Unpredictability (Day 267)

Another glassy, warm morning greeted me at the Albany Bulb. I joined a gang of 8 o’clock swimmers and swam hard to keep up with them; the sun blazing down as the calm water seemed to carry me along. 

The still, warm, friendly water was in sharp contrast to the news story this morning that was on all of our minds as we chatted at the circle before our swim. An experienced open water swimmer died of hypothermia in the San Francisco Bay last week. A group of swimmers went out last Friday off of China Beach and three of them got stuck in a current. All three were treated for hypothermia but one, Michael Ritter, tragically didn’t survive. 

The tendency whenever a tragedy occurs close to home is to distance oneself. It’s comforting to think it couldn’t have been you because you would have made different choices. Usually, it’s not true; in this case, it certainly isn’t. Michael did everything he could to be safe: he went with a group, he was swimming in familiar waters (friends say he’d swum there more than fifty times); there were no adverse conditions reported. 

As I swam along this morning, I thought of Michael, his husband, and his friends. I thought about the woman who was swimming beside him, who heroically got him to shore when he was already suffering from hypothermia (she herself hypothermic by the time she got back to shore). I thought about the thousands or more times Michael swam in the ocean over what sounds like a lifetime of swimming, the way they all ended well until this one time it didn’t. What strikes me is the unpredictability. It’s a sobering reminder of how mercurial open water is. 

2 thoughts on “Unpredictability (Day 267)

  1. Keep safe love

    Sent from my iPhone

    Kevin Hydes, PE, P.Eng, C.Eng, FCIBSE, LEED Fellow, FRAIC (hon) | Chair & Founder Integral Group | Trust | Nurture | Inspire P: +1 510.604.8867 integralgroup.com | khydes@integralgroup.com 427 13th Street, Oakland, CA 94612 | At the end of this year, Integral Group is rebranding as Introba. Learn why. I work flexibly and may send emails outside of working hours. I don’t expect a response or action outside your own working hours.

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