Cawsands and Jellyfish – Day 3

Tuesday was another new swim spot – I was loving going to all these different places and basically getting a tour of Cornwall. I enjoyed Loretta pointing things out to me on the drives and I especially enjoyed the views! I was quite tired by now and thankfully had a lay in followed by a very yummy breakfast. The first thing I noticed though was the fact it was chucking it down and because I was being optimistic, I hadn’t taken a coat with me! 

 Loretta and Geoff had been so kind to me and wouldn’t accept any money from me for all they were doing and giving me so the only way I could think of thanking them was by buying lunch. Loretta knew of a nice cafe near the entry point so we set off a little early so we could have a nice lunch before swimming.

We arrived at Cawsand and drove round looking for a parking space but there wasn’t one so we went to the large car park in the middle of town. I then used my TriRide through the town to get down to the shore. It was seemed like a quaint little town.

We had a look at the conditions and headed into the cafe, Loretta was right; it was nice. It was actually a cross between a restaurant and cafe selling full meals as well as HUGE and really yummy sandwiches. We had a lovely lunch and then headed to the ferry stop to get changed.

The reason we went to the Ferry stop was simply because it was chucking it down and it would mean our stuff (wheelchair and triride included) would stay dry whilst we were in the water! I was a little concerned about leaving my wheelchair and Triride there for fear that someone may steal it but I didn’t have much choice and Loretta reassured me it’d be fine.

The tide was in so thankfully it wasn’t a long walk to get into the water because the ground was pebbles so it was a little uneven. Looking at it, it seemed like a nice little bay to swim in.We did the same thing as the other times – once I had got in the water using my crutches Loretta took them back to by our stuff. I then swam round in the bay a bit to keep warm.

In this bay there were buoys as it seemed to actually be a kind of harbour with lots of little boats moored in the middle of it. We followed the buoys round the edge of the cove and past all the boats. I quickly saw why Loretta thought it would be a good place to swim. It was quite unique in that the other places where we had swum along the cliffs all the cliff faces were just that- cliffs. However, here the cliff faces were covered in a large array of green trees. It looked like a vertical forest at some points! We swam along the cliffs and ended up by an old military building of some sort, I’m not sure what exactly.

After a while, as the rain got harder, we turned round and started swimming back as we wanted to swim across Cawsand Bay and round to Kingsand Bay. We headed back along the buoy line and I got a little confused because a new buoy had appeared, I figured I just hadn’t seen it as we swum the other way but then realised it had a flag on it. All of a sudden, a head popped up nearby in full wetsuit gear, i noticed a second ‘new’ buoy and realised that the buoys were actually marking where there were divers; I wasn’t sure how I felt at not being able to see them underwater.

We kept swimming and went across the bay where we had got in. We made it to Kingsand and after admiring the views we began heading back. Through the swim I had seen several different fish and a few jellyfish too but so far I’d managed to avoid them all. Unfortunately, my luck was to run out and I was stung on my left leg, I think it was a compass jellyfish. 

The pain made me stop in my tracks and almost have the same response the body has when you get cold shock. I tried to calm my breathing and Loretta asked if I was ok, I wasn’t but I had no choice but to keep swimming. As we swam I could feel my foot swelling and throbbing and burning. My leg being knocked and thrown about by the waves hurt, the water hurt more than normal and every time my tow float knocked my leg it sent electric shocks down my leg. It was agony like I hadn’t felt for years. The last bit of the swim was almost solely mental and I just kept telling myself that getting stung now was a good thing, it was positive and I should be glad. Yes it hurt like hell and left me with the feeling of not knowing what to do to stop it burning but at least it was hurting like hell now and I was experiencing it for the first time now rather than in the middle of the English Channel. 

As we came back to Cawsand Bay I realised that my next challenge was how the heck I was going to get out of the water when I felt like I wouldn’t even be able to put my foot flat on the ground! Loretta went and got my crutches as I came into shore and when I tried to stand up I discovered I was right; my foot didn’t want to go flat on the ground. In the end I basically ended up dragging my left foot behind me as I walked up the beach – at least that’s how it felt. It was really hard work to get up the beach and I ended up sitting for a bit before going up the slipway to where our things were.

I was tempted to ask Loretta to get my wheelchair because I wasn’t sure I could walk far enough with the amount of pain I was in and I could feel my ankle starting to spasm. Instead, I got up and made a break for it and managed to get up to the shelter where our things were. I collapsed in a heap on the bench and was absolutely exhausted from the walk. I ended up getting changed very slowly and it felt like it took all my strength because of how much pain I was in; the continuous downpour of rain didn’t help matters. Whilst we were getting changed there were a group of people waiting to get the ferry and we were chatting about me training to swim the channel and why I am doing it. The ferry then arrived, which made things much easier for us as we had more room; we got all our gear together and started wandering back to the car. It was up hill on the way back, so I ended up taking a bit of a run up to ensure I got to the top using my TriRide. We got everything in the car and headed back to the house, every bump hurt but they were mostly country roads and there was nothing we could do about it, thankfully I had a bit of time before dinner to rest. 

After dinner we decided to watch a film, but I struggled to concentrate because my ankle was not only swollen but spasming, I just had no control over it. I think it was the first time that Loretta understood a bit better what can happen when my pain levels are high and what can happen if I sustain any kind of injury on that leg. I just kept trying to tell myself it was good that I knew now what would happen if I was stung by a jellyfish on that leg. Loretta suggested I use a different sun cream to what I was using which is also a jelly sting preventor to hopefully minimise the risk of it happening in the channel. If it does, at least I know what to expect and I know how much of a mental game its going to become!The next thing I knew I woke up on the sofa and had fallen asleep in the middle of the film so went to bed. The end of another exhausting and a particularly painful day!

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