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!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Still Savoring the September Salt

Yesterday's day-long on-and-off rain and this morning's grey, overcast skies and chilly temperatures made the idea of an open-water swim unappetizing for most, and only five swimmers besides me showed up at West Neck Beach this morning for the 8 a.m. swim.  Greg and Magda Petryk were the first in while Paul Coster, Karen Ruth and newbie Andrew Zitofsky suited up on the beach and I waded in for a temperature reading (Andrew's actually been swimming regularly at West Neck with his Tri-pal Jonah Gruda, but this was his first OWS with the Pod).  Surprisingly, the water temperature had actually climbed back up to 69 degrees from 64 degrees a few days ago, but the 55 degree air temperature and the gloomy weather made it feel colder than it actually was.  The water had somewhat lost its crystal clarity, too, and there was a suspiciously unpleasant odor emanating from the water that went beyond the usual low-tide pungency.  Still, on the theory that E. coli is no more smellable than it is visible, and with only two swimming days left in the month of September (and perhaps because we were all suffering from cabin fever!), we plunged in (after first tying up our flip-flops at the Floating Pod Sandal Station -- thanks again, Rob Todd!).  Unsure whether those cloudy skies harbored the potential for thunder and lightning, we opted for a close-to-home buoy swim despite the incoming tide, and headed first to the north buoy so we could at least enjoy a long, fast run to the south buoy. Paul Coster loped his way there with his usual long, slow strokes, making it all look easy and arriving minutes before Karen and I, followed shortly thereafter by Andrew, and we all enjoyed our usual "buoy chat," made memorable by Paul's observation -- in his inimitable, clipped, British accent -- about the "latrine-like" quality of the water....That launched us rapidly toward the north buoy, where Karen and I called it quits and headed for the beach, while Paul, who was just getting warmed up, it seems, and Andrew, who's training for a triathlon and needed to get in some serious distance, continued on toward the yellow sign....None of us have shown any symptoms of infection yet, so unless we succumb during the night, we'll be back tomorrow -- hopefully with better weather!

Magda, heading towards the south buoy
See you in the Salt!

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