Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cap'n is the Crazy One, We're Perfectly Sane

Next swims: Today (Wed) 4:30 PM Klode, Tomorrow (Thu) morning 6:30AM Klode
Tomorrow afternoon: 4PM Waikiki, Yes, gentle reader, that would be Honolulu, Hawaii, where Gelaney and I fly tomorrow to begin our tour of four of the Hawaiian islands. Our schedule is packed, but hopefully I'll get a chance to fire off a post or two.

This morning's swim:
Water temp 61 (but the air was 38!, I think that's a record for low air temp on a swim day)
Waves: 3-4 feet, which normally would seem big, but felt tame after yesterday
Water Clarity: cloudy near shore, but very clear 50 meters out (oddly, there is a very clear boundary between the clear and cloudy water, and the clear water is several degrees warmer)
Crew: Gabriel, Cap'n, Patriarch

Tomorrow afternoon on Waikiki, I expect to be warmly greeted by a toasty sand beach decorated with scantily clad mermaids. This morning at Klode, by contrast, we were greeted by several very bundled up ladies, some of whom give us that "you're crazy" look, and a few come right out and say it. Then Gabriel and I point at the Cap'n and cheerfully reply, "No, he's the crazy one, we're perfectly sane, we just hang around to try to keep him from doing something really nuts!".

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What a Rush!

This morning's swim:
Water temp - 60
Waves: 4-6ft
Water clarity: sand filled near shore, clear 150 meters offshore
Crew: The Patriarch, Gabriel, Capt'n

This evening's swim:
Water temp - 62
Waves: 6-8ft!!
Water clarity: sand filled near shore, clear 200 meters offshore
Crew: The Patriarch, Capt'n

Wow...what an absolute rush...and a very pleasant surprise today. Despite the big west winds of yesterday and a continued westerly wind today, The Patriarch and I experienced what were certainly the biggest waves of the season...if not ever this afternoon.

As intimidating as 6-8ft waves may sound, I would liken them more as playful giants. We had an absolute blast being pummelled by the waves as we attempted to head out from shore. Attempting to run right through the waves was futile as they would relentlessly bull you over...fortunately though, the spacing of the waves allowed you plenty of time to pick yourself up in time to prepare for the next one.

After being knocked on our asses a few times we quickly employed new strategies as we pillaged and plundered through the waves. We jumped over them...well, it was more like jumping into them...we dove under well as my personal favorite, the chest bump. ...I also did try head butting the waves but I wouldn't recommend it unless you like water up your nose.

Besides our great adventures heading out to sea and the always humorous attempts to crawl back ashore as the Lady of the Lake attempts to tug you back out...our actual swims today kind of paled in comparison. So I'll save those tales for another day....

Monday, September 28, 2009

Who Needs Coffee?

Beach: Klode
Water temp: 64
Waves: calm
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: Gabriel, Cap'n, Patriarch
Next swims: 4:30PM today, 6:30 AM Tuesday

It's cold, windy, rainy, and dreary. I oversleep. No time to take care of my coffee addiction, just throw on my suit, a shirt and go. When I arrive at the beach ten minutes late, Cap'n helpfully points out that I'm wearing my shirt inside out. The water temp is borderline wetsuit, but we are more worried about how cold it will be when we get out, so we wear wetsuits. Even so the initial plunge wakes me up faster than any shot of caffeine. Once in, its great, I almost overheat in the wetsuit. We swim for a mile or so and then head straight up the bluff to our cars, still wearing our wetsuits. I peel off the wetsuit, jump in the car, and crank the heater. Wide awake and feeling great.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Skin Swims Take the Lead!

Beach: Klode
Water temp: 69
Waves: slight chop from the south
Water Clarity: fantastic
Crew: The Patriarch, Tom, Jack, Lindsey, Gabriel, Robin, Gumdrop, Capt'n
Next Swim: 6:30AM Monday Klode

It's September 27th and our skin swim count just edged past our count of wetsuit swims. It's the first time ever that the skin count has ever held a lead...Amazing! ...of course this is the first year that we've kept a count. ...for some reason though, the accomplishment does feel rare.

I mean, like, what are the chances that at the end of September we would have more skin swims than wetsuit swims? Probably more amazing, is that after the 3 week seize we had in August of sub 50 degree water temps that we've now swam without a wetsuit for 28 consecutive days.

We've been blessed with a great stretch of swimming conditions. Today was no exception. We enjoyed some of the best swimming of the season this weekend. Crystal clear water clarity, sunny skies and warm air temps to go along with comfortable water temps.

...I'd even go so far as to say the water temps were quite accommodating for even for the guys who went skin....not to be confused with the guys who didn't....but I won't be namin' any names here. :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Going Skin

Beach: Klode
Water temp: 69
Waves: gentle rollers
Water Clarity: Good - cloudy in some spots, clear others
Crew: Lindsey, Brad, Gabriel, Robin, Gumdrop, Cap'n, Patriarch
Next Swim: 11AM Sunday Klode

According to an article in this morning's Wall Street Journal about the Alcatraz Invitational Swim in San Francisco Bay, veteran bay swimmers refer to going without wetsuits as "going skin". Today we went skin for the 54th time this season, tying our count of wetsuit swims. The swimming conditions were just about perfect, we cruised to the rockpile, and Lindsey, Brad and Cap'n went considerably further.

We celebrated a very successful swim season with a cookout at our place, including, of course, some shots of Killepitsch.

Friday, September 25, 2009

End of Season Swim & Cookout, Saturday Noon Klode

Next swims: Today 4:30PM Klode
Tomorrow: we will celebrate a fun and adventurous swim season with a swim at Klode followed by a cookout at my place - 4433 N Woodburn in Shorewood. All are welcome: Anyone who's swum with us or would like to swim with us, or is related to someone who swum with us, or is less than six degrees of separation with someone who swum with us, or anyone who thinks we should be committed. Barack and Michelle, you are welcome too. No need to bring anything.

This morning's swim:
Water temp: 69
Waves: Unexpectedly, we encountered 3 ft waves, which seemed to be building, it could be lots of fun this afternoon.
Water Clarity: stirred up and cloudy again, I recommend swimming from the north end of the beach which is much cleaner and clearer than the areas between the rocks.
Crew: Gabriel, Cap'n, Patriarch

Last night's swim:
Water temp 72
Waves: a little chop
Water Clarity: excellent
Crew: James, Cap'n, Patriarch

Near perfect conditions continue. Although they may not last long, there is one more day of east winds predicted, then strong westerlies for the next few days, which will probably cool the water considerably.

Last night as Cap'n and I walked down the path to the beach we saw James, who had just begun swimming to the north. We swam the same way, thinking we might catch him on his way back. Off the cedar grove we stopped to look for him, and saw him about 100 yards away, swimming directly at us. We assumed he had seen us and was swimming to meet us, but apparently not, because he swam within a foot or so and then jumped in surprise like he had seen a shark. Sorry to have fun at your expense James, but it was quite amusing. You'll get back at us I'm sure.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Just About Perfect

Next swims: Today (Thu) 4:30PM Klode, tomorrow (Fri) 6:30 AM Klode

Last night's swim:
Water temp - 73
Waves: calm
Water clarity: very good
Crew: Cap'n & Patriarch

This morning's swim:
Water temp - 70
Waves: almost calm
Water clarity: excellent, even near shore, the "gunk" is gone
Crew: Robin, Gabriel, Cap'n, Patriarch

The swim conditions are just about perfect. You can swim till you drop in warm, clear, calm water. It might not last long. The persistent onshore winds, which have blessed us with warm water these last two weeks, are predicted to turn around this weekend. Even if they don't, we can't be too far from the end of the swim season, so come out and enjoy it while you can.

We are still hoping to have an end-of-season swim and cookout at noon on Saturday, but the forecast is problematic, and may change the plan. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Steadily Improving

Last night's swim.
Water temp:70
Waves: moderate chop from the south
Water Clarity: gunk had returned from shore to about 25ft from shore
Crew: The Patriarch, Robin, Capt'n

This morning's swim:
Water temp: 68
Waves: calm
Water Clarity: Still somewhat cloudy but the gunky brown water near shore is gone.
Crew: The Patriarch, Gabriel, Capt'n

Next Swims: Klode 4:30pm Wednesday, Klode 6:30am Thursday

Conditions continued to improve this morning. Klode's north beach was completely clear of all gunk and seaweeds. The southeast had a thin layer of gunk floating from the shoreline to about 4-5ft from shore. The other 2 beaches are still completely covered with gunk.

The lake surface was a sheet of glass this morning. A pleasant reprieve from the choppy conditions that have challenged us the last few days. Swimming up to the rock wall and back felt nearly effortless.

The water clarity has improved considerably from a few days ago. With the lack of sunshine today it was difficult to judge the water clarity but there were times when I was swimming 75-100 meters from shore that I thought I could faintly see the sandy lake bottom 10-12 feet below me.

On a side note....this is now the 24th consecutive day where the lake temps for us have supported swimming without a wetsuit. (i.e. the water temp has been at least 65 or warmer) Amazing considering what we encountered in August. :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Century Swim

Upcoming Swims: Today (Tue) 4:30 PM Klode, Wed 6:30 AM Klode
This weekend: conditions permitting we'll celebrate a successful swim season with a Klode swim followed by a cookout at my place. Tentatively we'll start swimming at noon. Please let Ted or me know if you might be coming.

Last night's swim.
Water temp:69
Waves: small chop
Water Clarity: Improving, the gunk near shore is mostly gone
Crew: Gabriel, Gumdrop, Cap'n, Patriarch

This morning's swim:
Water temp: 68
Waves: one foot, but very choppy
Water Clarity: Still somewhat cloudy because of stirred up silt and sand, but the gunky brown water near shore is gone.
Crew: Gabriel, Cap'n, Patriarch

This morning was our 100th swim of the season, quite an accomplishment considering August, usually our prime swim month, was almost a total bust. September is making up for it. It's been a couple weeks since we've needed to don our wetsuits.

We swam into heavy chop and a big current, it took us 21 minutes of hard work to reach sewer pipe, and only 14 minutes of easy cruising to get back.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Best and Worst

Beach: Klode
Water Temp: 69
Waves: 2 feet, rolling no chop
Water Clarity: Still gunky right on shore, much nicer a short way out
Crew: Gabriel, Cap'n, Patriarch
Next swims: 4:30PM Monday, 6:30 AM Tuesday (this will be our 100th swim of the season!)

The worst part of swimming early this time of year is getting my sorry butt out of bed, down to the beach, and wading into cold gunky water. But once I get past the gunk comes the best part, warming up and swimming in clean water while the sun rises.

It appears that tomorrow morning will be our 100th swim of the season. Perhaps we can go out for a leisurely breakfast afterwards to celebrate. Oh, I forgot, some people have to work.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A little gunk, a lot of good water

Beach: Klode
Water temp: 69
Waves: 2-3 feet, very very choppy
Crew: Mike, Gabriel, Cap'n, Patriarch
Water Clarity:  Still gunky right on shore, but the "nice" water was much closer in than yesterday
Next swim: Monday 6:30AM

If there was only some way to avoid the gunk that is washed up in the first ten meters from shore.  At least the big dead rotting fish that was on the beach yesterday was gone today.  The only fishy things were us.  Once we waded through the gunk into the the nice water, we had a very pleasant swim, a good workout in the heavy chop.  A warm, sunny and almost perfect day.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sludge Fest

Friday Afternoon:
Beach: Klode
Water temp: 73
Waves: Choppy 2-3ft from north
Water Clarity: Stirred up (cloudy turquoise blue)
Crew: The Patriarch, Robin, John, Capt'n

Beach: Klode
Water temp: 69
Waves: Choppy 2-4ft from the south
Water Clarity: Lots & lots of gunk (seaweeds) being pushed onto the beach
Crew: The Patriarch, Brad, John, Capt'n

Next swims: 11AM Sunday Klode

The near shore water at all 4 Klode beaches this afternoon was nearly as black as a cup of coffee. The result of thick globs of seaweeds being pushed ashore by the Lady of the Lake who appeared to be doing a little housekeeping this afternoon.

I would liken the experience to witnessing someone cleaning out the dust from their garage with a high powered leaf blower. If you got too close you were sure to get a face full of dust....get too close to the shore today and you risked getting splashed with a great big blob of sludge.

Just offshore, the Caribbean blue hue of the water temped us to swim out to it. The waves today were a bit bigger and more frequent then yesterday afternoon. An exciting swim adventure awaited us for sure.

We walked the plank at record pace today as the feel of several inches of sludge beneath our feet and the constant splashing of waves filled with seaweeds motivated us all to move quickly out towards the clearer water. As it would turn out though, the clear water was perhaps 400 meters from shore so we conceded at approximately 150-200 meters from shore and opted to swim in water that no longer was thick with sludge.

The swim down to south-south beach was slow but fun. The 2-4ft waves tossed us around and often times provided the unique opportunity to swim downhill and then uphill. The trip back was fact I think The Patriarch mentioned that he'd didn't even swim a stroke opting instead to hoist his whiskered sail and catch a ride from a whopper of a wave. ...he did wave as he blew past me....or at least he claims.

Upon returning to shore the Lady of the Lake was kind enough to spit us out along with several more buckets of sludge....and a monster sized fish (salmon?) for us to snack on later.

Today was certainly a unique experience. Very rarely do we encounter anything but pristine water when we swim from Klode. Despite the unpleasant images portrayed by today's adventure I'm confident that they will soon pass. Encountering today's conditions certainly reminds us just how sophisticated the Lady the Lake can be. Warm one day, cold the next...crystal clear one day...

Looking forward to what the Lady of the Lake has in store for us tomorrow. :)

Hope to see you on the beach!


Friday, September 18, 2009

Calming Down

Beach: Klode
Water temp: 68
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: good - much clearer and cleaner than the last couple days
Crew: Lindsey, Gabriel, Cap'n, Patriarch
Next swims: Noon Saturday Klode, also 4:30 today

A complete sea change from the last few days.  Clear calm water. Swimming that seemed almost effortless compared to our recent struggles with waves and currents.  We made it to rockwall and back.  

Take a look at Sandie's interesting comments on the previous post.  Since I am now retired perhaps I can get more involved in these issues.     

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Always Unpredictable

Next Swim:  6:30AM Friday Klode

Last night's swim:
Water temp: 71
Waves: 2-3 feet
Water Clarity:  Lots of gunk being pushed in to the beach, but a few meters out the water was cloudy with sand, but much more pleasant
Crew:  Gumdrop, Cap'n, Patriarch

We were looking forward to playing in the giant waves that he forecast predicted would be building throughout the day, but once again the forecast was wrong.  They were still big, but smaller than the morning.  But the warm (71) degree water made for a very comfortable swim.

This morning's swim:
Water temp: 68
Waves: 2-3 feet , rolling and regular
Water Clarity:  same as last night
Crew: Gabriel, Cap'n, Patriarch

We should have known something was wrong when we quickly and effortlessly reached the rock wall.  Even though it wasn't apparent from shore, there was a huge current pushing north, which we found out when we turned around.  After swimming what seemed like forever, I looked up to shore to see we had barely moved.  The trip back was serious work, and when we finally got back to shore we faced the next challenge.  With the water warmer than the air and the onshore breeze, we started shivering very quickly.  It helps to have lots of dry clothes at the ready. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

4-6 foot fun!

Next Swims: Wednesday 4:30pm Klode, Thursday 6:30am Klode

Last night's swim:
Water temp: 73
Clarity: stirred up nearshore, excellent 50-75 meters offshore
Waves: one foot chop
Current: from the northeast
Crew: The Patriarch, Robin, Capt'n and Sir James arrived later.

This morning's swim:
Water temp: 70
Clarity: stirred up
Waves: 2-4ft early then frequent 4-6ft
Crew: The Patriarch, Gabriel, Capt'n

This morning's swim was an absolute blast!! The waves this morning were rolling in frequently approximately 2-3 seconds apart. 2-4 foot waves at the onset of the swim gave way to eventual 4-6ft launch pads for anyone looking for a little body surfing fun.

Due to the size and frequency of this morning waves we walked the plank from Klode's north beach. Our journey took us northward up to a new landmark we now call Cedar Grove...a small patch of cedar trees that line the beach between the garage and the rock wall. Coincidentally the offshore waves in this stretch also seem to be the biggest and most fun.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Closing In on 100 Swims

Next swims: noon today (Tue), 4:30 PM today, 6:30 AM Wed, all at Klode
The waves are building, predicted to be 2-4 feet by tonight and possibly 5-6 by tomorrow.  It should be fun.

We are only eleven swims away from 100 for the season, we just need the warm water to hold out another week or so, and the forecast appears favorable.  

This morning's swim:
Water temp: 68
Waves: calm
Clarity: perfect
Crew: Gabriel, Cap'n, Patriarch, and Mike joined us a little later

We intended to do a shorter swim to garage and back, but once again it was too nice to stop there, so we probably doubled what we intended.

Last night's swim:
Water temp: 74!
Clarity: excellent
Waves: one foot chop
Crew: Gumdrop, Cap'n, Patriarch, and Gabriel and Steve joined in later.

This was our "day after ironman" swim and we intended it to be a short easy one, but on the way back we ran into Steve on his way to rockpile, so of course we had to join him part of the way.  The conditions are so good it's hard to pull yourself out, no matter how tired you are. 

Monday, September 14, 2009

Warmest Water of the Season

Next Swim:  6:30 AM Tuesday Klode.  The water temp was 74 today, and it was crystal clear.  Swimming couldn't be better.  Please join us.

I'm sorry there haven't been any blog updates the last few days, but there was just so much happening and so little time.  

The big thing, of course, was Big Shoulders (oh yeah, there was some little thing in Madison too).
Big Shoulders, is the 5K open water national championship, held at Ohio Street Beach in downtown Chicago.  800 swimmers participated in either the 5K or 2.5 K swim.  Conditions were perfect, the water was clear, calm, and warm (73).  My daughter Melanie did very well, taking 5th in her age group with a time of 1:15:01.  

A complete report of the race is on their website:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Best Swimming of the Season

Wed evening:
Water temp: 72!
Waves: small chop
Water Clarity: cloudy
Crew:  Cap'n got hung up, Patriarch did a solo swim

Thursday morning:  
Water temp: 70
Waves: small rollers
Water Clarity:  good to excellent
Crew:  Cap'n and Patriarch

Next swims:  No scheduled swims until Monday, except of course for Big Shoulders Saturday and Ironman Sunday.  Good luck to all!
Note:  I might do a short swim Friday morning, just to stay loose, but I'm not sure when.

Wednesday evening Cap'n got hung up so I did a delightful solo swim in very warm water.  It was so nice that I had a very difficult time forcing myself to quit.

Thursday morning conditions were just about perfect, so Cap'n and me made an impromptu decision to do a Big Bay non-wetsuit swim.  This is one of our favorite swims, but we haven't one done this yet this season, and it's already mid-September, we couldn't be sure that we'd get another opportunity. 

We left some towels and my car at Klode and took Capn's car to Big Bay.  The half mile north of Big Bay is littered with the remnants of a glorious past, with several now-sunken piers, and broken down terraces and breakwalls on shore.  Jack Pandl's restaurant has pictures of the large beach resort that used to stand here.  It too bad it's gone, and it's too bad most people that live near here never use the lake for anything.  It seems like such a waste.  

We were in no hurry, we just focused on full smooth strokes.  We cruised along ,checking off familiar landmarks as we passed:  sunken pier, post in the water, small beach, flatrock, new staircase, old staircase, sewer pipe, south south beach, reaching Klode all too soon.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Just Another Day in Paradise

Beach: Klode
Water temp: 69
Waves:  small chop
Water Clarity:  cloudy, stirred up
Crew:  Tom, Gabriel, Cap'n, Patriarch
Next swims:  Today (Wed) 4:30PM Klode, Tomorrow 9AM Klode (note change in time)
Special Note:  The water temp at Ohio Street Beach, site of Saturday's Big Shoulders was reported to be a balmy 70 yesterday.  

Ho Hum.  Just another perfect day in a string of perfect days.  Another gorgeous bright red sunrise over the lake.  The bad memories of a terrible August, three weeks straight of unusually cold water, washed away in the warm surf.  And the forecast for the big weekend (Big Shoulders, Ironman Wisconsin) looks promising.  

We had to hold ourselves back today, for once common sense ruled.  We have big events this weekend, and we need to rest a bit.  So we went a bit past "garage" and turned back.  We'll be back this afternoon though, at 4:30, to put another notch in our quest for 100 swims this season.   

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Picture from the August 30th Swim Adventure

From Left to Right: Mike, Brad, The Patriarch, Capt'n, Gumdrop, Gabriel, Sandie

The Best Way to End the Day

Beach: Klode
Water Temp: 71
Waves: 1-2ft chop
Current: from the northeast
Water Clarity: Somewhat cloudy near shore, clear further out
Crew: The Patriarch, Gabriel, Lindsey, Robin, Capt'n
Next Swim: Wednesday 6AM Klode

At last...a no wetsuit double dip day!! Believe it or not I think this was our first one of the year. Better late than never, right? :)

Swimming north toward the rock wall was quite the adventure. The choppy / rolling 1-2 waves made it a challenge to maintain any resemblance of a rhythm. Still we persisted in our journey northward....first to the garage...then to the halfway point to the rockwall and finally to the south edge of the landslide before we decided to cash in and ride the current home. ...although the trip home wasn't all that easy as the angle of the waves still did their best to challenge your rhythm.

Upon returning to the beach we briefly met Senor Loco and a companion who were just embarking on their evening swim adventure. The Big Shoulders Swim is just a few days away....good luck to everyone participating!

The Best Way to Start the Day

Beach: Klode
Water Temp: 68
Waves:  One foot chop
Water Clarity:  Somewhat cloudy near shore, clear further out
Crew:  Gabriel, Cap'n, Patriarch

Next Swim: Today (Tue) 5PM Klode, conditions appear favorable for a Klode to Big Bay swim (a little more than a mile). Meet at Klode, bring towels and stuff that we can take to Big Bay, we'll leave a car for the ride back, or you can walk/jog back.

Tired, grumpy, and sore, we lurched down the path to the beach in the pre-dawn darkness.  But the plunge into 68 degree water without wetsuits quickly woke us up. We swam to the garage, with two extra swimmers flanking us: a ruby red rising sun to our right, and a pale setting moon to our left.  Our mood was considerably brighter on the walk back up the path.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Beach: Klode
Water temp: 71
Waves: slight chop from the northeast
Water Clarity: good
Crew: The Patriarch, Gumdrop, Gabriel, Brad, Sandie, Lindsey, Eileen, Robin, Capt'n
Next Swim: Tuesday 6AM Klode

Days like today are what make swimming in Lake Michigan so addicting. It was an absolutely perfect day to be at the beach....and an even better day for a swim. The entire crew swam from Klode's southeast beach up to the rock wall and back...stopping on a few occasions to marvel at how pleasant the conditions were.

It's funny, locals on the beach still bring up how cold the water was just a couple weeks ago....all that now seems like a distant memory.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Proclamation

Beach: Atwater
Water temp: 71
Waves: 1/2 ft waves from the east
Water Clarity: 10-12ft visibility
Crew: The Patriarch, Greg, Gabriel, Mike, Mike (+kids), Sandie, Scott, Robin, Capt'n
Next Swim: Monday Noon at Klode

The Scene: It was a spectacular day for a swim, perhaps the best of the year. Sunny, air temps in the mid-70s and a water temp of 71....OUTSTANDING!

Today's mission: swim straight out from the Atwater beach approximately 1/4 mile to a buoy marking a 100 year old shipwreck. A few of us did this swim last year so we basically assumed the routine would be the same this year. Spot the buoy from shore, swim out to it, checkout the wreck, swim back.

The Plan: despite the warm water temp we decided to wear our wetsuits as there were several boats in the area passing between the beach and the buoy. As the journey was only expected to be 1/2 mile total (1/4 out & 1/4 back) we would ditch our suits upon returning and head out for another swim.

The Result: The journey out to the buoy felt like FOREVER...well, that is you were just planning on swimming 1/4 mile. As it turned out, the buoy we sighted from shore was well more than 1/2 mile out....and it was not the buoy for the shipwreck. (...It actually was a scientific buoy complete with solar panels and complex looking instrumentation....) Apparently the buoy marking the shipwreck is no longer in the water. Several of us though, did spot the shipwreck as we were swimming out.

The Encounter: Upon swimming back to the beach we came across Mike and his family who were swimming out to the shipwreck. Upon noticing that we were all clad in wetsuits he exclaimed, "let it be known that while you guys are swimming in your wetsuits, even my 8 year old daughter is embarking on this journey without the assistance of a wetsuit!" Hear ye, hear has been said and now it has been written, so let it be known to everyone. :)

The Finale: Not to be out done though...and staying true to the plan...let it be also known that The Patriarch, Greg and myself all stuck to the code and ditched our wetsuits and completed this afternoon's lake adventure clad only in our speedos.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Shipwreck Swim Sunday Noon Atwater

Swim conditions are excellent!  The water is (relatively) warm, and crystal clear.  A perfect time to explore a shipwreck:
Join us at noon Sunday at Atwater beach.

Saturday Cap'n's birthday swim
Beach: Klode
Water temp: 68
Waves: small chop
Water Clarity:  crystal clear
Crew: Mike, Gabriel, Sandie, Lindsey, Linda, Robin, Cap'n, Patriarch
The few, the proud, the brave (me!) did not wear wetsuits.  The wimps (everyone else!) did. I went to "sewer pipe" (almost).   The wetsuit group went further, a couple to Big Bay, the rest made the round trip.  Everyone had a great time.

Friday Night Full Moon Swim
Beach: Klode
Water temp: 68
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Good
Crew: Gabriel, Robin, Sandie, Greg, Gumdrop, Cap'n, Patriarch
A fine evening swim was capped off by hot chocolate, chicken chowder, and pizza at the California Pizza Kitchen.  I'm sure the waiter thought we were nuts when we ordered hot chocolate.  I guess he would be right. 

Friday noon swim:
Beach:  Klode
Water temp:  65
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity:  Good
Crew:  Cap'n, Patriarch
Yes, you are reading it right, Cap'n and me swam three times Friday!  All the fun we could stand!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Howl at the Moon Tonight 6:45

Beach: Klode
Water Temp:  68 Thursday evening, 64 Friday morning
Waves:  Choppy Thursday evening, Calm Friday morning
Water Clarity:  Stirred up sand and murky Thursday evening, Clear Friday morning
Crew: Thursday: Robin, Cap'n, Patriarch, Friday: Gabriel, Cap'n, Patriarch

Next Swims:  Conditions are excellent, and sun and offshore winds are predicted all weekend, so it can only get better.  This will probably be the best swimming of the season, so we're going to take full advantage of it:

Full Moon Swim tonight at Klode 6:45 PM.  The full moon rises over the lake at 7:07, preceded by Jupiter at 6:23, although Jupiter will be difficult to see until it gets dark.  Since it will be sunny all day, I expect water temp in the high sixties (but you never know until you get there).  Perhaps we can go for pizza afterwards? 

Saturday:  11AM Klode, Cap'n's Birthday Swim.  Conditions permitting we will do a one way or (optionally) round trip to Big Bay (aprox. 1.1 miles one way).  If necessary we'll arrange car pools before we leave.  Or possibly we'll do a "spash and dash" (i.e. run or jog back).

Sunday and Labor Day:  long swims, not sure yet exactly when, stay tuned. 

Lots to report:  Last night the water was warm enough that we swam without our wetsuits, and we could have stayed in forever, but the chop made for hard work, so we did the mile or so to "sewer pipe" and back.

This morning Gabriel demonstrated his mettle.  The zipper on his wetsuit broke, so he swam without one.  Since the water temp was only 64, Cap'n and me figured he wouldn't make it far, but he ate up the whole mile and a quarter to rockpile and back.  As he learned, it's not so bad in the water, the real suffering starts when you get out.  He was shivering hard.  But no complaints or whining from Gabriel, he ran a lap around the mulch track at Klode, then hopped on his bike to ride home.

Note:  Cap'n and me have learned the hard way, when the water temperature is in the mid-sixties, it's possible to swim quite a way without a wetsuit.  BUT, you need to be very careful not to let your core chill or you will suffer a lot when you get out.  Knowing this, it's best to get out well before you feel really chilled.

This weekend looks stupendous.  I hesitate to predict anything, but I expect water temps in the high sixties at least, maybe(?)..... hopefully(?)....... possibly(?)...... 70!!.  

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Full Moon and Temperature Rising

Beach: Klode
Water temp:  68! Wednesday evening, 63 Friday morning
Waves:  Very choppy Wednesday evening, calm Thursday morning
Water Clarity:  Excellent
Crew:  Patriarch solo Wednesday evening.  Steve, Gabriel, Cap'n, Patriarch Thursday morning

Next swims:
Thursday 4:30 PM Klode - today's sunny sky and east wind portend warm water this afternoon
Friday morning: 6AM Klode
Friday evening: Full Moon Swim - meet in the Klode parking lot at 6:45PM, the full moon rises at 7:07PM

The planets align.  Neptune, god of the sea, smiles.  Jupiter will lead the full moon into the sky tomorrow night.

We've had an incredible streak of good swim conditions.  A whole week of rockpile-or-further swims, and afternoon no-wetsuit swims most days.  

This morning we were having so much fun we swam way past rockpile to log almost two miles.  I hesitate to predict anything, because the lake always confounds our predictions, but things look very favorable for swimming all weekend.  Perhaps we can try a Klode to Big Bay swim, and if we're really luck we can make the round trip. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Another Great Morning

Beach: Klode
Water temp: 61
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity:  Much clearer than the past few days, bottom mostly visible.
Crew: Gabriel, Cap'n, Patriarch
Next swims:  Thursday 6AM Klode, possibly 4:00 PM today (depends how far I get on moving four yards of dirt - ugh!)

This weekend:  Friday, moonrise swim at 7PM (full moon will rise over the lake at 7:07PM)
Hopefully a longer swim Saturday or Sunday - we haven't swum to Big Bay yet this year, and it's already September!

This morning we enjoyed another great sunrise swim on a calm clear day.  We swam to rockpile and back, and we were having so much fun we swam another fifteen minutes or so.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Deja vu Double Dip

Beach: Klode
Water temp: 65
Waves: Choppy
Water Clarity: still stirred up..but clearing.
Crew: The Patriarch, Lindsey, Capt'n
Next Swims: Wednesday 6AM Klode

The Patriarch and I returned this afternoon for another installment of our 'No Wetsuit or Bust' swims. We weren't disappointed but the borderline no wetsuit temp and a cool easterly breeze didn't make the decision to walk the plank any easier. But we gotter done!

Lindsey arrived shortly after our exit from the lake and posed a new opportunity for us....a chance to double dip on the double dip! Who could pass up on such a rare opportunity...well, I for one couldn't. :)

Clad in wetsuits for the second journey we comfortably swam up to the end of the rock wall and back. The choppy waves moving from south to north made for a quick journey out and great workout for the return leg.

Plan is to swim Wednesday morning at 6am. Perhaps this weekend we can log a Big Bay swim....or perhaps a Beach Drive swim? Interested? ....please comment.

Plunging Into Retirement

Beach: Klode
Water temp: 61
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: still stirred up
Crew: Gabriel, Cap'n, Patriarch
Next Swims:  Today (Tue) 4:30PM No Wetsuit or Bust
Tomorrow 6AM Klode

Today was my first day of retirement, and it couldn't have begun better.  A sunrise swim on a clear cool calm morning.  Next wifey and I will be taking a long bike ride, stopping for lunch somewhere along the way.  But it can't be too long, we have to be back in time to meet Cap'n for a "No Wetsuit or Bust" swim this afternoon.  Life is good.

Coming up Friday is a full moon.  Conditions permitting, we'll be doing a moonrise swim around 7PM.  Stay tuned for details.