When the ocean water is cold or coolish, we find ourselves looking forward to sight or looking across the ocean surface when we breath. There is a tendency to not look down when we swim.

Our eyes, of course, are not necessarily closed, but we tend not to be focused on the depths below. There is nothing really to see and for some reason, the darkish hues do not catch our attention.

In contrast, when the water is warm, we tend to look down – even at the expense of skipping a few breaths every now and then. The lightness of the ocean and the visible marine life below most certainly attracts our attention and easily catches our eye.

So while the dark shades of a cold lake or the deep hues of a cool ocean lead us to focus on our pace, our stroke, and our navigational direction, the light shades of a tropical sea or clear ocean lead us to focus on the beauty below.

Of course, there are always exceptions to these generalities everywhere around the world.

For example, with the spectacular clarity of the coolish waters around Sandycove Island in Ireland, we found ourselves staring at the rock formations and irregular coastline during a circumnavigation of the famed open water swimming landmark. Likewise, when the winds are strong and the waves erratic, we find that even warm-water ocean swims along the coastline of Hawaii or along islands in the South Pacific, we tend to spend more time looking forward than looking down.

Photos by race director Yutaka Shinozaki show the myriad marine life and the Japan International Open Water Swimming Association course on Kumejima Island at the Kumejima Open Water Swim (沖縄久米島大会), a two-day event that includes 400m, 800m, 1500m, 3000m, 4 x 400m relay, 4 x 2.5 km relay, 5 km, and 10 km races off one of the most beautiful islands of Okinawa, Japan.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association