Enoying every minute of the weather!

It really has been an amazing month of weather and sea temperatures.  Lots of swimming still being done.  Monday nights at 6.00pm will continue until October 20th.  The clocks go back on Sunday 26th, so that will be that for another year.  Just 08.15 on Saturday mornings as the set time until next April, although lots of people will go at earlier day times during the week.

Saturday morning was beautiful and various groups went to Church Bay and back and Fountainstown – either one way or return.  That group were dead chuffed with themselves, so they went for an extra long breakfast afterwards.  The life of Riley. 

Meanwhile in Spain, Pat Lowry had to deal with water even hotter than ours and got the dreaded (for triathletes) “No Wetsuit” notification!  He seems to have managed just fine in his togs, though.  Well done, Pat 🙂

Nice see also that The Hat continues to travel and spread the love.  Spotted in Salthill at the weekend.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

Enjoy the warm seas!   Swim Safe.

Good luck, Pat!

Pat Lowry has been a great addition to Myrtleville Swimmers all year, preparing for his Ironman in Mallorca next Saturday.  Best of luck, Pat, from everyone in Myrtleville.  You’re already a lead candidate for “pose of the year” so keep up that level of effort and attention to detail on Saturday.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

You could meet anyone around Myrtleville. Look who broke out of the cage.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

Pat “Mr. Pink” Lowry in one of the designs for the new hat Rob Bohane has commissioned.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

Pat Lowry on his last Saturday morning swim before his Ironman on Saturday, September 27 in Mallorca. Gary Frost indicates expected position out of the water.

Tequila Goggles

The effects of Beer Goggles are well known, but fewer studies have been done on Tequila Goggles.  On Saturday night, extensive research was undertaken to determine how post-swim athletes would be effected by tequila intake.  If it’s “in vino veritas” and “in aqua sanitas” then I think it must be “in tequila Denis’s ass”.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

Under controlled conditions, the experiment commences. Controlled, as in – indoors.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

Denis – I wanna be Adored, as the song says. And he is. That tequila’s great stuff.  Anne queues for her turn.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

Denis – even more adored. Anne gets a turn and Siobhan sneaks in too. Tequila Goggles are amazing.

Please note – no Tequila Experiments pre-swim, only post-swim 🙂

Crosshaven Challenge Triathlon 2014

Another fantastic event, with great performances all round.  I’m just gathering together the links from Facebook and elsewhere here in one post as a few people have asked.  I’ve put all the photos from Siobhan Russell on Google+ so they’re accessible to all outside of Facebook.

This year in particular, saw lots of “next generations” entered, with various Sloweys, Shalloos, Lynchs, Lowrys etc on show.  All look like massive improvements on the older editions.  I know there are others, so apologies I can’t get them all in!

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A great addition to the event was this video taken by Drone. Well done to Nomah (Age 13).

Finally, the full results are available here.  Well done to the organisers, sponsors and participants.  Centra – Brightens up your Day 🙂

Sea swimming makes you smile – again.

I’ve said this before but these five pictures taken by Siobhan Russell on Monday night really reminded me of it again.  Easterly wind, rough water – still brilliant.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

Poser Frost and Posee Cashell.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

Patrick McCabe & Jamie O’Donnell – proper Man poses.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

Ruth McSweeney & waves.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

Kieran Murphy & Ros O’Brien – Cheshire Cat smiles.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

Audrey Burkley strips off!

With the water over 17c, it’s a long way to Winter yet!  Swim Safe.

Minane Bridge to Roberts Cove – Part 2.

Tom McCarthy’s swim from Minane Bridge to Roberts Cove

Part 2 The Dam to Robert’s Cove.  Distance: 7 Km.

From Fountainstown up to the Dam is about 2km of tidal mudflats. As I intend to start the swim tomorrow at high water the mudflats will be covered and the channel will not be visible. As the flats may only have a foot or two of water over them they will be unswimmable, so it’s vital to stay in the channel. On these mud banks if you go aground on a falling tide you can neither swim nor walk and you can end up in serious trouble. On the Carrigaline mudflats a guy in a small boat lost the channel on an ebb tide, went aground and the only way off was a SAR helicopter. This happened only last year.

So therefore, so as not to end up like a complete Wally, the channel would have to be marked. You can’t do it on high tide as you can’t see it and you can’t do it on low tide as there is not enough water to float your boat. So you must do it on 1/2 tide when the channel is still visible and there is enough depth to get your boat up. Earlier in the day I went to a nearby wood and cut about a dozen Hazel branches of about 10/12 feet length. The Hazel limbs grow quite straight. At one end I hewed a point for sticking in the mud and at the top end I attached some red cloth, so they would look like a flag pole with a red bunting.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

Dam to Robert’s Cove.

Wed 20th August 1900 hrs The Sand Spit, Fountainstown.

With my friend Billy Kelleher we launch a 3 man Indian canoe, enough room for 2 of us and my flagpoles. We paddle upstream sticking our poles in the mud at any point where the channel turned or where it would still be visible from the last one. In about an hour we were up and back, got the markings done and confident that I wasn’t going home by Helicopter tomorrow.

Thurs 21st August The Pier Head Crosshaven. 1430Hrs

Arriving at Crosshaven pier with my crewman, Tom, who has done a couple of circumnavigations of the North Atlantic with me in our days in square rig, we find Billy Kelleher waiting with his RIB. Besides being an expert boat-handler, Billy is experienced in tending to open-water swimmers, having acted as safety- boat for several previous events.  I am especially aware that I will need two capable crew who will be able to haul me into the boat if required.

We motor around to Fountainstown and then slowly go up the channel to the Dam. Some of our markers are missing and the strong wind the night before must have knocked them over. However the remaining ones should be sufficient. We sit at the steps of the Dam waiting for the Ebb tide to start flowing out. We judge it by watching the water level on a step, drinking hot-chocolate and remaining well clothed. After about 1/2 hour we all agree it has dropped an inch or so. So, let’s do like Shepherds and get the flock out of here. I quickly change into togs etc and we are off….Incidentally the Ebb has started about 45 mins before High Water Cobh. Tides in river areas always need local knowledge. The 6 hours in 6 hours out cycles do not apply.

Swimming with the boat in front and the markers visible, I still touch bottom with my hands occasionally. (If you must touch bottom, make sure it’s a soft bottom).  I swim as fast as I can (which isn’t fast at all) just to get clear of the mud. After about 1/2 hour I start getting the tide and get a good push as we go along by the Ringabella woods. Now it’s enjoyable. Some friends, who are swimming horses bareback on the Fountainstown side, shout encouragement..giddy up…giddy up. Is it a sea horse they are talking to?

Finally out to sea and I am still getting a push from the tide – it’s stronger than I expected, maybe 1/2 knot. The wind forecast was Westerly force 6, but so far I am in the Lee of the land. About halfway from Ringabella point to the Cove I come around a point and the Westerly 6 is straight up my nose. To make matters worse, it’s wind against tide and it’s a steep, short sea which slaps me straight in the face. I’m Breast stroking and swallowing a lot of water. Bang, Bang, Spew! The lads in the boat are giving me drinks every 20 mins and I eventually take 2 Nurofen Plus as my neck is killing me. I later find I have a disc out. After 2 hrs 35 mins we arrive in Roberts Cove.

Tired but Happy we head for Home…..Not really…we do a deserved detour via Cronin’s Bar and Lounge. Not so much to celebrate, as to take fuel and liquid sunshine from a glass!

Swimmers wanted for Crosshaven Challenge

Anyone interested in leading off a team for the triathlon next Saturday, September 20, please contact Bernard Lynch – 086-2257058.  Short swim of about 500m and always a really enjoyable afternoon.

With the water staying so warm, the only problem is the East wind keeping things a bit lumpy.  It’s still great fun, though and everyone is enjoying the extended Summer.  There are groups in almost every day, with lots around on Saturday morning.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

Saturday morning crew – September 13, 2014.

There are plenty of spots in the harbour sheltered from the Easterly and on Friday morning some people swam from Crosshaven towards Camden in calm water.  Another group got fancy for their regular Friday morning jaunt and went via RIB to the shelter of Roches Point and Whitebay – a beautiful swim.Well done to all the Cork to Cobh swimmers yesterday.  Not nice conditions and a great achievement to get it done.

Swim tonight at 6.00pm – some going at 5.00pm also.  If anyone wants an early morning, 06.20 Wednesday – just getting light then. Swim Safe.

“Macker – you’re some loony.”

Tom McCarthy’s swim from Minane Bridge to Roberts Cove

Part 1 Minane Bridge (The Bridge) to The Dam (Non Tidal).  Distance: 3 Km.

The river (or stream) flowing through Minane Bridge reaches the sea between the sand flats of Fountainstown and the woods of Ringabella. The distance from the Bridge to Ringabella is approximately 5 kilometres and from Ringabella to Roberts Cove another 5 kilometers being a total of roughly 10K. The Minane River valley is low lying and this river used to flood all the way up to Ballyfeard, wreaking havoc on the local farming. In the 1950’s a dam was built across the valley to prevent this deluge. This flooding would occur when Spring tides were accompanied with South East gales. The exact same conditions that create the serious flooding in Cork City centre.

A few days beforehand, I went down to check out the river by walking the adjoining fields but this proved almost impossible to have a proper reconnaissance. The reason for this is that, in addition to the Dam, the levees, or embankments, were built up to a height of about 10 feet. These are completely overgrown and it is almost impossible to get a glimpse of the river. The next evening I decided to do my reconnaissance by canoe. When collecting from my friend, Peter O’Mahony, he said he was free to join me, a decision I’m sure he was soon to regret. But, with a safety boat, why not do the reconnaissance and swim at the same time?


Tues 19th August 1900hrs…Church car park, Minane Bridge.

We get the Kayak into the water and I change into togs, swim cap, goggles and swim shoes…VITAL! I also take  my dog, ‘Sailor’ with me”. Sailor is an expert ratter whose scent might keep our furry friends (water rats and otters) at bay. Initially the water is about waist high and difficult to swim because of the weed. The dog is making very heavy weather of it, so, instead of him helping me I’m helping him…….not part of the deal. I decide to go back with him after only a short distance.

Ready to go, Cap'n Tom!

In the car park a woman is walking her Rottweiler, off the lead, and the next thing she sees is “Biggles” and a dog climbing up the river bank. Of course both big powerful dogs immediately challenge each other. Fortunately it develops only into a Mexican-standoff. Completely forgetting my unusual attire I ask her if her dog is “alright?” but, – judging by the expression on her face – maybe she wants to ask me if I am ‘alright’. She seems to have lost her voice, so I get Sailor back in the van and scramble back into the river. In my last glimpse of her she is scurrying away towards the church in Minane, no doubt to light a candle for her sanity or, more appropriately, MINE!

Back in the river I join up with Peter and the kayak but the going is difficult. The river weed is thick in places and fallen trees block our journey. The overgrowth is so dense in places the Kayaker doesn’t have the room to paddle so I hold on to the back and kick through, just like a propeller at the stern of a boat. Peter’s face and arms are getting scratched and bloody from the dense overgrowth. The river is getting deeper and bending like a snake but as soon as I think it’s getting swimmable, it shallows and when I try standing it’s like being in muddy quicksands. The kayak has to tow me, again by holding onto the stern. This happens a number of times. The flies are also becoming a problem.  On coming up for air I find that instead of getting oxygen I get a mouthful of gnats. Half Man …..Half Walrus…..no ….Half Man ..Half Trout!

All we are short are some Crocodiles and Piranha and we could be on a tributary of the Amazon. No sooner did this thought occur when I heard some fellows hunting with dogs. Part of this valley is wooded, but I cannot see them due to the high embankments. Maybe it’s an Irish Deliverance”….and “we don’t want no Townies coming down our river….Eek like a pig!!!” That line…”Eek like a pig” keeps going through my head.

Eventually, after about an hour, the river widens and deepens, the embankments are gone and the swim is enjoyable. Accompanying me for the for the final lap are two swans and a solitary cygnet; predators have taken the rest of the brood. These birds will attack a human if their nest or young are threatened. They say they can break a man’s arm with a lash of their wings. They turn around occasionally and hiss but keep their distance.

Peter, my kayaker, and I haven’t spoken much but finally when things are going swimmingly he says, “Macker, you’re some Loony”. All I can say is “Mahony…birds of a feather…” To be fair to him he had no idea what he was letting himself in for and maybe if I had told him he may not have come. Come to think of it I won’t be surprised if he declines to answer my call in the foreseeable future!

The water quality in this river is good. I should know as I swallowed enough of it. There was definitely no pollution or sewage. I did get some mild stomach cramps but a shot of neat Brandy killed all the greeblies. That and gargling with antiseptic mouthwash, before and after, and I was fine the following day. After 1 hour and 20 mins we arrived at the Dam. We then had to walk about 1 kilometre through brambles in shorts to the nearest tarred road, carrying the canoe. We hid that in the bushes and another hour’s walk to the van. return for the boat and it was well after dark when we finished.

Boy did a pint of Stout taste good that night!!

In hindsight I should have checked out the adventure better but then doing it cold can often be a better buzz. What we used to say at sea….the 6 P’s: Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

Health and Safety Warning: Don’t try this at home!

Ultra Man

As previously recorded on this site, James Slowey has an occasional tendency to leave the water and do some land-based endurance work.  As he set off down Kerry way on Friday, he was challenged by various parties to either do a quick swim in the middle of his 50 mile jaunt around the Dingle Ultra-Marathon, or at least wear his Myrtleville hat on the podium.  We had complete confidence he’d be on it 🙂

For various – spurious – health and safety reasons, he couldn’t exit the course for a dip.  However, he met the second part of the challenge and was suitably attired to receive his second place trophy.  50 miles, 6hrs 23mins – including over the Conor Pass.  Give me the sea any day!  Full timings here.

James Slowey - Ultra Man

Gougane Barra Swim results 2014

From Tadhg Harrington:

Thanks to all who participated in last Saturday’s swim, and those who helped.

The general consensus was that it was longer than usual. One lap between 2.75-3km. Two over 5km?

When the shore monitors reported back they said everyone, bar one (me) had at some point or other ,stood up and walked during the swim. Therefore according to the rules of International Open Water Swimming, everyone (except me), is disqualified. Bog snorkeling can be incorporated in an open water swim without prior notice. When you encountered shallow water, you should have bog snorkled.    LOL. Only joking. Thanks to Mags and Paul for timekeeping. And Isolda and Tim for registration.

Gougane Barra Results 2014 One Lap

Gougane Barra Swim Results 2014 Two Laps