Bathers beware

It’s our last week in Sweden. The weather has cooled a bit although that hasn’t kept my son and his visiting friend from swimming or tubing. They saunter around in shorts and T-shirts as if in a temperature-controlled bubble.

The water – if you dare to jump in – is quite, ah, refreshing. Actually, it is nice, once you adjust to the shock of the cold. The real prize is when you get out, though. It is then you feel the effort your body has made to keep warm, the blood pulsing through your limbs like a heat wave.

Pre-kids, my hubby and I went sailing with another couple to the outermost island in the Archipelago. We slept on the boat and, in the morning, I decided to take advantage of our sea-approved shampoo and floating soap and wash off in the sea. There were probably 20 people already in the water, paddling around and swimming leisurely. I set up my shampoo and soap on the ledge of the boat and dove in.

And nearly drowned

I could not breathe.

The shock of the cold water drove all air from my lungs, all sensation from my limbs. I actually wondered if I would make it back to the boat, although it was only a few feet from me.

I did, obviously, make it back. And then I looked at the “people” still paddling about in the water. As if the water was actually suitable for warm-blooded beings. And concluded that obviously this Illinois-river-lake-bred gal has a different constitution than most Scandinavians.

(I was pretty sure there were no other ignorant foreigners about…I am sure we would have heard the screams…I would have screamed if I had had any breath in my lungs.)

My idea of water fun does not include a wet suit unless I am 30 feet below tropical waters with an oxygen tank and flippers.

Luckily, the water is warmer in the inner Archipelago.

Which means that you don’t have to have the constitution of a polar bear to swim where we are.

Just the constitution of a grizzly.

Truth be told, I am making an effort to adapt to these chillier waters. I have even made a resolution to swim.

More often.

Granted, I haven’t committed to a particular schedule. However, I have gone swimming, tubing, and wakeboarding.

Of my own free will.

OK, I did “cheat” during wakeboarding and wore my extra thick wetsuit.

Guess it’s good for something other than scuba diving.

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