Saltwater Solace

endless horizon

As we celebrate World Oceans Day I reflect on how the sea has helped pull me through the storm of lockdown and how more than ever we should be making waves to protect our oceans.

We’re lucky enough to live a 10 minute walk from the beach, it’s something we’ve never taken for granted but more than ever I appreciate our close proximity to the big blue. When all we were allowed was one hour of exercise the beach was always our first port of call. No two days are ever the same, one day we could be dodging crashing waves against the seawall and others we might have to walk far out down the beach to even be close to the lapping tide. It was surreal walking along the shoreline knowing that I couldn’t step foot in the sea, something so free and boundless was off limits. The ocean appeared oblivious to what was happening in our lives, it was still moving, still inviting. 

The last few months haven’t been easy for any of us I know and we have all had to find ways to deal with the ‘new normal’, which of course looks different for all of us. And on top of lockdown pressures life still goes on, offering those curve balls which can be even harder to deal with when your whole support network has been reduced to virtual contact and routine and freedom has gone out of the window.

For me the ocean has been there to help blow off the cobwebs, a potion that nurtures my wellbeing. I have a new found gratitude for the place we live and the smell of salty air, I’ve found I’m breathing it in deeply and consciously. Soaking it up, right into my bones. I have been moved to tears by its greatness, comforted by its wildness. It has helped and it has healed and for that I will always be in its debt.

With the lockdown rules easing ever so slightly I’ve finally been able to enjoy some time in the ocean again. I’ve longed to step foot into the cold waters of the North Sea, for some that must sound mad but for me it’s wholly healing. It’s not just the exhilaration of sea swimming I’ve missed though, it’s the social aspect. We never swim alone at Whitby Wild Swimmers for safety reasons, and as soon as we could meet socially distanced to exercise I took the first opportunity to meet my salt sister Ceri in the ocean. That first legal lockdown swim left me feeling so alive and present. Drunk on saltwater and friendship! 


Last week a few of us swam for nearly half an hour, the surface water warm from the beating sun. It was the first time in months that I’d seen those friendly faces and it was all sorts of beautiful. The sea was so clear we could see the sand between our toes, a sign our planet is grateful for the reduction in pollution and that ocean has indeed noticed our lockdown life.

Whitby Beach Huts

We’ve been lucky to have the beaches to ourselves for a while now but as more folks return we are seeing an increase in litter being left behind. My mind boggles at how people can have such disregard for a place they choose to visit for its natural beauty, but then not leave it as nature intended. More than ever I will strive to protect our oceans, it is a luxury we should never take for granted. Whitby Beach Sweep are looking forward to initiating distanced litter-picks soon and as always I take inspiration from the 2 Minute Beach Clean family. Let’s all learn from lockdown and look to nature more, it’s the least we can do for something that offers an unending amount of joy and peace.

plastic pollutionMarine debris