Sunday, September 29, 2013

Is there an alternative?

Next Swims: Mon 9/30, Tue 10/1, Wed 10/2, 6:15 AM all three days

Last Swims: Sunday 9/29 noon
Water Temp: 52!
Waves: Small
Water Clarity:  OK
Crew: Cap'n, Patriarch, Diablo, Geoffrey, Gumdrop and special guest Lorraine
Wetsuit/Skin Count: 4/1
Pitsch Count: 4

Saturday 9/28 noon
Water Temp: 61
Waves: 2-3 feet
Water Clarity:  Good further out
Crew: Mike, Andy, Sketch, Nemo, Diablo, Geoffery, Cap'n, Lorraine, Panini, Showgirl, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin Count: 8/3
Pitsch Count: 7

These are the times that try men's souls.  Or at least their desire to swim.

After holding steady in the 60's for the last couple weeks, the water temp fell to the low 50s today.  Tomorrow morning the air temp is predicted to be 48, and the water temp will likely be only a couple degrees warmer.  Is it really worth dragging my sorry ass out of a warm bed in the pitch dark?

Somebody help me out and give me an alternative.  Can anyone swim mid-day instead?  It will be sunny and 70 at noon.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Weekend Swims at Noon

Next Swims: Sat 9/28 and Sun 9/29, noon both days

Last Swims:
Wed 9/25, Thu 9/26, Fri 9/27, 6:15AM all three days
Water Temps:  Holding steady in low 60's
Waves:  1-3 feet (there hasn't been calm water in over a week!)
Water Clarity: varying, OK to excellent
Wed Crew: Panini, Cap'n, Diablo, Showgirl, Gumdrop, Patriach
Wed Wetsuit/Skin Count: 3/3
Thu Crew: Showgirl, Patriarch, Kahuna, David, Diablo, Gumdrop, Cap'n
Thu Wetsuit/Skin Count: 4/3
Fri Crew: Cap'n, Showgirl, Diablo, Kahuna, McTwist, Gumdrop
Fri Wetsuit/Skin Count: 4/2

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Imagination...friend or foe?

Next Swims:
   Wed-Fri 9/25-9/27 @ 6:15am
   Possibly a 6PM swim on Thursday, please comment if interested

Last Swim:
   Tuesday 9/24 @ 6:15
      Water Temp: 64
      Air Temp: 52 & sunny
      Waves: frequent 1-3ft w/ occasional 4-5ft
      Clarity: clear outside of sandbars
      Crew: The Patriarch, Diablo, Showgirl, W.U. Doc, Capt'n
      Skin Count: 1
      Suit Count: 4

The occasional thunder of waves crashing into the Klode rock piles could be heard this morning from the parking lot.  Upon reaching the beach the onslaught of frequent 1-5ft waves rolling into shore dared you to walk the plank into what appeared to be swift current moving from south to north.  Needless to say it didn't take much imagination to come to the conclusion that walking the plank this morning would certainly provide a thrill.

As intimidating as the conditions appeared from the shoreline the waves outside of the sandbars just off the rock piles were more akin to slumbering giants rolling into shore than the wicked serpents that were simultaneously pummeling the rock piles.  While the waves and visual appearance of a swift  current may have looked formidable prior to embarking on this morning's adventure the actual adventure this morning to me felt more like a day at Noah's Ark than riding the roller coasters at Six Flags.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Three Pebbles on a Flip Flop

Next Swims:  Tue 9/24, Wed 9/25, Thu, 9/26 at 6:15AM all three days

Last Swims:  Sat 9/21 noon
Water Temp: 60
Waves: one foot
Water Clarity:  OK
Crew: Cap'n, Diablo, Gumdrop, Panini, Showgirl, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin: 2/4

Sun 9/22 noon
Water Temp: 64
Waves: 2-3 feet
Water Clarity: Good
Crew: Geoffery, Phil, Diablo, Gumdrop, Cap'n, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin: 3/3
Pitsch Count: 5

Mon 9/23 6:15AM
Water Temp: 62
Waves: 1-2 feet chop on top of swells
Water Clarity: OK
Crew:  Gumdrop, Showgirl, Cap'n Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin: 4/0

Four of us swam this morning, me, Cap'n, Showgirl and Gumdrop.  Cap'n and me swam the furthest, and when we returned to the beach the others had gone.  But we noticed that someone had neatly arranged three pebbles on both of our right flip flops.  Who placed them there?  Gumdrop?  Showgirl?  Someone else?  And why?  What does it mean?  A warning?  A joke?  An invitation?  A curse?  Art?  An unspoken desire? My imagination runs wild.  But as we all know, Capn's imagination runs even wilder, but always in the same direction, so whoever did this beware!  

Friday, September 20, 2013

Streaking into Fall

Next Swims:
   Saturday September 21st @ noon
   Sunday September 22nd @ 3:30pm

Last Swims:
   Friday September 20th @ 6:15am
      Water Temp:  66
      Air Temp: 67 & cloudy
      Waves:  occasional swell from southeast
      Clarity:  slightly cloudy / clear
      Crew:  The Patriarch, Kahuna, Showgirl, Capt'n
      Skin Count: 4

   Thursday September 19th @ 6:15am
      Water Temp: 66
      Air Temp:  71 & mostly sunny
      Waves: slight chop from south
      Clarity: cloudy
      Crew: The Patriarch, Gumdrop, Kahuna, Showgirl, David, Capt'n
      Skin Count: 5
      Suit Count: 1

   Wednesday September 18 @ 6:15am
      Water Temp:  63
      Air Temp:  64 & mostly sunny
      Waves: 1-2ft
      Clarity: still improving
      Crew:  Gumdrop, Nivens McTwisp, The Patriarch, Kahuna, Showgirl, Capt'n
      Skin Count: 5
      Suit Count: 1

   Tuesday September 17th @ 6pm
   ( reported by Lorraine...)
      Water Temp: low 60's
      Air Temp: low 60's
      Waves: 1-3ft
      Clarity: no report
      Crew: Lorraine, Zoom-Zoom, Andy
      Skin Count: 1
      Suit Count: 2

Hard to believe that according to the calendar we have nearly reached the end of summer (....the Astronomical Summer...) and that fall officially starts Sunday.  Of course that doesn't mean that we've reached the end of our Lake Michigan swim season.  Currently we have some fairly impressive streaks going.  Today marked the 87th consecutive day of Lake Michigan swimming and the 62nd consecutive day where we've at least had one skin swimmer  (...of course it took very valiant efforts by Diablo and Nanook on August 27th to maintain that streak in 46 degree water!)  Typically while the fall does usher in considerably cooler air temps it does not always translate into drastically cooler water temps.  Past experiences have been that water temps will only gradually decline by a degree or two every few days....but then again....we know better than to try and predict lake temps, right?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Late Season Blues

Correction:  this post has been corrected, the swim times for Thursday and Friday are 6:15AM, not 6:15 PM

Next Swims: Tue 9/17 6PM, Thursday and Friday 9/18 & 9/19, 6:15AM both days

Last Swims: Mon 9/16 6PM
Water Temp: 64
Waves: 2-4 feet
Water Clarity:  Zero
Crew: Nanook, Zoom Zoom, Monika, Cap'n, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin Count: 2/3
Pitsch Count: 5

Tue: 9/17 6:15AM
Water Temp: 62
Waves: 1-3 feet
Water Clarity:  Improving
Crew: David, Showgirl, Cap'n, Patriarch, with excellent wetsuit assistance from Panini
Wetsuit/Skin Count: 2/2

It's pitch dark when I get up and a blast of cold air wakens me when I go out the door.  Back inside for a fleece a jacket and a hat.  The car smells like an algae covered beach.  Drive to Klode on deserted streets.  The crew is small and quiet.   The waves are large the water is cold and the sun still isn't up.  After a lot of hemming and hawing we skip the morning swim and decide to come back later.  Yeah I'm singing the late season blues.  Where has summer gone?  Oh won't you stay just a little bit longer?  Please please please please, just a little bit longer.

Here's a picture from our swim in the rain on Sunday.    Left to right:  Cap'n, McTwist, Showgirl, Nanook, and someone wearing a Gumdrop hoodie.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Mother Nature vs The Lady of the Lake

Next Swims:
   Monday September 16th @ 6pm
   Tuesday September 17th @ 6:15am
   Tuesday September 17 @ 6pm

Latest Conditions:
   Monday September 16th @ 6:15am
      Water Temp: 62
      Air Temp:  44 & mostly sunny
      Waves:  3-6ft every 2-3 seconds
      Clarity: unknown
      Crew:  Appearances by The Patriarch, Diablo, Showgirl, Tsunami (Monika), Capt'n

Last Swim:
   Sunday September 15th @ 11am
      Water Temp:  66+ (70ish offshore)
      Air Temp: 56 & rain
      Waves:  flat with slight current from south
      Clarity: picturesque turquoise blue hue
      Crew:  The Patriarch, Diablo, Gumdrop, Nivens McTwisp, Nanook, Lorraine, Capt'n plus one more
      Skin Count: 6
      Suit Count: 2
      Pitsch Count: 7

This is the time of year when it appears as if the Lady of the Lake and Mother Nature have a little competition to see who can test our determination to swim more.  Sunday the Lady of the Lake once again provided some of the best swim conditions of the year with flat beautiful turquoise blue water and consistently warm warm water that felt 70ish away from the Klode rocks.  By comparison Mother Nature threw at us periods of rain and an air temp in the 50's.  Needless to say Sunday was one of those rare swims where I think we actually spent more time toasting the exceptional swim conditions following the swim than we did preparing for the swim.  (...I think McTwisp may have actually got into his wetsuit faster than he typically gets out of it during a triathlon....)

This morning Mother Nature provided some challenging swim conditions with air temps struggling to reach the mid-40's.  Certainly swimmable conditions for those who are determined.  Raising the ante the Lady of the Lake threw at us frequent 3-6ft waves.  Again, certainly swimmable conditions for those who are determined.  But with this afternoon's forecast calling for improving conditions from both Mother Nature and the Lady of the Lake we figured why not just come back this evening?  So that's the plan....return at 6pm for a swim!  Who's in?


Sunday, September 15, 2013


Next Swims: Sunday 9/15 11AM
Mon & Tue 9/17 & 9/17 6:15AM (later starting time due to later sunrise)

Last Swims: Saturday 9/14 1PM
Water Temp: 70
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: Diablo, Nanook, Kahuna, Gumdrop, Scooby, Sarah, Patriarch, Cap'n
Wetsuit/Skin Count: 0/8
Pitsch Count: 8

Friday 9/13: 4:30PM
Water Temp: 66 on shore but much warmer offshore
Waves: 3-4 feet, with an occasional 5-6 footer
Water Clarity: None
Crew: Gumdrop, Cap'n, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin Count: 2/1

If Friday morning was a nightmare, Saturday was wonderful.  A beautiful day with warm clear flat water.  And something I haven't seen in a long time.  We were swimming through brilliant translucent turquoise water, the way it used to be many years ago before mussels and algae.  The water appears transparent and clear close up, but at about 8-10 feet everything dissolves into gorgeous shades of blue.  I'm not sure what causes that (plankton?), but whatever it is I hope we get more of it.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Das Schreckgespenst at Klode!!

Next Swims:
   Friday the 13th @ 4:30pm
   Saturday the 14th @ 1pm
   Sunday the 15th @ 11am

Latest Swim Conditions:
   Friday 9/13 @ 6am
      Water Temp:  64
      Air Temp:  47 & sunny
      Waves:  frequent 3-5ft (every 2-3 seconds)
      Clarity:  unknown
      Spectators:  The Patriarch, Diablo, Showgirl, Capt'n

Last Swim:
   Thursday 9/12 @ 6am
      Water Temp: 64
      Air Temp:  68 & sunny
      Waves:  flat
      Clarity:  crystal clear
      Crew:  The Patriarch, Diablo, Showgirl, Bubba, David, Panini, Capt'n

Frequent big waves pummeling the Klode rock piles greeted us as we arrived on the beach this morning.  A fitting nightmarish scene considering it's Friday the 13th.  Rather than charge into battle against the onslaught of monsterous waves we opted to reconvene at 4:30 this afternoon when the air temps most certainly will be warmer and the seas should be calmer.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Next Swim:  Possibly tonight Wednesday 9/11 at 6PM, if interested please comment
Thursday & Friday 9/12 and 9/13 at 6AM

Last Swims:
Wed 9/11 6AM
Water temp: 65
Waves:  a little choppy
Water Clarity:  Good except some cloudiness and gunk near the beach rock piles
Crew: Showgirl, Bubba, McTwist, Diablo, Cap'n, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin Count: 1/5

Tue 9/10 6PM
Water Temp: all over the place, pockets of warm and cold
Waves: calm
Water Clarity: excellent
Crew: Scooby, Diablo, Cap'n, Ron, Zoom Zoom, Sketch, Brent, Monika, Lorraine, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin Count: 3/7

Tue 9/10 6AM
Water Temp: 67 at the beach, but warmer offshore
Waves:  Calm
Water Clarity:  Very Good
Crew:  Scooby, Diablo, Showgirl, David, Cap'n, Showgirl, Patriarchd
Wetsuit/Skin Count: 1/5

Pockets of warm water.  Pockets of cold water.  Swarms of beautiful dragonflies eating even larger swarms of nasty biting flies.  Clear calm water offshore.  Smelly gunky water near the beach.  Beautiful stunning gorgeous sunrises.  Sad news about a longtime friend.   Even worse news from another.  

Monday, September 9, 2013

Still Going Strong

Next Swims:  Tuesday September 10th 6AM and 6PM, Wednesday 9/11 6AM

Last Swims:
Monday 9/9 6AM
Water Temp: 68
Waves: 2-4 feet
Water Clarity:  Good
Crew: Showgirl, Diablo, Kahuna, Monika, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin Count: 3/3

Monday 9/9 6PM
Water Temp: 71
Waves: 1-2 feet
Water Clarity: poor
Crew:  Lorraine, Cap'n, Patriarch, Gumdrop, and He Whose Name I can't Remember
Special Guest Appearance by Sir James
Wetsuit/Skin Count 2/3
Pitsch Count: 3

It may be mid-September, and Big Shoulders and Ironman are memories, but there's still excellent swimming.  Come and enjoy it while it lasts.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Big Shoulders Report

Next Swims:  Monday September 9th, 6AM & 6PM

Big Shoulders, Sat September 7, Ohio Street Beach, Chicago
Water Temp: 71
Waves:  Calm
Water Clarity:  OK
5K Crew:  Sir James, Bubba, Nanook
2.5K Crew: Jack Frost, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin Count: 0/5

Rookies beware!  Don't expect to see conditions this nice again.  I've done at least seven Big Shoulders and I can't remember one this benign.  A warm sunny day with flat 71 degree water.  Almost too easy.

Sir James smoked a 1:04 good for 9th overall, 3rd in his age group (that's one tough age group).  I hate to mention this but James was 1:20 behind archenemy Megan who was second female overall. Rookie Nanook swam an awesome 1:22 good for 10th in the very competitive 18-24 age group.  Bubba was not far behind at 1:26, 23rd in age group.  In the 2.5K, Jack Frost swam 43 min, good for 3rd in age group.  I swam an hour flat which would have been good for 6th in age group but they didn't score it that way because I signed up in the wetsuit category and they marked it that way even though I didn't wear a wetsuit because the water was so warm.

Sunday September 8th 8AM
Water temp:  66
Waves: 2-4 feet
Water Clarity: Not good, but at least the smelly gunky stuff is gone
Crew:  Brent and Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin Count:  2/0

Friday, September 6, 2013

Good Luck to Big Shoulders and Ironman Participants!

Next Swims:  Although many of us have events this weekend there will still be swimming at Klode
Saturday and Sunday 9/7 and 9/8, 8AM both days

Last Swims:  Thursday 9/5 6AM and 6PM
Water Temp:  67
Waves:  2-3 feet, very choppy and irregular
Water Clarity:  Mucky gunky and skunky near shore, better further out
Crew:  Diablo, Showgirl, Bubba, Brent, Big Show, David, Cap'n, Patriarch, and Sir James on his own at 6PM
Wetsuit/ Skin Count: 2/7

Friday 9/6 6AM
Water Temp: 66 at the beach, but it seemed much warmer further out
Waves:  gentle rollers
Water Clairity:  Still gunky near shore, but clearer and improving offshore
Crew: Nivens McTwist, Showgirl, Cap'n, Diablo, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin Count 1/4

Good luck to all those participating in Big Shoulders and Ironman this weekend.  This may be the climax of the swim season for some, but there still should be lots of good swimming left.  See you on the beach.  

P.S.  I am driving down to Big Shoulders early Saturday morning with Jack Frost.  If anyone else needs a ride let me know.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Klode Kru in the News

Next Swims:  Thursday 9/5 6AM, Friday 9/6 6AM

Last Swims:  Tue 9/3 6AM
Water Temp: 65
Waves:  small swells
Water Clarity:  poor
Crew: Diablo, Kahuna, Showgirl, Bubba, Patriarch, Cap'n
Wetsuit/Skin Count: 0/6

Tue: 9/3 6PM
Water Temp: 70
Waves:  small swells
Water Clarity:  Very Poor
Crew: Not Dave's Wife, Nanook, Lorraine, Sketch, Sir James, Gumdrop, Patriarch with special guest appearance by Cap'n (With my apologies to Cap'n, I can't give him credit for a swim Tuesday evening, see comments below)

Wed: 9/4 6AM
Water Temp: 67
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity:  Improving
Crew: Jadi, McTwist, Jilly Bean, Showgirl, Kahuna, Diablo, Bubba, Panini, Cap'n, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin Count: 4/6

One of the most fun parts of swimming with this group is observing Capn's behavior when a good looking woman shows up.  CBS58 sent a very attractive photojournalist to Klode to do a piece on local open water swimming as part of their coverage of Diana Nyad's swim from Cuba to Florida.  Our glib and swaggering Cap'n turned into a shy red faced stammering yammering high school freshman boy.  He was so enamored that he didn't swim with us, but spent the whole time on the beach talking to her.   Despite talking to her for the better part of an hour he didn't get her name or number.  Cap'n Jellyfish??

But I must admit he managed to pull himself together enough to do a great interview:

Tom Held also did a blog post about us:

And here is a link to the Journal story about our Sunday morning misadventures:

Monday, September 2, 2013

"Not Dave's Wife" Swim Tuesday at 6pm

Next Swims:
   Tuesday September 3rd @ 6am
   Tuesday September 3rd @ 6pm
   Wednesday September 4th @ 6am

Last Swim:
   Labor Day - Monday September 2nd @ noon
      Water Temp: 67
      Air Temp: 69 & partly sunny
      Waves: building 1-3ft
      Clarity: clears outside sandbars
      Crew: The Patriarch, Diablo, Gumdrop, Sir James, The Big Show, Sketch, Don Diego, Sketch, Valley Girl, David, Larry, Lorraine, Panini, Monika, Dean, Ben, Brent, Brent, Capt'n with special guest appearances by Dave and Not Dave's Wife
      Skin Count: 4
      Suit Count: 15
      Pitsch Count: 11

Playful 1-3ft waves greeted the Klode Kru as they arrived at the beach today.  19 total swimmers walked the plank today with several of them clad in Brent Emery's latest and greatest wetsuits that are now available for purchase at his stores.  Everyone clad in these sharp looking wetsuits (...which included Sir James, The Big Show, Panini and Monika...) agreed that they not only felt great to swim in but were a great way to enjoy the cooler lake water.

Upon arriving back to shore we were greeted by Not Dave's Wife and Dave.  Both sadly have been absent from our swims this summer but Not Dave's Wife has promised to swim with us Tuesday evening.  FYI....Rumor has it that Dave may not be present for Tuesday's swim.  :)

Side hand signals were used during the course of this afternoon's swim with Kru members opting to speak loudly their swimming intentions to proceed further or to turn around.  No emergency responders were encountered before, during or following our swim. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

False Alarm

Next Swim:  Labor Day Monday September 2nd Noon

Last Swim: Sunday 9/1, 8AM
Water Temp: 67
Waves: Gentle Rollers
Water Clarity: Variable
Crew: Eric & friend, Gigi & friend, Lorraine, David, Kahuna, Cap'n, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin Count: 7/2

 I was standing on the beach having just completed an awesome swim to flat rock when two fire fighters came running down the beach, responding to a "swimmer in distress" call made by a lady somewhere on shore.  She estimated the swimmer in trouble to be 1,000 feet offshore.

But all our swimmers were either on shore or visible returning to the beach.  None was in any kind of distress, and if they had been they could have simply stood up and walked to shore as they were in shallow water close to shore, no where close to 1,000 feet out.

So it's not clear what prompted the call, but the response was massive.  The North Shore Fire and Rescue had men and women at several points on the shore.  The Rescue squad, the Sheriff and Coast Guard all had boats in the water, and the Coast Guard helicopter was in the air.   After speaking with us, the alert was called off.

I can only come up with two possible explanations:  a) someone else besides us (swimmer, kayaker, surfer, paddle boarder) was in the water although we didn't see anyone or b) something we did or said was misinterpreted to be a distress signal.

Perhaps we should be more careful about what we say and do.  No waving arms, no jokes about missing swimmers, no saying "I don't see so and so", etc.  Anything that might lead someone on shore to think we had a problem.

Anyhow, other than that, it was a great swim.  Lorraine completed her first "Big Bay and Back" swim.  Ted and Kahuna also did Big Bay and Back, although Kahuna's achievement has been challenged by Lorraine and Cap'n on the grounds that he stopped 100 meters short.  I wasn't there, so I'm staying out of it.  The rest of us made flat rock or close to it.