Abundance

As if they were a fading dream, rough seas, howling winds and murky swells feel long gone. Bryher exudes warmth, happiness and abundance of life. In the sheltered, shallow waters of the channel, boats and yachts clamber for space to drop anchor, their tenders pottering back and forth to the shore for supplies. Visitors sail, kayak, paddle board and swim. Laughter and conversations drift across the still air. Was it really only a few weeks ago the island was all but empty?


On the farm nature is flourishing. Bees, butterflies, insects and birds fill the fields and sky with their busy behaviour and noisy songs. Vegetables of all shapes, sizes and colours emerge from their lush greenery, surprising us with their rate of growth. Each one a pure joy to harvest, with that addictive sense of achievement after all that hard work and patience.


My swim this morning began at 5:45am with a walk to the far side of the Island, sun rising to my right. Down at Kitchen Par a fisherman is preparing to leave for a day at sea, engine quietly popping, the clatter of lobster pots being stacked, always in his yellow oilers.

There are three of us swimming, and one kayaking alongside. Some company is always lovely although I am sure I must bore them silly with my absolute passion for sea swimming, tales of other swims and encounters with the local wildlife.


The water is gin clear making it easy to spot the speckled grains of sand, tiny floating strips of twisted weed, a small compass jellyfish. There is no pinch of cold or sharpness of breath, just as there is no whisper of a breeze, no ripple on the sea's surface. Today is all perfectly clear, perfectly still, perfectly calm.

As we swim away from the shore the seabed remains sandy for a while, the water an emerald-green turquoise, filled with softly dancing light. Peeping above the dark shape of Tresco, the sun, tantalisingly close to breaking that black horizon and flooding us in gold. Out towards the northern side of Hangman's Rock the seabed darkens. Drifting in the depths are the golden locks of thong weed, or mermaids hair, caught in the slight current as the tide flows in.

The rocks of Shipman Head reach out from the dark sea to bathe in the morning sun.




With the perfect timing of an epic movie, we round the rockface just as the sun bursts open, a golden, glowing fireball dripping onto the water, we squint in its brightness. Waters dark below, white light above.

High above us on the rocky ledges oyster catchers mew and peep. Further down the channel the kayaker spots a young seal sunbathing on a fisherman's lobster carb but the swimmers are too far away to see.


Now the current takes us, free riding back into the channel between the rock and the shore. We skim over beds of silky weed and limpet covered rocks, back into the human world, back to the shore, back for breakfast.





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