Saltwater and Wildness: A September Read

Book "Dip" by Andrew Fusek Peters on the beach

Ever since Michelle reminded me of the delights of an ocean dip earlier this year, I’ve been seeking out saltwater whenever possible. In celebration, Tom gave me this beautiful book for my birthday.

Peters shares stories of his various wild swims through each month of the year, interspersed with his thoughts on recovering from depression and the healing powers of water. He is clearly a water rat: searching out the hidden swimming holes on even the most unlikely of trips, and diving in with little regard for inclement weather. The photos are beautiful and the clear passion he shares for this pastime had even me, the most fair weather of wild swimmers, braving the depths this autumn.

Rusty walking along the beach at Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight

Freshwater Bay is the perfect grown-up swimming hole: a steep shore that plunges quickly into deep water, with pebbles that leave the water crystal clear and encourage noisy families to head off to sandier bays.

The harbour is sheltered and there’s a small contingent of lifers: hardy old swimmers who are out here every day, their presence reassuring you that diving in is not completely bonkers.

Photo collage of swimming at Freshwater Bay

I’m starting to see how addictive this wild swimming business can be. The ice cold shock of the first plunge pulls you in to a single moment, before the edge of the chill subsides and you’re left rolling about in the buoyant water like a giggling fish.

This is pure and simple joy, with added tingly-fresh skin, and the promise of coffee and cookies on the beach. Can’t get much better than that. It’s a revelation to me that this adventure needn’t be the sole preserve of the summer holiday.

Dip was a book that soaked in to my blood and gave me the courage to take a quick paddle even in this autumn chill. And I doubt I’ll be able to stop at one.

Book "Dip" by Fusek Peters on the beach at Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight

4 thoughts on “Saltwater and Wildness: A September Read

  1. cariemay on said:

    theres nothing quite like wild swimming is there – I love swimming in the sea, especially when its a little out of season or in the pouring rain but I’ve fond memories of river pools up and down various peaks in the Lake District, a few favourite spots on Dartmoor and most memorably a glacier lake in Canada when I was little! Swimming pools just don’t compare, and you can’t build a bonfire on the side for sausages either!

  2. Ooh, that looks like a really interesting book! I do like wild swimming (although I never get time to do as much as I’d like) – I’m sticking that on my ‘want to read’ list :-) xx

  3. Derek on said:

    Beautiful! Try Alum Bay as well, while we still have this glorious summer weather! XX