Saturday, April 5, 2014

Lake Michigan Dreaming

For the past three springs I have watched geese laying eggs and hatching goslings on the pond in Estrabrook Park near my house.  Every year two females make nests and lay eggs on the small island in the middle of the pond, and they are guarded by one male who swims back and forth.  Here is a picture from two years ago of two of the adults and a few of the newly hatched goslings.
But this year the pond is frozen solid and for the past several days the three adults have been pacing at the side of the pond apparently waiting for the ice to melt.

I empathize with the geese as I gaze over the Lake and wonder when it will be warm enough to swim again.  Six weeks?  Eight?  All the ice on the lake may mean a slower warmup this year, or maybe not.  I read in an article that even a complete freeze over has little long term impact on lake temperatures.

In the meantime I've been dreaming (literally in my sleep) about the day when we can take our first plunge.  And I've been reading the latest book by our heroine Lynne Cox, "Open Water Swimming Manual" (highly recommended).

By the way, if anyone is interested in the Big Shoulders Swim this year (Sept. 6th in Chicago) better act  fast as it is nearly full already!

P.S.  To Kevin and anyone else interested in joining us, all you need to do is show up on the beach and introduce yourself.  Watch this blog for dates and times.  If we're lucky we'll start swimming at the end of May, but June is more likely.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Who Knew?

I always thought that winter cold water swimming was something done by drunks, daredevils, cranks, and eccentrics.  But I was wrong.  In Europe at least, there are lots of regular people who swim outdoors all winter.  Kahuna found this article on the New York Times website:

I remain unconvinced.  My preferred method of dealing with the "dreariness" of winter is to hit the ski trail.  Actually if I had to pick one word to describe this winter it wouldn't be "dreary" it would be "awesome".  Best in years.  We're all a little crazy in our own way, right?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

End of Season

After Friday's most excellent Pirates Pizza Night celebration, and having accomplished our goal of 100 days straight of Lake Michigan swimming, it seems as good a time as any to formally end the swim season.

I Patriarch of the Klode Kru do hereby declare the 2013 summer swim season closed.  Any further swims this year will be counted as "Viking" swims, and the participants thereof considered insane.  

Here are some of my highlights of this swim season, please add your own in the comments:
- Those few perfect days when the water was flat calm and clear and the swimming was more like effortless gliding.  Some of those days were July 4th, Big Shoulders, and the Shipwreck Swim.
- On the other hand, those few big wave days when it was fun to just roll and splash in the surf.
- Spectacular sunrises over the lake viewed from the water.
- The great post-swim party at McTwists
- The false alarm that caused the North Shore Fire Department to come to the beach in force looking for a non-existent "swimmer in distress"
- The day a most attractive video journalist from channel 12 shows up looking for the swimmers doing a tribute to Diana Nyad, and Capn's reaction to her and his subsequent TV interview.
- The day a record 40 people came to swim, and the water temp plunged to 40 degrees.
- Watching Mike & Co. swim 5 miles across Whitefish Bay.  
- Kahuna's Skull and Crossbones flag.
- GTGBFTOFB Day (Get the great big freaking tire off our beach day).
- Best quote of the season:  James to Cap'n, "To get swimmers ear you have to be a swimmer"
- Runner up quote:  Showgirl, "Once you go skin, you'll never go back."
- Diablo's record breaking skin swim in 46.9 degree water
- Post swim Pitschs.
- Post Swim Door County Cherry Pancakes at Solly's.  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Pirates Pizza Night Moved to Thursday 10/17

My apologies for the last minute date change.  The Patriarch and I are now on the same page and plans are set for Pirates Pizza Night.  Here are the details:

Who:  All Klode Kru members, guests & anyone who's interested in swimming with The Patriarch (...for just $100)
What: Pirates Pizza Night
WhereLisa's Pizza  - 2961 N Oakland Ave 
When:  Thursday October 17th @7pm

Why:  To drink grog, eat some pizza & share tales of our 2013 adventures

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Pirates Pizza Night Thursday

Pirates Pizza Night - Thursday October 10th @ 7pm - Lisa's Pizza

Next Swim:
   TBD - post a comment if you plan to go

Last Swims:
   Sunday October 6th @ 10:30am
      Water Temp: 51.2
      Air Temp: 63 & sunny
      Waves: flat
      Clarity: crystal
      Crew: Diablo, Gumdrop, Geoffrey, Capt'n
      Skin Count: 3
      Suit Count: 1

   Saturday October 5th @ 1pm
      Water Temp:  52.8
      Air Temp: 69 & cloudy
      Waves: low rollers from south
      Clarity: clear
      Crew: Diablo, Gumdrop (early), Showgirl, Geoffrey, Capt'n
      Skin Count: 1
      Suit Count: 4

Who's in for Pirates Pizza Night Thursday at Lisa's?  Please post a comment if you are so we can save you a seat!

The water doesn't seem to be warming up and the mornings/days keep getting colder and darker.  As a result the Kru's next swim remains TBD.

The 51 degree water Sunday didn't stop Diablo, Gumdrop and I from logging a skin swim.  Even more impressive was Diablo who swam up to Cedar Grove and back!  Not quite as brave...but not to be out done....I logged two loops to Garage and back from Klode's NE beach so that I could exit the water along with Diablo.  ( swim time was nearly 25 minutes...)  Tapering for the upcoming cooler water and air temps Gumdrop opted just to log just a brisk swim up to Garage and back.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Consecutive Day Streak Ends at 100

Next Swims:
   Saturday October 5th @ 1pm
   Sunday October 6th @ 10:30 (cheer Kahuna at Klode from 10-10:30am)

Last Swim:
   Thursday October 3rd @ 6:15am
      Water Temp:
         48.4 (macho meter)
         9.6 C = 49.3 F (scientific)
      Air Temp: 56 & cloudy
      Waves: frequent low rollers
      Clarity: clear
      Crew: Diablo, Gumdrop, Showgirl, Mr. Amazing, Panini, Capt'n with Special Guest Appearance by WonderWoman
      Skin Count: 2
      Suit Count: 4

   Friday October 4th @ 6:15am
         Water Temp:  47.1 (macho meter)
         Air Temp: 62 & thick fog
         Waves: none
         Clarity: clear
         Crew: no swim / special guest appearances by Diablo, Showgirl, Capt'n

We did it!!  100 consecutive days of swimming in Lake Michigan!  The Lady of the Lake sure didn't make it easy the past few days...and Mother Nature threatened to really test our determination with Thunderstorms Thursday morning.  Fortunately for us the storms held off and the water warmed nearly 5 degrees for consecutive swim day 100.

Thick fog and icy water greeted us Friday.  Nothing we haven't swum in before...but with our 100 day milestone in the bank and earning interest the Kru lacked sufficient motivation to walk the plank.  Saturday the plan is to swim at 1pm.  Sunday the plan is to cheer Kahuna on as he passes mile 19 of the Lakefront Marathon...which is near the Klode parking lot.  Per my calculations this should occur between 10-10:30am.  Obviously with the marathon proceeding along the roads that lead to the Klode parking lot you will need to park a few blocks west of Klode and walk in for Sunday morning's swim.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Next Swims:
   Wednesday 10/2 @ ??? (post comment with time if interested)
   Thursday 10/3 @ 6:15am
   Friday 10/4 @ 6:15am

Last Swim:
   Wednesday 10/2 @ 6:15am
      Water Temp:
         44.4 (macho meter)
         7.3 C = 45.1 F (scientific)
      Air Temp: 54 & cloudless/sunny
      Waves: flat
      Clarity: crystal
      Crew: Diablo (skin!!!), Gumdrop, Capt'n with valiant attempts by Showgirl and Mr. Amazing

Consecutive Day #99....the Lady of the Lake sure isn't making it easy for us to extend our consecutive days of swimming to 100.  The verdict is still out as to whether Mother Nature should be added to the list of adversaries to our goal of reaching 100.  We all agree though that conditions certainly could have been worse this morning.

After 14+ days of waves and turbulent swim conditions this morning's glass like lake surface was a very pleasant surprise.  The cloudless sky, calm winds and air temps in the mid-50's were also a pleasant reprieve from the mid-40's and breezy conditions we had the past 2 mornings.  Also encouraging the Kru this morning was a spectacular crimson glow on the horizon and the promise of a warm summer like day that's been forecast.

Yes...your eyes are not deceiving you regarding the reference above to Diablo swimming skin this morning.  He not only swam skin but got his money's worth out of the 1/4+mile picnic table and back journey.  Without hesitation Diablo walked the plank, methodically swam south to the picnic table and then proceeded to take a very round about route return trip by swimming further out from shore than Gumdrop and I.  Consequently, while we did not record an official swim time this morning Diablo arguably spent more time in the water than the rest of us. 

Another noteworthy point for the record...without the benefit of knowing the water temp this morning Gumdrop actually swam a few minutes earlier than the rest of us.  It probably goes without saying that it's a lot easier embarking on an insane adventure when you already know Gumdrop has completed it.  :)

PS.  For those that are interested...the record coldest 'official' Klode Kru swim is 41 recorded on 12/5/2009.  Diablo's skin swim at 45.1 is a record! 'official' Klode Kru swim is at least 1/4 mile.

PPS.  It's not looking good for Pirates Pizza night Thursday or for the rest of this week.  (...should have checked The Patriarch's schedule before posting....)  Perhaps we can connect next week to celebrate our season?  Please post a comment if you have a preferred evening.