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Swim across the Hudson River
Friday, August 30th, 8:19am, I was swimmin' across the Hudson River. From Riverside Park, 75th Road, I floated over to New Jersey, hit the floor and returned to Manhattan, where I ended up on the border between Hudson River Park and Riverside Park South (Level 60 Road).
So, the tide led me down 15 roads, so 0.75 mile (.2 km). I was subjected to a flow with an approximate velocity of 1.2 nodes for half the period (approx. 30 minutes), which led to the already mentioned downward movement of 0.75 mile. Due to the early hours of the morning I had only 2 motor boats that crossed my path, each at least 150 meters away.
It was a great relief to me that powerboats are the greatest risk for unsupervised open-swinging. It may not be unusual for those living near Manhattan to be in the Hudson River unless I come from Austria and spend 24 days in the USA with my ancestors.
On Monday, August 26th we reached N.Y.C. and our timetable was so close that I didn't even think about swimming, let alone cross the Hudson. On Friday mornings we had slowered the visit and the buying, so I took the time. I knew that the world's most prestigious swimming competitions were held in the Hudson River on a regular basis, so I felt honoured and priviledged to dive into it.
My dive computer said the sea temp was 23°C/73°F. Having read all the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (M. I.M.S.) blog, I became familiar with the insidious seas I was about to step onto, especially the tides. The tides were high at 5:15am, low tides were due at 11:30am and my arrival was right in between at 8:19am.
This information was all helpful, but I still didn't know exactly when the currents would move down the river and how powerful they would be. Swimming towards New Jersey, I was passing a giant freighter moored right in the centre of the river.
Up until then there was no flow at all, but when I was approaching the barge, I saw a flow that made it hard to get past the stern. After I had crossed the vessel, the currents began to bring me down quickly. I was not sure at the time whether the flow would stay on the New Jersey side of the stream or whether it just began from bench to bench.
Fortunately, half way down, as soon as I was back on the same height as the freighter above, the flow decelerated again. At that point I was already 600 meters below the aft of the ship and had a wonderful look at Riverside Park South. There was no need to walk over the wall that usually keeps people off the boardwalk.
It was a great relief to me that what I was most afraid did not happen: to be detained by the cops. I had to walk back to my grid in Riverside Park/Level 75. As I was squeezing between two banks to get to the barge, a parking safety official was watching me from his vehicle and wondering why I wasn't just climbing over the top of it.
It was a great note to round off my memorable memory of swimming on the Hudson River. I was back at the hotel ten mins later and another 15 mins later I was in Central Park with my second. Having spent the busy time in the capitals on the west coast, I wasn't even looking forward to New York City, but I was unexpected and surprised by its charms.