Hi, I’m on holiday in Narbonne, which is in the S. of France. I just want to know about people’s experiences with sea swimming. I’ve always managed it before, but this year it is really tricky. I use a stick and my wife’s support to get in the sea, but getting out is more difficult. The stick slides away and I drag my wife under the water. I manage it with helpful French guys running up and dragging me out of the water. But I want something more elegant. I’m thinking of getting one of those sticks with four little legs which might give me more stability. Or maybe a four of three legged walking aid, without a motor, that I push into the sea, swim around and then push out of the water, and up the beach. How do other people manage it ? I have SPMS, and use a mobility scooter to get around, on dry land. Thanks
I haven’t really got any idea or suggestions but as a lover of the sea(windsurfer and kayaker) and worried husband of someone suspected of having MS(neuro appt on monday) your post has made me smile.
I salute your determination to find ways to continue to enjoy such activities that you have previously.Some of the national trust beaches i have been to here hire out big sand tyre’d stainless steel wheelchairs which could maybe be pushed into sea to about waist depth which may be an easier launch/recover than a stick?
Hi, I’ve just maybe answered my own question - use a beach mobility chair. Apparently California has 100 beaches where these beach mobility chairs are available. Berwick has them and Great Yarmouth in the UK. They look great actually, with big wide chunky wheels, and you can push them into the sea and float around with them. It looks, from a US website, that they cost a lot Has anyone used these chairs ? They aren’t motorised so someone has to push them to get you started.
Some beaches (the most popular ones with good lifeguard cover) have them available to hire. Local Authority websites for the area will have details - for once Google IS your friend!They are very big with the special wheels though and I don’t know how easy they are to self-propell.
Watch the waves first for a good amount of time. You have to judge if the water is calm, if it looks calm and is doing other things or if as you stand in it up to your knees, there is a pull back and under. If there is wait till another time. If it seems that the current either way is not too strong and you have checked current times for low and high tide and the flags are with you, try it. I went swimming with two nude Germans in Feurteventura this year who helped me. I tried it the day before and the drag back was very dangerous.
I practiced at home with my bikini, tucking my stick in my bikini bottoms and trying to reverse lunge to get out of something. It worked fine in the sea at the second attempt. I swam with the stick tucked in, then getting out rammed the stick in behind me and leant forward to counter act the drag back. It was quite wonderful and did send me to rest for many hours after but I loved it. Also, about a month ago I went in again in Skipsea in East Yorkshire. That was the warmest English sea I have come accross since I was little. This helped, if the sea is really cold I can’t go in because my limbs freeze and stop working.
So, plan, learn about the current, watch, try, then either go for it or wait. Or, if in doubt ask someone who is around if they wouldn’t mind just staying for five minutes to watch to make sure you get out ok. Or, go in next to a group of people. If you get into bother and start yelping or flapping about, they will help. Everybody is out to have a good time at the seaside.
I’ve been trying to find a way of doing this for a few years! I have in mind an Edward G Robinson contraption that will help me get from the boarded areas on beaches (usually in Spain) into the sea and back, but haven’t managed to figure it our yet. Yes, the beach wheelchairs seem a good option - I think there are several around the UK coast but haven’t had a go in any of them.
Thanks for the info re using a stick and tucking it in your bikini! - I have managed to get in the sea using a stick in years gone by but it is disconcerting when the stick starts to be sucked downi nto the sand
From which beach in Fuerteventura did you manage to get into/out of the sea?
Thanks and best wishes
trust you to have nude germans help you!
tickled me that.
My favourite place, Jandia or Morro Jable, nudist beach. I love it here, love the chipmonks on the beach, parrots, heat, sand, sea, lighthouse, flowers, walking and I go there because it is all flat. Love the patatas bravas yum yum. I went first down there before I was ill and enjoyed a snorkelling venture into the wilds where I was convinced that if I died, no-one would ever know where I was. The lovely German girl took me up the mountains in the surf school van which was rickety and she drove like a bat out of hell. Then turned off amidst the mountain deserty bit down a dirt track that went to nowhere for ages, then reached the most wonderful blue water and wild cove. I wasn’t very good at using flippers, I would have been ok without them as I am a fair swimmer, but I was like the dying fly splashing about. She told me the biologists come here to try to see the rare large red crabs but without any joy. Well, she was screeching at one point and there, lo and behold, in response to my awful splashing and gushing about, where these enormous black and red crabs, all come out to see what was upsetting their cave siesta!
I saw some people this time so just wanted to say, if you opt for a wheelchair for the sea, many of the people I saw with family members pushing their wheelchairs, just completely got stuck in the sand as they got off the boardwalk. It was very frustrating to see, even hunky brutes didn’t have the strength to push or pull them along. People were even getting stuck with pushchairs.
I have considered, if I am well enough to bog off somewhere mad next year, to pay someone local from the hotel to come swimming with me for half an hour in the morning. Should be easy to organise if I email the hotel or local tourist places. Anyway, that was my thought. Long way away and I have lots of thoughts most days that end up in the mental bin!
In Sete, I found they have these beach mobility wheelchairs, with yellow bouncy wheels and inflatable arms that keep you afloat. I was with friends, just walking along the front and saw one on the beach.The sapeur pompiers, the lifeguards, wanted me to try but I’d just left a restaurant and was fully clothed so I said no. Then found out that my local beach in Narbonne also had them, but by then it was too late.I’m home in UK now, but I’ll be going back and I’ll give them a try.
Going back to France made me think of swimming again so I thought I’d just add the website address of a French company that makes all terrain wheelchairs that can go in the sea, and on other awkward terrain like snow - www.vipamat.co.uk