Hat’s Off to Hatts Buoy

Updated: Mar 1

Two great days of swimming and island life. Yesterday I met up with friends on St Mary’s and once again hopped aboard the tandem, in the “stoker” position (the back). A beautiful cycle out through the town, up to the telegraph mast and then twisting along the little lanes to Watermill Cove.

The little cove is as beautiful as it’s name suggests. At low tide the white sand is revealed and stretches far out into the water, providing an almost Caribbean vista.

We have all gathered, nine of us, in various swimming attire and a rainbow of fluorescent swim floats and caps, to swim out into the channel between St Mary’s and St Martin’s to a marker buoy called Hatts.

I feel apprehensive and excited but not daunted. This will be the furthest out into deep water I have swum and my first time swimming to a marker. I’m wondering what it will be like, maybe all flowing with weed, strong currents, colder than usual? Will I make it out there and back, the distance being 1.2km?

With a fizz of excitement we all get swimming and strike out into the deeper, darker water.

I am surprised at how unafraid I feel. Even when we swim across a tiny rocky island, banked by flowing kelp and towering bladder wrack, I don’t feel paniked or want to turn back. I am determined to reach the buoy. Maybe a little bit of peer pressure is at work, but I genuinely loved the swim into the choppy water.

The water, although a deep blue, was full of light from the sun and millions of tiny plankton are illuminated. It makes me imagine a giant blue whale, feasting on the tiny creatures, although I try to swallow as few as possible!

It’s a feeling of pure elation and pride when I reach the buoy and haul myself up, rather ungracefully, to balance on the floating marker. A huge smile and joyous heart light up my soul. We all have a go on the buoy, laughing and playing, jumping and diving.

I made it!

The swim back was just as wonderful, and once everyone had reached the beach and dried off, a feast of ginger cake, flapjack and tea was much appreciated.

Today, a very different but just as beautiful swim. After all the chores of the day have been completed and the children return from school, we pack up a picnic and head out in our little boat Enys.

The evening is as perfect an evening on Scilly as you can get. Cloudless blue skies, hot sunshine and the softness sea breeze. A fitting day for the summer solstice.

I had intended to swim at sunrise but a mountain of picking and changeover in the cottages prevented that. Yes! We are up at first light picking vegetables!

However, I’m secretly glad now because I have just enjoyed the most refreshing and stunningly beautiful swim off the coast of Samson.

Samson island is an uninhabited island with beaches to challenge the Maldives.

Martha splashes and swims with me, Sam rows around in the tender.

The sea is such a clear green, I can even see the footprints of sea birds that have combed the low tide sand.

Pretty little shells, limpet, periwinkle and topshells are all that lay on the powder soft sand below me. Martha wades along a little way in front and disturbs the sand. The sparkles of silver float around me as if I were in a snow globe, all shaken up.

We all dry off in the warm evening sun and tuck into our picnic tea as the sun begins to set on the western horizon. It’s days like these that we remember why it is we love it here.

The view from our Samson picnic


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