Sunday morning, though, was sunny and clear, and a veritable swarm of swimmers -- including a half-dozen "newbies" -- descended on West Neck Beach like gnats on a bare neck. A steady wind from the northwest was stiffening the flag, and the few boats in the mooring field were tugging at their chains against the surging incoming tide as a steady chop rolled across the diminishing beachfront. As we all suited up in front of the lifeguard station, I gave the newbies a little impromptu orientation speech, heavy on dire warnings and disclaimers in light of the unwelcoming conditions: the northwest wind, an incoming tide, and a nearly full moon...While we chatted, the first wave of swimmers set off for the Sailboat, and the full force of the tidal surge could be seen in the feckless, feeble strokes of even the strongest swimmers...
Shortly thereafter, I left the newbies behind with instructions (hopefully heeded) to stick to the area in front of the beach, and set off, in the wake of fellow-laggards Gae and Annmarie, for the Sailboat...Like a salmon struggling to swim up a waterfall, I inched my way northward, and was still hundreds of yards off when the pack of first-wave swimmers stroked by me on their way back to the beach. Gae, Annmarie and I -- all training for the 5K "Sound-to-Cove" Swim Across America -- had originally planned a 2-mile swim to Fort Hill Beach, but by the time I finally reached the Sailboat -- in the time it usually takes me for the round-trip -- I had cheerfully abandoned that plan -- much to Gae's chagrin and disappointment.
The return trip -- in half the time -- felt rocket-like in comparison, and after more than an hour in the water, I was glad to be home, and grateful for the bagels and coffee Carole had waiting on the beach!
The long swim will have to wait 'til next weekend, when unfortunately the return trip will be against an outgoing tide, but at least on a waning moon it should pack less of a punch. Weekday morning swims are planned this week for Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday at 6:30 a.m. (in the water) and Friday at 8:00. See you in the Salt!