Tag Archives: Manhattan

My Swimming Life 2012. Almosts.

Continuing the series I started with the Swimming Locations of 2012, followed by Swimming 2012 Continuing the Pictorial Tour, this is the second post of “runners-up” for my favourite photos of the year. And a rename of the series, people seem to be enjoying, very gratifying for my moderate skills. There will be two more, of what I think are my best/favourite photos from 2012. You know what they say, just keep taking photos.

Dover shingle
Dover shingle

An unoriginal photo, but a nice contrast of colours and high tide of the Dover shingle I mentioned in the last post.

Owen at sunset over the Channel
Owen at sunset over the Channel

The Fermoy Fish is making quite a few appearances in this series. Looking over the Channel and Folkestone Harbour in the late evening. I think in 2012 Owen appreciated the magnitude of his Channel solo, when he became (and still is) Ireland’s youngest ever Channel swimmer. He’s also a very experienced crew person whom I can’t recommend highly enough. On the horizon is Dungeness Nuclear Power Station, rarely visible from Varne, where Lisa Cummins became the first (and only) person ever to land on her second lap of the Channel. Not even Kevin Murphy, who has done just about everything Channel-wise, has landed there.

River Suir
River Suir

I’ve taken quite a few photos of the local traditional design Knocknagow fishing boats, an easy local subject that just keeps giving. Clinker-built with a flat bottom, as the river is tidal up past Carrick-on-Suir with lots of mud flats. They often sit idle in the estuary in the winter, filling with rain, and often even sink, only to be refloated and repainted in the spring.


I have taken many iterations of this same photograph over the years, one of my other favourite places on Earth, the Skellig Island, last vestige of Europe, twelve miles off the Irish south-west coast, here framed by the twin chimneys of a ruined cottage in Finian’s Bay. I probably took 30 or 40 photos on the day I took this one. To add to all the others over the years.

Copper Coast sunset
Copper Coast sunset

Shooting directly into the setting sun above the ruins of the Cornish Engine House situated on the cliff top at Tankardstown, above the old deep copper mining shafts. To get the sun and ruins silhouette, I had to use a high ISO, so there’s a lot of noise (grain). It came out as I wanted, though this is another subject that I revisit.

Brooding Copper Coast clouds
Brooding Copper Coast clouds

Clouds are rarely worth taking. But some days seem dramatically perfect for aerial shots, with a calm sea beneath. Tramore bay in the autumn.

Racing the spray (healed,cropped,).resized_modified

From that summer storm post again, I was pleased with the candid fun nature of this photo.

Dover Light
Dover Light

Dover has three lighthouses within the harbour, one at each side of the harbour mouth, (the northern one seen in the blog banner), and this one is on the end of the Prince of Wales pier. The curved nature of the small lighthouse helps reduce the photographic no-no of converging perpendiculars usually associated with taking high building from ground level.

Folkestone Harbour dawn
Folkestone Harbour dawn

One thing I am (very slowly) learning about photography, is to the chase the light, particularly early morning and late evening. Harder in the northern latitude when the days can be up to 18 hours long and I don’t really like getting up very early.


I wrote on the marathonswimmers.org forum that I’d long wanted to get a good shot of ZC2 as it was one of my original ideas for the name of this website. I didn’t choose it as a name because it was too esoteric, too easy to mixup in casual conversation. ZC2 is a key waypoint for Channel solos. Being too far north/outside of it, as you sweep south-easterly on the ebb tide, means you will likely miss the Cap after the tide turns. I took this during Alan Clack’s Solo, he was within metres of it, whipping past it metres every second with the tide, passing on the inside. The day wasn’t perfect for my ultimate ZC2 shot, but it will suffice. A lot of the time I imagine a shot I want while no-where or no-when near the subject, then have to chase it.

Calais traffic
Calais traffic

We know and talk about the English Channel marine traffic. Many swimmers will have big ship or two pass within a couple of hundred metres. But as you look out from Varne or the Cap, that traffic volume isn’t readily obvious, distance and haze and light obscuring it. This photo was taken with a 200mm telezoom just before a late dawn on a November Sunday morning on the Varne cliffs, of the traffic outside Calais. I rarely find a use for the zoom, as my eldest, a much better photographer than I warned me, but when you need it, it’s invaluable.

Cap Gris Nez, dawn traffic-resized
Channel Dawn, Cap Gris Nez and the Separation Zone

Cap Gris Nez is directly across from Varne, often visible. Once again the telezoom before dawn shows the middle of the Strait and the far side traffic, directly in front of the Cap and the radar station on the Cap itself. Foreshortening diminishes the width of the Separation Zone, at its narrowest point in front of the Cap of about a mile width, and seen here graphically between the northeastward-bound and southwestward-bound ships.

Channel Dawn, the Seperation Zone
Channel Dawn, shadows and light

I have a great fondness/weakness for photos of shadows and light on the sea, caused by clouds and/or under-exposure. Just an occasional time, some of them work. In truth, I love almost any kind of photo of the sea.

You know, people buy cheap prints in TK Maxx and Home Furnishing stores to put on their walls and everyone has the same ones, the Brooklyn Bridge, a random beach, whatever. Contact me and you can get an original canvas print for yourself!

Swimming to the Emerald City
Swimming to the Emerald City

Swimming Manhattan. Dee took a photo of my and kayaker Brian swimming down the Hudson that I have a liking for, I’ll always think of it, (whimsically), as swimming toward the Emerald City.

Paraic's bench
Paraic’s bench

This is a bench erected at Varne Ridge, following an idea from Rob Bohane, by friends and  members of Sandycove Island swimming club, in memory of Páraic Casey.

A pictorial tour of my 2012 open water swimming locations

This post is now part the My Swimming Life, 2012 series.

I must start with the Guillamenes and Tramore Bay and Kilfarassey of course, my main swimming locations.  My usual range in Tramore Bay is between Newtown Head (under the pillars) to the beach, along the west side of the bay, most of the range seen in this first photo, with much less regular venturing across or out deep. (I also regularly leave the bay by passing around Great Newtown Head into Ronan’s Bay).

Tramore Bay
Tramore Bay, May 2012

Swimming range in Kilfarassey is mostly based around swimming out and around Brown’s island, Yellow Rock and the big arch. Once the water warms up I will up past Sheep Island.

Kilfarassey, August 2012
Kilfarassey to Sheep Island August 2012

Other locations on the Copper Coast: Bunmahon, Gararrus and Ballydowane. I didn’t, that I recall, swim at Kilmurrin, Ballyvooney or Stradbally this year. Funny how you just don’t make it to some places each year.

Tankardstown, past Bunmahon & to Tempevrick
Tankardstown, past Bunmahon (in behind the middle medium island) to Tempevrick
Ballydowane Cove across to St. John's island
Ballydowane Cove across to St. John’s island
Gararrus across to Sheep Island
Gararrus across to Sheep Island with Eagle Rock just visible behind

Clonea beach, but only a couple of times. I didn’t swim at Baile na Gall.

Clonea beach across Dungarvan Bay to Helvick Head, new Year's Day, 2013
Clonea beach across Dungarvan Bay, past Carricknamoan, to Helvick Head, New Year’s Day, 2013

Sandycove, Garrylucas, Ballycotton, Myrtleville and across Cork Harbour.

Sandycove panorama
Sandycove panorama, the first and fourth corners of the island to the Red House
Garrylucas, April 2012
Garrylucas, April 2012. Most boring photo of the year?
Ballycotton Lighthouse
Ballycotton Lighthouse
Myrtleville beach at dawn, Oct. 2012
Myrtleville beach at dawn, Oct. 2012
Roche's Point to Power Head
Roche’s Point to Power Head

Round Beginish Island, but I missed swimming at Derrynane, Finian’s Bay or Kells this year, which are usual Kerry locations for me most years.

Valentia Island and Sound panorama with Caherciveen bay and the small islands, July 2012
Valentia Island and Valentia Sound panorama, with Caherciveen bay and the small islands, July 2012

Kingsdale to Deal, Dover Harbour, and Cap Griz Nez.

Kingdale Beach
Evening on Kingdale Beach
Dover Harbour from Dover Castle, July 2012
Dover Harbour from Dover Castle, July 2012
Les Hennes to Cap Gris, July 2012, taken on one great day with good friends.
Wissant beach to Cap Gris nez, past the WWII bunkers, July 2012, taken on one great day with good friends.

Inishcarra, Coumshingaun and Bay Lough are the lakes I can recall swimming. First year not swimming in any of the Kerry lakes for a while.

Inishcarra reservoir
Inishcarra reservoir
Coumshingaun Lake panorama
Coumshingaun Lake panorama, Comeragh Mountains
Bay Lough
Bay Lough, Knockmealdown Mountians

And of course Coney Island’s Brighton Beach and Around Manhattan.

Brighton beach, Coney Island
Brighton beach, Coney Island
Lower Manhattan
Lower Manhattan

All photos are of course my own.

Donal & Brian heading toward the Emerald City

MIMS 2012 – Part 5 – Hudson River and Finish

Donal & Brian entering Spuyten Duyvil

With the swing west across Spuyten Duyvil the river changed again. The breeze I hadn’t previously noticed was now coming directly head-on and the water got choppy. Not a big chop but after four or so hours, one notices it. I had no idea how much time had elapsed, but asking wouldn’t make it go quicker, and I might discover less time had passed than I’d hoped, a no-win situation. In retrospect it was a quick section of river, though it didn’t particularly feel it. I was waiting for the very low railway swing bridge that I knew was at the northwest tip of Manhattan to appear traffic started to get really busy. The bridge was turned and blocking the river traffic, Brian and I would continue under, where there was less than two metres of clearance, and south-west into the wide Hudson river.

Spuyten Duyvil railway bridge opening

I had developed pain, but not a shoulder or muscular pain. Instead it was a growing pain in my stomach. I was aware that I’d continued to urinate, but not at my normal swimming frequency, when I’m usually pretty regular at about fifteen minutes, or to be precise, twice on a Sandycove lap. I still had intermittent minor cramps in my feet, but I taken every drop of every feed, and didn’t think we needed to increase the volume.

At the previous feed around Spuyten Duyvil the discomfort had reached such a level that I didn’t finish it, taking only about 150 mls. And as we swung out around into the Hudson aiming (as advised in the swimmer briefing) for the leftmost pillar of the George Washington Bridge rather than following the coast, all the held boats came roaring out after me, wave after wave after wave for an interminable ten minutes.

Fastest Triple Crown record holder Dave Barra entering the Hudson – Peace!

And then another feed, by which time Reel Passion had caught up. I refused that feed. For me this was a significant but very conscious decision, I’ve trained over the years to always take my feeds. But my stomach was bloating and I was now in considerable discomfort, still urinating but feeling no relief. Missing a feed is not a decision taken lightly, but I decided I need to let my stomach clear further. I knew (though not with the certainty you’d imagine on dry land) that missing one twenty feed interval wouldn’t leave me unable to swim.

About fifteen or so minutes later, after I’d tried and as always failed, to count strokes to figure elapsed time, I felt I could tackle the feed. Co-incidentally for those few minutes Brian was ahead of me, Reel Passion was behind and outside. I tried to swim to Brian but he stayed fractionally ahead of me so I shouted his name, the first sound I’d made. He stopped, I fed. My swimming and the pain in my gut resumed.

Heading down the Hudson toward the George Washington bridge

The George Washington bridge was still ahead, bisecting the world-sky like Bifrost, the Bridge of the Gods, my target estimate all along was that I should assume an hour to swim from the turn into the Hudson to under its arches.

Think of a Wolf. Not any wolf. A Wolf. Yellow eyes, black fur, lips curled back from snarling jaws.

Now don’t think of the Wolf. Eliminate it completely from your mind so that you don’t know you were thinking of the Wolf.

But think of the Wolf’s belly.

Now, don’t think of the Wolf’s belly, that black sack.

Think instead of the Wolf’s consuming hunger.

Now…stop thinking of the Wolf’s hunger. Do not think of the ravening black void inside the Wolf…

This is distance swimming. Another book comes up from the recesses, this time not an assistance. Not thinking of the hunger in the belly of the Wolf was the ongoing stomach pain. It’s an overwrought metaphor, but the one that visited me and stayed quite a while in the Hudson river. Don’t mistake my intent: this was not English Channel level of difficulty. But this was a tougher swim than I’d expected and this was the important part and this is how it felt for this part of this swim. Next time, it will feel different, next time I’ll try to find a different way of explaining it. Of all the aspects of swimming that I know and I’ve written about, I’m aware of omissions, some conscious and deliberate, some because I still struggle to convey what I intend. And because I think too much sometimes, according to my friends.

Swim your own swim. I’d said it to swimmers in Sandycove only the previous week during the qualification swims at the end of Distance Week when I was helping on the island. I’m sure other swimmers say it. Swim your own swim. Put aside the external factors of other swimmers going better, faster, stronger or tougher than us. Find the nowness and swim through that. And then swim through the next bit. And on, and on through the glacial slowness of it all.

I reached the George Washington bridge with an internal wolf, the bridge taller longer and more massive any previous bridge, the chop from across the wide river increasing. Odin’s rainbow bridge spanning the sky and worlds, swimming under its huge height. Another feed, and as I gave the bottle back, my right thigh cramped hard, another sign of dehydration. I punched it and resumed swimming. Almost immediately two kayaks and swimmers passed flanking me to east and west, moving like they were last-wave seeded swimmers, who would have all passed me long previously in the very low reaches of the East River and Lower Manhattan. I was not amused. I couldn’t risk increasing my stroke rate so far out. Swim your own swim, put it out of your mind, swim on.

Approaching Uptown & the Sewage treatment Plant

The west bank of Manhattan Island slid past and we were well out, maybe three hundred metres, far enough to feel invisible, my preferred place out the water, out deep, out far. I saw a building like a giant Battenberg cake, others that reminded me of the Planet of the Apes town (the original mind you). I still occasionally checked behind me while feeding. Ciarán was not visible but I was low in the water, surrounded by chop, no great distance vision to select targets, no time to look and figure anything out. Captain Joe shouted encouragement. Brian was positive, Dee gave me thumbs up.

I saw a spire and a hint, very low in the distance, of the Emerald City. The spire grew to a church steeple and slowly I swam past it. The chop was now constant and often large. Captain Joe moved the boat around behind me a few times for short durations to my left  hand side to partially protect me from large bow waves of the rushing navy and white-coloured East River Ferries. But the waves were mainly coming from my primary right-hand breathing side.

Donal & Brian heading toward the Emerald City

Soon afterwards, Brian told me I was at 122nd Street, to which I responded that meant nothing to me. Really, I didn’t know how far up that was. After the church spire I noticed an increasing amount of berthed boats, which meant while looking during feeds I couldn’t tell which were moored and which were the race boats. I saw one boat I recognised from swimming near it for hours in the East and Harlem rivers, Get Over It, or something similar. Not once during the swim did I equate the name with anything meaningful or useful. The pain in my stomach continued, what more is there to say, I continued to feed, I began to realise the stomach pain wouldn’t stop me at this stage.

Donal & Reel Passion passing the Intrepid

We swam slowly past Uptown and Midtown, the Empire State again, with the Chrysler barely peeking up briefly from the far side of the island this time. Piers passed, counting slowly down. I’d see Pier 112 expect and hope to see pier 102 the next time I saw a pier number, but only four would have passed. Then the number would unexpectedly drop six, always even. We moved out for the Intrepid’s Security Zone. Couldn’t say how far we had to go, as always with swims and these parts, the time itself was interminable in swimming, and short in recounting, “long in the living, short in the telling”. There was a Department of Marine and Aviation pier that took forever and was probably only a couple of minutes to pass. Tower One was a growing beacon, reeling me in.

Another glance showed me the low towers has grown large and separated. I’d been seeing both the World’s Capital and New Jersey’s towers. This heartened me greatly as I guessed the Emerald City spires were closer than Jersey. I was wrong as it turned out. At a feed Captain Joe shouted out happily that all was going well. I saw Tower One again and now I was starting to look upwards at it as it started to really pierce the sky.

I passed very close under a pier with people on the edge above me. I waved momentarily as my left arm was recovering but no-one waved back, all staring down onto me. I paused and roared out “wave back you fuckers”. Some waved back. Out on Reel Passion Dee thought someone had abused me, not realising it was the other way around. Irish stereotype abroad. I was in a good mood.

Anther feed and Brian said the Magic Words, “this is probably your last feed”. “Really?” I said. “Yes”. What did probably mean? I asked myself. Captain Joe and Dee were there. “Swim to the orange buoys, the orange buoys”. I looked and saw the orange buoys. I didn’t notice Brian leaving as he had to go into North Cove to drop off his kayak.

Hammer down

I gunned it, hammer down for about 1500 or 1800 metres, the swimmer’s mile, a lap of Sandycove, home free and unstoppable, the measure scribed deep into distance swimmers as our gauge of the world. Where pool swimmers stop counting up, we start. Marathon swimmers own watery distance in the way sailors own the wind.

Angling into the Battery Park wall, breathing mostly on the right as I pushed to the maximum, occasional breaths left to stay constant from the sea wall and to see the people, legs beating hard, all thoughts of camp and pain evaporated, kayakers paddling upstream against me, people on the sea wall, the only sound still my breathing in the water. And then the buoys were there, I rounded the wall, and that was it, the steps were there.

Donal finishing in South Cove

There were two people on the ladder which was moving up and down significantly.

They reached out to grab me and I roared again “Don’t touch me”! I hadn’t realised MIMS was a water start AND finish, requiring me only to touch. I’m a Channel swimmer, I get out of the water unaided, it is fundamental to how I see swimming. Any touch is against Channel rules and I swim Channel rules. They shouted again, “You MUST touch for a finish”. This was not covered in the briefing. I touched hands, separated, and hauled myself out and up the pontoon. “What do you want?” they asked, or words similar. “I’m going to swim back out to the boat to say thanks”. I slipped my goggles back, jumped very ungainly into water, the goggs slipped off, I re-adjusted and swam across the Cove toward Captain Joe, Dee and Observer Shi Ling. They were moving away and shouting at me to go back so I stopped, roared my thanks, and swam back, having apparently caused a mini-furore in South Cove.

Arguing about the finish! Bloody Irish.

I climbed the piling, up the slipway, got a rinse off from a hose, and waited. I felt great, no swaying, no soreness, no tiredness. I went around the Pier Wall to look up the Hudson and there were Ciarán and George coming toward me. Down for their exit at the pontoon. Manly swimmer hugs as usual on the slipway. We were all done.

Shortly afterwards we discussed the swim. Ciarán and George found it equally tough, we all experienced difficulties in the same places, the lower East River, Spuytin Duvyil, the mid and lower Hudson.

All three of my crew did an fantastic job in communication, navigation and protection but Dee carried the burden of worrying that she would somehow ruin the swim, and went into it with fantastic preparation, and always watching me.

My first stroke rate count when Dee saw me before the first feed was 76 strokes per minute. I’d assumed with changes I’d made to my stroke over the past year that my rate would be a little lower but it was 71 stroke per minutes thereafter until the end, one stroke per minute higher than the English Channel, consistent enough to be measured. The significant stomach pain I’d had was invisible to the crew, and Dee said I’d never wavered and that I looked completely in control. She also said I passed the two swimmers who’d flanked my under the George Washington Bridge which I ascribe (possibly erroneously) to the time I’ve spent in rough water.

My nick-names for landmarks (which Dee made me take out of the writeups!) around Manhattan are how I will always think of them from now and Lower Manhattan will always be the Emerald City for me … though the road there was more murky-green than yellow.

p.s. Water temperatures measured during the swim were from 76° to 78.5° F. Air temperatures were 87° to 89°F. My time was eight hours thirty-two minutes, finishing in 22nd place from start number 32.

Captain Joe & Shi Ling

Thanks to Captain Joe and kayaker Brian for their guidance (literally) and keep me safe and Shi-Ling for keeping an eye on everyone. I’d love to see her pictures. Thanks to Dee for being such great crew…and for her fab pictures!

MIMS 2012 – Part 2 – Race day

Part 1 -

Saturday indeed broke more bearable, with temperatures in the high twenties with an almost cloudless sky and no forecast of rain or thunderstorms.

I’d brought my bag of oatmeal for porridge which I microwaved in the hotel dining room, and as usual, forced it into myself. It was not the best bowl ever made, even by my appalling standards, resembling a rapidly hardening tiling grout. To follow this was a concoction consisting of more oatmeal, Greek yoghurt and mixed fruit juices from supplies purchased in one of the ubiquitous local pharmacy/markets, (which just confuse us poor Irish country people; where do New Yorkers do the weekly “Big Shop”?). Smoothie and porridge, breakfast of marathon swimmers, taste and enjoyment not essential.

Protip: bring your own big funnel

 Using another trick from Lisa, I’d applied suntan lotion the previous night, which never seemed to dry completely. But I’d slept moderately well, which I wasn’t worried about anyway, as I’d slept well on Thursday night, which I knew was sufficient for me for a big swim. A lesson leaned the hard way, as so many more. I never expect to sleep the night before a swim, but jet lag provided some assistance. We’d packed the swim and boat gear the previous evening, much of it in my large dry-bag and I’d sat on the floor of the shower mixing Maxim into 1.5 Litre bottles. Mixing Maxim is a sticky job, even when you manage to mix everything dry, which I didn’t. The bag included things that had seemed more necessary back in cold and wet Ireland; wet-gear for Dee for the boat, wet and warm gear for me in case I had exit the water for a period due to lightning, all utterly superfluous, even ridiculous as it turned out. Four hours after reaching New York I’d emailed Ciarán asking what kind of idiot I was that I’d brought two, two, hoodies AND a heavy merino wool top to this insane heat. I have become so conditioned to cold and wet.

As an aside, it’s usually easy to spot Irish people in an airport. They arrive at their destination wearing utterly inappropriate warm clothes looking like polar bears lost in the Caribbean oozing sweat from every pore, and arrive home to Ireland, rain and cold, wearing sandals and shorts and sombreros. In winter.

We headed for Pier 25 for Dee to meet the boat and load the gear. The taxi driver conned us and we found we’d overpaid him for being nice, quick and helpful, when instead he’d dropped us at Pier 66, well Uptown. Uptown is a technical New York term by which I demonstrate my suave well-travelled and cosmopolitan erudition. But as happened all week a friendly New Yorker helped us get a taxi across the highway. Yes, Manhattanites are on the whole friendly, and were so repeatedly, usually without asking. That’s some bad PR Manhattanites have been getting, someone should fix that.

Pier 25 was busy with Soloists loading the gear and the relay teams bustling about. If you knew what to look for you could tell the experienced Soloists. I saw one relay team sitting on the ground trying to mix feeds from scoops into narrow bottles, asking how much was needed and where was the suntan lotion. The Soloists who were around were ready to go.

We said out farewells and made for the Start Point of South Cove, at Battery Park on the west side just around the south tip of the island. The water in the Cove was looking pretty dirty, but experienced swimmers know this is just an effect of eddy currents gathering debris. Carol Cashell (from Sandycove) had told me that when she swam The Little Red Lighthouse 10k last September the water was so murky that she couldn’t see her hand. I’ve swim in conditions where my arms and hands are invisible to myself, so it wouldn’t be a surprise, but it does have some implications for trying to concentrate on your stroke for a long time if you can’t see where your forward hand is.

Ciarán and I met Thomas Kofler, English Channel Soloist and graduate of the first Cork Distance Camp; George Meenan from Derry, also an EC Soloist and our third compatriot, and others such as Graham Lowe from the Jersey crew, Genevieve from Canada, Kent Nicholas from Arizona, Jim Fitzpatrick, Yale swim star Abby Nunn and others, (and sorry I didn’t get to meet everyone). With Thomas there it was literally like having a bonus Sandycove Swimmer around.

{By the way, after Thursday’s Brighton swim, Friday’s Briefing, and the morning’s pre-swim chat, I was utterly astonished and gratified that so many marathon swimmers knew about loneswimmer.com, and that’s not false modesty, you know by now what I say; one average swimmers in the middle of nowhere, taking shite}.

But it was hot. Drinking and walking to the distant toilets to urinate, we waited and talked and chatted to the occasional bemused passers-by, roared at Shaggy as he ran past (Ciarán is from Leinster), and waited some more. And we put on more suntan lotion.

With no camera, I can only fail to describe George, who, even more worried about sunburn than Ciarán and I, resembled someone who’d emerged from a tub of pancake batter due to the layers of suntan lotion and lube applied. All over. All. Over.

The support kayakers arrived in South Cove, flocking and jostling about like a bizarrely coloured flock of new marine wildlife and where possible we grabbed an introduction, and I shouted an Hello to Brian Johnson, my essential paddler, safety, navigator, feeder and lifeline.

They assembled us on the board-walk in groups according to our start waves, with no shelter, and almost no water. Then they reassembled us in groups. Then they reversed the order of the groups. Meanwhile the sun bore down, we all ran out of water, and there was no shade.

And we dripped, indeed we veritably oozed. Suntan lotion, petroleum jelly, emulsifying ointment, Channel grease, whatever anyone’s lubricant of choice was, flowed in rivulets and the smell of slowly self-basting swimmers wafted gently along the board-walk, all desperate to be in the water and protected from the heat.

The last minutes, like my Channel Grease, seeped slowly away.

MIMS 2012

Ciaran Byrne and I take to the water around Manhattan on Saturday 23rd for a spot of fun with Dee crewing for me & Margaret and Jim for Ciaran.

Due to the usual communication difficulties, there will be no update to the blog. NYCSwim.org have told us we will all have Trackers, but as of right now, there’s still no detail available.

Check http://nycswim.org/Event/Event.aspx?event_id=2202&from=gps in the hope they finally add something there. I sandbagged my 1500m time too much and so I’m off in the second slowest wave, number 32. Ciaran is in the third wave (second fastest) two minutes later, number 21. (There are 38 Solos this year).

New York has been experiencing a heat wave since we arrived, with temperatures in the high 30s C.! When have Ciaran and I ever had to worry about dehydration? They’ve dropped a bit this evening though and should be a bit better tomorrow again. The water was 20 C+ at Brighton Beach today with some other MIMS swimmers and CIBBOWS swimmers!

The Maxim is mixed, the first layer of suntan lotion (SPF50 for Kids :-)) is drying, I’m off to the scratcher for me sleep, hopefully.

MIMS – best of luck to all today

In a few hours Gábor Molnár and Eddie Irwin and Evan Morrison will be tacking the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim. I want to wish all three the best.

Here’s Evan’s GPS tracker. Here’s the official NYC Twitter.

MIMS is 28 and half miles long around the island. I recommend using Google Earth on Street View and following the road around the island to get some idea of what’s ahead for them. Tides are once again the most important thing with some of the course being tide-assisted. They will swim in three different rivers!

A successful English or Catalina Channel solo or a 4 hour swim in the correct temperature (about 14C/60F) is the qualification requirement for MIMS, which is notoriously difficult to gain entry to.

If I recall Hell’s Gate is believed to be the toughest spot, with a narrowed and therefore stronger flow. Start and finish is at Battery Park. Another difficulty is thunderstorms, often requiring swimmers to be evacuated from the water until a restart is possible. To non-swimmers this may sound like a rest but swimmers will tell you it’s not, you get cold and stiff. They’ll prefer to keep swimming.

Anyway best wishes to all again. We’ll be following.