The Cold Shock

Flipping over. It was close all summer, but for some reason it didn't happen. But an accident is still an accident. And when you've got the athleticism of a fish-stick like me it's only a matter of time. And today during my first winter trip was the day. The challenged to circle a buoy in the least amount of strokes ended in a swim in the icy cold Spaarne.

While my companions see me submerge with a loud "whooooooo", my wet-suit starts filling up with the icy cold water. It was a beautiful day though the water temperature had dropped to a chill 11 degrees (51F). Quite nice I thought. Though that thought vanished as soon as I surfaced gasping for air uncontrollably.

I never thought about it, "cold shock". The full extent of what happened only dawned on me that evening. At the moment it happened it seemed like a silly accident. A rather big "whoops" moment. Luckily I just finished my KVA training and had practiced extensive rescues during the summer. Within no time I was back in my boat. My wet-suit was doing it's job and the sun was keeping me warm.

There is a lesson in this silly little accident. Like I said, an accident is an accident. I was prepared. I was dressed for immersion, was wearing an PFD, wasn't alone and practiced getting back into my boat. Alone I don't think I would have gotten back into my boat, and would have had quite the swim to get back to shore. I am a good swimmer but after I flipped I need a good minute to catch my breath before I could move.

I didn't feel like I was in danger at any moment, but it's proof things don't always go as expected. And it goes to show, a good preparation is just as important as the execution.

At least I am an experience (and a swim) richer.

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