Friday, October 23, 2009

One way ticket

Beach: Klode
Water temp: 52
Air Temp: 47
Waves: big...very big. (6-8ft?)
Current: very strong from the north
Water Clarity: stirred up
Crew: Gabriel, Gumdrop, Capt'n
Next Swim: Klode 4:30PM Friday

I've been at a loss of words to describe Thursday's swim since the moment I crawled out of the water. Conventional wisdom has always indicated that there may be days when its not a good idea to swim in the lake. Was this one of them? I don't think so...but then again how does one really know?

The wind was blowing hard (gusts up to 30mph) from the east-north-east and the rain hit you hard enough in the face to make you contemplate wearing your swim goggles even if you weren't in the water. The waves were big but my initial thoughts were that we've swam in bigger waves. In retrospect though, there were several waves that were so large that you actually couldn't swim over them....your only choice was either to cut through them or dive underneath. If these waves weren't the biggest we've swam in perhaps they were the steepest....if that's even possible?

There were no visible signs of a curent as the waves were crashing along the shoreline directly from the east. Their frequency was approximately every 3-4 seconds....very similar to last weeks big wave experience. What was different this time was a very sneaky current. From the surface you couldn't see it....perhaps this is what is known as a "rip current"? As I've never swam in one least not that I've known of...I can't say for sure. If you recall last weeks blog entry where Gabriel got stuck in a stalemate there's probably a difference between the situation where a current results from the waves moving to/from shore and a rip current....or perhaps they're the same thing?

Regardless, Thursday current was a sneaky one...which resulted in a very interesting swim for Gumdrop and I. Gabriel, with his super human senses knew from the minute he stepped in the water from Klode's south beach that the current wasn't one to mess with and climbed back to shore. Given the cooler water temp and the need to generate body heat I swam quickly out from shore and didn't see Gabriel's retreat. Before I knew it I was halfway to south-south beach.

Oh what fun the waves were as I bobbed for a bit to find Gabriel and Gumdrop. Between the waves I saw Gumdrop swimming towards south south beach closer to shore. As Gabriel is typically ahead of Gumdrop I assumed he would be closer to I took a few strokes towards south-south beach and BOOM, I was there.

I bobbed for a bit and looked for Gumdrop and sign. Perhaps they turned around? So I decided to swim back to Klode...or at least try. I swam, and I swam...I attempted to climb over waves and then decided to start ducking under them as it took less energy...and then I swam and I swam....and finally I decided to take a peak at the shoreline to see how close to Klode I was. I wasn't. In fact as hard as I swam I still remained at south-south beach.

I contemplated swimming further out to escape the stalemate as I did last week with Gabriel...but the waves appeared to keep getting bigger. At this point it felt like I was continually ducking underwaves and unable to swim/climb over them. Some of them even packed enough punch to nearly knock my goggles off. (In retrospect, I was probably just too close to the sand bars that run adjacent to the shoreline and the waves were probably not building.) So I decided to punt and swim to the south-south beach shore. It marked the first time ever that I actually felt as if the Lady of the Lake had complete control over my swim route and not me....but perhaps that's just inexperience talking.

Fortunately there's a nice little path that runs from south-south beach to Klode's south beach. Upon arriving back at Klode I was very relieved to see both Gabriel and Gumdrop were waiting for me...although truth be told, I did have Gabriel's car keys so he really didn't have a choice. :) Both had fascinating stories of thier own to share about their adventures....butI'll save those for another day.

This is certainly a swim we will not soon forget!

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