Sheephaven divers conducted their Fin Swim to Aranmore last Saturday, which is held each year in memory of John Mc Garvey.
For many years this event has been one of the highlights of the clubs social calendar and this year it had a bit of special meaning as it the 40th anniversary of the registration of Sheephaven SAC with the Irish Underwater Council.
There is always been a good turnout for the Fin Swim and this year 26 club members and friends took to water in Burtonport.
The swimmers left at 2.15pm and followed the tide to the channel between Rutland and Inishcoo Islands and out into Aranmore Sound.
Initially weather conditions were less than ideal, with a stiff westerly breeze throwing up a little chop outside the channel, but in-water conditions improved considerably as the swimmers got into the shelter of the island and the latter end of the journey was in calm water.
The water was warm at around 16 degrees Celsius and the visibility at the beginning of the swim was excellent, with the sea bed clearly evident until outside the channel.
Everyone who has done the Aranmore Fin Swim remembers their first crossing and a for some of the swimmers last Saturday it was their first time to participate, in particular for the three youngest members, Aoibhín and Declan Mc Elroy and Tara Kelly it was a big deal to be able to be a part of the adventure.
On the other side of the age range it was a much bigger deal for returned club member Paddy Mc Gowan, who put in a mammoth effort to make the crossing.
Paddy has returned to the water after a long lay-off and has built up his fitness over the last year from just a short swim in PortnaBlagh harbour to completing the Aranmore Fin Swim in 1 hour 50 minutes, an achievement that deserves special mention.
Events like this are able to be run because of the generously of others, from those who organised on the day – Hugo Mc Fadden – to those who towed boats and indeed provided their own boats. Of course there is a special mention to generosity of those who stayed in the boats to watch over the swimmers in the water – bless them.
Hospitality on the island was once again provided by Gerry Early and the post-swim soup and sandwiches were most appreciated, as undoubtedly were the après events that went well into the wee hours.