swimming throughout the year in wildness had become more and more popular. Cold water swimming is beautiful, healthy and also dangerous. This little blue book comes in handy.
Sea comes back closer again, ice melts, and a silver cover appears. There are not so many books that I am afraid to begin because who knows where will I become stranded this time. "Albert and the Whale" by Philip Hoare is published in March, 2021.
I wrote a 100-day diary this summer, from May 27 to September 4, choosing one swim each day to write about in around one hundred words. Here are five from the documented dips in river Lielupe and the Baltic Sea.
"Every swim is a challenge to my mortality and my stupidity. They become ever more extreme with every season and every place," says Philip Hoare. He swims before dawn.
Charlie Connelly wakes up "ridiculously early", listens to the shipping forecast on the radio and goes for a swim in the English Channel. One day he decides to continue to swim in winter too.
"As a terrible swimmer, the sea is the only place, strangely enough, that I enjoy splashing about in the water. Swimming pools are too noisy or organised, but La Mer is the place for me to practice my terrible breast stroke." Jonny Hannah
My interview with British writer Philip Hoare, author of "Leviathan, or the Whale", "The Sea Inside" and RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR, I did for The Island Review. You can borrow these books from the Sea Library.
“The Outrun”, by a British writer and journalist Amy Liptrot, is her first book and it’s about her. Absolutely open, disarmingly honest, life affirming and with a thin lining of silver sorrow. Amy finds herself at a rehab in London and returns home on an island by the North Sea, in hope to understand the traps of consciousness and the deeps of subconscious. To learn to see the world with new, sober eyes.