Monday, August 23, 2010

Rounding the Hog Island lighthouse in a speedo

With the demise of my marathon aspirations this year, I set my sites on a different test when I visited my parents in Bristol, Rhode Island last week. I have long wanted to swim around Hog Island, which you overlook everytime you visit their house. It's 3.5 miles, but the tougher test is managing the currents that move around the island.

In the end, I decided to scale back and simply swim around the Hog Island lighthouse that sits off the shore. In a straight line, we measured it to be two miles round trip. And the theory was that if I went at or near low tide, I could finish most of it with a slack tide and avoid fighting any current.

My sister and eldest daughter were kind enough to escort me across the channel in the dingy. As it turned out, I needed it! There was a boat towing that tried to skirt right in front of me (see pictures) and I'm not sure they would of ever seen me without them.

The swim felt great physically, but the mind plays ugly tricks on you when you can't see anything and you swim through slimy jellyfish. Seems kind of fun to stick your hand in a jar of jelly, but when you're going through pockets of 100's and you feel them all over your body, you can't help but shiver. And it's impossible not to start thinking about the other creators that could come up for a visit!

The only other challenge was getting around the lighthouse itself. In spite of our tidal planning, I still ran into a stiff current between the lighthouse and the island. At one point, I stopped and looked over at the dingy where my sister greeted me with, "Yah. You aren't moving anywhere right now."

After a two hundred yard sprint to get around the lighthouse, it was a quick swim home. Now I'm eying a circumnavigation of Hog Island next year.

Thanks again to my sister and daughter for the escort. The map below is from the My Tracks app from the dingy (which didn't stay next to me the entire time).



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