I am currently writing a mini series on wild swimming in the local area for the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. This blog was first posted on The CSS Blog 17/07/17.
The last time I swam at Coverack, I had an interesting experience with a marine animal. I was here with my two dogs who were retrieving balls as I floated about in the ocean. After a while, a small round head kept popping up behind where the dogs had been swimming.
A very young seal was following the dogs and sneaking up behind them. I don’t think it was dangerous, probably just playful, curious about these creatures that it may have never encountered before. Whilst we weren’t worried, we did ensure there was always a distance between the animals as a precaution.
This time, I visited alone. Whilst dogs are allowed on Coverack beach all year round, between July and August they have to be kept on leads – not ideal when I am attempting to swim.
I reached the sleepy village early in the morning and found it very quiet. The area will soon be busy; tourists will flock here due to the stretch of golden sand and picturesque chocolate box village, but at the moment, I see very few people meandering about the streets and there is the distinct smell of bacon in the air. I descend down a large set of steps to beach and find it deserted, except for a lone kayaker on the horizon and a group of herring gulls and black backed gulls snoozing lazily on the rocks.
The tide is in so the only beach available is made up of smooth, round grey stones. Through the clear water, I can see where these give way to bigger rocks and then eventually sand. The sea is flat; tiny waves are gently lapping the shore and it looks so inviting, that I have to stop myself from just leaping in – an action I am grateful for as when I do begin to wade in, the cold catches my chest and gives me brain fuddle. This only lasts a few moments though and as I start to cut through the calm water, I acclimatise quickly and the temperature begins to feel pleasant. I have my snorkel and mask on the shore and retrieve it after completing a few lengths. The water is quiet and whilst there are no pinniped visits this time, I do see small fish near the sea bed and a crystal jelly skirts its way around the rocks towards the shore.
After I exit the water, I decide to walk up through the village. After debating with myself if it is too early for ice cream, I give in and enjoy a cone whilst watching the fishermen haul in their latest catches by the old lifeboat station in the sun.
Distance covered = 1 mile = 2000 steps
Access: There is a set of steps down to the water. Not suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs. Small car park.
Facilities: Cafes, bins and public toilets. Look out for the cottage which sells home made pasties!
Dogs: Allowed all year round but must be on a lead July and August.
Notes: You can hire watersports equipment from the windsurfing centre