I know, this is a weird time of year to write about such a thing, but I watched a surfing movie a few days ago and it reminded me how much I loved swimming in the ocean. (Notice, I used past tense.)
When I was a kid and lived in L.A., my folks always made several trips to the beach. That's where I learned to swim in the ocean, but I knew how to swim since I was 5. (Learned in an irrigation ditch, it was swim or drown.)
I remember one trip as a teen with a church group to the beach. We had a big bonfire (yep, you could do that way back then) and I swam out past the waves (something I always did), but when I decided to come back in I didn't know where to go. I didn't have my glasses on and there were lots of bonfires on the beach. I decided to just go to shore, then try to figure it out then.
Yes, I got caught in rip tides, but I knew to swim parallel to shore to get out of them.
When my children were small (3 at that time) we'd start going to the beach in March. I'd put our blanket right by the life guard station (even though there wasn't one on duty that early in the season) so when I swam out past the waves, I knew where to come back. You can't wear glasses when swimming in the ocean.
I never worried about sharks either, this was before the movie Jaws. Once I was swimming and a helicopter came over and a loudspeaker warned there were sharks in the water. I didn't care, I hadn't finished my swim.
As I added kids to the family, finally had five, we always went to the beach. It was close and free. My kids loved to swim in the ocean as much as I did.
When we moved to the mountains that ended my ocean swimming for the most part.
The last time I ventured into the ocean to swim was in Hawaii when my sis and I and my mom went for a vacation together. Sis and I swam in the ocean at Oahu, in rough waves in Kauai, and out way to far at Maui. That was absolutely wonderful.
It's fun to look back at what I used to do for fun. Would I get in the ocean now? Not unless I was in Hawaii or someplace like that where the water is warm. I'd never get in that cold water I used to swim in--I'd probably die of a heart attack. I don't really remember it being all that cold back then, but I was so much younger.