Sunday October 10th, 2010
Location: Second Beach Rhode Island
Air Temperature 52 degrees
Water Temperature 58-62.3 degrees
Last night it dropped down to 37 degrees, I woke up today excited to swim with the Sachest Ocean Swimmers, they are a group of 8-18 swimmers who meet regularly to ocean swim from first beach, they are described to me as varying abilities and very very kind, they swim to certain meeting points, get the group together, then are off again. They are described accurately, they are super kind, very welcoming and cool to let this ” down under girl ” join them for a training swim today. We are setup to meet at second beach at 9:00 am, I meet Katrina & Ellen who are suiting up, I go away to ” undress” to my one piece suit, when I come back I head down to the beach to scout out the girls, ear plugs in, cap on, goggles on my head, wrapped in a towel and wearing my big fleece jacket, I glance at the beach and don’t see Katrina and Ellen, my SUP buddy Tim sees me looking disorientated and shouts they are waiting for you in the car, you need a ride to first beach, I laugh as I run past Tim to my car to get rid of my towel and fleece shouting ” who’s the new girl”. I drop off my stuff at my car and spot a car full of “wetsuits” with people in them, ” must be my ride” I think, I recognise Katrina and Ellen, everyone else quickly introduces themselves, I suddenly feel very under dressed sitting in the back seat of the car wearing only my one piece suit, cap and goggles, at least I didn’t wear my two piece tankini I giggle to myself.
A short 5 minute ride and we arrive at first beach, the mission to swim back to second beach ( 1.7 miles) where the cars are parked, on the drive over I get to chat to Ellen and Katrina, I enjoy their company, Ellen has a long history of swimming including 10 and 12 mile open water swims and friends who have made the English Channel Crossing, she is fun to talk to, but the main thing I notice is both Ellen and Katrina have great energy, that always makes for a good swim and I am excited to begin.
We arrive at the parking lot, out of the car and onto the beach, 6 of us swimming today, I think to myself, then I see another wad of wetsuit clad swimmers pouring out of a few other cars and striding down to the water, ” how cool there is a whole fleet” I think to myself, I couldn’t be happier, it feels like I am heading out to play with a colony of seals. We make the transition from sand to sea and are off, a frenzy of arms and legs moving through the water, we all swim towards the point, 3-4 swimmers reach the point where first beach ends they pull up, I swim towards them and stop too, one by one the rest of the group swim in, then Ellen says ” we have to keep moving or she’ll get cold’, she was right I was feeling my body temperature dropping with every minute we were not swimming, it was an intuitive move by Ellen and one I was grateful for, there was talk of where to sight while swimming, the tide was high and some rocks that were usually fully exposed today would be partially or fully submerged below the surface, we wanted to make sure we didn’t swim into any hidden rocks lurking at or just below the surface,landmarks were discussed and we were off, as we headed round to second beach the water became noticeably warmer, the water temperature reading this morning on the computer was 58 degrees off one buoy and 62.3 degrees off the other buoy in the general area we are swimming, Chris who I am staying with grew up surfing in these waters, he knows them well, I always ask him about the temperature and conditions before I swim, he is always spot on, today he says some areas will be warmer at 62.3 degrees and at some points I will catch the current it will read colder at 58 degrees, he is right again, I can feel the temperature shift while I swim, fortunately for me the warm water is on the home stretch, I swim side by side with Katrina for the second half of the swim, it is great we swim well together, same pace and rhythm, effortless yet strong. Before we know it we are on the beach, and gathering together for a post swim chat, the group are swimming again in the morning but for me it is back to Vermont, a long outdoor hot shower, followed by a quick packing of the car, then Heidi, my daughter and I hit the road, as we reach the Vermont border I notice the skies grow dark, the leaves have fallen from the trees, the hills look brown, stick like and the temperature drops, ” we could have snow in the next two weeks” I say to Heidi, she agrees it sometimes snows at Halloween, I have 5 outdoor swims left here in Vermont this Fall, last week the water was 57 degrees, what will it read this week? I’ll keep you posted.