I live in the beautiful city of Cape Town, South Africa (you know, the first city in the world that's about to run out of water - but that's a story for another time).
I'm an open water swimmer. It's my drug of choice. Open water swimming in the cold Atlantic keeps me sane, alive and appreciative of the beauty of this wonderful continent.
(That's me and Lindsay de Kock. My first Robben Island crossing. Lindsay's 18th.)
I also free-dive. For that you need to be calm, meditate and learn to control your breathing, but that's also a story for another day.
The story I want to tell today is of my swim a few mornings ago.
I had a moment.
I swim with a bunch of guys called the Hot Chocolate Swimming Group, because we always drink hot chocolate afterwards to warm up after spending around 45 minutes in water that can go down to 8 degrees Celcius (46 degrees Fahrenheit).
I got to Camps Bay late (a pretty coastal village in Cape Town), and most of the swimmers were already in the water.
(This is a picture of Camps Bay)
So I swam alone, thinking I would catch up with them somewhere in the Bay. After crossing the bay to Maidens Cove on the north side of the bay, about 50m after turning around and heading back, I saw flashes of white and grey under me.
White and grey as in SHARK.
So now I'm panicking. And then I'm not panicking, I'm just bracing myself for the hit, because once you think about it, what can you do?
You're 200m from shore.
So I'm thinking 'Ok, ok, if this is how I'm supposed to go I can't think of a better way. Out in the Bay, beautiful day, in my mother Atlantic's arms. Just hurry up Mr Shark and make it clean and quick, ok?'
This all goes through your head in a microsecond.
But then they got closer. Dolphins. Duskies. Must have been about twelve juveniles.
I remembered back to my freedive off Oudekraal, and how close the seals got, so I took a deep breath and swam DOWN.
That seemed to do the trick because they literally swam to within an arm's length. All around me - above, below, beside - I was literally surrounded by them.
I had to surface not so much because I ran out of breath but more because I couldn't suppress an irresistible urge to laugh. These creatures have a way of inspiring awe and joy that is totally inexplicable but unstoppable.
(This photo was shared with us by Aletta Harrison, who was on the beach that day.)
On shore all the other swimmers had also had dolphin experiences - there were two pods in the bay. I felt slight stings while swimming and noticed swarms of small jellies in the water so I'm not sure if they were feeding on these, but they stayed in the bay for a long time.
God smiled on us that day. Dankie Here (as they say in Afrikaans).