27/07/2013 by Carl Reynolds
Mrs Ape and EC are away. I have nothing urgent on my plate, so I book into the charming Hazelwood nestled in the upper Avon valley below Dartmoor. I arrive in the vicinity sooner than expected. I find myself at Bigbury-on-Sea looking at Burgh Island, remembering a circumnavigation with Karri Furre a few years ago. The sea is flat, the tide is coming in. After checking my recollection of how I understood the water to move around the island with a lifeguard, I stroke in. Gently. I’ve been driving for hours and I need to relax tense-ish muscles and I have a residual fear of being out of sight in deep water on my own.
I reach the most prominent reef on the west of the island. The swell takes me up and down over looming white rocks carpeted in sea fronds. I experience a slight exhilaration at my near exfoliation. I see the lagoon again, surrounded by jagged spires of barnacled behemoths and enter some calm water. It breaks over the reef off to my right and brings a gentler swell into this natural lido.
My passage is ahead. It’s deep with water. A feeling of awe at the majesty of time and its effect on the land/sea scape and I am in a mild washing machine of waves. Bubbles profuse, a few harder strokes and I am out looking back at the cliffs on the east side of Burr.
A little mazey weaving through some reefs on the final approach and I’m in the considerably warmer waters of the ‘bay’. The lifeguard says, ‘yay’ and smiles in relief at my return; well within the time I’d told her it’d take.
Up at Hazelwood, down the narrowest of lanes past the chilli farm, I wander the meadows and fall into a reverie of calm.