Rescue swimmers warned me, even though it was a clear and mild day, long-shore currents, which run parallel to the shore, still loomed near Picnic Rocks. They insisted I wear a life jacket and gave me strict instructions.
"With the long-shore current here, you can either try just treading water for a little bit to see which direction the current is pulling you and then once you realize that, swim perpendicular to the current."
They told me the first sign of the current would be an obvious rush of cold water from the open lake. I brought a thermometer to track water temperature.
At the shoreline, the temperature at the shore was about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, a lot warmer than it is near the rocks.
I waded onto the sandbar that connects the shore to first Picnic Rock. It seemed safe, but frequently, the current will just sweep you off of it.
Although from the shore, the alluring rocks appear nearby, they are actually about four full football fields away, and even at 100 yards out, they still felt very far.
At about 200 yards out, I felt a mild current. It pushed me towards McCarty's Cove, directly parallel to the shore. Just as the rescue swimmers warned me, the temperature dropped to 66 degrees.
Although it wasn TMt very strong since it was a beautiful day, the current is always there.
It didn't particularly worry me, but that's frequently the first reaction of drowning victims, so I did what I was counseled to do; I didn't try to return to the sandbar. That would have been a struggle.
Instead, I swam perpendicular to the current, back towards the beach and safety.