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Immersed in the Wild

An 'open-water' swimmer finds a risky intimacy with nature.

Although I had been swimming on and off since moving from southwest Montana back to San Francisco in mid-January, my new season officially started on April 17th, the day I turned 60. It was a bright afternoon, the sun partially obscured by high thin clouds, gusts churning the surface of Aquatic Park, a manmade cove bounded by curved piers on the waterfront. That's where I swim, along with others whose notion of a swell time is plying chilly San Francisco Bay while wearing nothing but a cap and a Speedo. And chilly it was that day -- water about 55 degrees, or 30 degrees cooler than the average municipal pool. Whatever pleasures await the cold-water sea swimmer -- and they are incomparable, even, at times, transcendent -- reaching them entails a certain amount of discomfort.

read the article and see the picture @ High Country News