Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Call for safety boaters - 2011 Search for Monongy 1.2 & 2.4-Mile Open Water Swim

When: Saturday, July 9, 2011 9:00 AM
Where: Heinz Quay
North Shore Dr. & Art Rooney Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

OK 'yackers, time to put your paddling skills to work! Our Meetup group is going support an endurance swimming event - the Search for Monongy 1.2 & 2.4-Mile Open Water Swim[/url]. It's put on by the U.S. Masters Swimmers (USMS) Mountain Masters chapter in Pittsburgh. The course runs between Heinz Field and the Clemente Bridge on the Allegheny River. Small craft boaters will be part of the safety crew, monitoring the swimmers, keeping them from going off-course and calling in help if one of them has a problem. No special skills or gear are required. All you need is your kayak, PFD, paddle, whistle, and basic paddling skills. We will meet at Heinz Quay, the same place as we launched last year for Paddle at the Point. Please arrive before 9:00 AM. This will give us time to stage our gear, and then meet with the safety coordinator for instructions. The first swimmers are off at 10:00. The last swimmers will be off the water by 12:30.

We're meeting at Heinz Quay (the ramp in front of Heinz Field, where the Gateway Clippers land on game days) . We will drop off our boats and gear at the curb, next to the Fred Rogers Memorial (same place we put in for Paddle at the Point last year), and then carry our kayaks down the grassy slope or steps to the river's edge, and then past the Fred Rogers Memorial to the launch. Someone will be there to watch your gear and help transport it.  On-street parking will be available.

By the way, what is "Monongy"? Legend has it that Monongy, the man-fish lives in the river. There are records that go as far back as the French and Indian War that describe encounters between British soldiers and strange aquatic creatures. The local Indian tribes referred to this creature as "Monongy". There was even a Monongy craze in the early 1930's through the late 1950's. Sightings occurred on a weekly basis and the police department created a task force whose sole purpose was to investigate sightings of the creature. No evidence was ever produced to lend credence to the claims until May 12, 2003 when a privately owned fishing vessel was the first to take photos of the creature. The photos were available on line for a short time until they were inexplicably taken down. Speculation persists that the government has procured the photographs and are covering up the existence of Monongy. Crypto zoologists from around the world still frequent the Monongahela every year to catch a glimpse of the elusive water beast.

This Meetup listing will be updated as more details come available. I hope our group has a good turnout. Last year, we had a great time, and the swimmers greatly appreciated our help.  Hope to see many of you there!
Check it out!

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