Friday, May 1, was a beautiful morning. The ocean was radiantly supercharged from the rainstorm the preceding afternoon and crystal-clear smooth from a cool, offshore breeze. How well I know and love these weather metrics!

Under normal circumstances, I would have pursued my swimming regimen: 350 strokes freestyle out, float, pause, somersault in about 10 feet of water a half-dozen times, 350 strokes parallel to the shore and then back to sun dry on a beach towel. Then I return home from my secluded spot, 2-plus miles past the catamaran hangar site at the north end of Delray Beach.

And, yes, I go on foot, along the shoreline. I enjoy the solitude my regimen provides. I stand about as much chance of catching the novel coronavirus en route as a snowball has of being made in hell.

The Gulf Stream police know who I am: A worried member of a nearby roofing crew summoned them because he spotted me so far out to sea swimming with joyful abandon.

Hey, bungee boarders, surfers, sailboarders, kayakers, fellow distance swimmers, snorkelers, paddleboarders: We’re “together, forever, as one!” to quote Chris Cuomo.

It ought to be readily apparent to the police, lifeguards and all others in positions of authority that the folk engaging in these activities, while doing so, pose no threat to social distancing. These are not contact sports, people!

And since we arrive accessorized for our chosen activity, we are readily discernible from the throngs who want to sunbathe, wade, socialize and party hearty. (Mind you, I’m not condemning anyone for that, but now we are living the “new normal.”)

Undeniably, tri-county South Floridians must heed concessions to their lifestyles. However, I was aghast to see people paddleboard and kayak in the Intracoastal Waterway, with the beach being a prohibited access to the ocean. The Intracoastal is neither a healthy nor safe place for those activities. I recently spotted the “beach closed” sign at the intersection of A1A and Woolbright — how draconian! The virus doesn’t care … people need to use good judgment and common sense to avoid it.

And finally, there is the sargassum seaweed cycle, which will soon head toward our local beaches. It’s part of the natural world here and we have to allow for it, unpleasant though it may be. The ocean beckons and we must make smart choices with regard to the health benefits it offers us.

— James W. Stonehouse
Delray Beach

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