Posts tagged granitemon

blue hill bay swim 2021

:: granitemon

By: John Clements

Another year! The 2021 swim is in the books. I must say, I’m still looking for a name for this event. Long Island Challenge is (it turns out) not a unique name. Granite Mon is unique but also very … dated? Also, a lot of the rock here isn’t granite. Okay, this isn’t a puzzle I can solve on my own.

Anyhow, predictions of a terrifying cold blob… did not come to pass. It was apparently very very cold (54F?) a few weeks ago, but the day itself—that would be yesterday—dawned cool and glassy with water that was just fine. It may be that in my dotage I have lost my ability to detect cold water, but I would have guessed 70s. Others said 60s.

The turnout was spectactular. We had fourteen swimmers, a new record! Here’s the list:

  • Alice Clements
  • Amanda Herman
  • Chris Guinness
  • George Pendle
  • Jerome Lawther
  • John Clements
  • Julie Forsyth
  • Justin Pollard
  • Lane Lucas
  • Lucy Lawther
  • Mark Read
  • Mary Clews
  • Pat Starkey
  • Tricia Sawyer

We had two new first-time swimmers, Julie Forsyth and, in the first ever intergenerational transfer, Lucy Lawther.

As always, there are many many people who get up at the crack of dawn in order to make this amazing thing happen. This year, that list included these amazing people and probably others that I’ve neglected to include (but lif so, let me know!):

  • Andy Wanning
  • Anika Clements
  • Anna Huseby
  • Ben Walker
  • Brennan Starkey
  • Charlotte Clews
  • Charlotte Taylor
  • Eliza Wilmerding
  • Ella Murnik
  • Hal Clews
  • Mike Murnik
  • Nathan Semler
  • Neddy Clews
  • Sean Guinness
  • Silas Murnik
  • Springer Huseby

All-time swimmer stats : /Granite-Mon-Website/

The Bectons were gracious hosts as always, tolerating our last-minute scheduling with hospitality and good cheer.

Finally, a huge thank-you to Mary Clews, Justin Pollard, and Amanda Herman for their organizational work!

Granite Wo-Mon 2020

:: granitemon

By: John Clements

(All pictures courtesy of Chris Guinness and Mary Clews.)

Well, it’s been a rough year—Covid–19, George Floyd, and the extended blundering reign of the orange one—so you might have been forgiven for expecting the seas to boil, or all of the swimmers to be struck by a sharknado (in fact, we’ve had both sharks and tornados in the last month).

Thankfully, none of that happened. Indeed, the largest problem encountered by any swimmers was that the ocean was frankly a bit too warm for those who wore wet suits. Yes, Blue Hill Bay is back to being warm warm warm, which is great for swimmers, if not for all of the other fauna that call it home.

I think all of the swimmers got right out in the floodiest part of flood tide, as well. My timer wasn’t working, but I think that we made it to the dock in something near record time. (I’d be glad to hear from anyone who’s timing device wasn’t on the fritz.)

This year was a bit smaller than average, with five swimmers. The swimmers were definitely well-accompanied, by a stellar support crew.

This year’s event was organized by Mary Clews, who did an amazing job of corralling both swimmers and chase boats. Also, we got great pictures from both Mary and from Chris Guinness. Many many thanks!

Swimmers this year:

  • Mary Clews
  • Mark Read
  • Tricia Sawyer
  • George Pendle
  • John Clements

Support Crew:

  • Sean Guinness
  • Chris Guinness
  • Nathan Semler
  • Andy Wanning
  • Brenna Cohen
  • Charlotte Taylor
  • William Taylor
  • Hal Clews
  • Anna Clews
  • Mouse

All-time swimmer stats : /Granite-Mon-Website/

See y’all again next year!

Granite Wo-mon 2019

:: granitemon

By: Mark Read

Another year, another foolhardy venture across mackerel-infested waters.

Mother Nature, always the trickster, loves to make folly of our predictions, to wit (from last year): “I hate to say it, but I think the days of wet suits in Blue Hill Bay are over. Pretty soon it’s going to be like the Bahamas up here.”

Oh, John, if only you’d knocked on some wood after writing that we might not have had such a spate of hypothermia this year.

This is all to say that the water was very very cold this year. Four swimmers pulled up short and shivered their way to shore on boats, while others of us that did make it shivered upon completion at the Becton’s dock. It was the Year of the Great Shiver. It was also the 25th ANNIVERSARY of the Granite, née Long Island, challenge. WOW! Congratulations all around! And it was a banner year in all respects other than water temperature. We had a large-ish complement of 10 swimmers, and 7 chase boats watching, ready to ward off any seal attacks. We caught a pretty good flood tide which got the first swimmer (yours truly, Mark Read) into the dock in about 01:20. Tricia Sawyer was leading the way but had to pull up short after an hour in the water due to the cold. It was a glorious morning of bright blue sky, strong sun, a light breeze, and camaraderie to spare.

This year the swimmers were:

  • Mary Clews
  • Moira McMahon
  • Lane Murnik
  • Jenney Wilder
  • Amanda Herman
  • Mark Read
  • Tricia Sawyer
  • George Pendle
  • Molly
  • Heather Dawn Jones

We also had help from an incredible support crew, including:

  • Sean Guinness
  • Mike Murnik
  • Ellis Murnik
  • Nathan Semler
  • Andy Wanning
  • Eliza Wilmerding
  • John Jeffrey
  • Abby Jeffrey
  • Charlotte Taylor
  • Jenny
  • Sara Ardrey
  • Neddie Clews
  • Ana Huseby

None of it would have been possible without the superior cajoling and organizing skills of Mary Clews, per usual. Much gratitude to her and to all the volunteers that help out. The Bectons were especially welcoming this year, with hot beverages and ample towels to warm the cold and weary swimmers. So thanks to them as well.

See you next year!

Photos courtesy of Christina Guinness, and Eliza Wilmerding. Thanks!

granite wo-mon 2018

:: granitemon

By: John Clements

The swim!

It happened again! thanks pretty much entirely to Mary Clews, who organized it this year.

This was the 24th annual event. Yikes. Next year will be a quarter century.

The water was really ridiculously warm this year. Also very very calm. I didn’t wear a wet suit this year either, and I hate to say it, but I think the days of wet suits in Blue Hill Bay are over. Pretty soon it’s going to be like the Bahamas up here; the algae in the water will all die, and it will be crystal clear. Can’t wait. (That was sarcasm.)

Ah, but… the swim! The swim went really well. Here’s who we had:

  • John Clements
  • Charlotte Clews
  • Mary Clews
  • Jenney Wilder
  • Chris Guinness
  • Sean Guinness
  • Amanda Herman
  • Ted Heyd
  • Lane Murnik
  • Justin Pollard
  • Tricia Sawyer

It turns out that this was the biggest swim ever, with 11 participants, topping 2013, when we had 10.

We also had help from an incredible support crew, including:

  • Katie Cancila
  • Anika Clements
  • Robin Clements
  • Alton Coolidge
  • Springer Huseby
  • Jerome Lawther
  • Mike Murnik
  • Nathan Semler
  • Andy Wanning

These photos are courtesy of Chris Guinness, although she’s in all of them, so I suppose she couldn’t have been framing the shots.

Many, many thanks to all of you!

Granite Wo-Mon 2017

:: granitemon

By: John Clements

Whoops! The day is now past. The annual Granite Wo-Mon swim took place on August 6th.

Tricia Sawyer got the ball rolling this year, as she has in the past two or three, by asking when the swim was going to be. Favorable tides suggested either mid-July or early August, if I recall correctly, and we settled on the 6th.

We met on the dock at 6:30, and headed out to Long Island. I think we began the swim at around 7:15.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day, and the water was drop-dead gorgeous. That is, it’s so warm that it’s killing lots of marine life. Nice for swimmers, maybe not so nice for everyone else. I swam without a wet suit for the second year running, and I have to say; it wasn’t even cold. Even jumping into the ocean at 7:15 in the morning. Not cold. I’m guessing it was above 20 celsius. Very warm.

Also, there was a good breeze at 7 AM, and it picked up steadily. The chop grew accordingly, and it took me a full 2 hours to finish, compared to 1:38 and 1:15 (!) in 2016 and 2015 respectively. Even discounting the ongoing decrepitude of advancing age (and a near-total lack of preparation), I’d say it was VERY CHOPPY.

PICTURES GO HERE…NEED PICTURES.

  • John Clements
  • Mary Clews
  • Chris Guinness
  • Amanda Herman
  • Lane Murnik
  • Tricia Sawyer
  • Pat Starkey

Kudos to first-time swimmer Lane Murnik! Hope to see you many more times. Hopefully it’ll be a bit smoother next year.

Amazing Awesome Chase boats and welcoming committee:

  • Sara Ardrey
  • Guy Ardrey
  • Henry Becton
  • Jeannie Becton
  • Alice Clements
  • Anika Clements
  • Xavier Clements
  • Henry Clews
  • Hal Clews
  • Martha Faye (sp?)
  • Sean Guinness
  • Brennan Starkey
  • Eliza Wilmerding
  • Oliver (Wilmerding-Herman?)
  • His sister?
  • (?) Fellow with Lane Murnik aagh sorry I don’t know your name.

Granite Wo-Mon 2016

:: granitemon

By: John Clements

Hey, today was the day! The day of the annual swim from Long Island to the mouth of Blue Hill Harbor, the current incarnation of the Granite Wo-Mon Challenge.

Before the swim:

pre-swim

pre-swim

Thanks to Chris Guinness for this excellent shot.

After the swim:

post-swim

post-swim

Charlotte Clews posted this picture, although she’s in the picture so I suspect she didn’t hit the button. Was this Henry?

Low tide was at 8:47 AM today, so by rights we should have started the swim at about 11:00 AM, but no one wanted to wait quite that long. We gathered at the KYC at 9:00 (or 9:10… or 9:15) and headed out to Long Island. I think we managed to start swimming at about 10:00.

Let me just say: choppy. Not end-of-the-world choppy but still chopping pretty good. Which is to say: bad. I think we all swallowed quite a bit of seawater.

My strava log suggests that the swim took about 1:38, which is quite a bit more than last year.

A special thanks this year to Tricia Sawyer, who pretty much organized the event, and didn’t get to swim. (N.B.: “Organized” = “sent an email to the rest of the slackers”.) It wouldn’t have happened without you!

For those of you completely confused: Granite Wo-Mon Summary Page

So! The swimmers! (In alphabetical order. I love it because Clementses go first. Unless Sara starts swimming.)

  • Alice Clements
  • John Clements
  • Mary Clews
  • Amanda Herman
  • Charlotte Clews Lawther

Amazing chase boat crew and welcoming committee:

  • Sara Ardrey
  • Henry Becton
  • Jeannie Becton
  • Anika Clements
  • Kitty Clements
  • Tom Clements
  • Henry Clews
  • Hal Clews
  • Chris Guinness
  • Sean Guinness
  • Stephen Labrum
  • Jerome Lawther
  • Jenney Wilder
  • Eliza Wilmerding
  • Renee (last name ?)
  • Others?

Finally, I note with mild dismay the absence of any first-time swimmers. Maybe Lucas will swim next year?

Granite Mon 2015

:: granitemon

By: John Clements

Today was a spectacular beautiful Maine morning on Blue Hill bay. Especially at 7:00 AM. How do I know this? Today was the 21st running of the long island swim. Or the Granite (Wo)Mon. Or whatever you want to call it. This means that it was also the TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY of the silly idea. Only five more years until the quarter-century….

This year’s edition was organized by organizer extraordinaire Mary Clews, and it went off without a hitch. The water was extremely warm (and yes, this is not good for the fauna), and the water was pretty much glassy smooth. There were enough chase boats, and everyone finished in a reasonable time. Yay!

Special mention this year is made of Amanda Herman, who is a first time swimmer and I have no idea how fast she was because she was way way ahead of me the whole time. Great Job!

Now, I just need some pictures!

Swimmers:

  • John Clements
  • Charlotte Clews Lawther
  • Mary Clews
  • Chris Guinness
  • Sean Guinness
  • Amanda Herman
  • Tricia Sawyer
  • Pat Starkey

Crew:

  • Henry Clews
  • Jerome Lawther
  • Jenney Wilder
  • Eliza Wilmerding
  • Sara Ardrey
  • Hal Clews
  • Jeff Rushton
  • Ann Luskey
  • Georgia Clews
  • Lucy Clews
  • Xavier Clements
  • Others I need to remember!

End-of-swim Hosts (tea and towels, many thanks!):

  • Henry Becton
  • Jeannie Becton
  • Guy Ardrey

Granite Mon 2014

:: granitemon

By: John Clements

Well, it’s 10:47 in the morning, and everyone’s still alive.

This is only news because today was the twentieth running of the long island challenge granite mon thing, and everyone made it safe and sound.

As usual, we got up early; we met at the yacht club at 6:00 AM, which (I see) is actually an hour later than last year. In fact, we might well have started an hour earlier, as we would have had a wee bit more tidal assist and a wee bit less chop.

Be that as it may, it was an absolutely gorgeous morning, and the water was warm. Actually, if you must know, it was way too warm. Not for the swimmers, but rather for the aquatic life. I’ve been doing this swim for about twenty years, now, and the water just keeps getting warmer and warmer. I think it was 65 degrees, but apparently a few days ago Henry Becton recorded a temperature of 75 degrees. This is why all of our aquatic life is dying. Nice for human swimmers, though….

I think this might be a good time to give a shout-out to MERI, which has been monitoring the blue hill watershed since 2004, among many other projects. They report that the ocean temperature has risen by an average of 1.56 degrees celsius, which is … a lot.

So, the death of the planet notwithstanding, we had a really nice swim.

Here we are before the swim (apologies to Tricia, who is entirely hidden here):

pre-swim

pre-swim

Here we are after the swim:

post-swim

post-swim

From left to right:

  • Alice Clements
  • Henry Becton (didn’t swim, but he looks great in this picture)
  • Charlotte Clews Lawther
  • Tricia Sawyer
  • Jerome Lawther
  • Moira McMahon
  • John Clements
  • Samantha Lee
  • Mary Clews

We would never have attempted this without the astonishing volunteers, including:

  • Sara Becton
  • Ethan Coit
  • Kitty Clements
  • Robin Clements
  • Tom Clements
  • Molly Cooper
  • Henry Clews
  • Amanda Herman
  • John Jeffrey
  • Deborah Miller-Little
  • Wing Taylor
  • Will Taylor

Following the swim, Charlotte and Jerome biked up to Millinocket, and the next day, climbed Katahdin. Guys, may I include your picture at the top?

Thanks to Wing and Alice for pictures. And finally, Alice Clements once again gets credit for organizing the event. Thanks!

Granite Mon 2013

:: granitemon

By: John Clements

Granite Mon 2013 is in the books. Well, in some books. This was the 19th running of the … well, of the Long Island Challenge part of the Granite Mon. This year it was organized by Alice Clements, and enjoyed by many.

We arose at an absurdly early hour on August 17th, and met at the KYC at 5:00 AM. Miraculously, we had plenty of chase boats, despite a few late cancellations. We counted seven swimmers and eight chase boats, if I recall correctly, so we packed kayaks into the motorboats and headed over.

It was a really lovely morning:

starting out

starting out

Here we are after we finished:

all done

all done

From left to right, in this picture:

  • Chris Guinness
  • Sean Guinness
  • Charlotte Clews
  • John Clements
  • Mary Clews
  • Ted Heyd
  • Alice Clements
  • Oliver Grantham
  • Justin Pollard

  • Matt ??

Also swimming was Matt, whose last name I can’t remember and who is cut out of the picture. That’s really too bad, and if anyone can give me a picture, I’ll stick it in here.

Granite Mon 2012

:: granitemon

By: John Clements

As I write this, it’s Monday, August 6th. Charlotte Clews is organizing this year, and it appears that there will be two events that include the swim; the Maine Mountain Challenge, and the Granite Mon. Yesterday was the first swim. Here’s the picture:

2012 Swimmers

2012 Swimmers

From left, the swimmers:

  • Charlotte Clews,
  • Jerome Lawther,
  • Justin Pollard,
  • John Clements,
  • Mary Clews,
  • first-time-swimmer Pat Starkey, and
  • Moira McMahon

The water was extremely warm: Global Warming will kill millions of people, but it made Sunday morning easier. I think it was at or above 70 degrees. High tide wasn’t until 2:00 PM, so we started quite late. We met at the KYC at 9:30, and I don’t think we started swimming until about 11:00. We all arrived at about the same time; I got in at an hour and 28 minutes, and I think we were all in before 1:38.

There may have been a ride to Cadillac and a hike up it, but I’ll have to wait until I hear more to write about that.