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Dock of the Bay: May 10-16, 2018

South River Swim, Bay Bridge Swim, Rockhold Creek dredging, Straight Path 

Get to Know Your Waters Up Close and Personal
South River swim May 27, Bay swim June 11
       Twelve swimmers kicked through six miles of the churning South River for community and charity in last year’s inaugural Swim the South River. They made it, and this year twice as many — 30 swimmers — will make a mile-shorter crossing Sunday, May 27 at 8am. 
      “It’s not a race,” says Traci McNeil swim coach and the organizer. “We want the swim to be less competitive, and more like swimming with friends.”
      Water will be cool, about 60 degrees. Swimmers are not required, or even expected, to finish. 
       With the help of open-water lessons and practice, you can make this your first race. Seasoned athletes are also welcome. All you need to make the team is confidence, a minimum pledge of $50 to the South River Federation and a companion paddler. Bring your own paddler or pay for the company.
       The money raised by swimmers helps the Federation in its mission to clean up the very river where they swim. Throw yourself into the river, meet new friends and set yourself a cool challenge: www.crossingcurrent
saquatics.com.  
      Two weeks later, over 500 athletes race against time and tides to reach the Eastern Shore. 
      Founded on June 13 1982, the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim is now one of the nation’s most successful charity swims. The 4.4-mile race under the bridge has raised over $2 million for non-profit organizations like the March of Dimes and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. 
       Thirty-six years since its first splash, the Bay Swim is gearing up for the 2018 race on June 11. Swimmers start on the beaches of Sandy Point State Park, and — with luck and endurance — finish on a small sandy shore on Kent Island. 
       Around 550 swimmers race into the Bay in two groups, the faster swimmers second. Kayakers and powerboaters float parallel to the athletes to ensure every swimmer’s safety. 
       With an average swim time of two and a half hours, this race is not for the fainthearted. 
       The race committee requires applicants to prove they have completed an open water swim, or a three-mile pool swim, in less than two hours 15 minutes. 
Annapolis CrossFit and swim coach Melissa McCamley is a former Division 1 freestyle distance swimmer. This will be her fourth race across the Bay, and this time she’s not racing against the clock. 
        “I’m training to make it across for myself this time around,” says McCamley. Her husband, also an athlete, will be by her side in a kayak offering support and guidance. 
        The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration measures tides, currents and weather conditions before the race begins to predict the safest starting point. In the last five years, 79 to 97 percent of swimmers have reached the sandy finish line.
–Shelby Conrad
$700,000 to Pour into Rockhold Creek
Restoring “life blood” to busy Bay harbor
        Almost 14 percent of Anne Arundel County’s proposed $5 million dredging program will be invested at the mouth of Rockhold Creek in Herring Bay.
       Dredging the federal channel will restore “life blood to one of the busiest areas for recreational and commercial water access on the Bay, bigger than Annapolis and Solomons combined,” Del. Seth Howard told a crowd of local marina and business owners congregated at Shipwright Marina last week.
       Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh’s promise of $690,000 in county and state funding will remove a 300-yard blockage that narrows the busy commercial and residential channel, last dredged in 2009. Over 3,800 local jobs and 3,000 boat slips are affected by the bottleneck, Schuh said. 
       Maryland Department of Natural Resources survey of the Rockhold Creek Federal Channel showed shoaling, loss of depth and lateral encroachment at the entrance of Rockhold Creek since the last dredging.
       “It’s a bottleneck,” said Stuart Chaney of Herrington Harbour North and Shipwright Harbor, marinas that account for many of those jobs and slips.
        Because of drastically reduced federal funding, Anne Arundel County stepped in with what Schuh called “a vigorous program crucial to communities and environment. It preserves investments made by business owners and residents and prevents re-suspension of sediment in the water column, reducing pollution.”
        Almost 6,000 cubic yards of dredge spoils will be removed from the entrance channel. Work is scheduled to begin this fall. 
       To be spent, the $5 million dredging proposed in the county executive’s budget must be approved by County Council. 
–Audrey Broomfield
 
Way Downstream 
        From the far-flung oceans of the world, smart people with too much time on their hands sought an answer to this question: How far could you travel across Earth’s oceans before running into land if you wanted to sail in a straight line for as long as possible?
        This question has been around for a few years, since a fellow named Patrick Anderson posited on Reddit that one could sail continuously from Pakistan to Russia for nearly 20,000 miles.
        Two researchers in Ireland who fancy these kinds of puzzles noted that Anderson offered no proof, so they decided to perform their own calculations.
        Using optimization algorithms (you didn’t think they jumped in a boat, did you?) they came up with findings remarkably similar to Anderson’s: a straight line measuring 19,940 miles beginning in Pakistan, traveling between mainland Africa and Madagascar, between Antarctica and Tierra del Fuego in South America and ending in Kamchatka Krai in Russia.
        On a map, the route appears curved. But remember that earth is a sphere, and when viewed on a globe, the route is indeed straight.
        The authors were quick to note that they weren’t endorsing the idea for sailors who wanted to, shall we say, get away. Really away.
      See this route at www.livescience.com/62465-longest-straight-path-earth.html.

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