Buoy Fundraiser – this is important

Everyone agrees that the buoys were a fantastic addition to Myrtleville this year.  We have learned, however, that the power of the waves near the Dutchman in particular need stronger buoys.   Spar buoys have been identified as the most likely to work for us.  They are marketed as “almost indestructible” in surf.

The intention would be that these buoys would be in all year-round.  The total cost of six of these buoys will be €3,412.   We have secured €1,000 in funding already.  We now plan to raise the rest by getting €10 a head from up to 250 swimmers on a weekend morning in Myrtleville in December.  We’ll watch the forecast and confirm the date on the Thursday beforehand.   It’s not going to be an organised swim or race, just lots and lots of us on the beach, committed to raising the funds needed for all of our benefit.

Bring coffee, bring cakes – or not.  If anyone wants to give more than €10, feel free- there are bound to be some maintenance costs in the years to come.  More details to follow, but be aware it’s going to happen.  It has to – we’ve already ordered them and they’re being manufactured for installation in February.  We know we’ll get the support, so why wait?

Bernard Lynch & Damian O’Neill

Myrtleville Lap Hats

The fantastic new safety buoys (thanks #healthyireland 🙂 ) are in considerable and consistent use.  A number of swimmers have asked if there will be a lap-counting system, similar to that practiced in other, less popular swim venues – where it’s important to numerically note anyone swimming there since, as they say, what’s seldom is wonderful.  

This is obviously a serious matter so it was felt we should respond like a proper club, for once. The lappy-hat situation was referred to Central Council level. After much deliberation the Central Council referred the matter to the Joint Committee, who referred it to a Strategic Policy Panel, who established a Working Group, who recommended the issue be considered by a new committee, the Committee Of Dedicated Swimmers Who Absolutely Love Lapping Or Pontificating (CODSWALLOP Committee, for short).  CODSWALLOP have now duly pontificated. 

“We in Myrtleville have often said that our swimmers are more than just numbers.  We would not dream of reducing their achievements to mere figures.  On this point, we were also unable to determine how to answer the very reasonable question from D. Condon about what he would do once he ran out of fingers, like. Numbers were therefore out.

However, due to demand, there will still, indeed, be a recognition system for laps achieved in Myrtleville.”

The system will operate under three levels, will be self-regulated and only vaguely numerical.  It’s more of a feeling thing.  The levels are as follows:

1. Rakes Of Feckin’ Laps (ROFL Level)

This is the entry level achievement and is expected to be the most popular.  Swimmers will be entitled to wear this hat once they’ve gone for a few swims and feel they know the buoys well (“dere’s six of dem, like.  Yellow ones.”).  The ROFL hat is for anyone who feels justified in answering “rakes of dem” when asked if they are doing many laps these days.  This could be two laps for some or a hundred and six for others.  Really – who cares?  You want ROFL hat?  Have a ROFL hat.  If you want, we’ll have a presentation ceremony.  Rob Bohane is available for that kind of thing.  Whatever, like.

2. Laps – Many And Ongoing (LMAO Level)

This is a level for all regular swimmers. If you’re out there and going around lappishly, award yourself a LMAO hat.  Soon all your friends will want one.  It’s above the ROFL because of its connotation of all-year round swimming and “dere’s no stoppin me, like” charisma.  If you’re a LMAO guy or gal – wear a LMAO hat.

3. Langerload Of Laps (LOL Level)

This is the pinnacle of achievement in Myrtleville.  We really don’t expect to see many of these hats, or at least not for a few years.  You’d want to be out there a lot to justify a LOL, like.  They’ll stand out from the crowd, the LOLs.  “Look, he’s a LOL, lah. Look, lah.  A LOL”.  That’s what the awestruck other swimmers will say when they see a langer in a LOL hat, like.  We’ll wait to see who comes out of the pack to justify a LOL for themselves. 

How to get a relevant hat:

Once you feel you have achieved the level required to wear the relevant hat, here’s what you do.  Get either a blank hat or one you can turn inside out.  For demonstration purposes, we’re using one Bernie Lynch gave us after some ould swim he did in 2016.  You’ll also need a permanent marker – any colour you like.  No restrictions on your creativity.  Your workspace should look like this:

Then, make your hat.  Here’s a sample with fancy wave motify things (yes, that’s what they are) – but don’t be restrained.  Make yours as unique as you like.  Then, wear it with pride.

Just to be a bit motivational, we also did one for LOLs.  Aim for it.  Push yourself.  You know you can do a langerload of laps.  When you do – wear that hat.  You are a LOL.  Definitely worth an exclamation mark, a LOL.

Be sure to send in pictures of yourselves in your new hats as you work through the levels.  You know we’d all just love to see them.

Tides and swimming in Myrtleville

Republishing this important article from 2014 on our local tides.  If you don’t have time to read it all, just skip to How might this impact my swim?  It’s important to know.

From Bernard Lynch & Ian Venner

This note is intended for those new and not so new to coastal swimming and simplifies some of the calculations and facts which you may well expect to see.  Much of it is specific to Myrtleville.

The tidal streams (coastal currents) are the most important part of the tides you need to understand as a swimmer.  Most OW swimmers average between 2-3km/hr.  Tidal streams near the shore in the harbour can run at between 0.5 to 1.0 km/hr – so they can make a very big difference to your swim.  The speed of the tidal stream varies during each High Water/ Low Water (HW/LW) tidal cycle, and also varies between spring (very high/very low) and neap (not very high/not very low) tides.  Spring tides occur a day after a full moon and recede over a period of one week to a neap.

The spring/neap maximum flow rate can vary from 0.5 to 1.5km/hr.  The flow rate within a 6 hour tide range will be three times as strong at its fastest (in the middle of the six hours) as in the first and last hour. This is explained by the Rule of Twelfths.

Rule of Twelfths

The level of water does not rise or fall at a constant rate throughout the 6 hour duration of a rising or falling tide.  The amount by which it will do so can be estimated mentally by means of the following rough guide:

  • 1st hour rise or fall = 1/12 of Range
  • 2nd hour rise or fall = 2/12 of Range
  • 3rd hour rise or fall = 3/12 of Range
  • 4th hour rise or fall = 3/12 of Range
  • 5th hour rise or fall = 2/12 of Range
  • 6th hour rise or fall = 1/12 of Range

This impacts tidal speed too – the fastest speed being in the middle of the period between HW and LW. In the table below, assuming a 12 foot rise and fall in the tidal height (typical for Cork Harbour) and a maximum tidal flow rate of 1.5km/hr, you can see the how fast the tide moves and rises/falls.

Time after HW Twelfths Change in Depth in that hour Avg tidal flowkm/h
+0.5hr 1/12 1’ 0.5
+1.5hrs 2/12 2’ 1
+2.5hrs 3/12 3’ 1.5
+3.5hrs 3/12 3’ 1.5
+4.5hrs 2/12 2’ 1
+5.5hrs 1/12 1’ 0.5

What else influences tides?

Other factors can influence tidal heights and flow rates. Low pressure will increase tidal height (think of it as less atmospheric pressure pushing down on the water).  Lots of recent rain will increase the strength of the ebb, especially out of Cork Harbour and Fountainstown too (it’s just more water trying to get out).

How might this impact my swim?

So what does all this mean for swimmers?  Be conscious of the time of HW – not because the beach might be more or less sandy, but because it should influence where/how you swim.  Swim against the prevailing tidal flow, so that if you get tired you will have the benefit of it on the way back.  For example, you might consider a swim from Myrtleville to Church Bay and back on the third hour of a falling tide (tide against you going to Church Bay and with you coming back).  You should not consider doing it on the third hour of a rising tide (tide with you going to Church Bay and against you coming back).

In reality, the tidal flows between Myrtleville Beach, the Dutchman and Bunny’s are fairly limited.  There is a little more effect to consider if going Myrtleville/Fountainstown and particularly at Bunny’s point where the push or pull can be significant on the 3rd and 4th hour. If needed, there are plenty of escape routes onto the rocks between Myrtleville and Fountainstown – weather dependent. Going to Church Bay, however, puts you into much stronger tidal flows and you really need to plan your timings. Generally you would not plan a swim past the Dutchman unless the tide was ebbing (going out) for the return leg. Equally, anything further afield needs careful planning with someone who knows the area and tides.

So what direction does the tide flow?

The diagram below broadly illustrates the direction of flow of the tides around the Myrtleville area.  Tides, especially close inshore, are subject to back-eddies and counter-currents, and there are a few of these to be found in the area shown.

To check tides, either purchase a tide table or click on this link.

You should always know the tide before you swim.  Swim Safe.

RNLI Swim participants – prepare

It’s just a week until the big event and the sea is colder than other years.  If you are swimming in the RNLI Myrtleville to Church Bay swim on June 20th, you need to be in the sea a few times in the next week.  The sea temperature next Thursday may be around 12C.  It’s not likely to be much more, although the forecast for next week is warming up.   

If you have not been swimming much, think about wearing a wetsuit on the night or get in every day until the swim!  Think of safety first and last.  Don’t take a chance.

New Swimmers evening – June 11th: 19:30 – Help wanted

June 11th, 7.30pm: Eilis Burns will be bringing a group of new open water swimmers to Myrtleville on Tuesday, June 11th at 19:30.

Any of the regular Myrtleville swimmers who can be around that evening to give any help would be appreciated. We need swimmers used to the sea to join the group for the swim and watch out for anyone who needs some support.  Also, any kayakers or SUPs available would be very welcome.

Please come down if you can. Remember what your own first swim was like and help out:-)

Some of the new swimmers in 2014 with Eilis and Mike Harris.

Some of the new swimmers in 2014 with Eilis and Mike Harris.

I, Android. The flipper diaries, part one.

I wasn’t going to write this, but some of the stuff was funny enough to be shared.  I became an android in January (“looks look like a human on the outside but with robot-like internal mechanics”).  

When I was wheeled in for the operation, one of the medical team remembered me from a previous visit and said, “oh you’re that guy who does the sea swimming”. She then calls a colleague and says, “this man swims in the sea all the time. Doesn’t your boyfriend do that?”.  “Yes”, says the colleague, “he’s training for triathlons.” “Where do you go now?”, she asks me – “would you be in Myrtleville or Sandycove?”

No, I’m not making this up and I wasn’t drugged at that point – just flat on my back waiting for a new ticky bit for my heart and wondering if I was on candid camera.

“I’d be Myrtleville, really” I said, refraining from further comment in case I was going to be identified and unable to defend myself.  She didn’t refrain though.  “Yaaaaaay!”, she says, turning to her colleague, “Myrtleville is much more fun, they’re great crack down there and really welcoming.  The Sandycove crowd are…….different, really.” 

Honestly, not even I could make this stuff up.

Anyway, I knew I was in good hands (discerning, intelligent people – clearly) and they did a great job.  Just one problem – I was told afterwards – you can’t swim any more.  Oh.  Hmm.  That wasn’t great news.  “Never fear”, I thought,”I’ll ring Bernie Lynch.  He’ll have a plan”.  I don’t know why I thought that after the hames he made of advising me about the weever fish attack the last time, but I rang him anyway.

Fair dues, he had a plan.  “No swimming?  Yerrah feck that.  We’ll get ya flippers and a snorkel.  You’ll be grand.”  When you’re at a low ebb, it’s great to get some clarity and certainty.  Then he started messing it up. “”Sure I remember doing laps of Sandycove when I was diving and we used to do them with flippers, no arms – nothin’ “. “C’mere”, I said, “what has laps of Sandycove got to do with it?”  “Don’t worry” he says, “it’ll work in Myrtleville too”.  I suppose I’d just have to trust him.

As soon as I get the all clear in March, I’m down to the beach.  Arrival doesn’t go well.  As I get there, Celine Hyde pulls into my space.  Right in front of me.   She gets out and says, “first come, first served”.  There must have been an EGM while I was away and new rules dreamed up.  I bet Denis Condon is behind it.  Anyway, I was on a mission so I parked all the way across the road and got on with it.

Armed with Abby Lynch’s old snorkel (cleaned with Milton by Ann Lynch, I’m assured – not that I’d care) and a pair of long diving fins covered in dust and spider webs, last seen outside of the Lynch garage in the 1990s, I head for the sea.  Marcus Austin is on hand to take a picture and keep an eye out.  “If I go under too often, Marcus, come and get me….” The new life of the android flipper has begun.

Seal attacks!!! Kindof. Sorta. Maybe, like.

Consternation in Myrtleville this morning!  Kerfuffle! Discombobulation! Mad stuff altogether.

I was plodding along out by the corner at Bunnyconnellan when I saw three swimmers approaching.  At speed.  I mean – speed.  It was the intrepid trio of Bernie, Jim and Trev.  I turned around to head back to the beach – with them about 200 metres behind me.  I was 500m out.  As you can see from the first picture below (that’s me there in the distance on the left) they passed me – at speed, like – and were a good 200m ahead of me hitting the beach. 

Now, I’m slow.  I know that.  I’m fine with it.  I’m not that slow, though.  They’re not more than twice as fast as me.  Not on a normal day.  This was NOT a normal day.  The trio – they shouted – had suffered repeated, vicious, co-ordinated and just generally feckin awful seal attacks by up to nine seals.  It started at two but they were definitely talking about nine by the end of it.  I didn’t see any myself.  Must have been going too slowly.

I think the second picture below is Trevor explaining how close they had come to near death at the hands of Sealus Attackus Beastus.  Either that or he’s saying how big the seal was – which would take a bit away from the drama of the attack, to be honest, if it was that size.  I say IT, but I mean THEM – THEM, dozens of THEM.  You can see Bernard staring out to sea anxiously in case THEY were coming on still.  Terrifying, like.  No way was it just a couple of ould seals out for a quiet swim.  No way.  Attack.  Definitely an attack.

Despite their horrific experience, the trio posed for a picture with a fan (sound, lads) and then made their way shakingly up the beach, discussing googling “Seal Attacks” and whether warning signs should be put up.  Mad stuff.  Mad.

BE CAREFUL OUT THERE! Watch out for dogfish too.  Now THEY are vicious, I can tell ya that.  Don’t start me about dogfish.