Sunday, June 2, 2013

Lowcountry Splash - Get Under It

View from Daniel Island of the Wando River

Cliff had a 5-mile open water swim race in Charleston called the Lowcountry Splash - Get under it, this weekend. We headed over there Friday to begin the festivities. But first, we met a friend for lunch at the Tomato Shed Café on Johns Island. The Café and the Stono Market is owned by the Ambrose family. Their description of the farm is as follows:

"Stono Market-a real farmer's market near Charleston, SC. We carry the organically grown produce we grow on our farm as well as a full line of other fruits and veggies year 'round. We have a country/garden gift shop and the best little Lunch Café in Charleston-Tomato Shed Café-within our walls." 

Cliff and I have been to the Tomato Shed Café a few times and I always get the veggie plate. They do not disappoint. And like the description said, they have a cute little gift shop right inside.

Tomato Shed Café and Stono Market on Johns Island, SC

Out front,

They have these cute little tin bugs, fish, etc. for sale.

How cute is this?

Inside the café....with the gift shop in back.

Wouldn't this look cute in your garden?

After lunch, we headed over to Daniel Island to have a look see. Daniel Island is where the Lowcountry Splash 5-mile swim begins. From there, they will swim down the Wando River which merges with the Cooper River and empties into the Charleston Harbor. Ambitious doesn't even come close to describing this swim. Anyway, we had a look around the starting area/dock. It was mind boggling to think he had to swim so far. The good news: The tides will be in his favor. The water temperature was warm enough that he would not need his wet suit. He was ready. As part of his training, he even swam in Black River with me riding along beside him in the boat. He's Scared....with a capital S....of alligators, so I'm there to be a look out and to get him in the boat in case we saw one. Never did, although I'm sure all these things were running through his mind as he stood there contemplating his swim the next morning.

The starting point/dock.
A view from the dock towards the Charleston Harbor. What you see in the distance are cranes used at one of the port's terminals to load ships. Cliff will swim by them.

Cliff is pointing to the Ravenel Bridge off in the distance. He will swim beneath it and continue on past the USS Yorktown in the Charleston Harbor.

Another view of the dock with one of our gorgeous oak trees.

Palmettos and Oaks on Daniel Island.

Later that evening we met a friend, who was also swimming the 5-mile race, and his wife for dinner. And then it was off to bed. Cliff had to rise pretty early Saturday morning to get his breakfast before catching the shuttle at 5:30 a.m. to Daniel Island.

The USS Yorktown,
The Ravenel Bridge,

And Old Glory at Patriot's Point.

A little later, I headed over to the finish line at Patriot's Point. A new rule this year prevents spectators from going down on the docks at the water level to watch the swimmers come in. We could either go on the flight deck of the USS Yorktown or stay on the main walkway/docks.

Since we were told that we could watch from the flight deck of the USS Yorktown, I decided what the heck. A little adventure never hurt anybody. Who knows, maybe I would be able to spot Cliff from there. I knew his swimmer's number. It was written on his swim cap. Couldn't hurt to try. So, I went inside the Yorktown and was pretty much alone. That thing is Huge...with a capital H! I was smart enough to ask directions before entering. Otherwise, I would have been lost for days. I located and entered the elevator and pressed "F" for the flight deck. No biggie. After arriving to the flight deck, I headed over to the edge so that I could watch the swimmers. What? Where are the swimmers? I see specks. Is that them? Heck with this, I'm going back down to the docks.

Got back on the elevator and.....OMG!....with a capital OMG, what button do I push? I had forgotten to look when I first got on the thang. Oh great, I can see it now.....Headlines of the News and Courier..... "Lowcountry Splash spectator, missing. Feared lost on board the USS Yorktown. We may not find her for days".

So I pressed "D" for docks. The door opened and I didn't recognize a thing. This was starting to feel like The Twilight Zone. I hurried and got back on the elevator and then pressed another button. I don't even know what it was. I was close to panicking. Crazy things starting going through my mind. What if this thing stalls or gets stuck? I'm stuck on a ship the size of a small city and NO ONE knows I'm here. I could starve to death. Or my kidneys could burst. Is there an emergency button. I can't tell!!!! I didn't wear my glasses! Let me look in my pocketbook for something to bang on the pipes with. Oh Lord, please help me get out of this elevator! I'm claustrophobic! About that time, the door opened and praise was the right deck. Near elevator melt down, Averted....with a capital A. Good land, I'm never getting on that thing again. I high tailed it out of there and back down to the docks.

View of the Harbor with Fort Sumter in the background.

Kayaks, boats and swimmers beneath the Ravenel Bridge.

Kayakers spotting the swimmers. The last leg of the swim...

A view of the Charleston sky line. Here you see just a couple of church steeples.

Some of the 2.4 miles swimmers having finished their swim.

Found a good spot to see Cliff, when he got out of the water and walked down the long walkway to where the spectators were waiting.

Oh wait, I see him. That's Cliff. He threw his hands up as if to say, "I made it".

Here he comes......

And here he is....grinning like a Cheshire Cat, with a capital C.

Cliff and his friend, Alan, who also swam the 5-miler and is also grinning like a Cheshire Cat.
All in the day of a triathlete.

On the way home, Cliff recounted some of his swim to me. Let's see......maybe 5 minutes before entering the water at the start, he saw a dolphin surface. It may have been a porpoise...I don't know the difference. Neither does Cliff. Ha! Anyway, he wasn't too crazy about that. I, however, would love to swim with the dolphins. It's on my bucket list. But, he says it's a wild animal and not to be trusted. Whatever. Let's see.....Salt water got in his mouth and he swallowed it. That made him puke.  He got to the point where the Cooper and Wando Rivers merged and said it took him 20 minutes to cross it to get into the harbor. After getting close enough to the Ravenel Bridge and feeling like it was on top of him, took another 30 minutes to swim to the other side. And right at the end, he was passed by a man that easily weighed 100 pounds more than him. Well, I think that was a pretty productive day, don't you? We stuck around for the awards. He didn't win anything other than bragging rights of swimming 5 miles from Daniel Island to the Charleston Harbor. He had a great day.

And to end a great weekend, Cliff and I spent today running and biking. These puppies just ran 5 miles. They need Gatorade. Mango flavored. They need a massage and a bath. They need a pedicure and to go work on getting rid of that runner's tan. Later, rode the bike 5 miles and I could have gone further, but I wanted to save some energy for tomorrow. It's getting easier all the time.

Hasta luego,

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