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!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Christmas in the Caribbean...."!

With the winter's first major blizzard bearing down on the New York area and threatening to put the kibbosh on our Caribbean vacation plans, Carole and I were vastly relieved that the storm held off until after our plane landed in St. Maarten on a bright, sunny and HOT Christmas afternoon!

Reports of the approaching storm filtered their way to the beach-bar where we sat sipping our first pina coladas of the trip (it being too late in the day to head for the beach), but the snow did not actually begin to fall in New York until the day after Christmas.

That day also dawned rainy and overcast in St. Maarten, so our long-anticipated return to open-water swimming was postponed (in favor of shopping in Philipsburg) until the following day, when we reopened the 2010 open-water swimming season and spent a long, blissful day swimming endless lengths of the beach at Friar's Bay.  Coincidentally, it was also my birthday, and being able to swim my heart out in the exquisite, turquoise-colored water made this birthday truly feel like something to celebrate! 

Tuesday brought more of the same perfect conditions, but today (Wednesday) was another rainy, windy day, with high waves that both of us deemed too rough for swimming.  Hopefully the sun will be out again tomorrow and we can hit the Salt again -- and again and again and again -- until it's time to leave on Saturday -- but not before we undertake our own New Year's Day "Polar Bear swim" in solidarity with our brethren in the cold, snowbound North!  And so the 2011 open-water season begins....!  See you in the Salt!

Monday, December 20, 2010

"Swan Song" of 2010 Open-Water Swimming Season

In this last week before Christmas and the penultimate week of the year, "Ten Swans a-swimming" greeted "The Crazy Canadian" Rob Martell as he entered the water at West Neck Beach Sunday morning for what he assures us was his last swim of the 2010 open-water swimming season...."Today was my swan song. 5 mins and it was absolutely freezing but so crystal clear it was unbelievable. I wish I could have swum to the boat just to see the bottom on the cove."

Unlike the rest of us who (however reluctantly) long ago retreated to the relative warmth of our respective local pools, Rob alone has doggedly continued to ply the increasingly frigid waters of Cold Spring Harbor on a weekly basis throughout the month of December -- but with the air temperature now a punishing 29 degrees, and the water temperature not far behind it, Rob has finally concluded that "I just don't have the drive to take the beating anymore...!"  So, unless Rob changes his mind or someone else gets REALLY CRAZY, the 2010 open-water swimming season is OFFICIALLY OVER!! 

We'll keep you posted on the start of the 2011 Open Water Swimming Season!  (Anyone up for a "polar bear" swim...??)