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, June 12, 2011

"Swimming to Antarctica"...at West Neck Beach...!

The dreary, overcast, and unseasonably cool weather continued for another day, winnowing the number of Sunday morning swimmers at West Neck Beach down to four (the "early crew" having been thwarted by still-locked gates that were not opened until 8:00).  Rob Ripp, Nancy Lipira, Margot Edlin and I were pleased to see, though, that the water was calm and crystal clear, despite the recent rain, and that the ubiquitous jellyfish that had plagued us the last several weeks were nowhere to be seen.  Although the air temperature was only 56 degrees, our last several weeks of pleasantly temperate swims had us confidently expecting more of the same, and left us completely unprepared for the arctic freeze we encountered when we hit the water! 

Uncertain how long we could tolerate the face-hurting, hand-numbing, chest-constricting C-C-C-COLD (especially for Rob Ripp, the only one of us not wearing a wetsuit), we headed south towards the buoy, then turned and headed back without even a thought for the usual "buoy-side chat." Grateful for the outgoing tide's assistance in hastening our return to the relative warmth of the beach, we emerged from the water with chattering teeth.  Rob, whose exposed chest and limbs were red as a tomato, wondered aloud if it had rained ice cubes during the night!

The weather forecast for the next several days does not suggest a return to the 90-degree temperatures we tasted last week, but hopefully this arctic freeze will soon pass and make the water swimmable again for this week's morning swims.  I'm aiming for Tuesday and Wednesday at 6:30 and Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 8:00....See you in the Salt!

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