Letters to the Editor

Sound experience: Get intoxicated with cold water

I appreciated your recent “Editor’s column” on swimming in the Sound. As one of those who are as rare as a “penguin in Poulsbo,” I can reinforce what you said about the bracing waters. I have been swimming without a wet suit or dry suit in Penn Cove, every morning and sometimes twice a day for the past three years. It is downright intoxicating.

For me, swimming in the Sound is a necessity as well as a luxury. I invariably come out of the water supercharged for the day. It is a spiritual discipline. I say my prayers while floating on my back. I am in good company. Seals look me over and decide I am not one of their relatives. Otters scurry down the banks when they see me coming. Eagles coast above me and the great blue heron flies off flopping and squawking when I surprise her at 6 a.m. The seagulls get me in the cross hairs and take shots at me, but so far without success. On early winter mornings when the sky is occasionally clear, the stars seem like chandeliers in the living room.

I take exception to your advice about going in gradually, though I can understand why it might be important for first timers and those with any kind of heart problems to “go gently into the good water.” At 82 I love to jump off the dock at high tide. If I go in gradually, I may decide to turn around before I get to the best part, especially during winter.

As I advance into my ninth decade it is important for me to have a metaphor for making hard choices. Swimming in the Sound each morning at daybreak provides such a metaphor.

Darrel Berg

Penn Cove

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