It’s some sort of Forties thing. When they hit those birthday numbers, men either have to do something incredibly macho or have an affair. Luckily, our friend Andrew (called “Scotch Andrew” to distinguish him from my Andrew, who is “English Andrew”) decided to do the Alcatraz Challenge. (Of course, if you saw his gorgeous wife, Jan, you’d realize why an affair was not an option.) So this Sunday morning, Andrew was on a Red and White Ferry headed out to Alcatraz by 7:30 AM. A bunch of us took the equal challenge to get up just as early, pack up three kids between all of us, and stand out in the foggy morning ready to take his picture. Hey, that’s a challenge in itself!

Scotch Andrew just out of the water and ready to shake hands with his fans.

Scotch Andrew just out of the water and ready to shake hands with his fans.

A rumor was started that Scotch Andrew would do this event dressed only in a sporran and maybe a kilt.  But in the end, he bought a wet suit. He also made this the “Shock and Awe” swim, as he decided NOT to do any preparatory ocean swims beforehand or try out his new wetsuit. He was still looking a bit like a wet deer in the headlights 1.7 miles later when he came up on the beach. Swimming in the UCSF pool doesn’t prepare you for the waves, swells and currents of the Bay, not to mention the constriction of a wet suit. I’m getting this commentary from Susi, mother of the World’s Most Beautiful Baby. She’s done the event SEVERAL times and was only persuaded NOT to do it this time because she had given birth a scant six months ago! But she’s thrown down the sippy cup and challenged Scotch Andrew to do the swim with her next year. The rest of us are going to train hard so that we can do that standing on the sidelines and cheering thing even better.

So THREE CHEERS for Scotch Andrew! He made it, which is an accomplishment in itself. He did it in a decent time. Well okay, the guy with one leg beat him, but he totally smoked the paraplegic. Our only disappointment was that he should have had a tuxedo on under his wet suit. Then he could have peeled it off James Bond style as he emerged on the beach. One of us could have handed him a Martini from a silver tray.

There’s always next year.

Here are some pix from the event:

After the swim, competitors ran the gauntlet up the beach. Here are some of the front runners.

After the swim, competitors ran the gauntlet up the beach. Here are some of the front runners.

I loved this couple who ran up the beach holding hands.

I loved this couple who ran up the beach holding hands.

Then the handicapped swimmers like this guy on the left.

Then the handicapped swimmers like this guy on the right.

And then Scotch Andrew! He should have worn a kilt.

And then Scotch Andrew! He should have worn a kilt.

Later he told us about the swim: So then this Great White had my leg. I fought him off and kept swimming.

Later he told us about the swim: “So then this Great White had my leg. I fought him off and kept swimming.”

And he put on his medal for the photo op.

And he put on his medal for the photo op.

Great job, Dad, says little Maisie.

“Great job, Dad”, says little Maisie.

Im going next year, says Little Andrew AKA The Wee Man.

“I’m going next year”, says Little Andrew AKA The Wee Man.

Susis done this swim SEVERAL times. She only didnt this year because she couldnt figure out how to make the Baby Bjorn carrier into a flotation device.

Susi’s done this swim SEVERAL times. She didn’t this year only because she couldn’t figure out how to make the Baby Bjorn carrier into a flotation device.

See all the photos on Flickr here.

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