Category Archives: swimming

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday

This common eider may have been sick or injured so we watched from a distance and then wrote “DO NOT TOUCH” in the sand around it!

This is Willard Beach, which provides a good vantage point for my upcoming swim (Peaks to Portland Swim to Benefit Kids: CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE!!)

The swim route goes past Fort Gorges (seen beyond the lighthouse jetty in the above picture).

Spring Point Ledge Light

In the above picture you can see Fort Gorges in the distance on the left; that is what I’ll be swimming past! And the instructions said not to get too close!

Peaks Island Jones Wharf (right side of map) to East End Beach (upper left).

Icy Delights

Ice Hike

Icy Hike

The ice made the grass look like sea anemones

The ice made the grass look like sea anemones

Spy Garden with a glaze of ice

Spy Garden with a glaze of ice

Ice Beads!

Ice Beads!

Deer Fence

Deer Fence

What a good boy (cleaning the bunny condos)

What a good boy (cleaning the bunny condos)

Icy Berry

Icy Berry

Icy Bunny Castle

Icy Bunny Castle

Frozen

Frozen

Crystal-y shapes

Crystal-y shapes

Circle rock

Circle rock

Icy Woods

Icy Woods

Icy spiral twig

Icy spiral twig

Sparkling stump

Sparkling stump

Icy root

Icy root

A rhino?

A rhino?

Icy turkey tail mushrooms

Icy turkey tail mushrooms

All the ice was quite mesmerizing

All the ice was quite mesmerizing

Echninacea

Echinacea

Iced branches

Iced branches

Apropos to the icy pictures is the latest thing occupying my imagination: ice swimming. Until a few weeks ago I had never heard of such a thing and am totally enthralled by The Lone Swimmer and…

Lynne Cox: Who swam across the Bering Strait. As in 2.7 MILES. In 38 DEGREE WATER. That’s 38 degrees Fahrenheit. 3.3 degrees Celsius. TWO POINT SEVEN MILES!!! IN A REGULAR BATHING SUIT.

How have I never heard of such feats? I mean polar plunges are one thing but literally swimming in icy water? It is just the wildest thing I’ve ever heard. Basically the idea is that you work up very, very cautiously (e.g. starting with just a minute or so or getting in progressively colder and colder water) to longer times/colder temperatures until eventually you’re actually swimming distances in icy waters.

Sometimes you have to make your own pool (Source: @oskarinranta)

Sometimes you have to make your own pool (Source: @oskarinranta)

No one I’ve talked to is remotely interested in listening to me drone on (and on) about ice swimming. This is why I have a blog, right?! So, what do you think? Intense isn’t it? The human body is amazing and I imagine the details of what happens to your veins, arteries, heart, brain, muscles…while swimming vigorously, in say, the Missouri River in January. Or the Arctic Ocean. Terrifying! Not to mention the hazards of open water!

Exhibit A:

The Greenland Shark (which can live to 400 YEARS OLD!!!) (source of image)

The Greenland Shark (which can live to 400 YEARS OLD!!!) (source of image)

I’m daydreaming about it, but not necessarily taking it on as a new hobby. Shortly after I read about ice swimming, I hightailed it to my (indoor) pool and swam a mile in the “cold” lap pool. After 15 or so laps I was still freezing, and that was probably something like 77 degrees. If I recall I was still quite chilled when I exited the pool. I returned later in the week and couldn’t even bear to get in the thing and cheerfully chose instead the balmy lap pool (probably closer to 90 degrees).  So we’ll see. I am from south Florida after all. Though as a young girl I swam (very briefly) in a glacial lake in Norway, where I have family. Surely ice is in my blood. When I trained to be a whitewater raft guide in northern Maine in 2002 we had to regularly plunge into the freezing Kennebec and Penobscot Rivers. There was actually ice on the banks of the river in late spring. Of course, I was wearing a wet suit and several layers of fleece and not a lycra one-piece…

So when and where will my next ice swim take place?

How about here?!

How about here?! A perfect winter beach! (Wildhorse Creek)

Dexie and I have been scouting some possible locations.

Dexie and I have been scouting some possible locations.

Babyzilla says, “Just do ice swimming when you’re like 60.”

Like I said, people seem to easily tire of my enthusiasm for discussing ice swimming. Ha!

At any rate, it is exciting to learn about something new and I really want to read Lynn Cox’s books. Had you ever heard of her? Ice swimming? Ever done a polar plunge? Would love to hear your comments on this or other icy delights!