All Maps Tell Lies - Except This One
With the spring weather here, and three days of spring tides, I just had to do my swim today in the sea. So with high tide at 17:30-ish, I headed down to the harbour in my wetsuit at five. When I swim in the sea, I always time it so that I’m just before high tide, as it gives me the biggest, deepest area to swim in within the bounds of the harbour, and reduces the risk of any wash-out tides taking me out to sea.
What was interesting is that although it’s only two days since I last swam in Cullercoats harbour, the water was noticeably warmer. The sun has definitely been doing it’s stuff. Buuuut . . . not that much. It IS only the beginning of May, and the sea is still pretty cold, because of where Whitley Bay is on the globe.
Now I’m betting that you grew up looking at maps based on the Mercator Projection. This is a map of our spherical-ish world that distorts geography to make lines of constant longitude or latitude appear straight on a two-dimensional piece of paper. The thing is, it distorts reality (guess what - Alaska ISN’T about the same size as the rest of the United States!), and some have proposed that the Gall-Peters Projection is a better representation. It somehow manages to keep the areas the same, irrespective of latitude. I’ve no idea how this is done, but can tell you that it was featured on The Big Block of Cheese episode of The West Wing, and that CJ was pretty much convinced about it. And her character had a background in movie PR, so you’ve gotta take her opinion seriously.
EXCEPT . . . the Peters Projection is also wrong.
So today, I’m proposing the McCracken Projection (see right => for the European part of the map). This is a map of the world that accurately represents distances between any two points, from the extremely accurate data that can be obtained on how frigging cold it is when you’re doing your training. Now, be warned, you might not like what you see - remember CJ freaking out at the inverted Gall-Peters map? Well, this is worse. It proves conclusively that Whitley Bay is only 4 miles from the North Pole, and well inside the Arctic Circle. Which I guess is why after only two laps of the harbour, I was still really cold. The sort of cold that saps your energy, and leaves you bordering on shivering for about two hours after you finish your swim. The sort of cold where you get into the shower to warm up, and can only bear to have the water on you if the tap’s turned all the way to cold . . . and it still feels too hot, even then. The sort of cold where once you’re undressed, boys, you look down, there’s . . . ahem . . . nothing much to see / be proud of / write home about. You know what I’m talking about.
BTW - does anyone outside of Consett write home about it?
I have this image of a letter written in crayon, “Dear Mum, you’d be so proud of me, and the size of my **ck.” Doesn’t really bear thinking about, does it?
I’d intended to swim three laps (1500m or so), but frankly, given that it turns out that we do live north of the Arctic circle, I think dropping out after two wasn’t such a dumb idea. Remember what they say:
If at first you don’t succeed, try again. If then, you still don’t succeed, give up, as there’s no point being a damn fool about it.
- Type: Swim
- Date: 05/07/2008
- Time: 21:32:24
- Total Time: 00:25:00.00
- Distance: 997.79 m
- Average Pace: 2:30.13/100m