Last Tuesday I had the opportunity to have my first full moon swim of the season. The weather was a bit warmer than usual and the surf was flat. No better time for what I had in mind!
I sent out a Facebook invite to my swimming buddies to see if anyone would go with me, but no luck. They all seemed to say “next time”, but I didn’t want to miss out on a chance like this, so I figured I had to go alone.
This decision turned out to be better for me.
I had to wait till approximately 9 P.M. for the sun to completely set. If my friends were with me, they probably wouldn’t have been as patient, and the experience wouldn’t have been ideal. And since I was swimming by myself, I didn’t have to worry about them not being as confident about swimming that far from shore.
With the warmer weather, the water temperature was in the mid 50’s, a few degrees higher than usual. And even with my 3mm wetsuit, I could still feel the chill; but I loved every minute of it! There were two absolutely amazing things about this swim that I’ll never forget:
– The first was the concept of bioluminescence. This is where tiny sea life will literally light up as you brush past it. With each stroke, I was able to see a small amount of light around my hand as it moved through the water. You’d think that they’re just bubbles, but they’re not! To confirm it, I simply held my hand underwater and I could see the little lights hover around it. It was totally amazing! Swimming under the moonlight allowed me to observe how the water swirled around my arms as I completed my strokes, while watching the jaw-dropping underwater world.
– The second thing that I really loved was simply the moonlight. The full moon out on the ocean can be very bright and it is easy enough to use it, along with other markers, as a guide for sighting during the swim. I was not in a hurry, and this allowed me to enjoy the swim, and to stop and take a look around. There were some sea lions near a pier but they’re harmless from afar, and they were just busy making ridiculous noises.
It was a really fun experience for me, and I highly recommend it to any open water swimmer; it’s definitely a change from what you’re used to. I did it in an area that I was familiar with, and this allowed me to enjoy the swim and not worry too much about the environment. You can do the same, and if you can’t make it during the full moon, at least make sure it’s a bright night; your eyes will adjust well to the conditions.
Give it a shot and stay safe!by