Swim The Wight CIC held their first ‘dry’ event, designed to inform and inspire the ever-increasing Isle of Wight sea swimming community. We were extremely fortunate to welcome some amazing and inspirational people: Keith Herbert from Southern Water explaining some of the issues they face and how bathing water quality has iand is continuing to improve; Dr Heather Massey, who is one of our Patrons. Heather works at Portsmouth University researching into Environmental Physiology, understands the effects of cold water on the body, has swum not only the Channel but also around the island in a relay; Dr Roger Herbert a Marine Biologist from Bournemouth University explained that the waters around the island are far from barren; and Alan Doe from the RNLI who spoke on the unique nature of the tides and currents around the Isle of Wight.
Although a ‘dry’ event in terms of no swimming we were very lucky to have Mermaid Gin as our sponsor who not only gave us some of their money but also quite a bit of gin on the night and a full bottle as a prize! BIG thank you!
Bringing together people who share our passion for the sea was always going to be a good idea and we were delighted to welcome Oly Rush, the amazing swimmer and environmental campaigner (Project Planet) who recently swam round the Isle of Wight in 15 hours and 9 minutes, breaking the previous 26 hour record by 11 hours. Oly’s aim of removing plastic from the oceans is a passion we share and every sea swim is an opportunity to do a litter pick.
Also at the event, and our thanks to them all, were The Wildheart Trust explaining why they are no longer termed a zoo but a sanctuary, Theo Vickers, underwater photographer extraordinaire showing the proof of beautiful sea life; Jenny Ball, inspirational local record holding masters swimmer with some amazing stories; Nigel George from Artecology where art and ecology combine to improve the environment; and Charlotte Goswell from Bird Aware Solent and her obvious passion.
Another meeting of ecology and art from Glenn Martin and his fantastic Sea Ghost sculptures using recycled beach material attracted a great deal of attention as did the lovely and diverse artwork from Lucy Bell and Nikki Finch aka Artfullness, different again were the offerings from the Orange Hat Ladies, Fran Farrar and Karen Mead.
Something few people consider is the environmental impact of their sunscreen so we were lucky to have both Hannah Morris with her Happy Ocean Sun creams as well as our own branded Metier Ingenuity sun lotion.
We also have to say an enormous thankyou to all our fantastic volunteers as well as Del Seymour from Quay Arts who went far above and beyond, Liz Hennessy who is just awesome, organised much of the event, and is guilty of having he original idea!
Thank you too, to Simon Griffiths of Outdoor Swimming Magazine for the support, and all our guests. Hope we have mentioned everyone as you were ALL incredible in whatever capacity you were there!!
In the words of one of our lovely attendees, Christine Smy:
“I have just returned home from the Vitamin Sea at the Quay. Oh my word, what a treat. A treasure trove of knowledge in the speakers which will keep my grey cells working for days to come. The inspiration of Jenny Ball who hadn’t swum out of her depth until she was 60 and now swimming long distance into her 80’s; The bravery of Southern Water’s Keith Herbert facing a packed lecture theatre and explaining in layman’s terms how the system works, and the way forward to safer seas; Dr Heather Massey’s fantastic talk on the science of the effects of cold water swimming (rectal temperature aside, the four ‘umbles’ were the take home message); meeting the amazing and totally inspirational Oly Rush, what a talented man; The enthusiasm and passion of marine biologist Dr Roger Herbert outlining the marine life around our Island. The standout lecture for me was Dr Alan Doe, from the RNLI who not only spoke about the sterling work of the RNLI, but also about understanding the tides and the effects the elements have on them along with the moon and sun, and importantly, how to stay safe in the water. The time, effort and care taken by Swim The Wight to provide such relevant, yet diverse speakers who were so professional and enthusiastic, was greatly appreciated. Thank you Swim the Wight for a memorable evening in a perfect venue.”
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