As someone with an aversion to sea swimming, “30 Bays in 30 Days” would be the title of my perfect horror movie. Thankfully, as I remind myself that Jersey waters are not shark infested and actually one of the most beautiful parts of our Island, I now try to overcome this fear and make an effort to dip my toe in at every possible occasion. So what better way to face the waters (and to model some of Jersey’s latest lines of swimwear) than a charity fundraising initiative with the support of the local community!
Other than raising money for a very worth while charity, Jersey Hospice, the 30BI30D initiative is also an opportunity for people to re-connect with the Island and experience it with fresh eyes. It had certainly been some time since I had due cause to slip down to Bonne Nuit bay and it was definitely a first for me to set foot in the bay’s waters. Dare I say I was quite excited at the prospect of a whole sunny afternoon dedicated to re-discovering some of Jersey’s north coast bays?!
Each bay holds it’s own idyllic charm and surprisingly for a novice swimmer like me offered up a very different experience between the different waters. Bouley Bay is incredibly rocky but the waters drop to a depth quickly and are still and clam. Rozel Bay is always lively, busy and provides a scrub up meal post-swimming in the form of the Hungry Man. They also offered up something of an education to me, when did the Waters Edge Hotel close? When did the Navigator restaurant become a residential letting? What is the bay called at the foot of St Catherine’s Woods?!
Whispers of going-ons at the more discreet, less accessible bays turn out to be more than just rumour when a friend fully admits to stripping down for the occasional skinny dip when they have a bay all to themselves. There’s so many little secluded spots and bays tucked away that its easy to see why people would take a chance on this and other ‘extra-curricular’ activities. The promise of stumbling across the more exposed side of Jersey certainly heightened my expectations far beyond that of a casual swim!
Community was key to getting me in the water. A bit of support and hand holding worked wonders (especially when trying to hold a camera to take selfies at the same time!) I joined a Whatsapp group of friends and a few strangers who scheduled dips and swapped words of encouragement, sharing their victories with a lycra clad shot or better still a slo-mo splash video! I’ve also enjoyed following the challenge on social media, check out my favourite Vanessa Garrett Yoga’s diary of dips, complete with her very own selection of swimwear here.
The 30BI30D challenge comes to an end this month, but that doesn’t appear to have put off the participants who are keen to role over into August and possibly beyond whilst the weather lasts. One of the better things to be exported from our neighbour Guernsey, this month of swimming has taught me you don’t need streaming sunshine or special occasions to get in the waters, just a little encouragement, moral support and some stunning swimwear to play the part! I’m always going to be more about the look than the swim, but I’m happy to keep testing my limits, discovering more about Jersey and myself as I go.