immersive nautical research: a summer of wild swimming


Well, shoes are on the feet and the body is in the classroom, but the heart and mind stray backwards. This summer I took myself to more open waters than ever, and had the most delicious adventures there. This counts as nautical research, right?

I dipped myself in the end of the Clare River, an enclosed pool accessible only through the grace of the water animals whose bodies keep the channel open, and where the current flows coldly underground into an impenetrable swamp.

I threw myself into Lake Superior. Three times. No immersion lasted long, and all ended with a yell.

I floated in a pool in the Current River until my insides were the same temperature as my skin. A little boy sat beside me on the hot rocks and showed me his muscles.

There were many lunchtime swims in Lake Ontario off the pier at RMC with certain other aquatically inclined mammals. A longstanding fear of running into a floating dead carp was finally realized. It wasn’t that bad after all.

A short swim in Elbow Lake before a massive storm whose lightning strikes popped beside our cabin, and a long swim on the sunny morning after.

Sheffield Lake remains a trusted confidante; we were together and around each other too many times to count.

I have had the most wonderful summer.


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