This Summer the Castle to Castle swim* in Falmouth for the RNLI has been cancelled which is completely understandable due to the current Covid-19 outbreak. Even though I am a bit disappointed as it would have been my first attempt at the swim and I was really looking forward to having a new challenge, I also have to admit (if I am being totally honest!) that I am slightly relieved as the ‘training’ I have been doing over the last few months has been somewhat intermittent if not a little bit non-existent.
I have all the best intentions to go for a long sea swim and stay out swimming for a while but instead I find myself getting distracted, floating around in the waves or getting myself spooked by thinking I’ve seen a shadow and rapidly swimming back to shore only to discover that the shadow was actually my own. So as I am drifting around and enjoying the peacefulness and beauty of the surroundings I realise that I haven’t actually gone very far at all.
So during these times of getting side tracked, I have discovered that one of my favourite things to do is snorkelling. There is so much life and beauty under the water even in the shallowest parts of the sea that never cease to amaze me. I have been lucky enough to see lots of activity and wildlife under the water from jellyfish to starfish and many, many sand eels. I was lucky enough to see this little fella a couple of weeks ago (see picture below) known as the Trumpet fish. I took this picture from the internet but the one I saw was a slightly paler orangey/yellow in colour. After doing a bit of research they can apparently change colour at will to blend in with their surroundings. They can also grow up to 1 metre in size but the one I saw would have been no more than 20cm. He was very evasive and he definitely did not want to be seen. They are not usually found in UK waters and are most commonly found in and around southern Florida, Caribbean waters and the northern coast of South America. They are closely related to sea horses which is why he stood out in my mind. I am sure I have heard a rumour that there is a seahorse hanging around somewhere along the Falmouth coast.
Some of the algae and seaweed that can be found along the coast is just stunning to look at. I can spend so much time just floating and swimming around the rocks (hence the lack of active swimming training) absorbing all the colours, textures and detail that make up part of this amazing underwater world. The colours are stunning. I am yet to get an underwater camera but as soon as I do, it will be great to document some of these under water scenes. In the meantime I have taken some photos from a website that I came across called ‘An Bollenessor’ which has some gorgeous Cornish marine life photography on it. The images I have picked out were taken at Castle beach in Falmouth which just highlights some of the beauty that lives beneath the shoreline. (Visit An Bollenessor here)
Last year I also saw a several shoals of mackerel which I haven’t had the chance to see since. As they swim in large shoals, it’s amazing to watch as they swim past in perfect unison. I’m sure that they follow me along, as intrigued by me as I am by them (even if I am told otherwise!).
One fish I never fail to see is a Wrasse, in all different sizes. I don’t feel like I have had a successful snorkelling session unless I have seen this guy! They are very common around the UK and often stay in and around rocky areas making them a regular visitor. Their markings and colours vary a great deal and it’s always good to see them floating by.
So all in all it never ever gets lost on me how beautiful this part of the world is and how lucky we are to have all of this ever changing underwater nature on our door step. Maybe next year I will be able to get more focused and take on those milestone training swims and not get so distracted by the beauty that lives beneath the waves. Then again, maybe not...
*The Castle to Castle swim is held every year in aid of the RNLI. It is a 1 mile open water swim that begins at Pendennis Castle in Falmouth and finishes at the St Mawes Castle on the Roseland peninsula.