Mother natures “aquamill”

I had my first experience swimming against and with tides this weekend. I visited a friend who lives in Charleston, SC,and she agreed to kayak with me for a swim. I asked to go to the beach, to get some sea swimming and salt water experience.....we ended up in the Folly River.....that’s where the put in for the place that rented us the kayak was.

The plan was for a two hour swim. We got a little over 90 minutes.....thunder and potential lightning drove us back early.

The guy at the rental place said we made it farther than he thought we would....yay!
My kayaker scooped jellies out of my way, and knew enough not to tell me she did it until we were in the car afterward. Double yay!

It took three 25 minute feeds for us on the “outbound” portion, and only 1 on the “inbound” portion. Wow!

For a variety of reasons...mostly dealing with what time we could get the kayak, we were in the water for the very last part of the incoming tide. High tide was posted to have been at 12:10 and we hit the water a little after 9. They said slack would be around 11 or so.

Swimming with the tide was really different than swimming against the current in my local dam-controlled lake, that’s for sure. Stronger, definitely. And also..... strange. I could see the sand in the water going by me as I swam, and feel it as well. It felt like I was swimming really fast..... but that damn blue house on the shore never moved! Lol. I found that I had to stop paying attention to what I was feeling and really pay attention to what I was seeing in order to make any progress. Then, when it would be time to feed again.... we’d fly back over water we’d just travelled,..... my track has zig zags. Lol.

But when we finally turned back to go back in....... I was flying! The difference between against and with that water was amazing. I had more trouble staying with the kayak on the way back, though..... so my outbound navigation was better. I guess I wasn’t only getting pushed back toward the start, but also toward the shore? She had to flag me down and stop me at one point because I was heading for a dock before I could realize it.

I only had one unexpected gulp of seawater at the end waiting for some others to get out at the ramps when I got swamped while putting on my sandals. I wasn’t sure about the bottom so I started inwater after walking in with shoes to protect my feet. Then put them on to walk out again too. Lots of oyster shells waiting to cut bare feet.

My Garmin said I took a little over 1900 strokes on the way out.....and then only just shy of 600 to get back. Boaters, and SUPers were chatty with my kayaker, and a bit surprised to see us on the water. But, overall, were polite. The powered ones throttled back as they passed as well.

All in all....this was a good first lesson in tidal water sea swimming.
Salt water is gross when you accidentally swallow it.
My fuel blend worked fine, but it was a relatively short time and it didn’t really get a hard test.
My breast stroke is WAY more efficient when I have shoes on (unexpected lesson)!
I’m getting less freaked out when I encounter sticks and grass that I swim into or through.
If you’re going to swim on the Folly river as training, do it on an incoming tide......that way the return home is a true cooldown.

I wonder if you could write a “workout” plan that would involve intervals making use of swimming different directions with respect to the tide? The scenery wouldn’t change all that much, but you’d get practice water.


  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member

    @blaikogle does something similar with workouts based on the current in the Tennessee River he swims in.

  • Turns out, I was in the river just after the new moon, a first time out, making ANY progress against that incoming tide felt pretty cool.

    But, if I encounter that blue house again, it's going down! lol

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