The swimming week began as sleepy Pod members converged at West Neck Beach early Tuesday morning to find that the parking lot had been colonized by a swarming television crew that was in town all week to film an episode of "The Royal Pains." West Neck Beach was now "Base Camp" for an armada of huge tractor-trailers, whose drivers and crew eyed us with perplexed amusement as we suited up and hit the water for what all present agreed should be an easy swim out to the yellow buoy and back. That turned out to be a prescient decision, as on our return to the beach we watched with astonishment as a seaplane (probably bearing the "royal" members of the "Royal Pains" cast) landed just off the Causeway near the sailboat -- right where we would have been swimming had we opted for the Causeway swim! (As if speeding powerboats and jet skis aren't hazards enough for swimmers to deal with, now we have to watch out for seaplanes? What's next, submarines??)
After the swim, Ken Longo hung around schmoozing with the tv crew, and in an extraordinary display of chutzpah (or "Longo-itis"), managed not only to finagle a free (gourmet!) breakfast from the mess tent, but actually got a crew member to take a picture of him flaunting his prize!
Sadly, the ravages of "Longo-itis" continue to spread, claiming two new victims this week: Margot Edlin and Carole Wickham, who succumbed to public disrobing and showering on the Beach...and whose symptoms were photographed here. Despite the risk of infection, a sizeable group of swimmers showed up again on Wednesday and Friday for challenging and invigorating (but seaplane-free!) Causeway swims...(The "Robinson Sisters" braved it alone on Thursday after Carole and I wimped out....)
On Saturday, a gaggle of Bob Miller's Tri-Master's swimmers & friends returned to Crescent Beach in Huntington Bay (see Mike Engel's coverage/photos/videos at www.HUMS.blogspot.com), while Rob Martell, the "John Cabot" of the West-Neck Pod, continued his epic explorations of the northern frontier. Rob completed a 3.7 mile swim around the point to the Lloyd Neck inlet and back to Fort Hill Beach, then ran 2 miles back to West Neck Beach (although he e-mailed a picture of his route, he unfortunately did not include a photo of how he transported his sneakers in his bathing suit for the last part of the swim...). With Rob blazing the trail for the rest of us (and pointing out how to avoid the rocks he unfortunately scraped against), the Pod can anticipate some long-distance, tide-assisted, one-way swims before this open-water season comes to a close...!
But as July fades into August, the season's end is still a long way off!
We'll be swimming tomorrow (Monday) at 6:15, and again on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday (check e-mails for other dates and times). See you in the Salt!
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!