Swimming at my house is not the same as it was a month or more ago. The water in the pool is cooling rapidly.
I notice this situation each fall. Around the equinox in late September, abruptly the sun is far enough south that the tall trees in my neighbors' yards shade the pool for a good part of the day. Without benefit of the warming afternoon sun, within a couple of weeks the water temperature has plummeted.
During this season I still get in the pool, but instead of an extended, soothing, leisurely soak, now the experience is brisk. If I need a little help waking up in the morning, I know exactly what to do. A brief plunge accomplishes the task. I often take these morning wake-up dips with a steaming cup of coffee on hand. Poolside cold drinks are out of the question for the next few months.
Gone for a while are the relaxing afternoon or evening "floats," when I hover between the earth and sky on a cushion of warm water and observe nature, or snooze. I'll miss those tranquil, meditative moments and the calm but energized way I feel when I leave the water afterward.
Swims for the time being are quicker, more active affairs. My pool is not long enough to allow me to get up any momentum swimming laps, but I kick energetically, dive like a seal, and tread water for exercise. It is reported that there can be health benefits to plunging or swimming in cold water. All I know is that when the pool is cool I feel invigorated when I get out.
Either way, whether the water is warm or cool, a little pool time makes me feel good.
A side benefit of the cool months in Yucatán is that pool maintenance is easier. That's because algae that sometimes grow on pool sides and bottom reproduce much more slowly in cool water. Microorganisms and bacteria that cloud water are in the same boat. I use less chemicals and work less often at keeping the pool clean during the cool season.
I continue to swim in all but the chilliest weather. Normally there are times from December into February when I don't swim much at all. It just seems too cold. It's funny to remember how I participated in the Polar Bear Swim in the Chukchi Sea at Barrow, Alaska some years ago. That day we splashed and swam amidst large chunks of ice. On the coldest Yucatecan winter days, my Mérida pool water would seem absolutely tropical by comparison.
Read another post on enjoying the water here.