Barbara Barnhill, NC/USA

We were visiting Leigh from America for a few weeks. I was a rookie. I had really only
swum in a pool, and liked having clear water and the chance to rest at the ends.  I was
nervous about swimming in the ocean, but wanted to try. My first ocean swim was at
Matheson Bay. Kaye and Marie were so encouraging and supportive. They swam on each
side of me and stayed at my pace. We rested at the dive platform and then continued on to the
island, where I needed another rest before heading back. It was so invigorating at the end that
I wanted to do more. Their love of ocean swimming is infectious and they truly want to
nurture others to catch the swimming “bug”.

The next day we went to Goat Island and I used a snorkel. It allowed me to work on
swimming longer without the extra effort of turning to breathe. We swam across to the rocks,
and then I rested while they swam down the channel and back, then I joined them on the
return to shore. Each swim built more confidence and endurance. By the end of our stay, I
was able to join them in the swim along the channel at Goat, and swim the triangle or around
the island at Matheson’s. The best reward came one day at Goat. We were finishing our swim
and as we approached the beach, we saw people lining up on the shore, pointing out to sea.
We turned around and saw fins. It was a pod of dolphins!!! We swam back out and were
entertained by dolphins feeding and rolling around and chattering to each other. Talk about
exhilarating! I was so happy to still be using a snorkel, because I could float and watch them
below. Best day ever!

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