Friday, August 28, 2015


Next Swims: Sat & Sun, 8/29 & 8/30, 11AM both days

Last Swims:
Thu & Fri, 8/27 & 8/28, 6AM both days
Water Temp: 47
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Excellent
Thu Crew: Showgirl, Itch
Fri Crew:  Diablo, Showgirl, Itch

The water is still brutally cold but it was a gorgeous sunrise.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Under Siege

Next Swims: Thu Aug 27th 6AM, and Friday Aug 28th 6AM

Last Swims: Wed Aug 26th 6AM
Water Temp: 47
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: Itch
Wetsuit/Skin:  0/1

Although August is usually the warmest month for Lake Michigan water temps, even in August it's not unusual to have a few days of cooler water.  But I can't remember anything like this current streak of cold water. It's been a week and a day of sub-50 degree readings, and my only swim was the Great Lake Plunge in a wetsuit.

The good news is the weather pattern that created this upwelling of cold water has finally broken.  The strong offshore winds have shifted to onshore which will allow some warming.  There's plenty of summer left.  Hopefully we'll have some more swimmable conditions soon.

Of course while I'm whining about cold water a few of the real bad asses have continued to swim.  You guys are better than me.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Linda Takes It to Another Level

Next Swims:  Wed, Thu, Fri, Aug 26-28, 6AM
Note: There will be no PM swims until the lake warms again, which may be a couple days

Last Swim: Tue Aug 25th
Water Temp: 48
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: Itch, Linda
Wetsuit/Skin: 0/2

We need to invent a new category for the incredible swims that Linda completed the last few days.

On Saturday she completed the Apostle Islands Relay Swim as a solo skin swimmer.  The water was in the mid sixties with very heavy chop.  The swim was supposed to be 20 miles but the course was shortened to 17 miles because of the rough seas.  Linda was the first of the three solo swimmers!  Here are the results: Congratulations Linda!

Then this morning she swam over a mile skin at Klode in 48 degree water!  I find that almost superhuman.  An amazing feat!  Sadly, Linda is leaving tonight for her home in Ohio, and we probably won't see her again until next year.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Barely a new record cold skin swim

Next Swims:
  Tuesday-Friday at 6am

Last Swim
   Monday August 24th at 6am
      Water Temp:  7.1C (44.8) Scientific-o-meter / 44.6 Patriarch-o-meter / 43.2 Macho-meter
      Air Temp:  54 & Sunny
      Waves:  flat
      Clarity:  Crystal Clear
      Kru:  Diablo (skin), Forger (suit) witnessed by The Patriarch, Showgirl, Crash, Mr. Anonymous, Capt'n
      Skin / Suit:  1/1

It was a challenge to keep our feet in the water long enough to take an accurate reading this morning....but after several excruciating minutes in the water the Scientific-o-meter bottomed out at 7.1C.  The 7.1C reading barely nudged out the 7.3C reading recorded at last Friday morning's swim.  Regardless, Diablo still walked the plank skin and logged a 1/4 mile swim up to the Garage and back from Klode's north beach.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Undiscouraged by Cold Water

Next Swims: Monday - Friday Aug 24 - 28 @ 6AM each day
And if the Lake ever warms up again we'll do 6PM swims as well, check back

Last swims:  Saturday Aug 22, Great Lake Plunge, Clark Street Beach, Evanston IL
Water Temp: 53
Waves: Small rollers
Water Clarity: Ultra HD clear
Crew:  Mitch, Capt'n, Scarface, Crash, Showgirl, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin: 6/0 (wetsuits mandatory)
Pitsch: 5

Saturday Aug 22nd 11AM Klode Beach
Water Temp: 50?
Waves:  Calm,
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: Diablo, Kahuna, Gumdrop, Mark, Erin, Itch, and one other
Wetsuit/Skin: 1/7

Sunday: Aug 23rd 10AM Klode Beach
Water Temp: 44
Waves:  Small Rollers
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew:  Dave, Mark, Brian, Showgirl, Itch, Diablo, Gumdrop, plus a gaggle of North Shore Nancy's (including me) watching from shore
Waves:  Small rollers
Wetsuit/Skin: 4/3
Pitsch: 12

The Lake's been doing her best to discourage us, but we just keep swimming (or some do anyhow).

My own enthusiasm was severely tested at 4:30 AM Saturday morning when my alarm went off.  Did I really want to drive all the way to Evanston to swim in 53 degree water in an event that would likely be shortened, maybe even cancelled? Somehow I overcame common sense and went anyway.  I'm very glad I did.

Clark Street Beach is beautiful, nice and sandy, no rocks and a great view.  Northwestern University to the north and the Chicago skyline to the south.  The Great Lake Plunge was a lot of fun, a low key affair run by very nice people.  They did a really great job for their first event, especially communicating the cold lake conditions which forced them to shorten the course at the last minute.  I hope they do it again next year.  I will certainly be there if they do and I would recommend it for you too.

Halfway around the course I spotted golf balls on the bottom (Capt'n saw them too), and I burst out laughing.  They were too deep to dive for them in a wetsuit.  It seems they're everywhere we swim, there must be zillions throughout the lake!  I don't understand why so many people would drive golf balls into the lake, maybe just to make a splash?  But I must admit I've never tried it.  We've got enough now maybe we should drive a few back in?

After the Plunge we found a most excellent place nearby for breakfast, the Walker Brothers Pancake House.  Better yet, Capt'n bought.  A new annual tradition?

Speaking of Capt'n he continues to struggle with figuring out the "official" lake temperature.  This morning he was taking the water temperature with multiple thermometers in multiple locations.  All the readings agree within a couple degrees which is good enough for me but not for Capt'n Queeg. I'm afraid he's going to drive himself (even more) nuts with this quest!

Speaking of lake water temps, Steven "Mighty Mac" Wolfe pointed out this site which shows the water temps at the buoy that is off Atwater Beach.  The buoy temperatures seem to track closely with the water temps we measure at Klode, although I noticed that when the temperature is changing rapidly there is a couple of hours of lag time between when the water cools (or warms) at the buoy versus Klode. But it still gives us a pretty good idea of what to expect so I have added it to the list of links to the right of this blog.

By the way Steve, regarding your question about inland lakes to swim in as an alternative.  You're talking to the wrong people.  We'd rather be chipped out of the ice on the Lake Michigan shore than swim in an inland lake.

Friday, August 21, 2015

A new skin record??? (join the debate)

Next Swims:
   Saturday 8/22 @ 1pm
   Sunday 8/23 @ 10am

Last Swim:
   Friday 8/21 @ 6am
      Water Temp:  7.3C (45.1)  Scientific-o-meter / 44.6 Patriarch-o-meter / 43.2 Macho-meter
      Air Temp: 58 & Sunny
      Waves:  Flat
      Clarity: crystal clear
      Kru: Diablo, Gumdrop & Itch with witnesses The Patriarch, Showgirl, Crash, Scarface, Mitch, Fred and Capt'n
      Ball Count: 8 Itchy balls

Prior to yesterday the coldest official skin swim on record was set on August 27th 2013.  At that time the Scientific-o-meter registered 8.3C (46.9) and macho-meter.v1 registered 45.3.  Since that time both the Patriarch-o-meter and macho-meters have been upgraded/replaced with newer models.  (i.e. the originals died so we jumped on amazon and bought replacements at a hefty price tag of about $4.)  Remaining constant since the 2013 record has been Scientific-o-meter which was generously donated to the Klode Kru by AleWife's Husband.

While the macho-meter would nominate this morning's swim as a record breaker from yesterday's amazing swim (43.2) the Patriarch-o-meter nominates yesterday's swim as the record breaker (44.1 vs 44.6).  As the constant between the previous 2013 record and today's record swim is the Scientific-o-meter readings 8.3C vs 7.3C the Scientific-o-meter would nominate this morning's swim as the record.

As a result, I'd like to make the following proposal:
  • Declare this morning's swim as the "official" skin swim record at 7.3C (45.1)
  • Declare yesterday's swim as the "unofficial" skin swim record at 44.1.
  • ...and allow those who swam/witnessed this morning's swim to brag that the "unofficial unofficial" record skin swim water temp is 43.2.

So what say ye?  Do we have an accord? (Post a comment and voice your opinion)

By the way....not only did itch swim skin this morning he also returned with 8 golf balls!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Diablo Sets A Record!

Next Swim: Friday August 21 @ 6AM

After Friday morning's swim we will stop for a quick breakfast somewhere (Stone Creek? Collectivo?).   Those of us doing the Great Lake Plunge on Saturday can plan our strategy.  Please join us even if you're not Plunging.

Speaking of the Plunge, I will be driving and could take three others.  I plan to leave at 5:30 AM.  Let me know if you're interested, or come to the breakfast Friday and we can plan car pools.

Last Swim: Thursday August 20th @ 6AM
Water Temp: ***44.1*** Yikes!
Waves:  Calm
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: Diablo and two ducks
Wetsuit/Skin: 0/1

Only three of us showed up at the beach this morning, and only one swam.  But what a swim!  Diablo broke the skin cold water record he shared with Nanook.  The old record was 45.3, and the new record is 44.1.  He swam a quarter mile (from the north rock pile to garage and back) with only his speedo, cap and goggles.  Amazing swim!