Swimming with Fire

Updated: Mar 1

5:30 am, air temperature 10 degrees, 10 mph easterly wind.

The sky and sea appear to be on fire, the hot colours of red, pink, orange and yellow are streaking across the morning dawn. The island is quite, a fishing boat sits patiently alongside the quay, rust red canvas sail barely moving in the slight breeze.

In the distance towards St Agnes, the Trinity House ship Galatea is lit up with twinkling lights. Trinity House are regular visitors to Scilly, their job is to carry out hydrographic surveys and to develop, maintain and examine the shipping aids to navigation, such as the channel markers and Bishop Rock Lighthouse. Trinity House began during the reign of Henry eighth in 1514 to regulate pilotage on the Thames.

I enter the water from the quay steps and it is a sudden emersion into the darkness, in contrast to the rainbow sky above me. The cold instantly knocks all sleepiness from my bones, my skin stings and tingles and my breath catches in my chest. A quick blast of swimming around the quay, back again, and up and down parallel to the shore, and then out, with numb toes, to scamper back and start the day.

The light has already changed and I feel privileged to have seen that amazing sky.

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