November Polar Bear Challenge 2019-2020

Polar Bear Challenge 2019-2020  

Welcome to November's Polar Bearing Update...

Spume... lots of Spume at Bude Seapool!

So the day arrived… Saturday 2nd November 2019 and what a day it was!

The first swim of the Polar Bear Challenge!

It started out with a gentle drive… WELL, actually it wasn’t that gentle. It was lashing down with rain and there were puddles big enough to swim in even before we got to Bude Seapool. Pay… what’s a little bit of rain and wind amongst friends!

My mind turned to the conditions of Bude Seapool! Upon arrival it was quite clear what we were letting our selves in for… THICK BROWN SNOTTY SPUME, majestically being blown around the place like filthy dirty snow!

The question was… Who was going to get in that stuff and swim!

It’s good to know that I am surrounded by lots of like minded crazy people. We all plunged into the foamy mess and swam in the cold waters giggling and screaming as the chill of the water nipped at our skin.

So there we have it, the start of the 2019/2020 Polar Bear Challenge is underway.

In order for me to keep myself acclimatised I swim at least twice a week… more if I can fit it in. 

For the first three weeks of November I had been very very fortunate with good weather and calm conditions to work toward the 3k I need to complete every month from now until the end of March. 

As the month has progressed the sea temperature has quietly been creeping down from 13c to where it is now at 11c. 

I’ve been stopped by many people in disbelief, asking what I’m doing swimming in the sea this time of year and just wearing a swimming costume. 

Outdoor swimming has become a big part of my life and I don’t give a second thought. I find myself wondering why people are so shocked at this “crazy” sport. 

A tad windy at Bude Seapoool!
Lower Porthpean Beach!

I’ve had some great conversations with people who have stopped for a chat. I hope that I have inspired some of those people along the way. 

Unless you experience the joys of cold water swimming first had my words are not going to do it justice. All I can say is, cold water swimming may not be for everyone but it has become my sanctuary. 

Life has many twists and turns… sometimes there are calm waters, sometimes there are turbulent waters. 

We all need something to help us get through these  times and water has been just that to me x 

I had nine days out of the water and this was extremely frustrating, however my body decided it had had enough and needed a long rest.

When I swim it feels like my body is being ‘reset’… ally pain and emotional challenges just disappear. The feeling of the cold water on my skin and the ebb and flow of the waves as they meet my body make me feel so present and in the moment.

I’m not sure which part of my EDS and Fibromyalgia impacts me the most but it comes without warning and goes in the same vein.

Sometimes I can do great things, like the swim/walk from Readymoney Cove to Polkerris Beach and back . A full day of activity. In the next breath I’m struggling to make a cup of tea.

It’s taken some getting used to and I’ll probably not fully accept it because ‘I look healthy’ and ‘life is for living’!!!

Polkerris Beach!
Lower Porthpean Beach!

I love to meditate, I love to sit quietly and tune into my body and see what it needs… If I need rest, then I need to listen to that or else. If I need to go and throw myself into cold waters, I’ll be listening to that too lol.

I guess we all need different things and we all have different circumstances but making the most of what we have and appreciating it helps me to move through each day with gratitude for the life I am given.

It’s started to get to that point in the year where the water temperature has dropped enough that I can just about feel on the brink of the ‘after drop’. All the blood rushing away from my core in an attempt to warm my extremities.

My ‘changing’ routine and getting out of my swimsuit into my lovely warm scrummy clothes is picking up pace at an exponential rate. All manner of flesh has been put on display to speed up the process of getting dry and changed instead of fumbling underneath a changing robe. 

Throughout November I’ve managed to clock up just under 15km in the sea. 

We are now reaching single figures so I wonder how many kilometres I will manage throughout next months challenge!!!

I desperately wanted to get a few of the specified PB swims under my belt during November, however time and water temperatures didn’t allow this. 

Good new is on the horizon… Decembers colder weather and sea temperatures will bring on the challenge of the sub 9c swims!

Natalee Loving Vault Beach!
Tessa and I at Lower Porthpean Beach!

Thank you so much for following my journey, it’s been soul bursting experience and I am really looking forward to the coming month. 

See you at the end of December x

For the love of… 


  • Water temperature range 13.c – 10c 
  • Air temperature range 14c – 4c 
  • Swim distance 14.535Km
  • Specified swims – 0

👉 Welcome to The Polar Bear Challenge 2019-2020

👉 December Polar Bearing update!


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Karen

    I loved reading your blog. I am a cold water swimmer with fibromyalgia and HMJS. I was brought up by the sea in Pembrokeshire and was always in the water till I was 18. I moved away when we got married but we moved again to a house on the seafront in North Wales 20 years ago, the milder side, Cardigan Bay, warmed by the Gulf Stream. It is a joy to live here, the wildlife and scenery are amazing. I have always swum late into the year but last year I found the ‘Wooly Hatters’ a jolly gang of wild swimmers. I am swim in the sea nearly every day and I’ve just sampled the lakes in Snowdonia. The cold buzz, followed by a hot shower or Epson Salt bath helps my fibro pain, my mood and more. One of these days I will start to blog about it.

    1. SharkySian

      Hi Karen, Thank you for your lovely comments.
      Water is such a natural medicine. I’m glad you are experiencing the benefits and it’s making a difference to your wellbeing too.
      I’ve done quite a bit of diving around Pembrokeshire.. beautiful place.

      If you ever fancy coming to Cornwall it would be lovely to swim with you x


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