Friday, August 31, 2012

Get Out for a Swim While the Water is Still Warm

A gentleman stretches out in shallow waters near the breakwater in the
Far West End, bobbing on the slowly rising tide. Notice the darker water
beyond him, where the water is suddenly much deeper, and likely cooler
As we find the weather cooling down, maybe a bit early this year, it's time to get out for another swim before cooler water temperatures set in and make it too chilly to swim. Each summer, the last few comfortable days to swim come at a different time. In an exceptionally warm summer many years ago, I lasted all the way into October, swimming in the harbor every day at a spot where a wide mound of sand baked in the sun at low tide, warming the water slightly as the tide rolled in. If I could catch it every day just before the water got deep enough to go over my head, there was a pocket of slightly warmer water where that heap of sand made the depth of the water a couple of feet shallower, and the warmth of that sandy mound transferred to the slowly rising water.
I could feel a difference of a couple of degrees if the tide rose very calmly. If the water was a bit choppy, it all blended together and there was no warm spot. It took a bit of dedication to follow the tides, swimming every day roughly an hour later than the day before, but it was worth the trouble to be able to stretch the swimming season by a few weeks. When the tide inevitably began reaching this depth in the pre-dawn hours, I had to just gut it out, plunging into cooler water for a few days, at a more reasonable time of day, until my warm water cycle kicked in again.
You can do some good in the world by swimming, by the way, in the upcoming Swim for Life and Paddler Flotilla, a 1.2 mile open water swim, or paddle, across Provincetown Harbor on September 8th. Swimmers, paddlers and volunteers of all stripes are needed, so click the link above for more information and to get involved in this fundraiser for a number of local health organizations and non-profits. Watch for an upcoming post about the 25th anniversary of this wonderful community event.

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