Iron Mike's Marathon Swims The life so shorte, the crafte so long to lerne

Note to self: Cruise ships are no joke

August 14, 2017 / by ironmike

Great swim this morning, 3.6k with lots of practice swimming into the wind and current, very strong today. I don’t mind swimming into current and wind, knowing that I’ll get to take advantage of those same conditions on the way back! It was beating me up though. And here I am seven hours later with a sore back.

This time I made it past those sailboats. Maybe it being Monday helped. None of those sailboats looked like they were intent on moving. I went maybe 3-400 strokes past those boats and started pulling over. I saw an old fellow looking at me from his pier, so asked him if it was private, and he replied that it was. About 50m beyond him were some stairs so I asked him if those were private and he told me no. So there I swam.

I guesstimated 1.5k by that point but the Garmin said 1.81k. Nice and perfect. So I jumped back in and swam back. This time, however, I aimed to swim as straight as possible. On the way out, I kept coming up to boats moored offshore and would have to swim out and around their algae-covered ropes. I’m sure my track is zig-zaggy.

On the way back I was aiming true. I saw trees way off in the distance that I was sure were close to where I entered the water. Swimming straight took me far into the bay, maybe 300m off the shore. No biggie. Not a lot of boats were out this morning. I put my head down and got to work.

Not sure how long I was swimming as I wasn’t counting strokes but at one point I spotted something white in my peripheral vision and Damn! but there was a cruise ship right behind me, maybe 600 meters. I stopped and looked at it. All I could see was the front of the ship. Not either side. The ship wasn’t moving left or right. Just like a tornado, the ship was either coming right at me or directly away from me. And it wasn’t there earlier, so there was only one answer.

Sharp right, swim! I swam like the wind. It was a good number of strokes before I started to see the side of that huge ship. Over 950 feet long! After that, IronMike spent the rest of the swim hugging the side (~50m) swimming zig-zaggy back to his start point! (Yes, Kelley, I think I need you to escort me!)

But that wasn’t the end of the fun. Now with my heart-rate back to normal workout mode, I calmly swam back, taking advantage of the current pushing me. (But with the wind pushing my rescue buoy up over my arms occasionally.) All of a sudden I swam into something soft and fleshy. Surely that’s not what jellyfish feel like, is it?

Nope, that’s a human man’s foot. Some poor guy was floating around on his back minding his own business, enjoying his morning swim, when I ram right into his foot. We both say Sorry. We both laugh. I tell him I’m happy he’s not a jellyfish. He laughs more. His wife/girlfriend/whatever asks him something in a language I couldn’t identify, and she laughs. I get back to work swimming.

I finally see the water polo goal that marks when I’m within about 100m of the finish stairs. I get out and check the Garmin: 3.6k. Nice work. My lady friend is sunning herself again and we do the whole “good morning” exchange and laugh. I sit for a while, watching the cruise ship get pushed around the middle of the bay by the wind. The tenders all float well away from the ship waiting to be able to go in and collect the tourists. The ship finally gets settled (during my time sitting there, I saw all four sides of the ship), and the tenders hurry into the ship like mice running into their home in your baseboard. All in all an enjoyable, if slightly nerve-racking, morning!

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