Thursday, July 31, 2014

Post-Swim BBQ at Patriarch's on Sunday

Next Swim: Friday 8/1 6AM

Last Swim: Thursday 7/31 6AM
Water Temp: 61
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Good
Crew:  Kahuna, Bubba, Diablo, Patriarch, and Wonder Woman on shore

On Sunday I will have a barbecue at my house following the swim.  All our welcome, even if you don't swim.   More details in tomorrow's post.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Monsters in the Rock Pile

Next Swim:  Thursday 7/31 6AM

Also I could swim this evening (Wednesday) at 5:30 PM (preferred) or 6:00PM.  Please leave a comment if you are interested.

Last swims:
Wednesday 7/30 6AM
Water Temp: 62
Waves:  Glass
Water Clarity:  Poor
Crew: Kahuna, Panini, Bubba, Capt'n, Diablo, Nanook, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin:  1/6

Tuesday 7/29 5:30PM
Water Temp: 66
Waves: Choppy
Water Clarity: Poor
Crew:  Kahuna, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin: 0/2

Well waddaya know, two days in a row with the water temp above 60!  It's really to skip the struggle of putting on and taking off the wetsuit.

Here's another strange event to add to our list of crazy things on the beach.  As always the first thing I did when we arrived was to wade into the water next to the south rock pile to measure the water temp.  Suddenly a huge racket came from the inside the rock pile.  It sounded like something thrashing the water and banging the rocks.  Then, two very large fish (two feet plus each) swam out.  Kahuna managed to capture it in a picture, they are a bit hard to make out.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Swim Tonight and Tomorrow Morning

Next Swim:  Today Tuesday 7/29 5:30PM.  If the the NWS and NOAA water temperature maps are to be believed, it's in the 60's.

Also:  Wednesday 7/30 6AM

Last Swim: Unfortunately I had to miss yesterday's swim so I have no report.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Eventful Weekend

Next Swim:  Monday 7/28 5PM, forecast says waves 3-6 feet are possible

Last Swims:
Sunday 7/27 1:00PM
Water Temp:  mostly 50 or below, but a few warmer spots too
Waves: Calm at the start, but sudden heavy weather forced us out (see below)
Water Clarity:  OK
Crew: Diablo, Neo, Cobbie, Cathy, Panini, Gumdrop, Phil, Patriarch, with special guest Capt'n
Wetsuit/Skin: 6/2
Pitsch Count: 9

Saturday 7/26 11AM
Water Temp: 51 at the beach, maybe colder away
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: OK
Crew: Mike, Mike, Bill, Brian,Tim, Monica, Julie, Showgirl, Panini, Andy, Diablo, Patriarch, Capt'n
Wetsuit/Skin:  12/1
Pitsch Count: 8

Despite the cold water, a wonderful and amazing weekend.  On Saturday we met this incredible woman Abbey Brau who swam for an entire hour in 51 degree water without a wetsuit and only a single latex cap!  When she emerged from the water she wasn't even shivering or slurring her words like we do in much shorter and warmer swims.  Abbey is from Minnesota and she is training for the 10K "Bridge to Bridge" swim in San Francisco (Golden Gate to Bay Bridge) on August 9th.  On the event webpage it says, "This legendary swim is recommended for elite swimmers wanting to race between two landmark bridges in the exciting bay waters".  Pleased to meet you Abbey, good luck in in San Francisco.

Our Sunday our swim started uneventfully enough.  It was sunny and warm, the water was flat.  We could see rain on the lake far to the north, it didn't seem like a threat.  But what we didn't see, because it was "hiding" behind the lake bluff, was a violent storm furiously bearing down from the west.  Cobbie and I were just finishing our swim and just barely made it back.  But Phil and Gumdrop got caught and had to bail out.  One of the great things about Klode is the long sand beach.  If you get in trouble you just get out and walk back, which isn't possible in most places along the shore.  Phil wasn't too far away, but Gumdrop had to walk almost a mile back.

From the shelter above the beach we watched a huge wind pick up the flat water, toss it into a spray and push it rapidly south.  It almost seemed like a herd of invisible buffalo stampeding across the water.

Another amazing but disgusting thing was all the brown foamy gunk gushing out of the street sewer just north of our beach.  Although it's not raw sewage it might be worse in some ways, heavy with all the foul stuff running off the streets and people's lawns.  Fertilizers, insecticides, road oil, and God knows what else.  Yuch!  Hopefully it dissipates quickly.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Triple Play

Next Swims: Saturday 7/26 11:00 AM, Sunday 7/27 1:00 PM

Last Swim: Friday 7/25 6AM
Water Temp: 57-59 depending on who was measuring, what they were measuring with, and where they were measuring
Waves:  Like glass, but there was a noticeable current heading north
Water Clarity:  Poor near shore, better further away
Crew: Kahuna, Capt'n, Gumdrop, Diablo, Wendy, Julie, Panini, Showgirl, Bubba, Patriarch
Special Guest: Wonder Woman
Wetsuit/Skin: 5/5

A gorgeous sunrise.  A great swim.  Breakfast at Solly's.  Enough said.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Operator Error

Next Swim:  Friday July 25th 6AM followed by breakfast at Solly's.  Even if we don't swim we will still go to breakfast

Update Thursday 7PM:  I stopped by the beach at 5:30 and was flummoxed to measure a water temp of 64, a full 15 degrees warmer than this morning.  I am totally at a loss to explain, but I sure am happy about it.  I had a very pleasant skin swim.  Hopefully the warmer water will still be there in the morning.

Also, I will stop by the beach tonight (Thu 7-24) at 5:30 but I'm not optimistic that it will be warm enough to swim.

Last Swim:
Thursday 7/24 6AM
Water Temp: 49
Waves: One Foot
Water Clarity:  Terrible, with lots of gunk washed up on shore from yesterday's big waves.
Crew:  Diablo and Gumdrop, with me and Kahuna shivering on shore
Wetsuit/Skin Count: 1/1

Today we added another misadventure to our long list of skulduggeries.  I drove to the beach expecting warm water because that's what the NOAA maps showed.  I arrived at the beach and waded in as usual to take the temperature.  The water felt very cold but my thermometer read 60.  It didn't seem right so I took another reading and got the same thing.  So I prepared to do a skin swim, but the water still felt very cold and after three attempts to get in the very cold water I finally gave up.  I couldn't figure out why 60 degrees was such a problem.

Then I finally realized what was going on.  My thermometer takes two temperatures, air and water, but it only displays one of them.  I always set it to display the water temp, but I must have accidentally somehow toggled the button to read the air temperature.  So I took a third reading and got 49, which finally made sense.

Capt'n was conspicuously absent from the beach this morning but there is an item in the morning paper that may explain it: "a male was arrested for drinking and possession if both marijuana and drug paraphernalia at Klode Park at midnight".  Donations to his bail fund can be handed directly to me (cash only in a plain envelope).  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Well I'll be Dipped

Next Swim: Thursday 7/24 6AM

Surprised again!  This morning the water temp was 49, this evening it is 63.  That means it's time for a dip.  See you on the beach at 6AM.

Apparently there is some disagreement in the Crew on the best day for Breakfast at Solly's.  Some want Friday morning after our 6AM swim.  Others would prefer Saturday morning so breakfast won't interfere with work.  But that would mean an early swim Saturday (7AM?).  If you have a preference and have not already commented please do so.  I'm fine with either options, there's never a bad day to have breakfast at Solly's.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Next Swim:  ???  Whenever it warms up again, I will be monitoring

Update Monday evening 7/22 - water temp has fallen even further, 46 at 8PM

Last Swims:
Monday 7/21 6PM
Water Temp: 54
Waves:  Choppy
Water Clarity: Good
Crew:  Mike, Mike, Andy, Gumdrop

Tuesday 7/22
Water Temp: 49!
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Good
Crew:  Monica, Gumdrop, Diablo (others, including myself wimped out)

Yesterday I was predicting warmer water, so I adopted a "skin or bust" strategy for last nights swim.  It was a total bust.  Not only was my prediction wrong, it was spectacularly wrong.  The water temp was 56 yesterday morning, 54 yesterday evening, and 49 this morning.

What an unusual year.  It's not unusual to have some days of very cold water, even on the hottest days of summer.  But what's unusual this year is the lack of any warm days.  In past years we've seen many days with water temps in the high sixties or even low seventies by now.  But this year is different.  My raspberries and tomatoes are 3-4 weeks late this year, and so is the lake.

Maybe instead of whining about it I just need to adopt a new strategy, the "Diablo Strategy": swim no matter what.  Today's 49 degree water did not stop him from swimming to the picnic table and back without a wetsuit!  Wow!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Cooling Down. Warming Up?

Next Swims:  Mon 7/21 6PM
Tue 7/22 6AM

Last Swim:  Monday July 21st 6AM
Water Temp: 56
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: Panini, Showgirl, Diablo, David, Capt'n, Kahuna, Patriarch, and GG giving her legs an ice bath
Wetsuit/Skin: 6/1

The last few days the pattern has been the same.  The water cools into the upper fifties overnight, and then warms to the low 60's during the day.  Today should be the same.  It's hot humid and sunny, with a southeasterly breeze, and that usually (but not always) means warmer water.  It could also mean choppy water. I'll be back on the beach at 6PM for a "skin or bust" swim,  meaning I intend to swim without a wetsuit, and let the water temperature dictate how far I will go.  Please join us, you can bring your wetsuit if you want.

Coming Highlights:  Later this week, probably Thursday or Friday or whatever day works best for people we'll have breakfast at Solly's following the morning swim.  There are no bad choices at Solly's (but few healthy ones).  I recommend the large stack of Door County Cherry Pancakes, smothered in butter and real maple syrup.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Morning Swims Begin

Next Swims: Monday & Tuesday 7/21 & 7/22, 6AM
We might also do evening swims if it appears the conditions will be good, stay tuned

Last Swims:
Sunday 7/20 1PM
Water Temp: 60
Waves:  Choppy
Water Clarity:  Excellent, large schools of fish visible
Crew: David, Panini, Showgirl, Gumdrop, Diablo, Capt'n, Patriarch
Plus:  Showgirl's son David, Scooby on his jet ski and Crispy was just leaving as we got there.
Wetsuit/Skin: 3/4
Pitsch Count: 7

Saturday 7/19 8AM and noon
Water Temp: 56 at 8AM, 62 at noon (amazing how quickly it can change!)
Waves:  Choppy
Water Clarity:  Excellent
8AM Crew:  Capt'n, Gumdrop
Noon Crew: GG, Neo, Diablo, Patriarch, Panini, Showgirl
Wetsuit/Skin: 3/5
Pitsch Count: 5

60 degree water could hardly be considered warm, but it sure seems that way after all the cold water we've experienced thus far this season.  And it's warm enough for some amazing swimming, with crystal clear water full of large schools of fish.  It's also warm enough to begin morning swims again.  See you on the beach at 6AM.

Friday, July 18, 2014


Next Swims:  On Saturday 7/19 we couldn't find a good time for everyone so we'll have two swim times, 8AM and Noon.
Sunday 7/20 swim will be at 1:00PM

Last Swim:  Friday July 18 6PM
Water temp: 63
Waves:  Very Choppy
Water Clarity:  Good
Crew: Jeffery, Gumdrop, Capt'n, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin 1/3
Pitsch Count:  3

This morning we vowed "skin or bust" at 6PM and our strategy paid off as the water temp at 6PM was a full seven degrees warmer than 6AM (56 versus 63).  It was our first "double dip" day of the season. We had a delightful skin swim, it was so nice to finally ditch the wetsuit.  Hopefully the warming trend will continue.  The weather and wind forecasts look favorable, but of course the lake is unpredictable.

Sick of It

Next Swims:  Today Friday July 17th 6PM
Tomorrow Saturday July 18th noon
Sunday July 19th 1:00PM

Last Swim: Friday July 17 6AM
Water Temp: 56
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: Diablo, Bubba, Gumdrop, Kahuna, Showgirl, Cap'n, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin: 6/1

We're getting pretty sick of this cold water.  It's such a pain in the butt to put on and take off our wetsuits, and they feel so restricting in the water.

But, since we are eternally (perhaps foolishly) optimistic we believe that today's sun and favorable winds will warm up the water at least a little bit, and therefore Capt'n and me will be returning to the beach at 6PM without our wetsuits.  Skin or Bust!  Please join us, even if you bring a wetsuit.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Our Own Beach Vacation Spot

Next Swim:  Friday 7/18 6AM

Last Swim: Thursday 7/17 6AM
Water Temp: 55
Waves:  Calm
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: Diablo, Bubba, Gumdrop, Kahuna, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin Count: 3/2

She did it to us again.  After flirting with 60 yesterday, she turned a 55 degree cold shoulder this morning.  But no matter.  We witnessed an extraordinarily beautiful sunrise.  The air was clean clear and fresh, and the waves sparkled like diamonds.  We have no need of long distance travel for a beach vacation, we have our own beautiful beach vacation spot right here.  So come down and enjoy a mini beach vacation with the Klode Cru.  If you don't mind vacationing with a bunch of ***holes, that is.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Near Death Experience

Next Swim:  Thursday 7/17 6AM

Last Swim:  Wednesday 7/16 6PM
Water Temp: 60
Waves:  half foot rollers
Water Clarity: Poor
Crew:  Gumdrop, Doctor Watson, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin Count: 1/2

Yes!  Warmer water is finally rolling in.  When I saw 60 register on my water thermometer I got so excited I decided to swim without a wetsuit, even though I usually use a wetsuit until the mid-sixties.

When I returned to shore I was greeted by a lady who informed me that I was crazy.  Thank you, I already knew that.  Then I remarked that I actually felt warm rather than cold when I first got out of the water and Doctor Watson says that's what happens when you're hypothermic just before you die.

But if I was actually near death I was disappointed not to have a near death experience.   I saw no brilliant white lights, I just saw Gumdrop.  If that's what waiting for me on the other side, I prefer to stick around a while.

Lonely on the Beach

It was just me and the ducks and gulls on the beach last night.  This morning it was Diablo by himself.  I can't say blame you, the continuing streak of cold water temps is disheartening.  I measured 54 last night, same as the night before.

I'm not discouraged however.  The lake as a whole continues to warm up and sooner or later the law of averages will work in our favor.  People playing the slots think the same, but we're different, we deserve it (right?).

Maybe today is the day.  It's bright and sunny and there is a favorable onshore breeze to bring in the warm surface water.

Anyone else for 6PM swim today (Wed 7/16) at 6PM?  Please leave a comment.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Too Much to Ask?

Next Swim:  Tue 7/15 6PM

Last Swim:  Mon 7/14 6PM
Water Temp:  I measured 54 right at the shore, Kahuna got 51 a bit further out
Waves:  calm
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: Todd, eRun, Slip-n-Slide, Andy, Kahuna, Patriarch, Capt'n, Wendy, Julie, GG, Robb
Giving her legs an ice bath:  Elle
Wetsuit/Skin Count:  11/0

When (if?) it ever warms up it's going to feel really really good.  Heck, even 60 would seem like a hot tub at this point.  Not that I'm complaining mind you, any day in the lake is a good day. But there's plenty of warm surface water out there, would be too much to ask for a favorable wind to blow just a little bit our our way?  

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Cold and Colder

Next Swim:  Monday July 14th 6PM

Last Swim:  Sunday July 13 10AM
Water Temp:  48!!
Waves:  Dead Calm
Water Clarity:  Excellent
Crew:  Sarah, Christine, Christopher, Chris, Andy, Rob, Kleaz, Diablo, Capt'n
Observers:  eRun, Sketch, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin:  8/1
Pitsch: 6

It's disheartening to look at the temperature map of the lake and see the average lake temperature is 60 and is close to 70 in many places.  Aw quit yer whinin' Patriarch.  After all, it didn't matter to the nine hearty souls who swam anyway, including Diablo without a wetsuit.  Amazing!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Attendence is Growing...temps up slightly

Next Swim:
   Sunday July 13th @ 10am

Last Swim:
   Saturday July 12th @ 1pm
      Water Temp:  54 by the rock piles a few degrees warmer further out
      Water Clarity:  clear
      Waves:  Calm at start / Slight chop from south later on
      Crew:  The Patriarch, Diablo, Gumdrop, Ele, Sketch, Cabby, Cathie, Keith, Wendy, Julie, Andy, Robb, Kealz, Capt'n with guest appearance by Jolie
      Suit / Skin Count:  13 / 1
      Pitsch Count:  7

While predicting the lake temperatures is nearly impossible these days forecasting that the number of swimmers will increase as the Racine and Door County triathlons approach is a little easier.  Not surprising, the #1 question on the beach recently has been whether the water will warm up before next weekend?  The #1's probably best to start coming out and getting acclimated to the cooler water temps.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Warming Up (a bit)

Next Swim:  Saturday July 12th noon

Last Swims:
Friday July 11th 6AM
Water Temp 52
Crew: Julie, Wendy, Diablo, Kahuna, Capt'n
Wetsuit/Skin: 4/1

Thursday July 10th 5 and 6PM
Water Temp 58
Waves:  small
Water Clarity:  Good
Crew:  Patriarch, Andy, Patrick, Erun, Gumdrop, Nanook

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Watch WISN 12 at 5 or 6PM Today! (Wednesday)

Next Swim:  Thursday July 10th 5:00PM

Last Swim: Wednesday July 9th 6AM
Water Temp:  46 Yikes!
Waves:  Calm
Water Clarity:  excellent
Those brave enough to take the plunge:  Gumdrop, Ruth, Don Diego, Neo, Capt'n, and special mention to Diablo who swam without a wetsuit!
Special guests: Showgirl, Diablo, Patriarch, and the crew from channel 12, weatherman Chris, cameraman Pat, and intern Chesney

The streak of extremely cold water continues.  But with camera rolling, the show must go on!  While a few of us wimped out (or had some sense), the braver part of the Cru put on a great show that I'm sure will be going viral by this time tomorrow.  Watch channel 12 at 5 or 6 tonight.

The good news is that the wind is turning around tomorrow from offshore to onshore, which might bring in some warmer water (or maybe not, I've given up trying to predict).

Sunday, July 6, 2014

You never forget your first time...

Next Swim:  TBD

Last Swim:  Sunday July 6th @ 1pm
   Water Temp:  47.4F (8.7C)
   Waves:  < 1ft chop from south
   Clarity:  clear
   Crew: Diablo, Kahuna, Nanook, Kealz, Capt'n with Special Guest appearances by Nivens McTwisp, Jolie, Michael
   Suit / Skin:  4 / 1
   Pitsch Count: 5

You never forget your first time...especially if its a swim in Lake Michigan when the water temp is a mere 47 degrees.  (Officially the Scientific-o-meter registered 8.7C or 47.6F...while the Captn-o-meter registered 47.4 and the Kahun-o-meter registered 48.)  As if the water temp wasn't challenging enough the Lady of the Lake even threw in a chaotic 1ft chop to make things interesting.

Despite the less than ideal conditions first time Lake Michigan swimmer Kealz didn't hesitate to walk the plank with the Kru as well as complete an official swim to the picnic table and back....and might I add that she did so without even an uttering of a "Flaa!" or similar profanity that can sometimes be heard from the Kru when the initial bone chilling bite from the Lady of the Lake attempts to take their breath away.

While there are but a few distinguished Klode Kru members who can boast swimming in water on the minus side of 50...many of whom can even boast that they did so without a wetsuit!...none of them can boast that they logged their first ever Lake Michigan swim in those conditions.  Now the only question that remains...will Kealz ever return to talk about it?  :)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Making it look easy

Next Swim: 
   Sunday July 6th @ 1pm

Last Swim:
   Saturday July 5th @ 1pm
      Water Temp:  57- (a tad bit colder in many spots)
      Waves:  rippled surface with moderate current from south
      Clarity:  Crystal Clear
      Crew:  Diablo, Kahuna, Gumdrop, Neo, Andy, Robb, Erin, Capt'n
      Suit / Skin:  6 / 2
      Pitsch Count:  6

The water temp measured 57 just a few steps into the water this afternoon.  Upon walking the plank the Kru found the water to be slightly more chilly just a few steps further out.  This didn't deter Diablo and Neo this afternoon from logging their 1+ mile swim skin.  A very impressive accomplishment considering that they didn't even consider putting on a wetsuit once the official water temp reading was announced....nor did they even contemplate turning back at our traditional 200 meter checkpoint.

Sunday's swim is scheduled for 1pm at Klode.  The weather forecast looks great...but I certainly know better than to try and forecast the water temp.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Nice improvement in temps for the 4th

Next Swim:  Saturday July 5th @ 1pm (Klode)

Last Swim:  Friday July 4th @ 1pm (Big Bay)
   Water Temp:  58+ (pockets of warmer water)
   Waves: Rippled surface with slight current from south
   Clarity:  Great!  (mostly crystal clear)
   Crew: Diablo, Kahuna, Gumdrop, Amy, Capt'n with special guest Bill
   Suit / Skin:  4 / 1
   Pitsch Count: 5

From the Big Bay bluff the crystal clear water had the appearance of the 48 degree water we experienced yesterday....but the Kru was very pleasantly surprised to have 58 degree water greet our toes as we waited into the water.

Despite the rippled lake surface and slight current from the south swimming felt nearly effortless today.  For the majority of the swim the water was crystal clear offering spectacular views of the sandy lake bottom decorated by an occasional lone big rock.  According to my GPS we swam a little more than 1 mile with the exception of Gumdrop who's i-drop program called for a 1 hour swim today.

Tomorrow we'll be back a Klode again.  Swim time is set for 1pm.  See ya' then!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Traditional July 4th Swim - Big Bay at 1pm

Next Swim:  Friday July 4th @ 1pm (Big Bay)

Current 7/3 6pm Conditions:
   Water Temp:  48.6
   Waves: calm
   Water Clarity:  Clear

The Klode Beach will be closed on July 4th for the fireworks.  As a result the plan is to meet at Big Bay at 1pm for our traditional 4th of July Swim.  For those who are not familiar with Big Bay...the park is located approximately 2 miles south of Klode and a few blocks north of Hampton along Lake Drive. 

For those who are optimists...the water temp maps are indicating that the 60 degree water is just offshore.  Given the recent roller coaster water temps it's certainly conceivable that those 60's will arrive in time for tomorrow's swim!  :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Near Record Swim

Next Swim:  ??
Once again the water temperature has fallen below 50, which too cold for me and I suspect lower than most swimmers want to attempt.  However there seem to be a couple of you that see the cold water as a challenge, please let us know how that works out for you.  I admire you and think you're crazy in equal portions.

Special kudos to Diablo and Gumdrop who swam without wetsuits in 45.9 degrees this morning.  We believe that is the second coldest ever (If I recall the coldest was 44 something, I'll have to go back and look.)

The average lake temperature is 58 degrees and as high as 70 below Chicago. But thanks to persistent offshore winds we are in the below average part of the lake, for now anyway.  Let's hope the winds shift and blow in the warmer water that is just a few miles offshore.