In a fitting prelude to the Memorial Day Weekend which begins tomorrow, the faded, tattered flag that had graced the flagpole at West Neck Beach for many seasons past, and had given constant, faithful, critical notice to us open-water swimmers of the wind's direction and strength, was finally replaced this morning. "Adam" of the Town of Huntington's General Services Department did the honors, as his fellow workers busied themselves cleaning and raking the beach to make it ready for the Memorial Day weekend.
A bevy of toddlers and their parents, gathered for a two-year-old's birthday party, watched the Town's payloader make pass after pass over the beach, raking up a winter's worth of beach straw and other marine detritus. The bravest of them waded in the water, but it was Joye Brown and I, there to preview conditions for tomorrow's opening day swim, who were the first (and only!) to take the plunge! And what a plunge it was! Despite Newsday's ominous reports of 54 degree water temperatures, we found the temperature almost pleasantly comfortable, and both of us forbore the insulated booties and gloves we had so carefully packed. In deference to my still-healing broken ribs we didn't swim far (only to the dock and back), but we honored the Pod's venerable buoy-chat tradition by lingering in the water for a long time afterwards! If today's preview swim is any indication of what is to come, this 2011 open-water swimming season is going to be the best ever! 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!