June 17th, 2021


In the Dock

I tried a new outdoor swimming venue last night: the Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre on the Isle of Dogs. It was a hot, sunny day and I thanked my past self for making the booking.

The area around Canary Wharf still has a strange atmosphere, even though it's been around in its current state for a while now. I rather like it; the neat, clean layouts of restaurants, shops, little squares and hotels make it feel like being in a giant airport.

What I'm learning about open water swimming venues: the website will be all COMPULSORY this and THOU SHALT NOT that, putting you right off, then when you rock up you will be greeted by friendly, helpful staff who go out of their way to show you around and answer all questions. There'll be swimmers in everything from bikinis to full wetsuits, some doing a very serious and efficient front crawl, others just bobbing about. Anything goes and everyone is up for a chat.

The course is 500 metres anticlockwise around the six orange buoys. I did it four times and quit while I was ahead.


I had a lovely refreshing swim surrounded by luxury flats and office buildings, then got a takeaway chilli chicken donburi and sat in a riverside park for a bit while it started to rain.

I'd particularly wanted to swim here because it features in a Bond film; you can see the watersports centre, the low triangular building to the left of the two cranes, in this screenshot from The World is Not Enough:

Screen Shot 2021-06-16 at 22.45.42

Swimming in Bond locations. It's a whole new silly hobby!