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, September 5, 2012

Labor Day Weekend Open-Water Swims

Scores of swimmers sampled the September Salt at West Neck Beach this Labor Day weekend, signalling the "unofficial" end of Summer 2012.  A full moon on Friday marked the last day of August -- as it had the first -- bringing not only stronger than usual tides but the first "blue moon" since December 31, 2009!  Joining "the usual suspects" in the seemingly interminable against-the-current swim to the Sailboat on Saturday, September 1st, were, quite appropriately, "once in a blue moon" Pod swimmers Paul Coster, Rabbi "The Rabbit" Steve Moskowitz, Harrison Huang, Tommy Capobianco and Barry Goldblatt!                      After battling Saturday's ferocious full-moon current -- as I had every day that week -- I was surprised that I still had arms left to paddle my kayak into Huntington Harbor on Saturday afternoon, along with fellow Podders Joan Addabo, Karen Ruth and E.J. Voss, to attend the Sixth Annual Huntington Lighthouse Music Fest. This unique event -- a veritable "Woodstock on the Water" -- was founded six years ago to raise money to benefit the Huntington Lighthouse -- a beautiful, historic working lighthouse in the middle of Huntington Bay that is celebrating its 100th anniversary and is well worth preserving. Hundreds of yachters, boaters, kayakers, canoers and dinghy-ers congregated on the water to listen to fabulous music by eight different local bands throughout the day. I bought my Lighthouse-supporter tee shirt from the "pirates" who were circulating among the floating concert-goers, and left proudly sporting my "Jolly-Roger" pirate flag and making plans to be back next year -- with even more of my fellow West Neck Pod members!

By Sunday, I truly had no arms left, so I opted not to swim and instead took advantage of the dead-low tide to walk the shoreline northward from West Neck Beach to the "house at the end of Causeway," following the early morning swimmers as they slogged their way to the Sailboat against the current, then flew back on the incoming tide. It was a fascinating perspective -- with the well-spread-out line of nearly 20 swimmers in the water stretching as far as I could see -- and the orange "floaty bags" being towed by most of the swimmers dotting the surface of the water like a paprika garnish.... 

Monday -- Labor Day -- was a little bit less of a truck push as the full moon continued to wane -- and the nearly 20 swimmers who labored their way to the Sailboat were rewarded on their return with a Pod-first -- blueberry pancakes on the beach! -- courtesy of Susan Robinson (formerly known as "The Muffin-Woman," but who, after previously plying the Pod with homemade cinnamon muffins, then chocolate chip cookies, and now blueberry pancakes, has been redubbed simply, "Susie Homemaker"!).  Todd Rowley supplied the real Vermont maple syrup and orange juice, Rob Ripp the coffee, and Carole Wickham and I threw in a dozen bagels with butter and cream cheese to ensure that no one went home hungry -- including the lifeguards --for whom today was their last day of work for the season before heading off to their respective colleges! 

Hungry swimmers ready for pancakes

The "Floaty-Bag" Flotilla

It was a fabulous Labor Day weekend -- but the 2012 open-water swimming season is far from over! See you in the Salt tomorrow -- and the day after that...and the day after that! 

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