Thursday, December 30, 2010

2nd Annual New Years Polar Bear SWIM Plan

Date: January 1, 2011
Location: Bradford Beach
Swim Time: Noon
Advance Meeting Time: 11:30 Lake Park Bistro Parking Lot
Beach Arrival Time: 11:45
Beach Meeting Place: directly east of Bradford Beach House

Ahoy Mates....what say you?!?!? Arrr ya' in?

See ya' therrrr if ya darrrr! :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Garage Closed for the Season?

Next Swim: 2011?

Last Swim: Saturday (10/30) 1PM
Water Temp: mid 40's
Water Clarity: cloudy
Waves: calm
Crew: Diablo, Capt'n

It appears as if the Lady of the Lake has closed the Garage for the season. It's also appearing less and less likely that Diablo and I will be seeing any swim suit clad women on the beach. Developments that have prompted Dr Diablo to sadly declare the unofficial end to the 2010 swim season. Of course the swim season can only be 'officially' closed by official proclamation by Professor Patriarch along with a celebratory round of Killepitsch. (...stay tuned on this developing event...)

The El Cap-i-tan Toe Test yesterday placed the water temp in the mid to upper 40's. Today was a completely different story. Keeping the toes in the water this morning for more than 10-15 seconds proved to be quite challenging. Upon checking the lake temps website upon writing this blog entry it appears the water temp is around 40. Could the water temp have dropped that much over night? Oh where-o-where is the Patriarch-o-meter???

From here on out for the remainder of 2010 it appears that it'll be nothing but viking swims for the Klode Kru. Stay tuned for more details...

PS. Congratulations to Sonofkahuna who led his Shorewood High School Cross Country team to the Division 2 State Cross Country Championship Saturday. Story and picture of Sonofkahuna appear in this morning's Milwaukee Journal Sentinal sports section.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Consecutive Day Streak Ends at 158

Next Swim: Saturday 1pm?

Last Swims: Sat 10/23, Sun 10/24, Mon 10/25, Tues 10/26, Wed 10/27, Fri 10/29
Water Temps: Sat-Tues low 50's, Wed upper 40's, Fri. mid-upper 40's
Waves: relatively calm (even on the really windy days!)
Water Clarity: Sat-Mon clear, Tues-Fri cloudy
Sat: Diablo, Capt'n
Sun: Diablo, Gumdrop, Capt'n
Mon: Diablo, Gumdrop, Capt'n
Tues: Diablo, Capt'n
Wed: Capt'n (Gumdrop & Beth at Bradford)
Thurs: Capt'n toe test only
Fri: Gumdrop, Capt'n

Well, all good things must come to an end, right? On Thursday evening the air was cold, the wind was colder, the skies were getting dark, the water temps had plummeted into the 40's and I was all set to take the plunge....but I just couldn't pull the trigger. Not sure why I couldn't...but then again I'm not sure why I would. We had reached 159 consecutive swim days (...actually, it was only 158 but when you're wimping out you'll convince yourself of just about anything....) but it just didn't feel right to reach milestone 160 solo....or perhaps that was just my excuse for wimping out. Sorry folks....that's all she wrote for that record.

So now it's on to extending our swim day count. I wasn't planning on swimming this evening but thanks to Gumdrop dragging my sorry butt out to the beach we're back in business....well, at least for now.

Sounds like Gumdrop is out for this weekend. I'll swim if anyone else is interested...1pm Saturday? Please comment if you're interested....would be nice to get an official water temp reading vs. the El Cap-i-tan Toe Test. (hint, hint....nudge, nudge...wink, wink....)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Full Moon Swim

Next Swim: Saturday 10/23, 1PM

Last Swim: Friday 10/22, 5:30PM
Water Temp: 54
Waves: a little choppy
Water Clarity: Stirred up sand
Crew: Blondie, Gumdrop, Beth, Diablo, Cap'n, Kahuna, Lane, David, Patriarch

A fantastic swim as the full moon rose over the lake. Lots of times the moonrise is obscured by fog or low clouds over the lake, but not last night. It's quite a site to see the moonbeams reflect at a low angle off the lake. Moonlight imparts a eerie translucence to the water, another unique experience that makes Lake Michigan swimming so enjoyable.

Five of us headed over to the Pizza Kitchen, the rest claimed to "have plans". Yeah right. Cap'n wins the prize for the lamest excuse, he said he needed to complete a status report. I can do it for him in one short sentence: Outstanding full moon swim.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rainbow Swim

Next Swims: Thursday Oct 21, 5:30
Full Moon Swim Friday 5:30, followed by pizza

Last Swim: Wednesday, Oct 20th, 5:30PM
Water Temp: 56
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Crystal Clear
Crew: Diablo, Patriarch

As we walked down the bluff to the beach we were treated to a gorgeous rainbow over the lake, made doubly beautiful by it's reflection in the water. For a couple minutes there were two rainbows and two reflections.

But after the rainbows came the storm. By the end of a short swim, it was dark, raining hard and the wind was howling. We hurried back up the bluff as quickly as we could.

But the cold rain couldn't extinguish reflections of rainbows.

Swim Streak in Danger of Ending at 150

Next Swim: Thursday, October 21st, 5:30PM

Last Swim: Tuesday, October 19th, 5:30PM
Water temp: 58ish
Waves: none
Water Clarity: crystal clear
Crew: Diablo, Capt'n

Danger, danger...our consecutive day swim streak is in danger of ending at 150. Unfortunately I am unable to swim this evening and it remains uncertain as to whether or not Diablo will be able to make it. Can anyone else swim this evening to keep the streak alive?

Both Diablo and I will be back at Klode Thursday evening to resume our daily swims. See you well as Friday for the Full Moon Swim! :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Professor Patriarch vs Dr. Diablo

Next Swim: Tuesday, October 19th, 5:30PM

Last Swim: Monday, October 18th, 5:30PM
Water temp: 58ish
Waves: not quite calm
Water Clarity: good
Crew: Diablo, Gumdrop, Capt'n

Minus the Patriarch-o-meter this evening we had to resort to El Cap-i-tans Toe test...which placed the water temp in the upper 50's to around 60. Without a doubt the water temp this evening was warmer than the air.

The big debate this evening...who's smarter. Professor Patriarch (...who's wisdom enlightened us yesterday on the fact that the Rockwall is closer when standing on Klode's north beach vs south beach...) or the self proclaimed doctor of love, Dr. Diablo (...who's brilliant insight this evening enlightened Gumdrop and I that if you wave at a very attractive woman while her back is turned and for some odd reason she does not wave back it's definitely an indication that she's attracted to the guy standing next to you.)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Why do they pick on me?

Next Swim: Monday, October 18th, 5:30PM
Upcoming: Full Moon Swim & Dinner Outing - Friday Oct 22nd

Last Swim: Sunday Oct 17th, 11:30 (Cap'n swam later)
Water temp: 56
Waves: Two Foot Rollers
Water Clarity: the waves stirred up the sand
Crew: Cap'n, Blondie, Diablo, Patriarch

How easily amused they are. I make an innocent comment like how the rock wall looks so much closer from the north end of the beach (which of course it is by a hundred meters). That's all it took for them to get all over me, with comments like "Master of the Obvious", the "Perceptive Patriarch", the "Lake Michigan Einstein".

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Lake Farts

Next Swim: Sunday October 17th, 11:30AM

Last Swim: Saturday October 16th, 1PM
Water Temp: 58
Waves: small chop
Water Clarity: Good
Crew: Perry, Blondie, Diablo, Cap'n, Patriarch

As they were getting out of the water, Cap'n and Diablo became fascinated by some bubbles coming up from the bottom in about a foot of water. They thought it was a lake monster or something, but I think she was just expressing her opinion of them.

P.S. Kahuna's comment on the last blog post is absolutely hilarious, especially if you know a bit about Capn's past running escapades in Florida. I'll let him explain (if he can).

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pleasant October Conditions Continue

Next Swims: Friday Oct 15th, 6AM, Saturday Oct 16th 1PM

Last Swims: Wednesday & Thursday 6PM
Water Temp: Wed - 59 / Thurs - 59ish
Waves: Wed - 1ft / Thurs - like glass
Water Clarity: Wed - good / Thurs - crystal clear
Crew: Wed: The Patriarch, Diablo, Gumdrop, Beth, Capt'n / Thurs: Diablo, Capt'n

Without the Patriarch-o-meter this evening Diablo and I had to resort to the 'El Capitan Toe Test' to measure the water temp. The change from yesterday. Conditions this evening were pristine...the water surface was a sheet of glass while the water itself was crystal clear.

Due to conflicts tomorrow evening Diablo and I have decided to swim in the morning. The Patriarch has mentioned that he can't swim Friday evening either. Any takers for a Friday AM swim?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Skin Swim on October 12th!

Next Swim: Wednesday Oct 13th, 5:45PM

Last Swim: Tuesday Oct 12th, 6PM
Water Temp: 61
Waves: small
Water Clarity: good
Crew: Kahuna, Cap'n, Crash, Diablo, Beth, Slip&Slide, Patriarch

Once again we reaffirmed the two most basic truths of swimming in Lake Michigan:
1) The lake is unpredictable. Whoda thunk it would be warming up in October, but the last few days have been consistently warmer than a month ago.
2) Cap'n and Diablo are crazy. I mean 61 is relatively warm for October, but that's still pretty cold. No matter, they decided wetsuits were unnecessary today.

We finished in the dark, a very bright Jupiter smiling (or maybe laughing?) at us.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Almost Big Enough to Surf

Next Swim: Tuesday 10/12, 6PM

Last Swim: Monday 6PM
Water temp: 61
Waves: "Almost big enough to surf", according to Perry
Water Clarity: Bad near shore, but clear further out
Crew: Perry, Diablo, Cap'n, Patriarch

With the shorter days and cooler drier air, you would think the lake would be cooling off. You would be wrong. It's was a pleasant 61 today, and we had great fun frolicking in big waves under the crescent moon. It was dark and windy when we finally quit, and the air much cooler than the water, so we shivered our way back up the bluff in the dark. Drinks, pizza, and dessert at the Pizza Kitchen warmed us up.

We'll swim again tomorrow at 6, be a little early if you can.

To Blondie's secretary: Boy do we feel sorry for you! How can you stand working for her? How come she is so mean, telling us she will swim with us and then not show up?? Is she that mean to you too?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pirates Pillage Al's and Panther Prowl, then Plunge

Next Swim: Monday 10/11, 6PM, and we'll go for dinner afterward

Last Swim: Sun 10/10/10, 11:30PM
Water Temp: 60
Waves: small rollers
Water Clarity: murky
Crew: Kahuna, Crash, Cap'n, Diablo, Patriarch

A fantastic weekend! Beautiful weather, bright fall colors. The Klode Pirates came ashore to pillage Al's Run Saturday and the Panther Prowl Sunday. Cap'n and Blondie came away with plunder at Al's, and Cap'n, Brad and me came away with plunder at the Prowl.

After both pillaging expeditions, we plunged into the lake to enjoy the fall colors on the bluff from out in the water. Does it get any better?

Now that I'm back, I have messages for some other absent members of the crew:
Gumdrop, don't worry, Cap'n and Diablo will behave now that I'm back.
Blondie, I was told you would swim if I would swim. Well........?????????
Everyone Else: The season is not yet over. The water has actually warmed up the last few days, plenty comfy if you have a wetsuit, maybe even a short skin swim would be possible. Maybe your last chance this year! Join us for a swim and pizza Monday evening at 6 (we'll try to be ready to swim at 6, it's already getting dark at that hour).

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Patriarch Returns!

Next Swim: Sunday 11:30AM

Last Swims: Friday 6AM, Saturday 2PM
Water Temps: Friday - 53 / Saturday 57
Air Temp: Friday - 47 / Saturday 73
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: clear
Crew: Friday - Diablo, Capt'n / Saturday - The Patriarch, Diablo, Kahuna, Capt'n

The skies were clear Friday morning but the simple fact Friday morning was that New Moon = No Moon. As a result Diablo and I began our swim with a darker start than usual for our swim. The glowing red horizon though turned out to be adequate illumination for us to enjoy the clear water conditions.

The big mystery on Friday...who stole our bags! Upon returning from an extended swim down to south south beach Diablo and I were a bit miffed to find that our bags had been taken. With a cool are temp of 47 my immediate reaction was "oh, this is just great...47 freakin' degrees and no dry clothes...." But who would have done such a dastardly thing? Perhaps the local law enforcement or hazmat teams removed Diablo's bag due to the strange aroma permeating from it...and confiscated mine just in case it had been contaminated? Or perhaps it was souvenir seekers looking to grab the legendary gear of Diablo and Capt'n? it would turn out...the missing bags were the result of none other than.....the return of The Patriarch who hid himself behind the brush along the bluff just long enough to yell "ARRG!!!" and scare the bajeebus out of me as I searched for our gear.

Conditions today were absolutely stupendous! Unfortunately Kahuna could not enjoy an extended swim with the rest of us due to a previous commitment to frolic through an apple orchard. (editorial note...sure would suck to be Kahuna and have to cut a delightful day for a swim short on account of something like that...but then again...this way he didn't have to swim as long with The Patriarch and his powder puff pink cap.)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

How late in the swim season is it?

Next Swims: Friday 6AM, Saturday 2PM

Last Swim: Thursday 6PM
Water Temp: 56.3
Air Temp: 67
Waves: Occasional 1ft
Water Clarity: clear
Crew: Diablo, Gumdrop, Kahuna, Capt'n

The air temp may have fallen a few degrees since yesterday but the water temp climbed a few in return....certainly a trade the Klode Kru will gladly take.

So here's today's debate...which of the following current indicators will give you the best idea of how late in the swim season it is?
a) The air temp
b) The water temp
c) The number of days since we last saw The Patriarch
d) The number of holes in Diablo's wetsuit
e) The number of holes in Kahuna's wetsuit
f) The fact that Gumdrop is now wearing a wetsuit

New Moon Swims

Next Swims: Thursday 6PM, Friday 6AM?

Last Swim: Wednesday 6PM
Water Temp: 54.5
Air Temp: 72!
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: clear
Crew: Diablo, Gumdrop, Beth, Capt'n

We've done a Full Moon why not a New Moon Swim? With the sun rising later and setting earlier every day we're starting to see more of the moon than the sun these days....except of course when there's a new moon. Technically we swam Wednesday evening without seeing the Moon but officially October 7th is the New Moon.

Conditions Wednesday evening were delightful. Calm, clear water and an evening air temp of 72. In fact, the conditions were so enjoyable Wednesday that upon entering the water Diablo,
Gumdrop and I nare had a chance to say "Arrg!" before Beth had embarked on the journey northward.

Thanks to Diablo's internal global positioning system we swam diagonally out from Klode's south beach to the Garage ending up approximately 200+ meters from shore by the time we arrived at the Garage. We contemplated swimming up to Cedar Grove but we got so caught up exchanging our favorite Patriarch stories that we lost track of time and had to head back due to darkness. the way...where-o-where is The Patriarch???

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Temps on the rise!

Next Swim: Wednesday 6PM

Last Swim: Tuesday 6PM
Water Temp: 55.3
Air Temp: 63
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: clear
Crew: Diablo, Capt'n

Indeed it was a very pleasant evening for a swim today. Calm winds, air temps in the 60's and a water temp on the plus side of 55...up 4 degrees since Monday morning. With tomorrow's forecasted high of 70 we're optimistic that the conditions for our next swim will be even better. Anyone interested in joining in on the fun? :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Tuesday Evening Swim Planned

Next Swim: Tuesday 6PM

Last Swim: Monday 6AM
Water Temp: 51
Air Temp: 37
Waves: Occasional 1ft swells
Water Clarity: saturated with sand
Crew: Diablo, Capt'n

The swim week got off to a frosty start this morning. Clear skies, stars, crescent moon, a vibrant red horizon....and the sight of your breath. Ah, the epitome of the perfect autumn morning....for a swim. Well, not really. The conditions Monday morning may have been a bit extreme for a dip in the lake but the forecast for later in the week promises to be a bit more hospitable.

The plan for Tuesday is to swim at 6 in the evening rather the morning. With the forecast calling for the high on Tuesday to be 30 degrees warmer than in the morning its hard to pull the trigger on another AM swim. Perhaps Wednesday or Thursday we'll return to enjoy the visual morning treats of the season.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Swim day 134 - Continuing Waves

Next Swim: Monday 6AM

Last Swims: Sunday 11AM
Water Temp: 51.5
Waves: frequent 1-3ft
Water Clarity: saturated with sand
Crew: Diablo, Blondie, Capt'n

Rolling 1ft waves continued to wash ashore Sunday morning. Not nearly as intense as the waves from Saturday but enough to make for a very entertaining swim. Blondie decided to stroll down from the water station at the 17 mile mark of the lakefront marathon to join us.

To complete our tour of the Klode beaches this year we decided to walk the plank today at Klode's northeast beach...the water off of the southeast beach coincidentally was saturated with seaweeds that were washing ashore.

Our swim this afternoon was quite a bit easier than yesterdays....although occasionally the Lady of the Lake would roll a 3ft+ wave at us to keep us sufficiently entertained.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Swim day 133 - Biggest Waves of the Year!

Next Swims: Sunday 11AM

Last Swims: Friday 6AM & Saturday 2PM
Water Temp: 53 both days
Waves: Friday calm / Saturday 3-5ft
Water Clarity: Friday crystal clear / Saturday saturated with sand
Crew: Diablo, Capt'n

It was as if the Lady of the Lake knew we had arrived and that we were attempting to break our record of 132 swim days set last year. The winds all morning had been brisk from the NNW but upon arriving at Klode the parking lot flag indicated that they had shifted to be from the NNE.

Greeting us today were strong winds and frequent 3-5 foot waves that thundered to shore and washed all the way up to the base of the bluff. No doubt, if we were going to continue our streak and set the record today we would be in for a challenge.

Due to the frequency and direction of the waves we swam from Klode's north beach...the first such time we've done that this year. The entire setting today was reminiscent of the adventure The Patriarch and I had a couple of years ago when we charged into the big waves from Klode's north beach only to be knocked immediately on our butts by the playful surf.

Our swim from Klode's north beach to the Garage took approximately 10 minutes. The combination of frequent waves and a strong current made for a slow struggle northward. Swimming 5 additional minutes northward took us only half way to Cedar Grove from the Garage. Coming back was a complete different story though. What took us 15 minutes in one direction lasted what felt like mere seconds in the other....oh what fun!!

Interestingly, upon returning to the parking lot following our outstanding adventure the Klode parking lot flag momentarily went limp...and then did an about face to indicate that the winds had returned to blowing from the NNW.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Next Swims: Friday 6AM (& 5:30pm?), Saturday 2PM

Last Swim: Thursday 6AM
Water Temp: 53
Waves: calm
Water Clarity: crystal clear
Crew: Diablo, Beth, Capt'n

Another picture perfect morning for a swim. Clear skies with a bright half moon and a glowing red horizon. The water remains crystal clear and the glowing white sands can still be easily seen in 10ft of water.

Diablo and I will for sure be swimming at 6am Friday. There's also a possibility for a 5:30 swim just prior to the 6pm TriWi open house at Wheel & Sprocket. Please comment if you're interested in swimming at 5:30pm on Friday.

Due to the Lapham Peak Colorama run on Saturday morning we will swim at 2pm Saturday afternoon. A time for Sunday's swim is still at large....Kahuna is rumored to be interested in swimming at 7:30am followed by breakfast at Solly's.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Swim Day Record Rapidly Approaches

Next Swim: Thursday 6AM

Last Swims: Tuesday 5:30PM & Wednesday 6AM
Water Temps: Tuesday 57 & Wednesday 54
Waves: Tuesday - calm / Wednesday - sheet of glass
Water Clarity: crystal clear
Crew: Diablo, Capt'n both swims

The water clarity has suddenly become crystal much so that even without the sun you can see the white sands glowing under the twilight sky. Another pleasant surprise these past few days has been the warming of the water temps. After enduring the recent stretch of low 50 degree temps the water now feels somewhat comfortable.

Mark your calendars....Friday is the day that we'll tie our record number of swimming days of 132. The swim time for Friday is still open for discussion. If you have a preference, please comment. Saturday we will break the record. With the Lapham Peak Colorama run at 10:30am Saturday the probable swim time for Saturday is 2pm. ...of course if you have a preference, please comment.

Monday, September 27, 2010

No Sun Swim

Next Swim: Tuesday 5:30PM

Last Swim: Monday 6AM
Water Temp: 52
Waves: calm
Water Clarity: cloudy?
Crew: Diablo, Capt'n

Except for a few clouds along the southeastern horizon the skies were clear. The air was crisp with a temp inching ever so closely towards the 50 degree mark. The nearly full moon combined with an imminent sun rise to provided the only illumination for this morning's swim. Ahh...the joys of an early fall morning swim in the lake. Definitely a different but very serene experience.

The sun actually didn't rise this morning until Diablo and I had completed our garage and back swim from Klode's south beach. The moon and bright eastern horizon provided plenty of light to log today's swim.

The toughest part of our swim this morning wasn't actually the swim or the water conditions...but rather the cooler air temp that made your toes tingle upon exiting the water and actually make you contemplate re-entering the 52 degree water to warm up.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Captain & The Patriarch a la Plage

Check it out!!! The Patriarch & Capt'ns first video...a little 2010 swim year in review. :)

(This video is brought to you compliments of the creative mind of "Kahuna")

Diablo's Holy Suit

Next Swim: Monday 6AM

Last Swims: Saturday & Sunday @ Noon
Water Temp: 54 both days
Waves: Saturday - frequent 1-3ft / Sunday - slow rolling 2-3ft
Water Clarity: cloudy
Crew: Saturday - Diablo, Gumdrop, Capt'n / Sunday - Diablo, Capt'n

The big question these days...what will last longer, our consecutive day swim streak or Diablo's Holey wetsuit? It's got a lot of holes but does it have more than Swiss cheese? Where's Blondie when you need her? ...for that matter...where is everyone? Slip-n-slip? Ele? Oh where-o-where is The Patriarch?

Yes, indeed...I've got a lot of questions circulating in my head these days. What I do know for sure is swimming in big waves is fun. So will we see any of the Ginormous waves we saw last year? You know...those 5-8 footers that totally freak you out from shore as they thunder into the rock piles but are so fun to play / swim in that you don't want to leave the water regardless of how cold it is.

The waves the past few days have been fun...I kind of liken them to mini launch pads as you can occasionally launch yourself over them if you're observant enough to watch for them while you swim. Hopefully they'll stick around for a few days...better yet, hopefully they double /triple in size in addition to sticking wouldn't that be cool?

Friday, September 24, 2010

AM Harvest Moon Swim

Next Swims: Saturday & Sunday @ Noon

Last Swim: Friday 9/24 6AM
Water Temp: 56.7
Waves: current pushing from south
Water Clarity: cloudy near shore / clear beyond sandbars
Crew: Diablo, Kahuna, Beth, Capt'n

Despite a big wind with gusts in excess of 30mph overnight the conditions Friday morning were rather pleasant. The bay and surrounding bluff provided a nice retreat from the steady winds which would have surely made for rough seas. Instead we had but a modest current from the south and a chilly water temp of 56 degrees to deal with this morning.

The harvest moon did manage to peak out from behind the clouds in the western sky ever so briefly just before we walked the plank this morning spurring some debate on whether this morning's swim should be considered the official Harvest Moon Swim.

Of notable interest this morning, the Lady of Lake was apparently busy over night doing some house keeping along Klode's south beach. Gone is the 10ft wide stretch of rocks and pebbles that lined the southern shore. Now a sandy and very gradual descent can be made by those walking the plank from south beach.

With the current pushing from the south we decided to change things up a bit this morning. Rather than swim north we journeyed south almost to the south side down spout before returning.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Harvest Moon Skin Swim

Next Swim: Friday 9/24 6AM

Last Swim: Thursday 9/23 6:30PM
Water Temp: 60+ (62?)
Waves: slight chop from the south
Water Clarity: cloudy
Crew: Gumdrop, Crash, Capt'n

Well, the Harvest Moon may have been a no show...but the Lady of the Lake and Mother Nature certainly did their parts to make this evening's swim a very pleasant experience. Arguably this evening's water was more than likely the warmest for the month at Klode. Unfortunately the Patriarch-o-meter was not present to record an official temperature but my unofficial toe test definitely placed this evening's water temp warmer then this morning's 58. An air temp on the plus side of 80 and a very tropical breeze from the south also helped to convince me that a skin swim would be manageable this evening. For Gumdrop though, going skin this evening was never in doubt as he didn't even bring a wetsuit to the beach.

This evening's swim consisted of a vigorous and quick swim north just beyond the sewer pipe. When we realized the water was not nearly as cold as we first thought we decide to take a more leisurely swim back....although, truth be told, a strong current from the south may also have had something to do with the extended duration of our swim back. Regardless, we still spent a considerable amount of time in the water just beyond Klode's southeast rock pile howling at the clouds and hoping the Harvest Moon would grace us with a peak-a-boo or two from behind the clouds. No luck though so we completed our swim journey by continuing our swim down to Klode's south beach before climbing back ashore.

Full Moon Tonight (9/23) at 6:32pm

Next Swim: Thursday 9/23 6:15PM? & Friday 9/24 6AM

Last Swims: Wednesday 9/22 6AM & Thursday 9/23 6AM
Water Temp: 54.5 (Wed) & 57.8 (Thurs)
Waves: occasional 1ft Wed & frequent building 1-3ft Thurs. am
Water Clarity: cloudy
Crew: Diablo, Capt'n

Anyone interested in attempting a full moon swim this evening? With the forecast currently calling for possible storms this evening seeing the moon may actually be a bit iffy....but at least the water temps are on the rise. A balmy 58 degrees this morning and with today's high temps forecasted to be in the mid 80's the water temp may actually rise even more! :)

Please post a comment if you're interested in a full moon swim this evening....

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Keeping the streak alive...barely

Next Swim: Wednesday 9/22 6AM

Last Swim: Tuesday 9/21 5:30PM
Water Temp: 55.8
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: clear
Crew: Diablo, Gumdrop, Capt'n

Of course this blog post pales in comparison to the most excellent news found in the last post...The Patriarch is now a GRAND PAPPY....Congrats to The Patriarch!!!

Well, it may have been a bit too close for comfort but this evening's crew managed to get 'er done. With the rumble of thunder approaching we knew we had little time to dilly dally if we were to keep our streak of 121 consecutive days of swimming alive...although we still found sufficient time to take a precise water temp with our ever trusty Patriarch-o-meter.

The balmy water temps this evening made it very tempting to log a longer fact Gumdrop swam skin and Diablo and I actually had decided to extend this evenings swim beyond our north sewer pipe and back swim until Mother Nature sent a shot across the western sky which sent us rushing for the shore. (...I don't think I've ever seen Diablo swim so fast...)

Our consecutive day swim streak now stands at 122 days and counting....which coincidentally is more than the Killepitsch Shot Counter (120). The record number of swim days for a year currently stands at 132. At our current pace we will tie the record on October 1st and break the record on Saturday October 2nd....

A Swimmer is Born

I am extremely pleased to announce the arrival of my new granddaughter, Ava. Born September 20th, 10:25AM, 7 lbs 4oz, everyone doing well.

Return to Summer Swim Tuesday Evening

Next Swims: Tuesday 9/21 5PM & Wednesday 9/22 6AM

Last Swims: Sunday 9/19 11AM & Monday 9/20 6AM
Water Temp: 51.9 Sunday & 53.2 Monday
Waves: Frequent 1-2ft Rollers
Water Clarity: clear
Crews: Diablo, Capt'n

With the air temps forecasted to climb into the 80s Tuesday we've declared Tuesday evening's 5PM swim to be our "Return to Summer Swim". While it's always difficult to predict the water temps, Monday's east breeze combined with Tuesday's warm air temps make it likely that we'll see at least a moderate warm up of water temps into the mid-to-upper 50's. If there's enough interest, perhaps we can celebrate our Return to Summer Swim at our favorite Pizza Kitchen following the swim? ....Interested? Please comment.

Sunday we logged swim day number 120 for the year. A slight chop both Sunday and Monday made for fun swims...with the roll of the water remaining in your bones even after you returned to shore. Due to time constraints, swims both days went from Klode's southeast beach up to the Garage and back. ...although we did find time to celebrate the swims with a refreshing strip & dip viking swim. :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Getting Acclimated

Next Swims: Sunday 9/19 11AM

Last Swim: Saturday 9/18 1PM
Water Temp: 52.7
Waves: Occasional One Foot Roller
Water Clarity: cloudy
Crew: Diablo, Capt'n

I remember the first time I swam in 52 degree water. I lasted only a couple of minutes and swore at the time if was the stupidest thing I'd ever attempted as I crawled out of the water with frozen hands, feet and slight case of brain freeze.

Now I don't even contemplate putting on socks when the water temp is 52. The initial shock of the cold water against the hands and face seem now to last for just a few strokes.

Today Diablo and I logged a Cedar Grove and back swim. A mysterious chop to the water could be felt inside the outer most sandbar. To the eye the water appeared to be calm but while swimming you would frequently feel the slap of waves challenging your swim stroke.

Tomorrow is swim day number 120. According to our blog posts from last year we logged 132 swim days. At our current pace we will log swim day number 132 on October 1st...a whole 2 months ahead of last year.

Cooling Off Again

Next Swims: Saturday 9/18 1PM, Sunday 9/19 11AM

Last Swim: Friday 9/17 6AM
Water Temp: 49
Waves: One Foot
Water Clarity: cloudy
Crew: Diablo, Cap'n

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Four Letter Word Morning

Next Swim: 6AM Friday 9/16 Klode

Last Swim: Thursday, 9/15, 6AM
Water Temp: 52
Waves: Two Foot Swellings, building
Water Clarity: lousy, all stirred up
Crew: Diablo, Cap'n, Beth, Patriarch

S**T! I overslept. F**K! I forgot to make the coffee last night. P**S! It's cold and dark outside.

S**T! I'm late. But if I'm lucky maybe those guys are already in the water and I can make up some BS story and get out of climbing into a damp cold wetsuit and even colder water. F**k! They're waiting for me. They say won't swim without me. P**S! Gotta swim.

S**T! F**K! P**S! The water is really really really cold. Man up, weenie. Painful at first, but once the face and hands go numb, what's difference?

Back on shore. Sun coming up. Beautiful morning. Glad I did it. What was I whining about?Great start to the day. Happy to be alive.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Next Swim: Thursday 9/16, 6AM, Klode

Last Swims: Tue 6PM, Wed 6AM
Water Temps: 56 Tuesday evening, 53 Wednesday morning
Waves: Small swells
Water Clarity: a little cloudy
Tuesday Crew: Diablo, Cap'n, Kahuna, Patriarch
Wednesday: Diablo, Cap'n, Lane, Patriarch

The lakeshore is exceptionally beautiful this time of year, especially at sunrise and sunset. The leaves on the lake bluff are beginning to change. Reds, yellows, and greens are reflected in the water, swirled with magentas, pinks, purples, and blues of the sky, the clouds, and rising and setting sun. It pulls me in, seduces me.

But of course, as any man who has been seduced by a beautiful woman knows, there's a price to pay for accepting her embrace. So what. Numb hands and feet are a small price to pay for the love of a beautiful woman.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Warming Trend

Next Swim: Tuesday 9/14, 6:00PM

Last Swims: Sunday 1PM & Monday 5:30PM
Water Temp: low 50's Sunday, 57-59 on Monday
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Good
Sunday - Diablo
Monday: Diablo & Capt'n (with special Guest The Patriarch)

Ahoy mates! It appears our luck has changed a bit since last week. Upon returning from my adventures in Madison I was very pleasantly surprised to find out today that the water temps have climbed into the upper 50's!! After more than a week of upper 40 to low 50 water temps I was about ready to concede that the Lady of the Lake was slowly beginning her slumber into winter hibernation.

In addition to the good news on the water temps I am also happy to report that our consecutive day swim streak is still in tact thanks to Diablo logging a solo rockpile and back swim Sunday. To continue our streak Diablo and I logged a leisurely garage and back swim while The Patriarch double, triple and quadruple checked the water temps to confirm that the water temps have indeed climbed into the upper 50's.

Tomorrow we will return at 6pm to log another swim. Perhaps following tomorrow's swim we can venture out to our traditional pizza place to swap stories about our most excellent weekend adventures? Interested? Please post a comment.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Big Shoulders Report

Next Swim: Today, Sunday 9/12, 1PM

Last Swim: Big Shoulders, Saturday 9/11, Ohio Street Beach, Chicago
Water Temp: 62
Waves: Two Foot, Very Choppy
Crew: Diablo, Patriarch

One always hopes for good conditions on the big day, sunny with warm calm water. But of course those days are rare on the Lake Michigan shore. The conditions for Big Shoulders were more typical: cool, windy, drizzly, the tops of skyscrapers hidden in fog, cold murky water stirred into a very choppy froth. Adding to the gloom, my aching back was making me doubt I should even attempt to swim.

But then I caught something of a break. They announced that the water temperature was only 62 (I believe the coldest ever for a Big Shoulders), and that they would allow swimmers to change to the wetsuit division. As much as we would prefer to swim without wetsuits, Diablo and I quickly switched, as we knew from experience that swimming at 62 for a short time is OK, but after an hour or more we'd be colder than a can of beer in an ice bucket. Also, wearing a wetsuit gave me confidence because I figured that if my back starting acting up during up during the swim, at least the wetsuit would keep me afloat.

We weren't the only ones who switched, many others also did. Typically few swimmers wear wetsuits in Big Shoulders, but they predominated this year. Still, many swam without a wetsuit. The result was predictable, swimmers not finishing the race, dropping out after one loop, some even not even finishing a loop, climbing the ladders on the breakwall that parallels the final leg. On the beach there were many shivering swimmers who needed help to get out of their swimsuits and into warm clothes, and a few ended up in the medical tent.

Even so, I was amazed at the number of "skin" swimmers who completed the whole 5K, and there were even a few who seemed completely unaffected by the cold water, walking around afterwards in their swimsuits like nothing, and remember it was cool, windy and raining. I can't figure out how they do, I find them amazing.

As for me, I managed to complete the race (I was in the 2.5K race), even though my back was constantly complaining. I had to take it easy, but I still enjoyed it. I don't know my time but I'm sure it was very slow. But being as how it was such a tough day, I still felt like just finishing was an accomplishment.

Because of the miserable weather we didn't hang around on the beach, instead we took off our suits, climbed into three or four layers of warm dry clothes, and headed for hot coffee, omelets and hash browns.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Big Weekend Ahead

Next Swim: Thursday 9/9, 5:00PM

Last Swims: Tue & Wed 5:45AM
Water Temp: 50 on Tuesday, 47 on Wednesday
Waves: Small Swells
Water Clarity: Good
Crew: Cap'n & Diablo

Cap'n & Diablo are determined to extend our streak of swim days, which currently stands at 109. However they will swim at 5PM on Thursday, instead of Thursday morning, in the hope that the water will be a bit warmer in the afternoon sun.

The Big Weekend is almost here! Good luck to all Big Shoulders and Iron Man participants and volunteers!

The big difference between the Big Shoulders and Ironman swims is that in Big Shoulders most people don't wear wetsuits (you can wear one, but you don't "count" in the race), whereas in Ironman most people do wear wetsuits. That's why it's so iron(man)ic, that the big worry in Big Shoulders is that Lake Michigan is too cold, so swimmers could be forced into wetsuits if they want to stay warm, whereas in Ironman, Lake Monona could be too warm, forcing triathletes out of their wetsuits if they want to be competitive. Perhaps the two races should trade venues.

Monday, September 6, 2010

President Obama Greets Us On the Beach

Next Swims: Tue & Wed, Sept 7&8, 5:45AM

Last Swims: Sun & Labor Day, Sept 5&6, 1PM
Water Temp: 50
Waves: 1 foot Saturday, 3 ft Monday
Water Clarity: Stirred Up from heavy wave action
Crew: Gumdrop, Diablo, Cap'n, and Blondie & Brad played in the big waves near shore.

I knew the President was coming to town, but I did not expect him to greet us. When we arrived on the beach, Air Force One came in over the lake, performed a broad sweeping turn over the bay, and then flew low directly over us, heading for the airport. We waved and I swear we could see him waving back. And I'll bet I know what he was thinking: he'd much rather grab his boogie board and join us playing in the waves.

Too bad he didn't stop, he missed a fun cookout after the swim. Next time, Pres, you're always welcome. We'll keep the Killepitsch on ice for you.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hard Core

Next Swims: Sunday & Labor Day 1PM

Following Sunday's swim we will toast Capn's birthday (in the previous post I said his birthday was Saturday, but I was mistaken, it is Sunday)

Following the Labor Day swim there will be a cookout at my place (regardless of the weather or the water conditions), all are welcome, bring family and friends.

Last Swim: Saturday 1PM Klode
Water Temp: 50
Waves: One Foot Swells
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: Seven came to the beach, but only two braved the cold: Cap'n & Diablo

It's tough out there. Fifty miserable degrees. But Cap'n was determined to keep the streak going, and so he pushed and dragged Diablo into the water.

Padre is apprehensive that the swim season could be over. It's possible, but I'm not convinced. There is still plenty of warm weather, and the water temps could go up as quickly as they went down. But even if the season really is over, it's been a great run, with 105 straight days of swimming. So, let's celebrate a great season, come to my place on Monday after the swim for a cookout. Even if we don't swim we can still celebrate.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Streak Continues!

Next Swims: Friday 9/3 5:45AM
Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, 1:00PM
Saturday Cap'n invites all to join him for a post-swim birthday toast
Sunday we will have a cookout after the swim if there is interest

Last Swims: Wed 4PM, Thur 5:45AM
Water Temp: Wed afternoon 55, Thursday morning 52
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Excellent
Wednesday Afternoon Crew: Diablo, Gumdrop, Cap'n, Dave
Thursday Morning Crew: Cap'n, Diablo, Beth, Lane

The water's too cold for yours truly, but a few brave swimmers refuse to quit. They say things like, "once you're numb it doesn't matter anymore". And "it's fun.......REALLY". And "my fingers don't work anymore".

The strong offshore winds predicted for the weekend would seem to portend a continuation of cold water on this side of the lake. But of course, nothing is predictable when it comes to the Lady. We'll just have to show up and see what she offers.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Streak In Danger!! Penguins & Polar Bears Needed!

Next Swim: 4PM today 9/1 Klode

Gumdrop! James! And anyone else who is willing to brave cold water. We need your help! Our streak of 101 consecutive days of swimming is in danger. The water temperature has fallen another two degrees to 50. So we decided bag this morning's swim and try again at 4PM.

This was the most depressing morning ever on the beach. Dark, foggy, and rainy, and no Marcella & Crew to inspire us with a 21 bun salute. We were so depressed the discussion turned to whether we'd rather plunge into cold water, or get a prostate exam.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How Low Can the Temperature Go?

Next Swim: Wed 9/1, 5:45AM, Klode

Last Swims: Mon AM, Mon PM, Tue AM
Water temps: Mon AM 62, Mon PM 57, Tue AM 52
Waves: Small chop
Water Clarity: Cloudy near shore, clear further out
Mon AM Crew: Cap'n, Crash, Diablo, Patriarch
Mon PM Crew: Kahuna, Sonnakahuna, Cap'n, Crash, David, Walt, James, and showing up for dinner, but not to swim (don't we have a rule against this??): Blondie, Ellie, Slip&Slide
Tue AM Crew: Cap'n, Diablo, Crash, Blondie, Slip&Slide, Gabe, Bill, Beth, and watching from the warmth of shore: Patriarch, Perry, Mike

Down, down, down, the temperature goes:
Friday 68
Saturday 67
Sunday 64
Monday morning 62
Monday evening 57
Tuesday morning 52

For some, like James and Gumdrop, it doesn't matter, they'll swim without wetsuits no matter what. (Are they human?) For others, it means wetsuits, booties, lots of caps, and a slow and painful entry into the water (putting the face in is the hardest part). And then there are the wimps like me and Perry, who just don't want to be that cold.

The good news: there is still plenty of warm surface water in the lake, so a change in winds and currents could warm it up as quickly as it cooled down.

And despite the cold water, we had a great "100th Consecutive Day" swim, and nothing warms the innards after a cold swim than a shot or two of Killepitsch. Then it was out to the Pizza Kitchen for more protein and fat to fuel the furnace.

So let's hope for warmer water, but even if it doesn't come we've already shattered all previous records for swimming this summer. Any more would just be more icing (pun intended) on the cake.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

100 Consecutive Days!

Next Swims: Monday 8/30, 5:45AM Klode
Special 100 days celebration swim at 6:30PM Monday

Last Swim: Sunday 8/29
Water Temp: 64
Waves: Two foot chop, but nowhere near as choppy as yesterday
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: Gumdrop, Diablo, Cap'n, Crash, Ellie, Eileen, Jeff, Scott, Brad, Patriarch

The 2010 Killipitsch Swim Streak Counter is about to roll over to three digits. Yes, we've swum one hundred consecutive days, every day since May 23rd, shattering all previous records! This is cause (or maybe an excuse) for a celebration. In addition to our regular Monday morning swim we'll have an evening swim at 6:30PM, followed by a celebratory toast (or two) and then out to eat. Cap'n and Diablo will demonstrate that new song and dance sensation, the Lake Michigan Shiver.

What a great summer it's been. And there's still lots of great swimming to come! Come help us celebrate.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Whitecap Bay

Next Swim: Sunday 8/29, 1:00PM, Klode

Last Swim: Sat 8/28 1PM
Water Temp: 67
Waves: Two Footers, Extremely Choppy
Water Clarity: Varied, clear some places, cloudy others
Crew: Blondie, Padre, Cap'n, Diablo, Crash, Scott, Jeff, John, Brad, Beth, Gwen, Patriarch

Whitecaps covered Whitefish Bay today, making for a rough ride. Waves were only two foot, but they seemed to be coming from every direction, pushing against you one second, swamping you from behind the next. I rarely, if ever, swallow water when I swim, but today I did several times. We were tossed, turned, bleached, blended, knotted, tie dyed, spun, and hung out to dry.

I can't wait to do again tomorrow. See you on the beach!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Weekend Plans

Weekend Swims: Sat & Sun, 8/28 & 29, 1:00PM, Klode

Last Swims: Thu & Fri, 5:45AM
Water Temp: 68 both days
Waves: Small Chop Thur, Calm Fri
Water Clarity: Mostly Clear
Thu Crew: Cap'n, Diablo, Crash, Slip&Slide, Sarah, James, Perry, Beth, Kelly, Patriarch
Fri Crew: Kahuna, Blondie, Diablo, Cap'n, Slip&Slide, Patriarch

For all the great conditions, we have yet to do a Big Bay swim, even though we've gone further than that in the other direction. Conditions permitting, perhaps we can try this weekend. It's just a bit over a mile one way. The options would be to swim one way, and then drive or run back (bring some stuff to stash at the other end), or swim both ways.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Who is Howling at Who?

Next Swims: Thu & Fri, 8/26 & 8/27, 5:45AM Klode

The swimming has been so fantastic that there's hardly time for blogging. Swimming at Klode is only the beginning, it's also been the Pirates Plunge, going out to eat, pounding shots of Killepitsch, howling at the moon, doing Blondie's pop quiz. More and more swimmers are joining us. This has gone beyond just an informal swim group. We're establishing a whole Lake Michigan Swim Culture. We have our own beach, our own nicknames, our own beverage, our own jokes, our own slang. All we need is someone to start singing songs about us.

Anyhow, here is a summary of our last four swims:
Dates: Mon AM, Tue AM, Tue PM, Wed AM
Water Temps: 67-70, comfortably skin-swimmable
Waves: Calm to small rollers and a little chop
Water Clarity: Cloudy Mon & Tue, Settled down and cleared up on Wed
Mon AM Crew: Cap'n, Diablo, Crash, Slip&Slide, Blondie, Gabe, Patriarch
Tue AM Crew: Cap'n, Diablo, Bill, Patriarch
Tue PM Crew (a record!): Cap'n, Diablo, Crash, Gumdrop, Kahuna, Blondie, Slip&Slide, San Diego Joe, Sarah, Eileen, James, Cathy, Jeff, Beth, Patriarch
Wed AM Crew: Cap'n, Diablo, Crash, Sarah, Lane, Colin, Gabe, Patriarch

Irony Dept: Our "Howl at the Full Moon Century Swim" was a great success, even though the star of the show decided not to show, preferring to hide behind the clouds. But there he was, in all his glory, setting in the western sky on Wednesday morning when we arrived on the beach before sunrise, more than a bit groggy from last night's swim and post-swim feast. I think he was howling at us, rather than us howling at him.

By the way, I aced Blondie's quiz. I believe I was the only one to do so, despite everyone else trying to cheat. I await my trophy. Blondie, if you send me the quiz I'll post it, it was very clever.

Also, a number of you have been taking pictures, if you have any good ones send them to me and I will post them.

See you on the beach!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Fine Day to Walk the Plank

Next Swims: Mon 8/23 5:45AM Klode

Tuesday 8/24 7:00PM "Howl at the Full Moon Century Swim"
The full moon rises over the lake at 7:23PM. This will also be our 100th swim of the season.
Double reason to celebrate afterwards, perhaps some Killepitsch, and maybe out to eat afterwards?

Last Swims: Sunday - Pirates Plunge
Water Temp: 68
Waves: 3-5 foot swells at the start, but smaller near shore
Current: Very big current pushing south, requiring constant course corrections.
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew - about 40 people, here are some that swim with the Klode crew:
Megan (1st woman, 1st overall), Cap'n (third male), Gumdrop, Kahuna, Diablo, Ramrod, JJ, Eileen, Sarah, Beth, Jeff, Eric, Patriarch (I'm probably missing a couple - sorry!)

Kudos to "Pirate Steve" for pulling off a first rate event. Except for a glitch on getting bags back to the beach, everything was terrific. There were an amazing number of boats and jet skis providing support. I don't understand why there weren't more swimmers. This has got to be one of the most fun new events in some time.

The big waves and currents added to the fun (at least that's my opinion). The start boat was rolling heavily in the swells, and so it felt really good to walk the plank and get in the water. The water was very clear and clean. I swam directly towards the finish line the whole time, but about halfway through I realized that I was no longer swimming perpendicular to the beach, but at a good angle, the current had pushed me well south. I wonder how far I really went?

Afterwards we celebrated with a shot of Killepitsch, and breakfast at Ma Fischers. Beth, Kahuna, and I could not pass up the Sunday morning Bloody Marys, and before we left Cap'n held a pistol to our heads, and gave us a choice between a shot, or a shot to the head. What could we do?

Saturday's Swim:
Klode 1PM
Water temp: 67, but pockets of very cold water
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: cloudy, from the overnight rain
Crew: Cap'n, Gumdrop, Diabo, Linda, Eileen, Sarah, Sarah's parents Willy & Kathy, Phil, Walt, Chris, Patriarch, and we ran into Eric who was already in the water.
Here is a picture taken by Eileen:

Friday, August 20, 2010

Some Things Are Indescribable

Next Swims: Sat 8/21, 1:00PM, Klode
Sunday 8/22: Pirate's Plunge
If you wish to car pool, meet at 6:30AM at the south end of Bradford Beach, near the Northpoint Custard Stand

Last Swim: Fri 8/20 5:45AM
Water Temp: 67
Waves: One Foot Rollers
Water Clarity: Mostly Clear, but some murky spots near shore
Crew: Cap'n, Diablo, Ramrod, Padre, Gumdrop, Kahuna, Patriarch

Sometimes words fail. I mean how do I explain Kahuna trying to walk on the bottom carrying a large rock? Or Diablo chasing grasshoppers on the beach? Or Gumdrop's budgie smuggler? Well if you really want to know what a budgie smuggler is, you can Google it, but I wouldn't recommend it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Another Record

Next Swim: Fri Aug 20, 5:45AM, Klode

Last Swim: Thu Aug 19 5:45AM
Water Temp: 65
Waves: Small Rollers
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: Cap'n, Ramrod, Diablo, Kahuna, Padre, Slip&Slide, Blondie, James, Lane, Gabe, Colin, Sarah, Beth, Patriarch

Wow! Fourteen swimmers on the beach this morning! A new record, at least for a weekday morning. I mean who gets up before dawn to swim in cold Lake Michigan? I guess insanity is contagious. Speaking of dawn, the sun is coming up later each morning, which means it rises during our swim, which is very cool. Maybe that's one of the reasons we do this?

Here is the latest on the Great Klode Park Controversy:

Here's my plan if they ever come after us for being too loud in the morning: I'll plea bargain, become a highly paid informant and turn in Cap'n for rowdiness, obscenity, partial nudity, drinking in the park, piracy, disturbing the peace, bad jokes, and SWI.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Approaching the Century Swim

Next Swim: Thu 8/19 5:45AM

Last Swim: Wed 8/18 5:45AM
Water Temp: 65
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: Diablo, Cap'n, Kahuna, Ramrod, Patriarch

Another day of clear calm water. This has been an amazing summer so far, the water has been much warmer, clearer, and calmer than last year. We haven't had a single day of two or more foot waves. It's fun to swim in calm water, but it's fun to play in the waves too, so I hope I'm not jinxing anything by wishing for some wave action.

Coming Events:
Sunday is Pirates Plunge:
There is no transportation from the beach back to the boat launch, so I suggest we meet at Bradford Beach at 6:30 to take the water temp, plan strategy (mine is to hang on to Diablo's feet and have him tow me to shore), and form car pools to the start. Also, we should plan to go to breakfast afterwards. Any suggestions? I know Alterra is nearby, but maybe we want to go somewhere with heartier fare?

Also, next Tuesday evening will be a "Howl at the Full Moon Swim", and if all goes well, it will also be our 100th swim of the season. More than enough reason for a sip or two of our favorite beverage.

To our old friend James: I saw your blog comment. Glad to hear your shoulder is healing. Hope to see you on the beach soon. Bring Jessica and some of the other Schroeder masters with you.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Picture Perfect

Next Swim: Wed 8/18, 5:45AM, Klode

Last Swims: Mon & Tue 5:45AM
Water Temp: 64
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Excellent
Mon Crew: Diablo, Cap'n, Ramrod, Sarah, Patriarch
Tue Crew: Diablo, Cap'n, Kahuna, Ramrod, Ellie, Crista (sp?), Perry, David, Greg, Erin, Sarah, Bill, Patriarch

No need for words today, the pictures say it all:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Best Kept Secret in Milwaukee

Next Swims: Mon & Tue 8/16 -17, 5:45AM Klode

Last Swim: Sun 8/15, 1PM, Klode
Water Temp: 71, but occasional pockets of cold water
Waves: Calm, but a big current going north to south
Water Clarity: Crystal Clear
Crew: Diablo, Gumdrop, Kahuna, Cap'n, San Diego Joe, Team Nagle, Brad, David, Eileen, Patriarch
Kahuna Joke-o-Meter: groan
Kahuna's "Does It Float?": Yes

A perfect summer's day brought out everyone. The beach was littered with swimmers, boaters, sunbathers, families, kayakers, young lovers, rock skippers, dogs, and dragonflies. On our way north we dodged between boats and the people swimming off of them. I stopped to talked to one group, who told me that Klode Beach and Whitefish Bay is the best kept secret in Milwaukee. I agree.

Perry's kids kept pace with us along the beach, and we swam skin well over a mile while the sun danced on the bottom. A big current made the return to the beach almost effortless. A special day.

Coming Events:
Pirates Plunge on Sunday
Tuesday Evening 8/24: Howl at the full moon swim
Sat Sept 11th, Chicago : Big Shoulders (Hurry, it's 80% full!)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Good to Feel Needed

Next Swim: Sunday 8/15, 1PM, Klode

Last Swims: Sat 6AM and 1PM
Water temp: 67
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Very Good
Sat morning crew: Cap'n, Kahuna, Diablo, Beth
Sat afternoon crew: Patriarch, Eileen, Diablo

Cheeezzzeee.... I take a few days off to nurse my sore back, and everything goes awry. Here's the crazy plan they concocted without me (and didn't post until 3AM this morning): get up before dawn on a foggy Saturday morning, to squeeze their sorry butts into wetsuits (despite the fact that the water is very warm), swim out to the weather buoy, over half a mile out, without even stopping along the way to view the spectacular shipwreck.

By contrast, here's what the civilized members of the group did today: a wonderful forty minute skin swim in very warm clear water, under warm sunny skies, in the afternoon, while wedding parties snapped their pictures on shore.

Friday the 13th

Next Swims: Sat 6AM Atwater & Sun 1PM Klode

Last Swim: Friday 5:45AM
Water Temp: mid 60's
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Very Good
Crew: Diablo, Kahuna, Blondie, Perry, Greg, Steph, Capt'n

Day 3 without the Patriarch-o-meter...oh where-o-where is The Patriarch? This was probably another day where we probably could have gotten away without wearing wetsuits had the sun been up for the start of our swim. Once again we swam north up to the rockwall in back. Instead of logging another strip-n-dip Diablo and I decided to entertain the crew with a spectacular display of synchronized swimming.

Saturday morning Diablo, Kahuna and I plan to do a shipwreck swim from Atwater beach at 6am. Sunday the plan is to swim from Klode at 1pm.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Next Swim: Friday 8/13 5:45AM

Last Swim: Thursday 5:45AM
Water Temp: mid to upper 60's
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Very Good
Crew: Diablo, Padre, Kahuna, Blondie, Ele, Greg, Dave, Capt'n
(early(er) crew: Ramrod, Lil-Sista, Beth)

We were once again greeted by a thick fog along the Klode shoreline. The fog, however, quickly burned off as the sun rose and the air temps began to rise towards today's forecasted high of 90.

This was day 2 without the Patriarch-o-meter. Initial toe tests indicated a temp in the low 60's but upon reflecting back on the moment I think we may have been a little biased towards wearing wetsuits this morning. Perhaps we should have paid attention to the signs which indicated that we didn't really want to wear our wetsuits today....such as realizing that you're still wearing your shorts as you're pulling on your wetsuit or discovering that your wetsuit is on backwards after struggling to pull the wetsuit over your feet. (...of course I won't name any names here...)

This morning's swim took us up to the rockwall and back. Upon arriving back at the beach, Diablo and I returned to the water minus our wetsuits to log a quick journey up to the north beach downspout.

For those who missed this morning's swim but enjoy the jovial are a few of the topics that were brought up:
  • What sound does your favorite zoo animal make?
  • laughing like a pig
  • one arm swimming to counter boob imbalances
  • The Ruth-o-Meter
  • Wetsuit fashion tips...the 80's
  • Flash dance

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Persistant Fog

Next Swim: Thursday 8/12 5:45AM

Last Swim: Wednesday 5:45AM
Water Temp: low 60's
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Good
Crew: Diablo, Perry, Linda, Capt'n

Thick fog persisted this morning along the Klode shoreline. Unlike yesterday's fog which hovered just above the water but allowed you to see the tree tops this morning's fog was just the opposite. A faint rumble of a very distant thunder could be heard occasionally but glimpses of blue sky directly above reassured us that the storms were not upon us.

Without the Patriarch-o-meter this morning we were left to measure the water temp via an old fashioned dip of the toes. Not too bad but probably a tad bit too cold to go skin.

Not wanting to risk a sudden change in the weather we swam close to shore. Our journey this morning took us up to the Garage and down to south south beach before returning.

As a side note about this 21 bun salute...just lots of fog and jokes about Gumdrop, The Patriarch and Padre that upon second thought all had a similar theme. :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cap'n Foghorn

Next Swims: Wed & Thu 8/11 & 8/12

Last Swims: Monday 6:30PM, Tuesday 5:45AM
Water Temp: 60
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Very Good
Crew: I'm not sure about Monday night, I wasn't there, but Cap'n said turnout was good.
Tuesday Morning: Kahuna, Cap'n, Diablo, Blondie, Ruth, Greg, Patriarch

It was very foggy this morning, so foggy that those of us the shallows had trouble seeing the swimmers further out. No problem - the Cap'n's evil laugh could probably be heard in Muskegon.

My brother and his family are visiting, so my schedule is a bit uncertain until they leave Saturday morning. But I know the others will carry on if I miss a swim. Especially Diablo, I believe he's been at every single swim!

Monday, August 9, 2010

29 Shots & 2 new nicknames

Next Swim: Monday 8/9 6:30PM

Last Swim: Sunday 8/8 1PM
Water Temp: 60 (near shore) 55ish (offshore)
Waves: calm
Crew: The Patriarch, Diablo, Gundrop, Kahuna, Sonofkahuna, Blondie, Padre, Ramrod, San Diego Joe, David, Walt, Capt'n

Ah, what a fine day it was! ...well, that is unless you were in the water without a wetsuit. The initial reading from the Patriarch-o-meter read 59.9. It was taken between the two rock piles at Klode's south east beach. The water temp along Klode's southern most beach read 61. With sunny skies and an air temp in the mid 80's our initial assessment was that this would be one of those "colder by the rock pile" days.

Unfortunately (...especially for Gumdrop and San Diego Joe who swam without wetsuits...) the water temp away from Klode's rock piles was more like 55. Despite the cold water temps we still logged a northerly swim up to the rock wall and back.

To warm us back up and to celebrate our exceptional streak of good swimming fortune this summer we celebrated with a round, two, three or four of Killepitsch. When all was said and done we had consumed 29 shots of Killepitsch, emptied nearly 2 bottles of our sacred elixir and saw The Patriarch officially proclaim 2 new nicknames...Perry B. has now been officially dubbed "Padre" and Robin has been officially titled "Ramrod".

Due to the storms Monday morning our regularly scheduled 5:45am swim has been moved to 6:30PM. See you at Klode!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Lazy Days

Next Swim: Sun 8/8 1PM

Last Swim: Sat 8/7 9AM
Water Temp: 63
Waves: calm
Crew: The Patriarch, Diablo, Kahuna, Perry, Linda, Beth, Robin, Capt'n

Upon the first dip of the toe in the water this morning one would have put the water temp around the most. The official reading from the Patriarch-o-meter though read 63. Still a bit cool for a skin swim...but being a tad bit unmotivated this morning we just couldn't muster enough energy to climb into our wetsuits. To make us feel better though...The Patriarch offered to proclaim what ever water temp would make us feel better. Without hesitation Diablo wished for a water temp of 67 and the Official Proclamation was made by the Patriarch: "67 it shall be!"

So a skin swim it was...all the way to Cedar grove for all but Kahuna who continued his journey northward after we had paused to contemplate whether or not to turn around.

Swim time for Sunday is 1pm. With an air temp forecasted to be in the 90's perhaps the water temps will be a tad bit more hospitable for a skin swim....if not though, The Patriarch has vowed to have some Killepitsch on hand to warm us up afterward!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Unbelievably Clear

Next Swim: Sat 8/7 9AM
Note: Robin is interesting in swimming at 2PM instead, if interested put a comment in this blog or call or email her.

Last Swim: Fri 8/6 5:45AM
Water Temp: 62
Waves: calm
Crew: Diablo, Lane, Perry, Patriarch

The water was so clear and clean and calm it seemed like we were gliding through air rather than water. It was so pleasant we went all the way to "three piers" before turning back.

I wish I had a dollar for every person who asked me how we can swim in such a polluted lake, and when I tell them how clear the water is, they don't believe me. Their loss, I guess.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cool, But Pleasant

Next Swim: Friday 8/6 5:45AM Klode

Last Swims: Wed & Thu 5:45AM Klode
Water temps: 61 Wed, 60 Thu
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Perfectly Clear
Wed Crew: Cap'n, Diablo, Kahuna, Blondie, Sarah, Ruth, Patriarch
Thu Crew: Cap'n, Diablo, Kahuna, Blondie, The Sistas, Beth, Ruth, Greg, Patriarch

The lake has cooled a bit, and so our streak skin swims has ended at eight. Other than that, the conditions have been about perfect. Clear calm water and gorgeous sunrises over the lake.

Check out this article about the unusual conditions on Lake Michigan this summer:

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Next Swims: Wed & Thu 8/4 & 8/5, 5:45 AM Klode

Last Swims: Mon 6:30PM, Tue 5:45AM
Water Temps: Mon evening 55, Tue morning 59
Waves: Mon evening small chop, Tue morning calm
Water Clarity: Cloudy Mon evening, Clear Tue morning
Mon Evening Crew: Gumdrop, Greg, Patriarch
Tue Morning Crew: Diablo, CaptaIn, Lane, David, Greg, Patriarch

The water temperature went from 73 on Sunday at 2PM, to 63 Monday morning, to 55 Monday evening, back up a little to 59 Tuesday morning. There were no big winds or currents to account for it. Just another example of how difficult it is to predict her moods. You never really know how she'll treat you until you show up on the beach. Just like every other woman I know. (Now we'll find out how many women read this blog)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Silent Treatment

Next Swims: Monday Evening 6:30pm & Tue 5:45Am

Last Swims: Monday 5:45AM
Water temps: 63
Waves: none
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: The PatrIarch, Diablo, Kahuna, Blondie, Perry, Capt'n

Perhaps not as creepy as a strangle ole' man staring at you, or that strange ole' man who can remove his teeth at the blink of an eye....but I must admit there was something a little eerie this morning about The Patriarch's silent treatment of the group. Nare a word he did say the entire morning....not even to announce the water temp.

Now why, why would The Patriarch do this? Was it perhaps the result of going over board on grog last night? Or perhaps the result of deafening echos in his head from mermaids calling out to him? Most likely though....if I had to probably has to do with Blondie. I've been told that Blondie actually spells her name "T-R-O-U-B-L-E"....and that she is. Just ask The Patriarch....after all he knows everything. ...the only problem is, he's not talking.

As chilling as The Patriarch's silent treatment was this morning...perhaps even chillier was the fact that we logged a Cedar Grove and back skin swim with the water temp uncomfortably below our traditional threshold of 65. Amazing in some regards...but down right scary when you pause to consider who else swims at temps like this without a wetsuit. What's next for us...European cut Speedos??? YOWZA!!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Warmest Water Ever

Next Swims: Mon & Tue 5:45Am
Also, if there is interest, a 6:30PM Monday swim, please comment

Last Swims: Sat & Sun 2PM
Water temps: Sat 67, Sun 73!!!!
Waves: big chop, extra effort required
Water Clarity: Excellent
Sat Crew: Cap'n, Gumdrop, Diablo, Kahuna, Sonnakahuna, Eileen, Patriarch
Sun Crew: Cap'n, Gumdrop, Diablo, Kahuna, Sonnakahuna, Eileen, Perry, Brad, Steve, Patriarch

Wow! I'll have to look back, but I don't recall water this warm ever. We really didn't need the shots of Killepitsch to warm us up, but they tasted great anyway.

Upcoming events of note:
Sat Aug 21st, Madison Open Water Swim

Sun Aug 22nd: Pirates Plunge -

Sat Sept. 11th: Big Shoulders -

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Pod of Moby Dicks

Next Swims: Sat & Sun, July 31st and Aug 1st, 2PM both days, Klode Beach
I hesitate to predict anything, but this should be a prime swimming weekend. The water is warm and clear and should just get better.

Last Swims:
Fri 7/30 5:45AM
Water Temp: 67
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: Diablo, Cap'n, Blondie, David, Lane, Greg, Patriarch

Thu 7/29 6:30PM
Water Temp: 70!
Waves: Small Rollers
Water Clarity: Somewhat Cloudy
Crew: Diablo, Gumdrop, Perry, Erin, Sarah, JJ, Patriarch

Thursday evening we were joined by a new swimmer, Sarah. Her dad watched from shore, and he told me that he had seen us Monday night, swimming and howling under the full moon. He said we looked like a pod of whales.

Which got me to thinking about how normal people perceive us. I used to think that we were viewed as brave, but foolish and reckless for swimming in a cold, dangerous and polluted lake. Or perhaps we were viewed as crazy or idiotic.

But now I realize we are seen as the evil consequence of man's abuse of nature. Man has dumped excrement, pesticides, fertilizers, oil, medical waste, and god knows what else into the lake. And anyone that would venture in must inevitably be affected. And so our brains are eaten away by ecoli, our skins turned glowing green by radioactive waste, our flesh gnawed by invasive species. We are a pod of mutant malevolent Moby Dicks, lurking in the frigid depths, surfacing in the dark to howl at the moon.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Let's Do Two

Next Swims: 6:30PM Today Thu 7/29 Klode,
5:45AM Fri 7/30 Klode

Last Swim: 5:45AM Thu 7/29
Water Temp: 65
Waves: One Foot Rollers
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: Cap'n, Diablo, Kahuna, Beth, Big Sista, Lil Sista, Patriarch

It was such fine morning on the beach, and such a great swim, that Diablo and I decided we needed to do it again tonight at 6:30. See you on the beach.