Monday, October 20, 2008

Me Whiskers Froze Off!

Actually it was my toes. Cap'n and me had a great swim yesterday, but today was a different story. We said we'd keep swimming until the Lake froze our whiskers off, and today she would have. It was painfully cold to put just our feet in the water, we never made it to our whiskers.

So our incredible run of 98 straight days of swimmable conditions has finally ended. Altogether we swam well over 100 days, counting the sporadic days we swam in late June and early July.

We'll keep an eye on her, just in case she changes her mind, but this just might be the end of our love affair, until Spring reignites the passion.

When I get a minute I'm going to read back on our adventures and pick out some highlights.

Back to the pool! Ugh!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Reoccuring themes

Just a tad bit cooler than the last day....that's the statement The Patriarch and I have made just about every day this week as we performed the traditional 'toe test' just prior to our swims. It's as if the Lady of the Lake is testing us, ratcheting down the water temp just a degree or two each day in attempt to find our threshold where we'll cry uncle and throw in the towel on the swim season.

...but as The Patriarch's whiskers have yet to freeze off and the water temp hasn't slipped into the winter hibernation mode where the 'toe test' results in the unmistakable sensation of pin & needs our Lake Michigan swim adventures have continued.

Thursday evening's water conditions were a tad bit choppy with waves pushing from the north east. Water clarity was fair with visibility at times reaching 5-6ft. The water temp was most likely 60...tops. Our swim journey Thursday took us from North Beach to the rockpile and back. Probably a little further than we should have pushed in the cold water but as this may have been our final opportunity this year to log a rockpile adventure we couldn't resist the temptation to seize the moment.

Friday's noon time conditions were crystal clear water clarity and a water temp hovering most likely on the minus side of 60. The lake surface was slightly rippled with an occasional wave rolling to shore. Our swim adventure took us from north beach to the garage and then south to south beach before heading back to north beach.

The air temp Saturday afternoon was a cool 54 degrees but the bright sunshine did wonders to make it feel and appear to be much warmer. The water clarity today was a bit mysterious. In some spots it was crystal clear and in others it was filled with sand reminiscent of our swims in big waves. The winds from the east were light and resulted in only small waves of a foot or less. Water temp was most likely in the upper 50's but again noticeably cooler than yesterday. Today's swim adventure took us from North Beach to the Garage, down to south, south beach before returning to North Beach.

Unlike the past few days, warming up today immediately following our swim was not a problem. The bright, warm sun did wonders to instantly heat you up after just a few minutes out of the water.

Sunday's plan is to swim at 1pm. With a forecast for slightly warmer air temps and plentiful sunshine chances are good we'll be able to give it a go tomorrow.

Any takers?


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Crystal Clear & not so comfortably cool

The conditions were beautiful Wednesday evening. Crystal clear water, a smooth glass like lake surface and the fall colors illuminating the Klode bay. As inviting as the scenery was the water temp wasn't quite so appealing. The initial toe test indicated a slightly cooler water temp from yesterday...most likely in the 58-60 range.

Determined to log a swim The Patriarch and I climbed into our wetsuits and slowly walked the plank. The initial facial plunge into the water was a bit of a shock but upon reaching the garage the water temp became a bit more hospitable....not too mention the crystal clarity of the water was just to enticing not push onward.

Our journey Wednesday evening took us from north beach up to the garage, back down to south, south beach and then back to Klode. By the end of our 30 minute adventure I had become quite comfortable in the water but unfortunately for The Patriarch an equipment malfunction with his wetsuit (i.e. his wetsuit zipper had come undone....) made for a chilly swim experience.

Our plan is to swim again Thursday evening at 4:30pm. With sunny skies the experience will certainly become even more visually stimulating than it already is!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008


We definitely need to come up with a nickname for James. Icebreaker, Ice Man, Penguin, or something.

Last night he and the Cap'n and me jump in without wetsuits. Brrrrrr... Cap'n and me said "uncle" after 15 minutes, but the amazing James was in for over half an hour.

Then this morning (I lied when I said we weren't going to swim in the morning any more), the water is even colder. James says forget it, it's too cold (he doesn't have a wetsuit). So he heads up the bluff and Cap'n and I don our wetsuits for a rockpile swim.

We had the rising sun on the east, the lake bluff blazing autumn colors on the west, and crystal clear water below. It was quite enjoyable.

But when we get back to the beach James is there. Apparently he can't resist the call of Lady Lake either. One of us! Only crazier if that's possible. He had done ten minutes without a wetsuit. If that's not crazy enough, now he's headed to St. Croix for a five mile swim in ninety degree water (I'm not sure that's really any better than sixty - pick your poison, hypothermia or heat exhaustion).

Anyhow we need to find him a swimming nickname. Suggestions welcome.

We'll be swimming tomorrow, Wednesday, at 4:30 PM at Klode. The forecast is 56 and rain, and the water sure won't be any warmer. I guess that's why we're Dos Locos. Tres Locos?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hard Core

I thought Cap'n and me were hard core, still swimming in the middle of October. But James put us to shame yesterday, swimming almost two miles in nothing but a speedo and goggles! No cap, no wetsuit. Amazing.

Of course we couldn't let that challenge go unanswered, so after swimming a mile with our wetsuits, Cap'n and me returned to the beach, ditched the wetsuits and did another quarter mile. It wasn't too bad, but I doubt I could have matched James' feat. I'm not sure what the water temp is, but low 60's at best.

What's even more amazing is that the leaves are falling and we are still swimming at all, much less without wetsuits.

We're going again today at 4:30 PM at Klode (we've given up on morning swims, it's just too dark and too cold)

====Saturday's Swim Report ===
The water conditions Saturday were similar to those posted above for Sunday...perhaps a degree or two cooler but definitely managable in a wetsuit. The Patriarch and I swam first from North Beach up to the Garage. In search of clearer water we swam south. At first our goal was just to make it to South Beach but in the comfort of our wetsuits we continued on all the way down to the stair case before heading back to north beach. The adventure lasted an hour and covered 1 1/2 miles....was it really October 11th?

Upon arriving back we found Sir James just getting back from a 20 minute swim...without a wetsuit! Amazing...simply amazing!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Thursday Double Dip / Frigid Friday

Hard to believe I'm still blogging about double dipping on October 9th...but the weather conditions on Thursday afternoon were just too nice for The Patriarch and I not to head out for another lake adventure Thursday afternoon.

Thursday evening's conditions: sunny skies, air temp in the upper 60's, a very light southwest wind and a water temp hovering around the plus side of 60....barely. With a slight ripple of waves pushing up from the south we decided to swim from south beach.

This was our first adventure from south beach since the big waves at the beginning of the week reshaped the shoreline. Gone is the beach that connected to the south rock pile. The water now completely surrounds the rock pile. The pitch of the beach into the water is also a bit steeper. With just a few steps you plunge into nearly waist deep water....but perhaps just 15 feet beyond that point a new sandbar has formed that is only knee deep.

Briefly we contemplated swimming without wetsuits but the desire to log a longer swim with wetsuits quickly won out. Our swim took us from south beach down to the sewer pipe and back and like this morning included a venture out further from shore to search for clearer warmer water. Similar to this morning though, the water remained consistently cloudy.

The air temp on Friday morning was a crisp 48 degrees. The skies were clear but at 6:30am the sun had barely started to illuminate horizon. The sand was ice cold and to the toes the water temp didn't offer much of a reprieve. With the forecast calling for plentiful sunshine and temps near 70 The Patriarch and I decided to forgo the morning swim in favor of an afternoon adventure.

As predicted, the conditions were a lot more accommodating when The Patriarch and I arrived at 4pm. Sunshine and 70 on the beach. The toe test also indicated that the water conditions had improved. If I had to guess I'd place the water temp around 60. A light breeze from the southeast resulted in choppy waves pushing up from the south.

Clad in wetsuits we swam north from north beach up to the garage before turning south and heading down to south beach. From the beach the choppy waves didn't appear to be much of a concern but as it would turn out the swim in both directions was very challenging. In the end this swim turned out to be more challenging than swimming through the big waves encountered earlier in the week. Establishing any semblance of a rhythm this afternoon was a virtual impossibility.

Saturday's swim plan is to swim at noon from Klode. With the forecast calling for sunshine and temps in the mid 70's it should be an excellent afternoon for a late season swim.

Hope to see you at Klode!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Autumn Color Tour

Sunrise over the lake is always beautiful, but today was one of the best ever. A sparkling red sunrise illuminated the brillant autumn colors on the bluff. The glasslike surface of the lake reflected a spotless sky.

Clad in our wetsuits, Cap'n and I cruised on calm water to the rockpile and back. We kept up a nice pace, but mostly it was about just enjoying the morning.

We would have liked to hang around some more, but with the air so much colder than the water, getting out becomes a race to get out of wet swim gear and into warm dry clothes and a heated car.

If it's still nice this afternoon we'll go again at 4:30PM at Klode, and we'll definitely be tomorrow morning at 6:30 AM.

I can't believe we're still swimming on October 9th. I can't explain it, I guess I'll just enjoy it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sharp Contrast

What a difference a day makes. Gone this morning were the enormous waves that provided ample thrills and challenges the past two days. Instead The Patriarch and I were treated to a glass like lake surface with occasional speed bumps rolling gently to shore.

The entire Klode scene appeared to be hung over from the excitement encountered the past 48 hours. The sky was grey leaving the rising sun little chance to illuminate the lake as we swam this morning. Water temps were just a tad bit cooler again...most likely in the upper 50's to around 60.

The water was cold as we walked the plank clad in our wetsuits but after a few minutes of swimming we were able to acclimate ourselves to the conditions. This morning's journey took us from north beach to the rock pile and back with a detour out towards Michigan on the way back as we searched for clear water. There was none to be found. The water was consistently cloudy with visibility at 2ft at best.

The Patriarch and I plan to swim next at 6:30am Thursday morning. Water clarity, day light, and air temps are forecasted to improve....

Hope to see you Thursday!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Adrenaline Rush!

Wow! Monster waves! Scary fun!

We swam yesterday morning, yesterday afternoon, and this morning. Each time the waves were bigger. This morning the lake administered a real thumping. Mike joined Cap'n and me for a rip-roaring ride. We were tossed, flipped, sucked in, spun around, knocked on our butts, and spit out.

Getting out was a struggle against huge waves and currents. When I finally made it onto the beach I looked back to see Cap'n trying to swim against the current. He was going backwards! Hilarious!

I wish I could go again tonight, but I can't. I'll bet the Cap'n could be lured in if anyone wants to give him a holler.

We'll be at Klode at 6:30Am tomorrow (Wed) morning.

P.S. Perry, good to hear from you. I'll bet the surfing is awesome!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday's Showers Don't Slow Dos Locos

Raw...that's the best way to characterize the conditions as The Patriarch and I arrived at Klode on Sunday. Grey skies, a steady rain, an easterly breeze around 10mph and an air temp around 55. Still we couldn't shake the memories of yesterday's phenomenal swim conditions. Determined to swim but respecting mother natures challenge we jumped into our wetsuits in the Klode parking lot. Immune to the rain and cool breeze we ventured confidently down to the beach.

With the current pushing up from the southeast we decided to swim from south beach. While the water was a tad bit cooler than yesterday it was still very inviting...particularly with a wetsuit on. If I had to guess I'd say the water temp was in the 60-62 degree range.

The swim south down from south beach to the stair case was a bit choppy but nothing a determined swim stroke couldn't easily overcome. The water clarity and color remained remarkably enticing although a little cloudier than yesterday...although I'm sure the grey skies didn't help matters.

The return trip to south beach was virtually effortless. Even a half hearted swim stroke was enough to propel you forward like a torpedo. In total today's adventure lasted approximately 45 minutes.

The Patriarch and I plan to log our next adventure from Klode at 6:30am Monday. Anyone interested in joining us?


Bonus Swim

Saturday morning Cap'n and me did the Lapham Peak Colorama run, and then headed to the beach.  We were astonished to find warm, perfectly clear water.

In we went, without wetsuits.  We swam 3/4 mile before we started to get chilled and figured it was time to get out.  Here are some pictures:

We headed to the Capn's hideout, where the chill quickly faded in his hot tub.  A bottle of champagne and a couple of shots of Killepitsch also helped.

This was meant to be our end-of-the-season celebration, but of course we'll keep going until my whiskers freeze.  We both have plans and the forecast is dicey, so I'm not sure what time we'll go today, sometime later in the afternoon probably.  If you're interested, post a comment, or shoot us an email or give us a call. 

Friday, October 3, 2008

Uncharted Territory - Thursday am/pm & Friday am swim update

As The Patriarch and I strolled down to the beach Thursday morning we found ourselves contemplating a new question. Rather than debate whether or not we'll be fortunate enough to log a swim in October we now ponder "how long can we swim into October?" Determined to find the answer we've both sworn a blood oath to continue to try every day until either the Lady of the Lake slumbers into her icy hibernation or The Patriarch's whiskers freeze off. money's on the former.

In sharp contrast to Wednesday the Lake surface on Thursday morning appeared to have been ridden over with a steam roller. The lake appearance was so flat you swore you could see Michigan if looked hard enough. The near shore water was cloudy and cool hovering in the low 60's. The Patriarch and I entered the water clad in our wetsuits and seeking to log a longer swim with the pristine water conditions. The water was a pleasant reprieve from the cold 45 degree air temp. Our swim adventure took us from north beach up to the rockpile and then back down to south beach before returning. Total elapsed swim time was around 45 minutes.

By the time 4:30 had rolled around the air temp had climbed all the way up to the upper 50's. Unable to resist the call of the Lake The Patriarch and I ventured down to Klode beach without our wetsuits. The glass like lake surface and the irresistible turquoise color of the lake were just to inviting to pass up. Without wetsuits we logged a 20 minute adventure from north beach up to the garage and down to south beach before returning to shore. With a water temp barely above 60 the adventure was a 'little' nuts....but does that really surprise anyone? ...we are, however, still pondering why we logged this adventure....

This morning The Patriarch and I arrived at Klode to find gently rolling 1-2 waves coming ashore. Testing our wits this morning, Mother Nature decided to throw her hat into equation. For the first time since beginning our swim adventures this season we could see our breath as we descended down to the beach. The air temp was around 40, the sun was flirting with the horizon and the beach sand felt like ice underneath our toes. Yet the Lady of the Lake once again opened up her playground to us with a water temp flirting with the plus side of 60. Swimming without a wetsuit was tempting....if it weren't for the fact that we could see our breath! :)

Clad in wetsuits we logged a rockpile and back adventure. With a steady current pushing from the northeast our trip up was a bit of work while the return journey was swift. I must admit, it was a bit strange swimming in conditions where it felt better to have your face in the water than out of if.

As The Patriarch's whiskers have yet to freeze off we once again plan to swim from Klode on Saturday. 1pm is the plan. October swim celebration to follow. Anyone up for it?

Hope to see you then!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Mission Accomplished!

Wow...what a day! The much anticipated opportunity to log a swim in Lake Michigan in October finally arrived this morning. As excited as Nahi, The Patriarch and I were to get out for a swim this morning the Lady of the Lake appeared to be even more excited than us as she greeted us with sizable waves in the 2-4ft range and occasionally delivered a monster 5ft+ wave. This morning's swim was certainly going to be more of a mosh pit party than a stroll through the park.

Accompanying the big waves was a grey sky and an air temp hovering in the upper 40's. Despite the feet numbing sand the 3 of us were very pleased to find that the water temp was little changed from yesterday.

Wanting to savor every minute of this morning's swim by spending as much time in the water as possible we each decided to wear our wetsuits....going in without them would have certainly resulted in a much shorter swim with the cold air temp and water temp in the low 60's.

After a few minutes of wading through an onslaught of waves moving quickly in from the northeast we finally succeeded in making it out to our traditional swim start on top of the second sand bar. Our roller coaster like swim this morning took us from north beach up to the rockpile and back and lasted nearly 40 minutes.

After a brief chilled celebration to commemorate this historic swim we were pleasantly surprised to run into Sir James and The Fine Wench. Both were venturing down to also log a historic October dip in the lake. Sticking to their code of never wearing a wetsuit, they logged a successful 10 minute swim without wetsuits. ...very, very impressive! :)

The Patriarch and I will be looking to continue our October Lake Michigan Swim adventures Thursday morning at 6:30am.

Come on out and enjoy the fun!

PS. Swim conditions pending....there are currently rumors that a little beach celebration may occur this weekend...perhaps Saturday afternoon? Stay tuned.