On my trip to Victoria last January, my swim with the Cold Water Addicts was one of my most memorable. It was the first time I’d ventured somewhere new for a swim with a group of strangers; my first time swimming in bitterly cold water. It was the swim that showed me that this year of swimming was going to be more than just swimming, it was also going to bring me to beautiful places and connect me with interesting people.
So I was very excited to join them again this morning. The Cold Water Addicts swim daily at a local beach, but on Sundays, they take a swim field trip—each week bringing them somewhere new, followed by coffee nearby. This morning their field trip was local: Spiral Beach.
It was gray and cold, the sound of the waves beckoning me down the spiral staircase, which gives the place its name. The rocky beach is strewn with driftwood and looks out across the Salish Sea to the Olympic Peninsula. It’s a stunning view, even today when the mountains were mostly shrouded in dramatic clouds.
Nearly twenty swimmers gathered on the beach, claiming bits of driftwood from which to pull on swim socks and shed dry robes before venturing into to the cold. The crystal clear water was certainly cold (48 degrees) and gorgeous. I made my way in slowly, letting my body adjust until I felt ready to float out. Gently swelling, the water churned with energy. Some folks stuck close to the shore, others swam out. I stayed somewhere in the middle, taking easy laps and soaking up the delicious cold. Eventually, my body was entirely numb but I felt like I didn’t want to ever get out. I took that as a sign I’d better get out.
After warming up in the car, I drove over to the spot where the group was gathering for coffee and had some lovely conversations.