The innuit may have 100 words for snow; we cant be far away with numbers of words for sea! Swimming in the sea is awesome, every day its different, its alive, from easy to fighting for survival, there’s something for everyone!
First comes the flat calm, the glass, the swim through the giant mirror. Doesn’t happen very often but its great, peaceful and tranquil. Does bring the jellies to the surface tho!
Next is just your bog standard sea state, pretty flat, pretty smooth swimming.
Somewhere after this comes the swell. Large rolling mounds of water that move like a giant sine wave, lifing you up one side and down the other. Its fun. All of a sudden its three dimensional swimming; sometimes wish the garmin recorded elevation gain on these days!
The spillers, rolling breakers the wind doesnt hold up, messy, cant go over, can go under…until they grab your tow float and roll you around.
The chop. Yuk. On an easterly wind we tend to get chop. Little rolling waves, breaking in places, solid in places, unpredictable, hard to get into a rhythm, rolling you over and turning you round. Head down crack on! When the wind direction is just quite right, we get an interesting effect of the waves bouncing off the sea wall and the pier and superpose, turning into almost a diamond pattern of peaks and troughs. This is horrible, almost un-swimmable and almost not worth going in for.
The washing machine! Big, rough, knarly, waves smashing in from all angles, rocking, rolling; its a fight! This is fun. This makes you get out with a big smile on your face!
The washing machine increase in size and power as the wind comes up, through the forces until you get to storm. Storm starts to get worrying; this is where you need 100% confidence in what you are going to go for. If there’s a doubt; don’t. The bigger in gets the more you get judged from the shore; little do they know how alive it makes you feel, wrestling with an angry sea!
At a point, storm becomes un-swimmable. Mother nature wins, accept it, go home, live to fight another day…or at least run away to an enclosed, sheltered spot…;)