Well, we put it on the calendar and we made it happen. After last year's successful Alcatraz Challenge four of us signed up for Water World Swim's Swim Around the Rock. We did not let it bother us that the website included this statement: "Some of the best open water swimmers national level will be competing." We felt like we belonged. Sixteen swimmers started the race (five without wetsuits) and I think 12 or 13 finished. Mother Nature was kind to us. The weather was great and the water conditions chilly (52 degrees), but favorable. We all wisely wore wetsuits for the race.
After pre-race instructions we had a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. The start was delayed a few minutes due to the crossing of a large container ship. Was this your doing, Bob? We headed out the mouth of Aquatic Park and straight at the Alcatraz Island lighthouse. We rounded the eastern end past a sign announcing that "persons procuring or concealing escaped prisoners are subject to prosecution and imprisonment." Then we continued along the beautiful backside of the island and cut diagonally back towards the southeast after rounding the west end. By the time we were headed back the ebb tide was growing steadily stronger. Back near the entrance to Aquatic Park, more than three miles into the swim, I found I was too far west and had to swim as hard as I could directly into the current for more than ten minutes to move about 125 meters and round the concrete pier back into the protected cove. By then my shoulders were about to burst and I moved pretty slow the final stretch to the beach. Dave, Oscar, and Bill each got more value for their entry fee by getting relocated up the current by jet-ski once or twice. We all finished strong and had a good time.
Afterwards, we warmed and rested up a bit and then explored the city. We all agreed we earned a large sundae from Ghiradelli's and we feasted for dinner at House of Nanking in Chinatown.
The next morning we braved the frigid water of Aquatic Park for a short swim sans wetsuit. It was literally breathtaking cold. After that we had breakfast at Pergamino and since we are not total brutes we visited the De Young art museum in Golden Gate Park, where we saw Vermeer's The Girl with the Pearl Earring among other things. In true Tridiot fashion we pulled off a great adventure.