Lake swimming

Lakes, rivers and oceans have figured in my family for many years. My grandparents on my dad's side, emigrated to North Shields in England from the island of Chios in Greece around 1900. Greeks and shipping go hand in hand of course. My grandad owned a ship's chandlery and a guesthouse for seafarers. 

My parents too loved water. They were keen fly fisherfolk, my mum tying her own flies. My dad worked on the river all his life for the Harbour Master's office in North Shields and spent much of his days on the River Tyne. Now I live in Canada I feel drawn to the water myself. As a kid in Northumberland we would swim in rivers and I remember the cold of the first jump when my jaw felt like it was locking in the freezing water.

 Now in the Laurentians, north of Montreal, I swim most days in the lake. There is something quite magical about the experience. Unlike a hike or a bike ride you really feel part of nature as you head out in the dark waters. You get a unique perspective on the homes and lives which go on around it  - it's really quiet out there. Swimming in the rain is one of my favourite things to do - but when the lightening starts we get out.

The temperatures you ask? I am still finding it cool even as July approaches. Our morning dips always elicit a conversation on exactly how the temperature compares to yesterday. There are many degrees of cold when you lake swim. In May when we first braved the waters it was shockingly cold. It actually produces pain. Then as the weeks go by the shock of submersion reduces. The swearing on the first few strokes eventually subsides also. There are theories about what affects the heat of the water. Do a few sunny days warm it up? (not always) Does rain actually make it warmer in summer (yes weirdly) and so on.

 I awoke in the city this morning, bleary-eyed and reaching for the coffee I wondered why I felt so sleepy. Simple. The lake wasn't there to wake me up.

Read about : a visit to the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake and 
a road trip to Tanglewood Music Festival in Lenox, Massachusetts.


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