Photograph on Sachuest after swim, l-r: Phil Weinstein, John Forasté and Sean Connor (photo courtesy Phil).
Date: 17 July 2004.
Distance and route: 2.5 miles from Sakonnet Point in Little Compton to Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge in Middletown across open coastal water - at the meeting of the Sakonnet River and the Rhode Island Sound.
Water Temperature: 65.1º F (temperature at Newport from NOAA website).
Time: 1 hour 45 minutes.
Swimmers: Phil Weinstein and John Forasté.
Kayaker: Sean Connor.
My intention was to swim a total of 5 miles (2.5 miles each way) across very open water. Phil's intention was to swim 2.5 miles (one way). The distance would be the longest for each of us and the very open water would be somewhat more difficult and less predictable than in Narragansett Bay - clearly a challenge. We scheduled our start to have us arrive at Sachuest at high tide and for me to return with Sean (our kayaker) as the tide was going out.
We entered the water just after 7:00 am (the water is usually calmest early in the day). The water temperature was chilly (65.1º F), but quite comfortable with our wetsuits. The water surface was rolling, but not choppy. So, while calm water would have been welcomed, it wasn't bad at all.
Sean was excellent at holding course and giving us protection from other boats (though boat traffic was very light). It was extremely nice to swim in the open water without any worry whatsover about navigating (unlike swimming without a kayaker during the Save The Bay Swims). So the swim/kayak went very well all the way across. It was a beautiful day.
At Sachuest, Phil and I climbed up on to the beach to establish completion of our crossing. Rather than leave Sean waiting alone in the kayak beyond the surf which was breaking robustly on the rocks offshore, I waved him in (we couldn't hear each other due to the loud surf). This was a big mistake - and had not been planned. Sean later told us he would have been fine waiting for me to reenter for the return swim. However, he attempted coming to shore and both he and the kayak got pushed onto the rocks, flipping Sean into the surf. We watched hopelessly and anxiously until he surfaced and finally swam with the kayak to shore. Fortunately, his scrapes were only minor - but the kayak's rudder had been broken.
So, our adventure had to end that day on the rocky Sachuest coastline. The big 5 mile attempt would have to wait for another day.
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