Swimming Against the Current

Hilary and Derek with the kayak

I’ve been swimming a lot lately in preparation for the 5.5-mile Cross Bay Swim. The other day, I asked my son, who will be my kayaker, to come for a practice swim.

I usually go to Tobay in the morning but since he likes to sleep in, I went at 5:15 pm. By the time we got into the water, it was 5:30 pm. I left my buoy off (I usually wear a pink or orange buoy so that I can be seen.).

Getting the Kayak in the Water

We blew up his kayak which takes about 15 minutes or so to blow up. Then, I helped him into the water. He wanted me to drag the kayak myself while he stayed in so that he didn’t have to get wet. But there was no way I could do it. My biceps were aching. So, he jumped out and helped me get the boat in the water.

Once he was in the water and floating, I slowly crept in. The water was cold but not as bad as usual. When I was up to my chest, I went for it. I screamed for a moment and then once I got moving, I felt used to it.

Swimming with the Kayak

When the race happens on July 9, I will be swimming alongside Derek’s Kayak. Thankfully, a member of the Iron Fit Endurance team will be lending me his kayak and Derek will use that. (The race organizers don’t want him using a blow-up kayak.)

We set out to the left of the beach toward the Bonzai-looking tree. It took a while but it didn’t feel bad. The current felt about as normal as it feels there.

Derek stayed on the left of me and it went pretty smoothly. I took a sip of water from my water bottle on his boat and I told him that we were going to go to the middle buoy.

Suddenly, a swarm of people jumped in the water and were heading our way toward the middle buoy.

At the middle buoy

Once we got there, I felt like I was being tackled by a lot of people. They were swimming back and forth from the middle buoy to the beach and back.

I could see that Derek was getting caught up with the people too. I motioned to him to go to the marina.

We flew to the Marina. I don’t think I ever got there so fast. But I didn’t think anything of it. We met up at the buoy closest to the Marina.

Going back

As I stood by the Marina, I could feel the current push me toward the boats. It was strong.

“Wow, this is going to be tough getting back,” I said to Derek. “I would suggest going as close to the shore as possible because there should be less current there.”

He tried. He then yelled to me, “don’t worry about me, I’ll get back. Just worry about yourself.”

You know how mothers are, they worry about their children!

I headed back. I felt like I was in an infinity pool. The stronger I was going the more I was being pushed toward the Marina. I couldn’t believe it. This was the first time that I felt such a strong current there.

Getting an alert on my phone earlier in the day that there were rip currents, didn’t scare me. I figured they were only in the ocean. I never thought that it would impact Tobay Beach, which is on the bayside.


I struggled. I wasn’t getting anywhere and my goggles were all fogged up. I couldn’t see anything. I looked around and couldn’t see Derek. I was hoping he didn’t crash into one of the boats at the Marina.

Finally, I saw him. He was on the beach by the Marina. He motioned to keep going but my arms were throbbing. I had enough and wasn’t getting anywhere. I swam toward him.

We both looked at each other and decided to take the kayak back to the car. “We’re not that far,” I said.

He told me he had called his dad and he was on his way to pick us up. When he got there, we threw the deflated kayak on top of his car and he drove to the lot. I decided to take a beach path back to where the restaurants were located.

At Dinner

We decided to have dinner at Tobay Beach. They have two restaurants there. As we sat outside, I saw a woman I know from Total Master Swimming and said hi. “Did you go out there?” she asked me.

“Yeah, I got caught up at the Marina,” I said.

“We just stayed around the buoy because of the current. It was wicked,” she said.

When I went on Instagram, I also saw other people who were also out. They were saying the same thing, “the current was no joke.”

It was pretty scary and I just pray we have a nice day on July 9!