Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Local Artist Makes Second Keys Lighthouse Swim!!

Man, this is fantastic!!!
Local Artist Larry "Lighthouse" Herlth has once again made an outstanding effort in swimming to yet another of our famed lighthouses and back.  Larry does incredible metal work recreating these over century old iron beauties and these swims are helping to make light, pun intended, to their deteriorating condition.
Here is a great write up from the Free Press:

Artist completes second lighthouse swim

MARATHON -- "Lighthouse" Larry Herlth has done it again.
Alligator Reef Lighthouse
The 52-year-old artist and lifelong Florida Keys resident swam at times through jellyfish and against a strong current last Saturday to make it to Sombrero Key Lighthouse and back to shore in just under seven hours.
For the second month in a row the Islamorada resident has completed an ocean lighthouse swim in order to throw light on the need to save the deteriorating iconic structures. Herlth swam around Alligator Reef Light off Islamorada in August and says he will swim around another lighthouse in a month.
"Oh, man, what a day," he said as he emerged from the water at Sombrero Beach Park, from where he embarked on his swim six hours and 57 minutes earlier. "There were lots of blue jellyfish as well as clear globs containing what looked like red hairs. I'd burn if I touched them."
During the 9.2-mile swim, Herlth consumed three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, two gallons of water and a gallon of Gatorade.
"I'll see how much weight I lost," he said after the swim. "I easily burned 10,000 calories. It felt every bit of 10 miles."
Herlth said the current was brutal.
Sombrero Key  Lighthouse
"I was using 80 percent of my power grid and making little headway," he said. "I can swim comfortably at two miles an hour, but I was probably doing half of that."
Herlth took four hours and three minutes to make the lighthouse against the current.
The Fighting Manatees swim club, which provides support for the Islamorada Founders Park Pool, swam tag-team style with Herlth to keep him company.
"We swim in 20-minute increments," said Manatees member Rob Dixon. Dwayne King escorted Herlth and the swimmers aboard his 25-foot SeaVee, the Lone Wolf.
Eliza Colmes, Tom Strobel, Katy LeVasseur and Beth Kaminstein, also Fighting Manatees, swam along.
Herlth hopes his effort, month-by-month, will spur the community and government agencies to step up and help save these structures, whether through a citizen-government effort, by having a club or group buy them and take over their maintenance, or having private individuals purchase lighthouses for their own use.
"I swim my butt off to raise awareness for these lighthouses with the hopes that the public will phone, email, fax, tweet and write our representatives in Washington and Tallahassee to get behind this," he said.
Herlth says he will next swim the Sand Key Lighthouse off Key West in about four weeks.
"It's in extremely bad shape," he said. "But, like the planned Carysfort Light swim, those will be one-way swims since they are at least seven miles from shore."

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