DISCLAIMER: Open-water swimming is inherently dangerous. Open-water swimmers risk drowning, hypothermia, hyperthermia, heart attacks, panic attacks, cramping, jelly fish stings, fish bites, boat or jet-ski collisions, collisions with floating or submerged objects (including other swimmers), and other calamities that can be injurious, disabling or fatal! The "West Neck Pod" is an informal association of open-water swimmers who swim "outside the lines" with no lifeguard protection, it has no formal membership, organizational structure or legal identity, and its participants, including the author of this blog, make no representations and assume no liability with respect to its group open-water swims. All swimmers who participate in West Neck Pod group open-water swims do so at their own risk. Be careful out there!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

"The Water-Log" - 9/27/09

Well, this morning's open water swim was a complete washout because of the rain, but it was nice to sleep late and let my arms recover from yesterday's first kayaking venture of the season. Carole and I took the double out, putting in at West Neck Beach (heading toward our favorite buoy), and had a ripping wind sending two-foot waves over the gunwales (of course we forgot to bring the skirt so we both got soaked - but it was a lot of fun -- it would have been fun swimming, too!). Speaking of ripping, Rob Ripp ripped up (down?) the Hudson yesterday, swimming a 5.8 mile race and coming in 35th overall and a scant three minutes behind the winning time! This is an amazing group of swimmers I get to hang out with!

By the way, attached are some pictures of Ken Longo from one of last week's swims, giving the rest of us some post-swim hygiene tips on proper tooth-brushing techniques and the application of hair conditioner. The showers at West Neck are still on, thank goodness!

Swimming again on Wednesday morning? 6:30? Anyone?

Friday, September 25, 2009

"The Water-Log" - 9/25/09

We of the West Neck Pod have been swimming outdoors long and often enough to know that when you arrive on the beach and the current is running one way and the wind is blowing from the other, you're in for a rocky ride...and that's what seven of us had this morning as we were tossed like so many salads from beach to buoy and back again! But after the water had its way with us, we all arrived smiling on the beach, congratulating ourselves and each other on another perfectly gorgeous, exhilarating, can't-wait-to-do-it-again open water swim...See you Sunday morning at 8?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

"The Water-Log" - 9/24/09

Yesterday's swim -- the first of the Fall season -- was perfectly lovely, and even warmer than some of our recent "Summer" swims....The water is definitely getting cooler, but it's still perfectly comfortable (as Ken says, "after about 8 strokes"), and the air temperature was a surprisingly balmy 67 degrees! Tomorrow's supposed to be a little cooler, low around 49 degrees, but we've dealt with that before, haven't we! We're swimming tomorrow (Friday) morning at 6:30. High tide = 4:34 a.m., low tide = 10:49 am., so we'll have a nice outgoing tide for a buoy-to-beach swim. Anybody else? Let me/us know...

Monday, September 21, 2009

"The Water-Log" - 9/21/09

Four stalwarts (Margot, Ken, Rob Todd and I) braved the 49-degree air temperature at West Neck Beach this morning for what turned out to be one of the absolutely-most-perfect-swims-ever-in-the-history-of-the-world!! The water was warm (-ish), yesterday's wind was gone, and the harbor was smooth as a lake, so the trip out to the house at the end of the Causeway took about 25 minutes (that's MY time -- the boys of course got there first and were well into their chat-fest when I arrived -- by the way, look for Ken's e-mail giving the details of the swimming-vacation to Nassau that he's planning for the Pod in the Spring!). We zipped back on an incoming tide in about 15 minutes and kept noodling around in the water 'cause nobody wanted to get out! Part of what made today's swim so special, and even poignant, in a way, was that all of us recognized that it was almost certainly the LAST OPEN-WATER-SWIM OF THE SUMMER! Yes, Swimmers, the Fall Equinox takes place this year on Tuesday, September 22nd, at 2:18 p.m., and Summer is officially over! For some of us, of course, that doesn't mean the end of open-water swimming, and Ken, Carole and I (so far) are planning on going out again at West Neck on Wednesday morning at 6:30 (low tide = 8:16 a.m., high tide = 2:00 a.m., so we're probably looking at a buoy-to-beach swim). Margot will definitely NOT be joining us -- Today she announced her official retirement from open-water-swimming for the season, and is hanging up her wetsuit until at least, um, I'm guessing July! Hope you all had a great Summer -- see you in the Fall!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

"The Water-Log" - 9/19/09

Whew! Nancy, Scott, Don, Carole, Joanna and I swam the Causeway stretch this morning, into a brisk (chilly!) wind and a fast-running incoming tide -- REALLY challenging going out (someone kept moving the house!) but we absolutely FLEW coming back! Exhilarating! Of course, Nancy (who's training for an Ironman in Florida) had already swum to the buoy and back, so she did a full 5K swim this morning while I wimped out a few hundred yards short of the (still moving) house. Who says there are no heroes anymore??!! Some of us are going out again tomorrow at 8:00. Anybody else? Let me/us know!(low tide = 6:46 a.m., high tide + 12:45 p.m., so it'll still be an incoming tide).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"The Water-Log" - 9/16/09

Didn't hear from anyone about a 6:30 swim so we decided to sleep in a bit this morning and try for a later swim. When we finally headed out about 7:00 it was raining, but Carole (talk about a conversion!) insisted that we go anyway. By the time we got to the beach the rain had stopped, and ten minutes into our swim the gray skies had turned blue and we had a truly glorious swim! The lines and buoys are gone (no place to tie up my sandals, alas!), and most of the boats are too, so the water is really, really BIG! Water temperature this morning was a cozy 67 degrees. Oh, and the gates are open all the time now, so you can drive right in to the parking lot! It just keeps getting better, Swimmers! Planning to swim again Friday/Saturday/Sunday mornings, weather permitting....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"The Water-Log" - 9/15/09

Margot, Carole, Kathy and I had another lovely swim along the Causeway this morning, with the water a still-quite-comfortable 62 degrees, and a gentle incoming tide....I was planning to ride it out tomorrow and swim again on Wednesday, but the forecast for later in the week is for cold and rain, and I want to get in as many nice-weather OWS's as possible. I'm planning on swimming again tomorrow -- high tide is 8:36 a.m., so we can do a Causeway swim on an incoming tide if we start at 6:30. Anybody?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

"The Water-Log" - 9/9/09

Ocean-swimmer Margot (and apparently Ken, too) was frightened off by a few early morning raindrops and skipped today's OWS, opting for the apparently-less-wet(?) pool, but the rest of us (Nancy, Tim, Carole, Kathy & I) had a lovely, lovely swim to the buoy and back on a brisk outgoing tide this morning. I'm planning on swimming again on Friday (and Saturday and Sunday as well), weather permitting. Let me/us know if you'll be joining us!