A group of six of us jumped into the frigid 57-degree water; the ice-cream headache that ensued took my breath away. I smiled for the camera, and we began the 1Æ-mile swim back to San Francisco, accompanied by a boat to ensure we wouldnt be run over by barges or sailboats crisscrossing underneath the Golden Gate Bridge.
It was tremendously exciting. But I wont lie: It was also terrifying, what with all the flinching fear of shark attack every time I hit a patch of seaweed (the infamous great white shark spawning grounds, after all, were just outside the Golden Gate in the Farallon Islands). In addition to being icy, the water was murky; there was no visibility to speak of, which may have been a good thing who knew what might have been lurking in the depths? The result: I swam as quickly as I could so I could get out.
We finished in a speedy 45 minutes, and when I emerged from the water onto the sandy beach at Aquatic Park, I sighed, counted my fingers and toes, and smiled once more: Happy to have done it, and perfectly happy never to do it again.