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Thursday, October 21, 2004

The First Fall Night Swim

In a water temperature below 60 degrees, Sarah, Cristian, Paul and I went for the first weekly fall night swim. Strapping a pair of glow sticks to our swim caps, we made for the surf looking like a bunch of sea aliens returning to their watery environment.

Despite the low temperatures, I am sure the water felt less cold than the atmosphere in Yankee Stadium as they managed to lose game 7 to the Red Sox after taking the first 3. This is event is as shocking as the cold waves that would suddenly hit our chests sight unseen. The water was too dark to see them coming.

The water was crystal clear this evening and flat as glass. Just as we started out, a half moon started to peek out from the clouds out over the water. The moonlight was welcome as it helped to warm us up. We started out towards the white house at the end of Brighton, frequently stopping to make sure that everyone was alright.

When you swim in the open water, you get used to the lack of lane lines as you have in the pool. Swimming at night in the ocean however, forces you to get used to the missing horizon as well. Fortunately, the lights on the shore, along the boardwalk were bright and plainly visibly.

We reached the first jetty in due course and without any problems. The initial shock of the cold wore off and the water felt quite pleasant. There was not much surface wind so simply floating around and chatting for a bit was easy and not much different from sitting as a group in a hot tub.

After a couple of minutes, we started back towards the pier with the goal of reaching the next jetty 800 yards away. It was a bit easier to swim in this direction, because you had the shore to guide you. If you looked carefully into the water while you stroked through it, you could see glowing microscopic, biophosphorescent, aquatic creatures as your hands and arms disturbed the water.

At one point swimming towards the jetty, there was a patch of very warm water so we all suddenly stopped. We started to scratch our heads wondering who was responsible for such an occurrence. Asking basking in this mysterious source of warm water for a few minutes, we continued on towards the jetty. I followed Sarah and Cristian’s bobbing glowsticks and we reached it in due course.

On the way back towards our start, we swam through a patch of water that was as intensely cold as the earlier patch of water was warm. While this was as quite a surprise as the earlier warm water, it was not as welcome. The cold patch did not last for long and it wasn’t much further until we started to exit the water. All told we swam for a little over 30 minutes.


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