Enjoying a Pier Plunge -- 01/01/08

I only managed fifteen out of thirty-two possible entries...
Can you imagine a better way to celebrate the New Year than by jumping into the Atlantic Ocean at noon on a cold and rainy and windy New England day?

Well, I did it anyway...

So did lots of other people... (Not only that, but we each paid twenty bucks in order to do it... but we did get a souvenir t-shirt.)

This is called the Pier Plunge, not because any actual pier is involved but because this area of Narragansett has been called "Narragansett Pier" since colonial times. Originally this was because some enterprising person built a pier so sailing ships could tie up and load the local farmers' produce directly from the pier rather than loading and unloading using rowboats.
The swimmers beginning to line up for the run to the water (photo taken from the porch of the Canonchet Beach Club). Usually there is a much larger crowd of spectators but the raw winter weather seems to have kept them away.
In the second half of the 19th century, Narragansett was an upscale resort community and there was a new pier where steamships docked bringing passengers from New York to vacation at the many seaside hotels that had sprung up. (The southern end of the beach is only a few hundred feet from the Narragansett Towers.)
Looking back up the steps of the Canonchet Beach Club as more swimmers come out of the building and down the stairs.
By the way, Canonchet is not a French word -- Canonchet was Sachem (Chief) of the Narragansetts at the time of King Philip's War (1675-76).

I had picked up one of those single-use cameras (because I didn't want to trash my digital camera) and I had tried to take some pictures out in the water but apparently my thumb was too numb for me to realize the film was not advancing.
When I came back to shore I handed my camera to somebody and asked them to take a picture...And then again on one of the town beach pavilions overlooking the beach. The picture is a bit fuzzy due to moisture on the lens. I'm not wearing glasses because I was afraid I would lose them.
Here's a view of the crowd of swimmers back on the shore (mostly now bundling up post-swim) and their various friends and family members and the general spectators. There are a handful of hardy (fool-hardy?) people still in the water.
After drying off and getting on a sweatshirt and jacket, I looped around in my car (yes, of course with the heat on) and stopped on the curve of land south of the start of the beach to take this picture of the waves.. The town beach pavilion and the Canonchet Beach Club buildings are those structures visible on the shore near the middle of the picture. Doesn't that water look really cold? Looks were not deceiving in this case; it really was very cold.
Here I am auditioning for the role of The Ancient Mariner --

The somewhat anguished look is caused by the fact that although I have towel-dried my hair and am wearing a sweatshirt and jacket, I am also wearing shorts -- very wet and cold shorts -- and very wet and cold running shoes -- and (as my blowing hair indicates) there is a fairly brisk wind. (I just held the camera out at arm's length and snapped the picture) The slightly curved object behind me is the roofline of my car; the straight black shape behind me is the line of the seawall overlooking the water. The sky and the waves look to me like something out of a Winslow Homer seascape painting.

I went home and got dried off and had a cup of coffee, then put on dry sweats and went for a two mile run around the neighborhood. Then I finally got to take a nice hot shower.

I hope the new year is starting well for you... I had a good time on my first day of 2008. (Yes, Nancy does think I'm crazy.)

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