The sun has been high for hours baking the endless golden flat beach. The wind dances across the waves and onto the shore mingling with the scores of jubilant tourists and locals.
It is a perfect day on the Atlantic coast of Cape Town.
Whether I’ll be swimming though is another question.
My girlfriend is not bothered by the cold water and makes her way steadily into the calm mirrorlike ocean. Nope, not me. I need to psych myself up for at least a half an hour before even contemplating a dip.
When I am finally able muster enough courage I initiate the strategic approach. “A diagonal entry”. Walking into the water at a 5 degree angle I convince myself is the easiest way to adjust to the temperature. Also, it is great way to buy yourself some time making it appear as if you’re actually going to swim.
“Gasp. Gasp. My ankles. Freak this water is cold.”
What a wuss.
A group of boisterous British tourists chatting and tanning away on a rock nearby decide they need a cool off. On the spur of the moment, as if they had not planned it, as if they didn’t care, as if they weren’t intimidated by the ice at all, they dive off the rock and into the water.
“Well, obviously it’s easier for the Brits. They’re next to the North Pole. This is like a Jacuzzi to them,” I try and justify to myself.
“You’ve got a strong woman there brah. Strong. Look after her,” a voice from behind me grunts.
“Oh thanks, yeah, she doesn’t mind the cold water.”
“Cold? The water’s not cold today brah. It is a lovely. Refreshing! Just go in.”
“I grew up in Durban, that’s my problem,” I try and reclaim my manhood.
Running in and out of the sea I am sure I resemble a toddler afraid of the waves. This is embarrassing.
No alcohol allowed on Cape Town beaches. A law that should’ve taken the cold water into account. Dutch courage is what I need.
For the life of me my body cannot adjust to this water.
For now, I think I’ll enjoy the warm weather, soak up the sun and admire the water from a distance. Or, go to False Bay maybe.
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