How cold is it? How cold does it feel?

Interesting comments around at the moment about the fact that the sea temperature has actually been warmer than it was at the start of July this year (12.1c said the Ballycotton gauge…hmmmm: working?).  Even if it’s right, people are saying they feel  very cold in and out of the water.  It’s the air temp combined with the sea that’s the difference, of course.  Spending an hour in the sea (or even 30 minutes) in July is very different to doing it in December, January etc.


Cork Harbour Weather – @CorkHarbourWX – had this on a tweet spotted by Bernard Lynch last week “The still air temp is +6C but the THSW temp (how it actually feels outside) is only +2-3C. Wrap up!”.  Extensive research was then conducted (he Googled THSW) to find what it was:

THSW Index uses humidity and temperature to calculate an apparent temperature. In addition, THSW incorporates the heating effects of solar radiation and the cooling effects of wind (like wind chill) on our perception of temperature.

Why bother posting this?  Just another reminder / warning to us all to think of all the factors when swimming in Winter.  Tides, sea temperature, wind temperature etc.  Cold always wins.  We can go into the sea on a beautiful flat calm day in December and be tempted to go a bit further than we should.

One thing you’ll notice is that a Northerly wind makes Myrtleville nice and calm.  Even quite strong Northerlies can still leave our favourite beach very swimmable.  It’s also a very cold wind!  It’s safer to be five or ten minutes from the beach when you feel cold, than to have gone over past the Dutchman when you realise that wind is freezing your elbows, your hands have clawed and it looks like a long way back.  No rule says you have to go to the Dutchman.  Fennell’s Bay is lovely this time of year!

So, look at the sea, check the tides, agree with a swim partner what you’re doing, cut it short if you feel cold – or before you feel cold – and always have your gear ready for a quick dry and change afterwards.  Afterdrop can be painful and it’s worse if you dawdle getting dressed.  Winter swimming is fantastic – a real buzz.  Just be careful.  Swim Safe.

A bit of a do – December 20th.

Siobhan Russell is posting an Event on FaceBook for all swimmers.  For non-FaceBookers, it’s the Turkey Thaw in the Pine Lodge, Myrtleville, at about 4.30pm on Saturday, December 20th – after the last Myrtleville Turkey Swim for 2014.  All are welcome.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

Pine Lodge – ready to be filled.

The Pine Lodge is a great spot.  The suggested table of events for the day and evening per Siobhan is:

Second last Turkey Swim in Myrtleville at 3pm.
Raffle being held after swim at the beach.
Pine Lodge for drinks and Turkey Thaw afterwards – about 4.30pm.
Photos of the year on screen.
Food available from pizza van.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

Crystal’s Munchie bus.

Siobhan’s agenda stops at that point, but I think she must have run out of space.  I’m sure the following should also be there.

  • Tequila Chaser Chicks – live on stage at 9.30.
  • Denis’ Shower Strip – repeated performance on request throughout the night – just ask and he’ll be ready to go.
  • X Rated photos on screen (i.e. The Killary Shots) – once the kids go home.  Sure to set up the next stage……..
  • “It’s way too hot” – off to the beach without any silly old clothes to get in the way

Just another normal night out for this crowd, really.


See you on the 20th.  Oh, it’s Carol’s birthday, too.  There might be even more cakes than usual.

Swimming in December

Siobhan Russell got this beautiful picture yesterday morning.  The sea is under 10c and closer to 9c at times, but the calm conditions have been a bonus.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

Heading for the Dutchman – Myrtleville, December 4, 2014.

Not looking as good for next week, but we’ve got 08.15 tomorrow and the Turkey Swim on Sunday at 11.00 to look forward to before then.

As an add-on to the post on swimming in cold water, Donal Buckley has done a great post this week on what to expect as you swim in the colder sea for the coming months and how the blood flow to the limbs and skin is restricted.  Peripheral vasoconstriction it’s called, but he makes it easy to understand!

Swim Safe.

Santa arriving early – fresh supply of Hats on the way.

There will be a new stock of the world’s most desirable stocking fillers, Myrtleville Swimmers hats, in Centra Crosshaven before Christmas.  Yellow, White, in demand and international.  The supplier has promised delivery in about ten days.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

I got you another present, Angela..

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

Pat’s Hat on Ironman training in Mallorca – I think that’s a yellow hat blowing away in the background.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

Fair enough, he’s holding up the Hat, but it might as well be two fingers – ‘I’m on the beach in Floriday, Nah, Nah, Na, Na, Nah’

Update on the changing shelter.

Work to get a shelter built on the beach is moving along.  Obviously, the main focus is on making the structure low-key and in keeping with the surroundings.  You may recall one of the early designs.  You’d hardly notice it on the beach.

Changing area - proposed design.

It was suggested that this was so small it might actually be missed by visiting swimmers.  Kieran Murphy has proposed a way to draw some attention to it make sure it doesn’t completely fade into the background.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

Kieran Murphy’s contribution to the design of the new changing shelter.

I think this is just the most tasteful and appropriate proposal. Fair dues, Kieran.  You’ve a real eye for eco-friendly design.  I’m certain there will be no objections to it.

Still warm – really.

At 11c and over, it’s a full degree warmer than 2013, when Carol Cashell recorded 10.2c on Dec 1st.  We’ll ignore the fact that 26 days later, she got 7.9c on St. Stephen’s Day.  The Winter has certainly been shortened.

We were unfortunate on Saturday morning to get the tail end of the Easterly wind, so twenty swimmers headed to Fountainstown for a splash in the slightly smaller waves.  Great numbers in the water.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

Feckin’ Easterly. Myrtleville, 29 November.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

August morning in Fountainstown – or at least that’s what passersby thought. No parking spaces left.

The Turkey swimmers in Sandycove got the luck this weekend.  Sunday was a beautiful day for a swim.  Unfortunately, even that couldn’t drag Siobhan Russell out of her habitual down-in-the-mouth, unenthusiastic demeanour.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

You’d just feel like shaking her to get a bit of life into her. Always so downbeat – and don’t get me started on that Lowry fella.

Swims today at 11.00 (might just be too late for that one!) and at 4.30pm.   Enjoy it while we have it.