If you’ve visited my swim page lately,
you’ll see we raised $612 for the Narragansett Bay. I have no idea how much the Bay earns on its own, but I do think it lives frugally. You don’t see the Bay at the mall, in designer bike shops, or taking advantage of the summer special at Ruth’s Christ, whatever that is. So I’m guessing for a Bay, $612 is a lot of money, even with the weak dollar.
Swimming across it was a lot of fun and conditions were excellent. Which brings me to the other reason I think the Bay really appreciated the money. She coordinated with the Sky to provide perfect blue cloudless conditions, and the Atmosphere, which kept relatively calm, resulting in at most a light chop.
There were about 600 swimmers, about a third like me going, in the lingua franca of short sellers, naked, meaning in our case without an accompanying kayak. Not meaning without plenty of neoprene, though there were a few hearty New Englanders in just a Speedo. I was impressed but not tempted. The swim begins at the Naval War College so we had the benefit of a couple of Naval helicopters watching over us, naval ships keeping the big barges and other boats out of our stretch of water for the 2 hour window, plus an accompaniment of coast guard boats. My only real worry was bumping into a boat.
Unlike the Ironman crowd I’m used to, the swimmers were mostly casual and friendly, not focused on their zones, and the experience was collegial and low key. A few young Turks raced it and finished under 40 minutes. I was (and am) somewhere in the (my) 50s, but who knows if official results will get posted. And while like Ironman they provided orange slices and bananas at the finish, I’ve never been at an Ironman finish catered by the local Thai restaurant. Amazingly, they gave away a lot of Pad Thai, even at 9 AM…
It was fun to escape the surly bonds of the shoreline and cross the deep shipping channel between the two main bridge supports. And the conditions in the Bay near the bridge are much calmer than my practise venue in the water off Charlestown which is exposed to open ocean, the next land being Bermuda.
I’ll definitely plan to do next year. It will take me that long to psyche up for waking up early enough – the hardest part, displacing what’s usually the hardest part – stretching the wet suit on, followed closely by the 2nd hardest part of an open water swim – peeling the wet suit off.
Would I have woken up before 4 AM without the motivation of making good on all my sponsors’ overly generous donations? I guess that depends pretty much on the biorhythmic mysteries of Lulu, my hospice cat (like me, she’s shamefully but gratefully underemployed these days).