ELISE BREWERTON: When the tide begins to turn
With less than two weeks to go before I swim to the Isle of Wight for Samaritans I squeezed in one of my final big training swims in Southsea.
I was quite excited.
With my great friend and trainer Chris the plan was to swim out to the buoys near the Coffee Cup, at Eastney.
Immediately, I felt a bit of pull from the tide but kept going. And going. And going.
It got to the point where it felt as if I was going backwards. And that’s because I was!
After 30 minutes in the water I was farther away from the buoys than when I started. It was soul-destroying. And exhausting.
Eventually I made it close to the second farthest buoy but we realised the spring tide was just too strong and we had to turn back.
It was at this point panic set in. And my mind kindly threw up an image which sent shivers down my spine.
Did you see the terrifying creature that was washed ashore following the Texas hurricane?
It was a fang tooth snake eel – a real monster of the deep that would not look out of place in a horror movie.
You don’t get them in our cold waters but my brain wasn’t having any of that – thanks, imagination!
My body tensed, I couldn’t get my head up high enough to breathe without gulping down buckets of water. It was not fun.
We reached close enough to the shore to try to walk back through the shallows.
But still the tide was too strong. It was like wading through treacle.
We got out and walked on the stones but they were so painful on our bare feet we had to get back in again and try to swim. To no avail.
I couldn’t feel my fingers and toes, I was so cold.
Fortunately, our friends at the other end of the seafront were getting worried. We’d been gone 90 minutes and there was no sign of us.
Heather ran down with our towels, shoes and some kinds words and we ended up walking back, shivering.
What a picture we must have been.
Elise Brewerton is deputy features editor at The News. She is swimming to the Isle of Wight for Samaritans in October. To sponsor her, go