How do you mentally prepare to swim across the 2 biggest and most powerful maelstroms in the world? It's a question I repeatedly asked myself in the run up to our "Into the Maelstrom" expedition, our world first attempt to swim across the Moskstraumen and Saltstraumen maelstroms deep within Norway's Arctic Circle.
One of the key things you’ll need for a river swimming adventure is an open mind and an ability to adapt and relish challenges. One big part of this is being quick to embrace new swimming techniques. There may be sections, especially near the source or upper reaches, where you can’t swim your standard front crawl and will be forced to adapt.
Do you ever get that lurching feeling in your stomach when the bottom of the lake, riverbed or ocean disappears as you swim out into deeper waters? Your body starts to heightens its awareness of the watery surroundings and you become acutely conscious of the depth of the water beneath you.
So summer is in full swing - bees are busily bumbling between flowers, squirrels are darting across the grass, choosing their favourite trees, and the sun is grinning (most of the time) as it beats down upon us. If you haven't already, this is the time for you to finally get out into open water and swim freely on nature's terms.
So you're thinking of swimming a river from source to mouth? Break out the maps, collect your gear and get ready for an adventure like no other. Waterways lead to pockets of quietude that would be otherwise unreachable. They bundle you down valleys, through gorges and into the depths of entangled forests. You'll meet funky little flitters of wildlife along the way, beautiful wild flower gardens and no doubt wind-up whistling the bear necessities tune to yourself.