Our swimming practice actually began inland, in a pit left behind by Cape Ann's quarrying industry.
Essex River Basin, high tide
The watery boundaries of three towns–Gloucester, Essex and Ipswich–converge in the Essex River Basin, about 40 miles north of Boston.
Low Tide, Hog Island
At low tide, the Essex River Basin empties like a bathtub.
Essex River, Low Tide
A lower-than normal low tide uncovers the estuary's network of muddy canyons.
Conomo Point, Essex, MA
Robert crosses the tidal strait between Conomo Point and Cross Island.
Tidal Creek, Summer
At nose level in a saltwater creek, your cupped hands cutting through water the way the snout of a plane cuts through the atmosphere, the horizon is usually only a few feet away. The vanishing point is a canyonlike wall of very firm mud and a dense bamboo forest of grass. Because of the way these tidal creeks twist and turn, there is always something up ahead you can’t see: a cormorant or an egret taking off, or fingerling fish darting into shade just as you round the corner.
High summer, high tide.
The Tidelog shows not just high and low tides, but also sunrise and sunset, moonrise and moonset.
We matched the dropping temperatures with successively heavier layers of neoprene. This knee-length, sleeveless wetsuit helps keep one's core warm.
By November, we wore heavy wetsuits that included "triple-seal" boots and gloves.
Swimming in Slush
By December, swim prep also included pouring a gallonfull of very warm water into our suits.
Swimming a Blizzard
Snorkeling, Rose Island, Bahamas
Winter swimming and snorkeling in the Bahamas.
Brown's River, Seabrook New Hampshire
If you didn't already know what it was, Seabrook Station today could be taken for a university campus with an observatory, or the backside of a cluster of big-box stores.
Architect's Rendering of Proposed Nuclear Power Plant in Ipswich
History is about what happened, but it's also about what didn't happen.
Where Louisiana Hwy 23 ends. From here on down, water will increasingly dominate land.
Robert paddling the heaviliy industrialized Chelsea Creek, not far from downtown Boston.
Hurricane Gloria, Sept. 27, 1985
Storm surge swamping the Walker Creek/Concord St. bridge.
Swimming with Friends
High Tide, Ebben Creek
Tides, like all cycles of nature, are a precarious balance of constants and variables.
New Year's Eve Day, 2020: BEFORE
That's Cross Island in the background.
New Year's Eve Day, 2020: DURING
A quick swim in the channel between Conomo Point and Cross Island in Essex, Massachusetts.