Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Slapped Around

Next Swims: Wednesday 8/31 6PM, Thursday 9/1 5:45 & 6PM

Last Swim: Wednesday 8/31 5:45AM
Water Temp: High Sixties
Waves: choppy 1-3ft waves and building
Water Clarity: cloudy
Crew: Diablo, Gumdrop, Kahuna, SonofKahuna, Bubba Speed, Beth, Ben, Joel, Brent, Mike, Capt'n

Gusty winds from the southeast made for challenging swim conditions this morning. Waves were more frequent (4-5 seconds apart) and sizable than the choppy conditions that we've been experiencing in the evenings. As a result, while the white caps weren't as frequently seen as with our evening swims the steady diet of 1-3ft waves and occasional 4ft wave did a pretty good job of slapping you around at times.

Despite challenging water conditions and a grey dimly lit sky the crew didn't bat an eye when approaching the water. 11 crew members in total walked the plank with Mike and his floating bar joining in on the adventure a little later than most.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pirate's Pizza Night Thursday

Next Swims: Wednesday 8/31 5:45 & 6PM, Thursday 9/1 5:45 & 6PM

Last Swim: Tuesday 8/30 6:00PM
Water Temp: High Sixties
Waves: Very choppy Monday
Water Clarity: mostly clear
Crew: The Patriarch, Diablo, Nick, Capt'n

Plans are in the works to grab pizza following Thursday's 6pm swim. Two locations are currently under consideration by the Committee. Lisa's on Oakland or the California Pizza Kitchen (aka Pirate's Pizza Kitchen). Diablo is rumored to actually be officially "IN" for this event. If you have a preference between these two locations please vote so that the Committee can take it into consideration.

Choppy evening swim conditions appear to be the "in" thing these days. The conditions are not only great in terms of a workout but also a great test of your patience. At times you pretty much feel as if you're just flailing your arms, kicking your legs and hoping the result is forward progress. Also, if you're not good at hydrating while swimming these conditions provide an excellent opportunity to force the issue....or motivation to learn how to breath on both sides. :)

Something New Every Day

Next Swims: Tuesday 8/30 6:00PM, Wednesday 8/31 5:45 (yes Speed, there is a 31st day in August!)

Last Swims: Monday 6PM, Tuesday 5:45AM
Water Temp: High Sixties
Waves: Very choppy Monday evening, calm Tuesday morning
Water Clarity: Zero visibility Monday evening, clear as could be Tuesday morning
Mon Evening Crew: Patriarch, Cap'n, Crash, Gumdrop, Matt, Tim, Mike
Tue Morning Crew: Patriarch, Diablo, Kahuna, Steve, Speed, Kelly, Matt, Coach Jess!

You never know what you might find on the beach. Last night there was a guy who looked a lot like Mike, but with a lot less hair. (As is often the case, when a man does something out of character there is a woman to blame.)

This morning I was very pleasantly surprised to have Coach Jess join us. At least I think it was her, I'm never awake when I arrive and the cold water numbs brain afterwards, so I'm never thinking clearly. Anyhow if was an hallucination, it was a good one.

Another surprise was the clear calm water. After several days of fighting choppy murky water, it seemed so easy and pleasant to be gliding effortlessly over the clearly visible bottom. And once again, we were treated to a spectacular sunrise as we coasted north along the coast.

Note to James: Mike said there would be some Shorewood swimmers attempting a Big Bay to Beach Drive swim today at noon (that's 5K, more or less).

Monday, August 29, 2011

One forgotten....all remembered

Next Swims: Monday 6PM & Tuesday 5:45AM & 6PM

Last Swim: Monday 8/29 5:45AM
Water Temp: 66 with pockets of 70ish
Waves: rippled surface with an occasional 1ft roller
Clarity: clearer offshore
Crew: The Patriarch, Diablo, Gumdrop, Sir James, Bubba Speed, Ben, Scooby (Steve), Kelly, Tony, Lane, Marni, Capt'n plus one more swimmer

Despite a chilly air temp in the low 50's this morning we may have had a record sized AM crew on hand. 13 swimmers in total walked the plank....all of whose name I remember except for one. (Sorry...if anyone remembers the name of the crew member who's not listed above please comment.)

Water conditions this morning weren't nearly as playful has yesterday's but they were certainly a lot more like the glasslike conditions we've grown accustomed to in the past. Still we were treated to a spectacular sun rise over occasional swells of water as we made our swim journey northward past Garage. Occasional pockets of warm water tempted you to swim longer and helped to take your mind off of the air temp that was at least 10 degrees cooler. Water clarity was good although it's always challenging to judge just how clear the water is without the sun overhead. Still, there were a few pockets where you could catch a glimpse of the sandy lake bottom 8+ feet below and outside of a few instances you could always see your hands below you.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Swimming & Puppies

Next Swims: Monday 5:45AM & 6PM

Last Swim: Sunday 8/28 noon
Water Temp mid/upper 60's near shore, 70ish offshore
Waves: playful building 1-3ft (5-10 seconds apart)
Clarity: clearer 200ft from shore
Crew: The Patriarch, Diablo, Gumdrop, Sir James, Kelly, Tony, Marni, Capt'n

Weather conditions this afternoon were similar to Saturday...breezy northeast winds, plentiful sunshine and a seascape littered with whitecaps. What wasn't the same was our location or swim conditions. Klode's beach lies perfectly positioned at the center of a bay while Steve's is closer to the northern point. A long trail of sand filled water could be seen reaching out towards the middle of the bay from the point nearest yesterday's swim location. By comparison, the shoreline at Klode had a smattering of whitecaps cresting over the sandbars and a very narrow stretch of sand filled water just inside the sandbars.

Today was one of those swims that I'd liken to having a puppy. They always want attention and if you attempt to ignore them they effort to gain your attention by frequently tugging and pulling at you. Likewise, with today's swim the Lady of the Lake would seemingly tug at your arms or occasionally pull the water out from under your hand so your stroke would whiff through the air.

Swimming straight took an extraordinary amount of concentration and navigational savvy. But if you were looking for some fun, you were definitely in the right place. The occasional 3ft waves made for ideal launch pads if you enjoy catapulting into the air like a whale. Or if body surfing is your thing, the sandbars along Klode's north beach provided frequent cresting Hawaii-five-O waves that would pick-up your feet and launch you towards shore.

Most of the crew this afternoon swam skin. As was the case yesterday, the sand filled water near shore was considerably cooler then the turquoise water outside of the sandbars. The near shore water today though, was approximately 10 degrees warmer then yesterday. Noticeably absent today was the strong northerly current. A pleasant reprieve from yesterday's workout.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Next Swims: Sunday 8/28 noon, Monday 5:45AM

Last Swim: Saturday noon at Steve's
Water: Cold and gunky near shore, much warmer and clearer out 200 meters
Waves: 1-2 foot, big current pushing north to south
Crew (as best as I can remember, correct me if I'm wrong): Gwen!, Steve, Cap'n, Diablo, Kahuna, Crash, Patriarch, Dave, Cheryl, Eric, Eric, Matt, Kim, Jessica, James, Nick, Tony, Karen, Larry, Kimberly, Ryan, and the Amazing 12 year old Philly

Lots to celebrate today. First we congratulate Jeff and Claudia on the birth of their son Calvin. I'm sure we'll see Cal in the water soon.

Also, we toasted Gwen on her triumphant return to the states after conquering the European triathlon world and earning her spot on the US Olympic team. This was the first of many toasts hoisted on Steve's deck.

Mostly we celebrated a great day on a great lake with a great party on Steve's deck. The food was fantastic (thanks Steve's Eye Candy). And the mimosas, screwdrivers, bloodies, and of course Killepitsch flowed freely.

Records were set: numbers of swimmers in the water (22) and number of shots of Killepitsch consumed (actually we lost count - imagine that! - but we think somewhere around 36).

Thanks, Steve for hosting this fantastic party!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Skin is Still In / Directions to Steve's

Next Swim: Saturday noon at Steve's

Last Swim: Friday 8/26 6PM
Water Temp 69
Waves: rolling chop from south
Clarity: cloudy
Crew: The Patriarch, Diablo, Sir James, Slip-n-Slide, Diamond Dave, David, Mike, Mike, Tim, Kelly, Capt'n

Steve Place:
7152 N Beach Drive, Fox Point

The Plan:
Steve has an outdoor shower and hot tub for us to enjoy after the swim. The plan is to swim at noon, followed by a post swim pancake brunch. Of course there will be plenty of Pitsch on hand. Feel free to bring a food/drink item to share if you'd like....Sir James is rumored to be bringing left over brownies.

Directions to Steve's: Beach Drive is accessed from Lake Drive at about 7700 North. Take Beach Drive east (towards the Lake). It will go down a steep hill. At the bottom of the hill the road splits, stay right. The road will turn right at the lake. It will continue along the lake for a short distance, then it will turn inland. (You will be passing the infamous "witch's house"). There will be signs saying "dead end turn around" or something like that, but keep going until you get to Steve's at 7152 on the left.

Friday PM Swim summary: Another good sized crew walked the plank this evening into a rolling surf from the south. Oddly, even though the waves were pushing in from the south the current felt like it was going in the opposite direction. The oddity was confirmed by Sir James who said his swim out against the waves was quicker than his return. Warm water conditions persisted and swimming skin remained comfortable.

Skin is Back In!!!

Next Swims: Friday 6PM and Saturday noon at Steve's (see 8/24 blog entry: )

Last Swims: Thursday 8/25 5:45AM & Friday 8/26 5:45AM

Friday's conditions:
Water Temp Official Patriarch reading 65 but much warmer away from Klode (70ish!!!)
Waves: calm
Clarity: clear in spots
Crew: The Patriarch, Diablo, Kahuna, SonofKahuna, Bubba Speed, Beth, Ben, Matt, Steve, Chris, Capt'n

Thursday's conditions:
Water Temp 48!!! (...but reports of warmer water 200 meters from shore)
Waves: calm
Clarity: clear
Crew: Diablo, Kahuna, Bubba Speed, Beth, Capt'n with guest appearances from The Patriarch, Sir James & Ben

Wow....what a difference 24 hours can make this year! In prior years, when the water temps took the plunge it would days if not weeks for them to bounce back. This year there have been several occasions where the temps have taken an unexpected plunge only to bounce back nicely in 24 hours.

The resiliency of the crew yesterday was nothing short of amazing. Despite a numbing water temp of just 48 several crew members walked the plank and logged a swim up to the Garage and sleeveless wetsuits.

Today was a completely different story. We comfortably swam skin up to mudslide and back. The calm, warm and sometimes crystal clear water made for an almost effortless journey.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Party Saturday at Steve's

Next Swims: Thursday 8/25 5:45AM
Thursday at 7:15 PM is the last of the Aquathon series in Menomonee Park
Friday 5:45AM, and Saturday noon at Steve's (see below)

Last Swim: Wed 5:45 AM
Water Temp 51!!! (Yikes, we lost 20 degrees in the last 24 hours!)
Waves: calm
Crew: Cap'n, Diablo, Ben, Beth, Kahuna, Speed, Steve, James, Patriarch

The lady showed her cruel side this morning, turning the cold shoulder and then some. It was too cold for two of us to even make the attempt, but everyone else at least gave it a shot (in wetsuits). Never fear, there is still plenty of good swimming left, all we need is a wind shift to warm things up again.

Let's hope that happens before Saturday because Steve has invited the Klode Crew and the Schroeder masters to his house on Beach Drive Saturday from noon to three. The plan is to swim at noon, followed by a post swim pancake brunch. Stayed tuned for more details and do your best warm water chant.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

...It's not anymore....

Next Swim: Wednesday 8/24 5:45AM

Last Swim: Tuesday 8/23 6PM
Water Temp: <64 (mostly colder)
Waves: rolling waves from the south
Water Clarity: cloudy
Crew: The Patriarch, Sir James, Beth, Tim, Dave, Capt'n

"It'll be what it is until it's not anymore....and then it'll be something else."
Those were The Patriarch's great words of wisdom that were spoken as we strolled down to the beach this evening. They were in reference to the great stretch of water temps we've been having. Much to our chagrin, the water temps this evening have taken an unexpected plunge.

The best reading The Patriarch could find along the Klode shore with his trusty lazer-o-meter was 64. So they we were.....the skies were cloudy, the water was cloudy and our mood quickly turned gloomy once our toes hit the water. Echoing in my head were Diablo's great words of wisdom: "What the crap?!?!"

Swimming southward into the rolling surf it was evident that the reading of 64 was more the exception than the norm. For the most part the water felt like it was 60ish at best with pockets of water in the upper 50's.

So if you're wondering, "how could this happen? Where's the warm water?" Here are two theories for you:

Theory #1: "Jess' Jinx" - As fate unfortunately would have it, The Fine Wench this afternoon forecasted exceptionally nice water this weekend. The Patriarch has frequently advised against this practice ( least without an acceptable sacrifice...) lest the Lady of the Lake enact her icy wrath on you. Could it be that without an acceptable sacrifice that we're doomed to have icy cold water through the weekend?

Theory #2: "Thor's Hammer has upset the Lady of the Lake's tropical sand globe" Yes indeed, Thor's hammer as struck and resulted in a great quake along the eastern seaboard. Could it be that this act has shaken the Lady of the Lake's tropical sand globe?

Only time will tell. But all theories aside, the weather forecast looks great the next few days with plentiful sunshine and air temps pushing 90 tomorrow. Our consecutive day skin swim count currently sits at 23. Will it continue?

Patriarch MIA

Next Swims: Tuesday 8/22 6:00PM & Wednesday 8/23 5:45AM

Last Swim: Tuesday 8/22 5:45AM
Water Temp: 70ish
Waves: calm with occasional roller
Water Clarity: excellent
Crew: Diablo, Bubba Speed, Sir James, Kahuna, Steve, David, Chris, Capt'n with a special guest appearance by Steve's eye candy (Sorry, for some reason I can't remember your name)

Ok all you stats lovers....I've crunched a few numbers and determined that as it turns out our 100th swim of the season yesterday was one day earlier this year than last year. Our 100th swim in 2010 occurred on 8/23 whereas this year it occurred on 8/22. Coincidentally, this year's swim swim season started on 5/ day earlier than last year. Of course all this is purely coincidental as last year we didn't miss a single day until we had amassed a steak of 158 straight days of swimming. This year we've had to rely on a nice stretch of double dipper days to catch up. :)

This morning's they usually are....was unique. Unexpectedly, The Patriarch was MIA...and so was Barbi. Also missing was M-Power and the typical camps of women who enthusiastically greet us in the morning. To help ease the void left by these noteworthy absences Steve added a little spice to the crew this morning by bringing along some very spirited eye candy. I'm sure the crew was thinking this....but I'm probably the only person who won't get in trouble for saying this: "Thanks Steve...You da' man!!" :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Swimming Grudge Match of the Century

Next Swims: Tuesday 8/22 5:45AM & 6:00PM

Last Swim: Monday 6PM
Water Temp: 69
Waves: Very Choppy
Water Clarity: Terrible
Crew: Diamond Dave, Cap'n, Kahuna, Diablo, Patriarch, Beth, Brittany, Ben, Mike, Jeff, Lane

Great swimming in a Great Lake. This has been one of the best strings of good Lake Michigan swimming ever. We've had some great turnouts too. Our outing Sunday was so successful that we're working on another special outing this coming weekend, stay tuned.

James, it was fantastic that you beat Megan in the Madison Open Water Swim (by 13 seconds in 2.4 miles). However, I think you made a major strategic blunder by gloating about it. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. I love you James, but I have to believe Megan is going to do whatever it takes, fair or unfair, to exact revenge at Big Shoulders. This could be the swimming grudge match of the century. I bet a bottle of bubbly on Megan. Any takers?

Century Swim

Next Swims: Monday 8/22 6PM, Tuesday 8/23 5:45AM

Last Swim: Monday 8/22 5:45 AM
Water Temp: 69
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Good
Crew: The Patriarch, Diablo, Bubba Speed, Matt, Chris, Capt'n

This morning's swim marked the 100th time the crew has walked the plank since our first official swim on May 22nd. For those keeping track at home this was our 77th day of swimming in the lake out of a possible 93. By comparison last year we started swimming on May 23rd and today would have been day a row.

I don't have the exact stats available at the moment....but despite the discrepancy in the number of days swum between this year and last year I'm pretty sure our total swim count for this year may be only a swim or two behind last year's count. (Stay tuned for the official swim count comparison) the way....yesterday's Pitsch poured count of 23 was not a record. A record of 29 were poured last year when "Padre" officially earned his nickname. ...another interesting stat this morning is that our official "plank" counter now reads 666 for the year. (Note to Padre....please put in a good word for us so our exceptional swim fortunes may continue!)

Our streak of consecutive skin swim days was extended to 22 this morning. A crimson sun rose slowly over the horizon of a nearly glass like lake surface and combined with water temps hovering around 70 to make for an exceptional swim.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Diamond Dave's Dive at World's End

Next Swim: Monday 5:45AM & 6PM

Last Swim: Sunday 1PM
Water Temp: 70+
Waves: slight chop
Water Clarity: Very good
1st wave crew: The Patriarch, Diablo, Kahuna, Gumdrop, Jack Frost, Phil, Kelly, Tony, Nick, Bruce?
2nd wave crew: Sir James, The Fine Wench, Bubba Ben, Matt, Ben, Melodee, Kobinsky, Capt'n
3rd wave crew: Diamond Dave, Sir James, Ben, Melodee, Bubba Ben, Capt'n
With Special Guest Appearance from Jack Frost's very pregnant wife Claudia and her friend Monique

Avast ye crew mates....It certainly was an exceptional day to walk Diamond Dave's plank!! Klode's vibrant turquoise blue waters shown brilliantly under the bright sun filled skies. The winds were light and the air temp was hovering around 80. The waters inside of Klode's bay were slightly rippled and the water temp for the most part was comfortably in the low 70's. (...there may have been a few pockets of water in the upper 60's closer to shore but those were more than offset by a few pockets that felt closer to 80!)

A record sized crew was on hand for today's unique Klode crew adventure. 19 in total. On tap for today's crew....a one way boat ticket aboard Diamond Dave's Klode Klipper to the end of the world! (...or as some may know it...the outer edge of the Klode bay.)

As the Klode Klipper could only accommodate 10 we drew straws to determine who would be the first to walk the plank at the outer limits of the Klode bay. 10 brave souls then made a short swim to board the Klipper before being whisked away and shown the plank approximately 1 mile straight east of the Klode shore. After a brief escort of the 1st wave crew the Klode Klipper then returned to collect the 2nd wave of rambunctious crew mates.

To ensure that Diamond Dave too was allowed to walk the plank at World's End a 3rd tour set out with Kelly assuming the reigns of the Klode Klipper.

I'm happy to report that all crew mates successfully landed safely on the Klode shore....with a few sharing harrowing tales such as outwitting The Kracken, wrestling bull sharks and even being allegedly tempted by mermaids. Accomplishments and exceptional adventures made only possible through the generosity of Diamond Dave! To celebrate today's momentous adventure 23 shots of Pitsch were thrown down....a record!....all in honor Diamond Dave and the Klode Klipper!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Crazy Capn's Klode Crew Killepitsch Cruise & Crawl

Next Swim: Sunday 8/21 1:00PM
We're making up for the cancellation of the Pirates Plunge with our own event. Diamond Dave will meet us at Klode with his boat. We'll wade to his boat, climb aboard, go out a ways, walk the plank, and swim back. For safety we'll all stick together, or maybe break into two groups.

Last Swims: Friday 8/19 6PM, Saturday 1PM
Water Temp: 70 both days
Waves: Very choppy both days
Water Clarity: Very good away from shore
Friday evening crew: Kahuna, Secondsonnakuhuna, Diablo, Sarah, Ben, Cap'n, Patriarch
Saturday afternoon crew: Cap'n, Diablo, Kahuna, Patriarch, with visit from Jeff, his very pregnant wife Claudia and her friend Monique

It's a shame the Pirate's Plunge was cancelled, but Diamond Dave has come to the rescue by offering to host our own version of the plunge on his boat. The weather is predicted to be sunny and warm with low winds and should make for a great swim day.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ben Needs a Swim Name

Next Swims: Friday 8/19 6PM, Saturday 8/20 Noon
Sunday: Stay tuned, we're working on a couple of ideas for a special swim to take the place of the cancelled Pirates Plunge

Last Swim: Friday 5:45 AM
Water Temp: 67
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Good
Crew: James, Kelly, Kahuna, Ben, Chris, Steve, Cap'n, Diablo, Patriarch

Another gorgeous sunrise. We were inspired to do something different. Instead of our usual out and back along the shore we decided to do a "square". We swam straight out into the rising sun for quite a way (hard to say how far, it's difficult to judge distance out there). Then we paralleled the shore until we were straight out from garage, then straight in to garage, then back to the beach.

A fine swim followed by a fine breakfast at Solly's (the Door County Cherry pancakes are my recommendation). Over our eggs and bacon and taters and cakes we came to the conclusion that it's high time to christen Ben with a swim name. Since he failed to offer one himself, we offered a few of our own, based on his southern roots. So far "Bubba", "Jethro", and "Cracker" are the top contenders. We are open to other suggestions. Ben, you may want to put in your two cents.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Crash Saves the Swim

Next Swims: Friday 8/19 5:45AM (Solly's Breakfast Swim!) & 6PM

Last Swim: Thursday 6PM
Water Temp: 70ish (Capt'n-o-meter still on the fritz)
Waves: Chop from the south
Water Clarity: Good
Crew: Diablo, Kahuna, Diamond Dave, Jack Frost, Tim, Kelly, Chris & Jill & 6yr old daughter, Capt'n with special guest appearances from The Patriarch, Gui & Crash

Indeed, it was an exceptional evening for a swim. Sunny skies, warm air & water temps and a very enthusiastic crew. But there was a problem....despite The Patriarch and I having a considerable stash of Killepitsch at home, neither of us brought a bottle to the beach. What were we going to do? Who would break the unfortunate news to the crew? Surely there would be dissension in the ranks!

In times of crisis great leaders leap to action....and that's what The Patriarch did. With a crazed look in his one eye and his whiskers twitching The Patriarch whipped out his cell phone and called the Calvary....aka Crash. In a mere blink of an eye...or the time it took Diablo and I to swim to sewer pipe and back...Crash was standin' there on the beach with an ice cold bottle of the finest brew of Pitsch. The crew was delighted and the swim was saved....all thanks to Crash!

BREAKING NEWS! Kahuna and The Patriarch have officially decreed that Friday's morning swim is officially a "Solly's Breakfast" Swim. Everyone is invited to join them at Solly's for an exceptionally tasty home cooked breakfast at Solly's following the morning swim.

On The Fritz

Next Swims: Thursday 8/18 6PM, Friday 8/19 5:45AM

Last Swims: Wednesday 6PM, Thursday 5:45AM
Water Temp: high 60's (not sure, thermometer on the fritz)
Waves: Choppy Wed evening, small rollers Thursday morning
Water Clarity: Good in most spots, some areas of murkiness
Wed evening crew: Jeff, Diablo, Mike, Tim, Patriarch, and Steve on his jet ski
Thu morning crew: Ben, James, Chris, Diablo, Cap'n, Patriarch

We've been swimming twice a day for a couple weeks now, and the crew is fraying a bit around the edges. Arms and shoulders are tired and sore. Too much time is spent gabbing on the beach, trying to delay walking the plank and plunging into cool water. The jokes are stale and lame. Our water thermometers need batteries. Even the beach is starting to smell from washed up rotting algae.

All of which is quickly forgotten when the sun rises in a crimson sky, sparkling the waves and illuminating the bottom. Some people watch sunrise from the top of the bluff, some from the beach, but I think the best vantage point is in the water.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Happy Returns

Next Swims: Wed 8/17 6PM, Thu 8/18 5:45AM

Last Swim: Wed 8/17 5:45AM
Water Temp: 68
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Very Clear
Crew: Kahuna, James, Diablo, Ben, Ben, Cap'n, Chris, Eric, Patriarch

This morning's swim featured the return of two things missing lately. First was the return of clear water near shore. All the silt and sand that was stirred up by Sunday's big waves has finally settled out and bottom is clearly visible again. The second return started as a mystery. Who was that swimmer we saw going the other way as we returned to the beach? We called out to him but he didn't stop. Turns out to be Kahuna who's been out on vacation the last couple weeks. Can breakfast at Solly's be far behind?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Skin Swim Count Takes the Lead!

Next Swims: Wednesday 8/17 5:45AM & Thursday 8/18 5:45AM

Last Swims: Tuesday 8/16 5:45AM & 6PM

AM Conditions:
Water Temp: 68
Waves: calm surface with occasional <1ft roller
Water Clarity: improving
Crew: The Patriarch, Diablo, Sir James, Steve, Ben

PM Conditions:
Water Temp: 72.4
Waves: moderate chop from south
Water Clarity: good
Crew: The Patriarch, Diablo, Sir James, Jack Frost, Tim, Tony, Capt'n with guest appearance by Eric

Our skin swim counter officially took the lead over the wetsuit swim counter today. If you're into following records the latest in the season that this has ever happened was September 27, 2009. At that time we had also swam 28 consecutive days without a wetsuit. Coincidentally our streak of non-wetsuit swims ended that day.

Currently our consecutive day skin swim count stands at 16 days and counting. While our current skin swim steak may not be a record our current skin count for the season of 46 may very well be. ...although one may very well contend that we're just becoming more acclimated to the cooler water temps. To counter this argument I'm currently considering posting an average seasonal water temp for comparison purposes. I'm not sure The Patriarch has officially blessed this thought though....

Another interesting stat is Sir James' swim time out vs swim time back. This morning under nearly pristine conditions his swim time out was 16.5 minutes out and 16.5 minutes back. The accomplishment has left Diablo contemplating whether he could somehow set his watch by Sir James.

A moderate chop from the south made this evenings swim conditions considerably more challenging than this morning. Unfortunately I was too distracted by our rounds of Pitsch to recall Sir James' swim time out vs swim time back stat....but I do recall there being a considerable difference. Remarkably though, an anonymous observer recorded eerily similar times of 'slow' and 'slow' for The Patriarch's swim out and swim back times this evening....but then again Barbi typically distracts him a bit.

Monday, August 15, 2011

It's All About Marketing

Next Swims: Tue 8/16 5:45AM & 6PM

Last Swim: Mon 8/15 6PM
Water Temp: 71
Waves: Small
Water Clarity: Murky, still lots of silt and sand in the water from the storm
Crew: Cap'n, Patriarch, Diablo, James, Jeff, Jill, Eric, Annie, Mike, Tim, Ben, Cheryl, Rosina, Hannah, Dave

Cap'n advertises a "Skin & Pitsch" Swim, and we get one of the best turnouts and best shot consumptions of the year. Fifteen swimmers and thirteen shots. Some show up for the swimming, some for the shots and some for the great company. And I got to meet some hard core UW-Madison crew and swimmers, whose athletic skills are only matched by their well honed State Street partying skills.

Pirate Steve, the organizer of the Pirates Plunge could probably learn a thing or two from us. Unfortunately he had to cancel the Plunge because of low advance registration. Next year we'll have to show him how's it done.

Skin & Pitsch Swim this evening

Next Swim: Monday 8/15, 6PM

Last Swim: Monday (8/15) 5:45AM
Water Temp: 67.9
Waves: gentle rollers <1ft
Water Clarity: stirred up
Crew: The Patriarch, Sir James, Ben, Capt'n

Only gently rolling 1 foot waves remained after yesterday's turbulent conditions. The surface water is starting to clear but the water clarity quickly turns dark a few feet below the surface. Even though you couldn't see the sandbars it was evident whenever you put your feet down that the sandbars have been reconfigured. It'll be interesting to see how big/small they've become once the water clarity returns.

Speaking of returning, the Patriarch and I plan to return this evening for a skin & Killepitsch or bust swim at 6PM. The skin swim counter currently sits at 43...just one shy of our wetsuit swim counter.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Wicked Waves

Next Swims: Monday 8/15 5:45AM & 6PM

Last Swims: Saturday 8/13 1PM & Sunday 6PM (with 12pm & 1pm scouting trips)

Saturday Conditions:
Water Temp: 68 & rain
Waves: calm
Water Clarity: no report
Crew: The Patriarch, Diablo, Eileen, Mike

Sunday Conditions:
Water Temp: 70.2
Waves: frequent 4-6ft (12 & 1pm), 1-3ft (6PM)
Water Clarity: stirred-up
Crew: (6pm)The Patriarch, Gumdrop, Sir James, Capt'n with special guest appearances from Eric & Berkley
Crew: (mid-day) Gumdrop, e-Run, Dave, Capt'n with special guest appearances from Eric & Berkley

The waves mid-Sunday weren't the biggest or worst waves we've swam in but they were certainly wicked enough to permanently sink yer ship if you weren't careful....if ya' know what I mean.

The waves Sunday afternoon were probably the biggest we've seen this year and very frequent...spaced approximately 2-3 seconds apart. Swimmable, if you're daring but you need to be careful not lose your wits otherwise you may lose something of greater value.

Of the 4 crew members who walked the mid-day plank today only one successfully navigated back to their point of origin. The others were forced to make exits at locations dictated by the Lady of the lake. As one crew member described their experience:

"The Lady told me in no uncertain terms today who the bitch is as she mercifully spat me back to shore."

Navigating the currents and waves requires patience, saavy and a wee bit of luck. Always be mindful of the direction of the current, be aware of your surroundings at all times (i.e. know where those rock piles are!), scout out where the sand bars are (...they are NOT your friend...but rather the gatekeeper to calmer water), have a backup exit strategy and most importantly, never ever panic.

Upon returning this evening the conditions had settled down a bit. The waves were still as frequent but not nearly has big. Playing it safe, the crew launched from Klode's north beach to minimize the challenges of the northeasterly current and the Klode rock piles. While the swim out towards the sandbars was quite turbulent, once you made it outside of the sandbars the waves were a lot most hospitable....becoming almost nonexistent. Sir James reported that his swim out past Mudslide took 12 minutes while the journey back took just 8.

Big Waves Ahoy!

Next Swim: Klode 1PM Sunday & 6PM Sunday

For those interested in a little high seas sounds like there may be some big waves pummelling the Klode shores this afternoon. The forecast calls for 3-6ft waves...and judging from eye witness reports the waves are currently around 3ft.

Diablo is out for the 1pm swim and The Patriarch is a maybe....but both are definitely in the 6pm swim. Gumdrop is in for the 1pm swim. I plan to attend both swims....who could say 'no' to a double dip opportunity in Big Waves??? :)

Swim at Steve's Postponed

Steve reports poor conditions at his place. Large waves and a lot of stirred up gunk in the water. So we will cancel the swim at his house and try for another day.

I hate to break our streak, though. So I will try a 6PM Klode swim if anyone else is interested. Please comment.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Check back Sunday Morning Before Coming to Steve's

The near shore marine forecast is predicting three to six foot waves Sunday morning. If the waves are too high it would not be safe to swim from Steve's so we may have to postpone. Check back Sunday morning, I will check out the conditions and update the blog by 9AM.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Swim at Steve's Sunday

Next Swims: Saturday 8/13 Noon Klode

Sunday 8/14, 11:00AM, Steve has graciously invited us to swim from his place:
7152 N Beach Drive, Fox Point
Steve has an outdoor shower and hot tub for us to enjoy after the swim.
Please bring a snack to share, I will bring liquid refreshments.

Directions to Steve's: Beach Drive is accessed from Lake Drive at about 7700 North. Take Beach east (towards the Lake). It will go down a steep hill. At the bottom of the hill the road splits, stay right. The road will turn right at the lake. It will continue along the lake for a short distance, then it will turn inland. (You will be passing the infamous "witch's house"). There will be signs saying "dead end turn around" or something like that, but keep going until you get to Steve's at 7152 on the left.

Last Swims: Thursday 6PM, Friday 5:45 AM
Waves: Small Rollers
Water Temp: Thursday PM 70, Friday AM 68
Water Clarity: Very Clear
Thursday PM Crew: 3 Mikes, 2 Daves, Cheryl, Jeff, James, Patriarch, Eric & his daughter Annie
Friday AM Crew: James, Joe, Steve, Ben, Tony, Beth, Tim, Lane, Patriarch

Just another day in Paradise. Wow! A whole week of great weather with warm clear and mostly calm water. The weatherman wants to dampen the fun by predicting storms for the weekend but when has the weatherman ever been right? Anyway, it's great while it lasts and hopefully we'll have good conditions for our Sunday swim from Steve's.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pirates Plunge Smack Talk

Next Swim: Thursday 8/11 6PM & Friday 8/12 5:45AM

Last Swim: Thursday 8/11 5:45AM
Water Temp: 70+
Waves: calm
Water Clarity: Cloudy near shore, clear offshore
Crew: The Patriarch, Sir James, Ben, Steve, Capt'n

"No wench goona beat me at the Pirates Plunge!" declared Sir James who was in rare smack talkin' form at this morning's swim. "...not Megan or that lass known as The Fine Wench". So there we have it, Sir James has officially announced that he be throwin' down the gauntlet at the Pirates Plunge on 8/21. the way, if The Fine Wench or Jill be readin' this blog entry Sir James would like you to know that the water temp this morning was 75.

Speaking of this morning's water, our streak of exceptional 70+ water conditions has now reached 7 days! Encountering a day or two of 70+ water for the entire summer has typically been the norm the past few summers....but a week straight is totally unreal! Despite the fall like air temps this morning the warm calm water made for exceptional swim conditions up to the orange kayak and back for most of the crew. The exception was Sir James who of course is preparing to put the wenches in their place at the Pirates Plunge. ...The Patriarch by the way is rumored to be taking bets for those looking to wager a little grog on the plunge. :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lakefront Marathon Swim Division

Next Swim: Thursday 8/11 5:45AM

Last Swims: Tue 6PM, Wed 5:45AM
Water Temp: 70
Waves: small
Water Clarity: Good
Tue PM Crew: James, Bruce, Jeff, Mike, Diablo, Patriarch (Cap'n claims he swam earlier, I'm not sure I should believe him)
Wed AM Crew: James, Joe, Diablo, Cap'n, Sarah, Ben, Patriarch

Excellent swimming continues despite the evil west wind that has been blowing the last two days. James in particular is taking advantage of the great conditions by logging some serious swim time. Yesterday morning he swam to Big Bay and back (approximately 2.4 miles round trip), last night he did a 30 minute swim, and this morning he did a Big Bay round trip with Joe.

When he got out of the water he said he should be swimming less and running more to prepare for his upcoming marathon. I have a better idea: the Lakefront Marathon should add a swim division for James. With favorable currents I'll bet he could beat some runners.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cap'n AWOL

Next Swims: Tuesday 8/9 6PM, Wednesday 8/10 5:45AM

Last Swims: Mon 6PM, Tue 5:45AM
Water Temp: Mon PM 72, Tue AM 70
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Good, the further out you go the clearer it gets
Mon PM Crew: Jeff, two Mikes, Diamond Dave, Slip&Slide, Riptide, Diablo, Patriarch
Tue AM Crew: Steve, James, Ben, Diablo, Patriarch

The swimming has been fantastic, the best stretch of days I can ever remember on Lake Michigan. But has anyone seen Cap'n?? He hasn't been on the beach in two days.Very very strange especially with the great swim conditions. The last time I saw him he muttered something about drinking strawberry milk with Herb Kohl, which at the time I took as just another of his incoherent drunken ramblings, but now I am extremely worried.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Crystal Clear, Warm & Wavy

Next Swim: Monday 8/8 6PM & Tuesday 8/9 5:45AM

Last Swim: Monday 8/8 5:45AM
Water Temps: 71.7+ (warmer away from Klode)
Air Temp: 66 & sunny
Waves: 1-2ft frequent rollers
Water Clarity: crystal clear
Fri PM Crew: The Patriarch, Diablo, Steve, Eric, Capt'n

This may have been the warmest 5:45AM swim for the crew ever. Typically the surface water will cool off a few degrees overnight...especially when the overnight air temps are cooler than the water. The coolest water temp I could find along Klode's south beach was 71.7 while the Patriarch's super high tech lazer-o-meter registered a water temp of 74.

Spicing up this morning's swim were frequent 1-2 foot rolling waves coming in slightly from the northeast. Despite the waves the water clarity remained exceptionally clear and provided an crisp view of the sand along the lake bottom rolling in and out with the waves.

Similar to yesterday swimming in both directions felt relatively effortless....that's if you swam outside of the sandbar. Although if you were looking for a challenge, like The Patriarch, if you swam closer to shore the cresting waves and subsequent undertow provided for a little more challenge to your giddy-up.

With the exceptional water temps the crew plans to return this evening for a 6pm swim and again Tuesday morning at 5:45am. In all likelihood we will also be back at 6pm Tuesday and 5:45am Wednesday if you're interested in making long range plans to swim with us. :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Crystal Clear, Calm & (very) Warm

Next Swim: Monday 8/8 5:45AM & Tuesday 8/9 5:45AM

Last Swim: Sunday noon
Water Temps: 72.7..but much warmer (80+) away from Klode!
Air Temp: 82 & sunny
Waves: calm
Water Clarity: HDTV like clarity
Fri PM Crew: The Patriarch, Diablo, Gumdrop, Crash, Sir James, Mike, Mike, Phil, Capt'n

Days like today are rare...very rare. Not only was the water warm (upper 70's to low 80's in several spots) but it was also crystal clear and calm. An absolutely exceptional, if not the best ever, day for the Klode Crew.

In fact I think I overheard The Patriarch mention that the occasional cool spots of water actually felt good. be honest, I don't think I've ever heard a comment like that being made about the Lake Michigan waters but I'll definitely second that thought about today's swim.

It was one of those days where swimming just felt effortless regardless of which direction you were swimming. Several of the crew members logged a skin swim up to Three Piers while Sir James logged a 5K swim out to the Pier on the Point and back.

Upon arriving back to Klode we hoisted several shots of Pitsch to toast Gwen's exceptional performance at the London Tri and debated who we should be paying tribute to for our exceptional swim conditions The Lady of the Lake, Neptune, Poseidon, Aquarius or the absence of Jack Frost. :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Congratulations Gwen!!

Holy Cow!! Gwen Jorgensen placed second today in the ITU Triathlon World Championships, thereby earning a spot on the US Olympic Team for the 2012 London games. More info:

She swam with us a couple times last year, and I'm SURE that made all the difference.

Next Swim: Sunday 8/7 Noon
Last Swims: Friday 6PM, Saturday noon
Water Temps: 76! (I believe that's a record)
Waves: small chop
Water Clarity: Excellent
Fri PM Crew: Cap'n, Crash, Diablo, Gumdrop, Patriarch, Mike, Mike, Alewife
Sat Crew: Patriarch, Padre, Crash, Tony, Bird, Diablo

If you're thinking of giving the Big Lake a try, now is the time, it just doesn't get any better. Warm clear water and beautiful weather. Last night we celebrated our good fortune with a post swim pizza.

Today we swam from Klode to Big Bay, passing the ruins of the sunken piers and crumbling terraces that I believe were once part of the Pabst Whitefish Bay resort.

As usual, we got some comic relief, this time provided by a crew shooting girl-on-girl porno on the beach. Seriously!

As Patriarch, it's my job to find the deeper meaning of all this, but I'm struggling to find the cosmic connections between Gwen's accomplishment, great swimming, pizza, Killepitsch, and porn. The truth: there is no cosmic connection, just a comic one.

Even so, it's a great ride, and it will continue Sunday. Join the fun noon at Klode!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Today's Sermon: Gettin' yer Booty in Shape

Next Swims: Fri (8/5) @ 6PM, Sat @ Sun (8/6, 8/7) @ Noon

Last Swim: Fri (8/5) @ 5:45AM
Water Temp: 67.8 (warmer offshore)
Waves: Calm
Clarity: cloudy/clear
Crew: The Patriarch, Diablo, Kahuna, Crash, Padre, Ben, Ben's friend (The Ringer), Tony, David, Capt'n

Just a few hours after wrapping up our post Aquathon party The Patriarch, Padre, Crash and I slumbered down to the Klode shores along with a hearty sized crew. Today marked Padre's first official swim but when it came to his sermon this morning, he was certainly in rare mid-season form. Complimenting Padre's sermon this morning was super celebrity fitness instructor Marcella (M-Power!) Today's topic...."Gettin' yer Booty in Shape". An exceptional sermon to say the least and a great follow-up to his sermon at last night's shin dig...."Cheaters do sometimes win".

The water conditions this morning were exceptional and comfortably supported a mudslide and back skin swim for most of us. The conditions this evening and through this weekend are likely to continue their favorable trend....hope to see you thar! :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Next Swim: Friday 8/5, 5:45 AM

Also, tonight (Thu 8/4) is the fourth of five Aquathlons (1K swim, 5K run) at Lannon Quarry. It doesn't matter if you haven't done the previous 3. Cap'n & I will be there. Here is more info:

Last Swims: Wed 8/3 6PM and Thu 8/4 5:45AM
Water Temps: 63-65 near shore, but much warmer (70+) in spots offshore
Waves: Wed PM - 1 ft rollers, Thu AM 2-3 ft rollers
Water Clarity: Stirred up near shore, much clearer 50 yards out
Wed PM crew: Diablo, Patriarch, Diablo, Jeff, Mike
Thu AM crew: Cap'n, Diablo, Crash, Kahuna, David, Ben, Beth, Patriarch

At the risk of being accused of sexism, the Lake has been acting a lot like a Lady these days. Warm. Cold. Calm. Wavy. Clear. Stirred up. Sometimes in the same day, or even the same hour. It's remarkable how it can be so cold on the shore, and like bath water when you get out a bit. Bipolar but beautiful. This morning's gorgeous sunrise and slow rhythm of the big breakers crashing on the shore seemed almost Caribbean.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Front vs Back - getting it straight

Next Swims: Wed Aug 3, 6PM (tentative) & Thurs Aug 4, 5:45AM

Last Swims: Tues Aug 2, 6PM & Wed Aug 3, 5:45AM

6PM Tues. Conditions:
Water Temp: 59
Air Temp: 85 humid & cloudy
Waves: chop from south
Water Clarity: cloudy
Crew: The Patriarch, Diablo, Crash, Jack Frost, Beth, Capt'n with special guest appearance from Lil' Sista

6PM Tues. Conditions:
Water Temp: 57
Air Temp: 75 & partly cloudy
Waves: gentle rollers from east
Water Clarity: clearer offshore
Crew: The Patriarch, Diablo, Kahuna, Ben, Sarah, Capt'n

Despite warm and very humid air temps Tuesday evening the passing storms to the south appeared to be ushering in cooler water. The water temp by the Klode rock piles registered 62 but the water temp beyond that was a consistent and well blended solid 59. ( hot/cold pockets like we've been experiencing the past few days.) As The Patriarch officially declared the Tuesday evening swim to be a "Skin or Bust" swim we endured the cooler water temps to log an official skin swim down to South-South beach and back. ...of course knowing that we had some Pitsch on hand to warm us up afterwards certainly helped our motivation to go skin. :)

Unlike Monday's morning crew, the crew Wednesday had their act together. I'm happy to report that no crew members had to rush back home for gear upon arriving and no crew members sported their wetsuit backwards. :) The water temps were a tad bit cooler than Tuesday evening but certainly tolerable.

Current reports call for big easterly winds and big waves this afternoon. This could usher in warmer water as well as make for some challenging but fun swim conditions. If these conditions materialize the Patriarch plans to return at 6PM and I will most likely return following this evening's TriWisconsin track workout. (...most likely around 8PM...)

Thursday evening is the 4th installment of the Aquathon out in Menomonee Falls...but I'll certainly be back for a 5:45am swim Thursday morning.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Flat Warm Water

Next Swims: Tues Aug 2, 6PM & Wed Aug 3, 5:45AM

Last Swim: Tues Aug 2, 5:45AM
Water Temp: 67-64
Waves: calm
Water Clarity: Good
Crew: The Patriarch, Diablo, Kahuna, David, Ben, Capt'n

Kahuna this morning had no luck convincing Sonofkahuna to come out and enjoy the flat warm water. The water this morning may not have been quite as warm as last night but a consistent surface water temp in the upper 60's combined with a glass like lake surface did make for a very pleasant swim experience for the crew.

Highlighting this morning's swim was the return of a film crew from California. Rumor has it they're filming the very rare Blue Footed Kookachu...interesting though how long they kept their cameras on The Patriarch and his swim companion Barbi while they were in the water....

Today's weather forecast looks favorable for some very pleasant water conditions this evening. As such we plan to return to the shores of Klode at 6 bells this evening. (Weather permitting) The plan following this evening's swim is to Pitsch a few to toast our exceptional water conditions. Do come out and join in on a round or two!

See you then!

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Fish are Biting

Next Swims: Tue Aug 2, 5:45AM & 6PM - Wed Aug 3, 5:45AM

Last Swim: Mon Aug 1, 6PM
Water Temp: 70!
Waves: Small Rollers
Water Clarity: Pretty Good
Crew: Cap'n, Crash, Diablo, Mike, Mike, Jeff, Diamond Dave, Patriarch, and special guests Lane and his daughter Little Fish

Wow! What a difference from this morning. The water was downright balmy, no gasping on entry, no shivering on exit. We saw lots of fish, mostly small, nothing over 2-3 inches. Crash and Jeff said they felt some nibbles. I didn't feel a thing, I guess I'm too grizzled and gnarly.

The water is so nice that we decided to repeat today's double dip tomorrow, so we'll be swimming both morning and evening on Tuesday. For those of you that have been waiting for warmer water, wait no more. Disclaimer: just because it was warm today does not necessarily mean it will be warm tomorrow, but the odds are good, and the winds and currents would seem favorable for warm water the next few days.

One of those mornings

Next Swims: Mon Aug 1st 6PM & Tues Aug 2nd 5:45AM

Last Swim: Mon Aug 1st 5:45AM
Water Temp: 55-62
Air Temp: 73 & sunny
Waves: Dead Calm
Water Clarity: clear
Crew: The Patriarch, Diablo, Kahuna, Steve, David, Ben, Sarah, Capt'n

It was one of those morning's where things weren't quite clicking. The Patriarch arrived at Klode only to quickly depart and then arrive again. Two crew members had identical wetsuits that didn't appear to be identical at first. (Diablo eventually figured out that the reason the wetsuits looked different was because one crew member had inadvertently put their suit on backwards.) And then there were two crew members who decided to go skin began to walk to the plank and then decided to go with a wetsuit. One of these crew members would eventually go skin again after having difficulty with his wetsuit zipper.

Adding to the chaos was this morning's water temp. Initial readings off of Klode's south beach registered 62. Klode's southeast beach read 60. As we would soon discover during our Garage and back skin swim, these temps were more the exception than the norm this morning. A subsequent Captn-o-meter reading 15ft off of Klode's southeast beach registered a water temp of just 55.

Despite a chilly & chaotic start to the day we'll be back for a double dip this evening at 6 bells. See ya' then!