Ninja pilot pointing the way. Photo by Sarah
We launched under the cover of darkness. Silent as ninjas, we set course for Alcatraz. I had the tiller. As we approached the Bay, Dusty called out, 'Hey Neil, see those swimmers?' By the time I heard him, it was too late. One swimmer with a green blinkie, who refers to herself as the bossy one, was on the port side. The other swimmer with a yellow blinkie, a gifted contortionist and yogi, was to starboard. These swimmers were, in fact, the infamous Cove Chasers. We threaded the Cove Chaser needle, waving as we passed. Sadly, only the swimmer to starboard, waved back. We looked for other swimmers, there were none.

About halfway to Alcatraz, we stopped to evaluate the currents. There were none.

We motored to our destination - 200 yards abeam of Alcatraz's western shore, also known as Sunriser Beach. We checked with Vessel Traffic for a final update on marine activities prior to our jump. There were none.

The swimmers disrobed as we prepared to splash. This sounds a bit more exciting than the experience itself proved to be. At 6:46 a.m. and still under cover of morning twilight, four swimmers entered the water and swam towards San Francisco's Sutro tower. They swam and they swam and they swam. After a short 14 minutes, they were mid-channel and lining up with the Jeremiah O'Brien. We searched for sea-lions. There were none.

Blinkie lights locate swimmers in the darkness

As the flood and incoming tide increased, so did the sea lion population. We kept our distance, and they kept theirs. We looked for harbor seals. There were none.

Finally, we were just a few hundred yards from Pier 39. By this time, the flood ripped along the seawall. Each of the swimmers swam through the fast-moving waters and touched the wall. Thirty-two minutes had passed. The swimmers climbed aboard the RIB and we informed Vessel Traffic our swim had officially ended.

As we motored back to the club, I listened for complaints. There were none.

Beautiful Day!


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