Winthrop Beach: Cold!

I didn’t learn my lesson last year. Went to Winthrop today.

Last year toward the end of the swimmable season, I went to Winthrop and got beat up by the rocks and the waves. I wish I had remembered that this time.

The last time I was vertical in the water

I found a nice, non-rocky (fairly) section of beach to walk into the water. The cold water. But within a couple feet I was on rocks. My baby-feet can’t handle those. Waves coming in, low-tide, and these damn rocks, all teamed up to result in yours truly having to immerse himself almost immediately. So much for the gradual entry into the freezing water.

I got past the rocky areas as quickly as I could using heads-up breast stroke. Damn cold. Gave my pool thermometer a minute to catch up to the current temp then looked. Holy sh!t. 51F. I think that’s the coldest I’ve actually immersed myself. Revere Beach a couple weeks ago I stood in 46F for a while. But in this I was up to my neck immediately.

Breast stroke quite a while. Wanted to get somewhere. Tried dunking my head. Instant headache. Here we go again: many breast strokes and a few crawl. Did a bunch of 8 and 10 stroke crawls with 20-30 breast strokes. It was just so damn cold. But I was starting to feel okay, besides my hands and toes being actually frozen. Put my head down and managed 25 strokes. Right on! Let’s do this! 10-15 breast strokes, then 30 crawl. Then 35. So on. Did 50 a couple times, then just went for 100. Somewhere in there I checked the thermometer again. Good God, 50F. Damn.

Small gains: 34 minutes at 50-51F

As I went north, I entered a warmer area of water. Appreciably warmer. I checked the thermometer again and boom!, 54F. Amazing how warm that felt compared to the previous 15-20 minutes!

Only issue was I had to turn at some point and come back south. It started getting shallow up north (probably a reason for the warm water) so time to turn around. There was a wall-like point where I re-entered the 50-51F water. From warm to cold suddenly. I was still okay. (Was clenching my fists and toes every once in a while to get blood flow as one of my lovely readers suggested.)

Headed toward the breakwall, but as I got close I realized it was too rough over there and I didn’t want to get dashed on the rocks, so turned back. I intended to go back to the warm area, but I just started to get too cold so decided to come back in.

This is the worst part of Winthrop and I think I learned my lesson this time. Low tide was coming, and with it pretty high waves. I tried to judge the lower waves and get as close to shore as possible. But in the troughs, the water was going out so quickly that I’d get pulled back. Two strokes forward, one back. I finally got to an area where I could stand up, but rocks. Hobbled toward shore then got knocked by a wave. Repeat. Finally got up on shore where a grandma playing with her grand-kids asked “How were you able to stay out there so long?”  “Will,” I thought. “Acclimatization,” I said out loud.

Looks so peaceful, unassuming. Actually, this beach is evil.

7 thoughts on “Winthrop Beach: Cold!”

  1. I wear shoes when swimming in the ocean all the time – up in Rockport, but same applies in Winthrop. If I have to get out somewhere else, it may be sand, more likely it will be rocks. Someone taught me that one long ago, thank you, Oscar!

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