Monday, August 23, 2010

Bucket List Item #61: Swim to BooHoo!

First, let me say that we need t-shirts for those of us who swim to BooHoo*. You know, like the t-shirts people have that say "I Survived the Bush Administration 2001-2009." Well, okay, not exactly like that. Swimming to BooHoo is a good thing, but you get the idea. Swimming to BooHoo is also hard work; don't listen to the folks who say it isn't. They lie.

You may recall that in my Watervale To Do List, item number 2 on my list was "swim from the dock at the Inn to BooHoo." It's also item number 61 on my Bucket List. From my very safe seat in my kitchen, this seemed like an easy and fun idea. When I arrived at Watervale and looked across the lake, however, I began to question my sanity (please keep your comments on this matter to yourself, thank you). It was much further than I remembered it and certainly appeared to be much further than the 328 yards (0.18 miles) I had heard it was. In fact, it looked to be about 10 miles. Depending on where you plan to arrive, it's actually about 1/4 mile to The Point and more than that (but less than 1/2 mile) to BooHoo. I asked Jennie and she'd know, so those numbers are as close to official as you can get.

The Point. About 1/4 mile from the dock.
(Taken from the dock with the zoom lens).

See that little sand peeking out from the trees? That's the bottom of BooHoo. Between 1/4 and 1/2 mile from the dock.
(Taken from the dock with the zoom lens).

I'm standing on the beach looking at The Point and at BooHoo. See, it's really really far - probably about 10 miles.

By Wednesday, I had worked up some of the nerve to attempt my swim and Dave agreed to spot me in the kayak, but I still wasn't sure. I had been a pretty strong swimmer as a kid, but somewhere along the way, I developed a slight fear of water that was not chlorinated or see-through and more than 12 feet deep. Lower Herring Lake definitely does not fit into that category and is 50 feet deep where I planned to swim. But I'd been talking up my swim all day, had tweeted about it and had told all of you I'd be swimming to BooHoo, so I felt some obligation to at least give it a shot. If I died or quit midway there, at least I would have tried.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared. I was. I wasn't convinced I could make it without Dave pulling me a good part of the way and, of course, I had a small worry that I'd drown. About an hour before my scheduled departure time, my dad suddenly announced he didn't think I could swim across the lake. My already fragile confidence took a nose dive, especially since he said it in front of friends who'd been trying to build me up. Continuing his monologue about why I shouldn't even attempt to swim across the lake because I wasn't my brother (the super athlete), I finally turned to my dad and said "How would you know? You never let me play sports when I was a kid. I have to do this. I'm tired of living life on the sidelines and in Dave's shadow." It felt good to stand up to my father, something I rarely do.

This swim was about so much more than just swimming. It was about me overcoming fears, stepping outside of my comfort zone, proving I could achieve my goal, discovering that maybe I do have untapped athletic ability and living life fully.

I got in the water and after about 10 minutes of hemming and hawing, I was off. Most of my friends make this swim in far less than 30 minutes. It took me an hour. I'd swim awhile and then need to stop and rest. I'm not really sure how much resting I did though since I tread water the entire time. I did hold onto Dave's kayak a few times, but he never towed me. I'd just tread water and we'd talk about whatever popped into my mind. Then after a few minutes, I'd start swimming again.

The funniest part of the swim came when a woman on a paddle board almost took my head off. I was treading water, chatting with Dave, when all the sudden this paddle board ran into me. We all laughed as I darted out of the way, but Dave said he had seen it coming for a few minutes. . . the two slowest things in the lake were drawn together like magnets.

Finally, I arrived at BooHoo on my own power (as opposed to being towed in by Dave). About 50 feet from shore I had a slight panic when I developed a cramp in my chest. I stopped swimming and breathed through it until I could swim again and then I finished. The important thing is that I made it without drowning or being decapitated. I heard the song Gonna Fly Now in my head as I emerged victorious from the lake. I think I even may have imitated Rocky on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but I can't be sure because it's still a little fuzzy. All I know for certain is that the grin on my face and pride in my accomplishment hasn't yet been wiped off my face.

Below is a self-drawn picture of my swim. As you can see, my internal GPS was a bit faulty and I swam way out of my way. But I did it. I wish I could say I swam back, but I didn't. I took Dave's kayak and suggested he walk or swim. He chose to walk. Next year my goal is to swim both ways in under an hour.
Click on the picture to be taken to a clearer and larger version.
Yes, I'm a natural artist. Thank you for noticing.

*BooHoo is a sand dune just across the Lower Herring Lake from the Inn at Watervale and on the way to the Outlet (the Outlet being the place where Lower Herring Lake feeds into Lake Michigan). I believe that it's officially part of Watervale property, but I'm not 100% certain. It's my understanding that BooHoo got its name from Vera Noble who, as a child would climb the face of the dune and would cry as she climbed from the sand burning her feet. Although from the dock, BooHoo is difficult to see because of the trees that have grown around it, here's a picture of what it looks like from White Owl Road.

Special thanks for believing in my ability to swim to BooHoo goes out to one of my Forever Friends who sent me a text telling me that he believed in me and knew I could swim to BooHoo. His words stayed in my head for the entire swim and kept me going when I wanted to quit or thought I was about to drown.

1 comment:

  1. Woo hoo! Great job Jessica!! That's so awesome that you did it, and you proved yourself to everyone who didn't believe (coughdadcough)! :D


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