Sunday, August 30, 2015

Finally Out of the Forties

Next Swims: Mon Aug 31 through Fri Sep 4th, 6AM each day

Last Swims: Sat Aug 29th 11AM
Water Temp: 47
Waves: 1-2 foot rollers
Water Clarity: Murky
Crew: Itch, Showgirl
Wetsuit/Skin: 1/1
Pitsch: 5

Sun Aug 30th 11AM
Water Temp: 50!  (after 12 days in the forties)
Waves:  Small Rollers
Water Clarity: Murky
Crew: Sandy, Diablo, Crash, Scarface, Monica, Mr. Anonymous, Mark, Forger, Itch, Showgirl, Mighty Mac, Capt'n, Gumdrop, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin: 1/13
Pitsch: 12

I never thought I'd see the day when I'm happy to see 50 on my water thermometer. But today is that day.  After twelve days of forties it finally warmed (if you can call it that) to that magic number which is my minimum swim temperature.  Even with full wetsuit, booties and three caps, the first couple minutes were brutal, but after that it actually was OK.  It felt so good to be back in the water that I was at mudslide (a half mile from our starting point) before I knew it.

Everyone seemed to agree that the coldest patch was right near the rock piles where we start, so perhaps that means that warmer water is finally coming in.  Let's hope so.

In the mean time we're toughening up.   We would have never considered swimming at 50 before, much less the forties that the bad asses were swimming in all week.  Three cheers for the swimmers that kept swimming during this arctic blast.  I'm very happy to join you in the water again.

Friday, August 28, 2015


Next Swims: Sat & Sun, 8/29 & 8/30, 11AM both days

Last Swims:
Thu & Fri, 8/27 & 8/28, 6AM both days
Water Temp: 47
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Excellent
Thu Crew: Showgirl, Itch
Fri Crew:  Diablo, Showgirl, Itch

The water is still brutally cold but it was a gorgeous sunrise.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Under Siege

Next Swims: Thu Aug 27th 6AM, and Friday Aug 28th 6AM

Last Swims: Wed Aug 26th 6AM
Water Temp: 47
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: Itch
Wetsuit/Skin:  0/1

Although August is usually the warmest month for Lake Michigan water temps, even in August it's not unusual to have a few days of cooler water.  But I can't remember anything like this current streak of cold water. It's been a week and a day of sub-50 degree readings, and my only swim was the Great Lake Plunge in a wetsuit.

The good news is the weather pattern that created this upwelling of cold water has finally broken.  The strong offshore winds have shifted to onshore which will allow some warming.  There's plenty of summer left.  Hopefully we'll have some more swimmable conditions soon.

Of course while I'm whining about cold water a few of the real bad asses have continued to swim.  You guys are better than me.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Linda Takes It to Another Level

Next Swims:  Wed, Thu, Fri, Aug 26-28, 6AM
Note: There will be no PM swims until the lake warms again, which may be a couple days

Last Swim: Tue Aug 25th
Water Temp: 48
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: Itch, Linda
Wetsuit/Skin: 0/2

We need to invent a new category for the incredible swims that Linda completed the last few days.

On Saturday she completed the Apostle Islands Relay Swim as a solo skin swimmer.  The water was in the mid sixties with very heavy chop.  The swim was supposed to be 20 miles but the course was shortened to 17 miles because of the rough seas.  Linda was the first of the three solo swimmers!  Here are the results: Congratulations Linda!

Then this morning she swam over a mile skin at Klode in 48 degree water!  I find that almost superhuman.  An amazing feat!  Sadly, Linda is leaving tonight for her home in Ohio, and we probably won't see her again until next year.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Barely a new record cold skin swim

Next Swims:
  Tuesday-Friday at 6am

Last Swim
   Monday August 24th at 6am
      Water Temp:  7.1C (44.8) Scientific-o-meter / 44.6 Patriarch-o-meter / 43.2 Macho-meter
      Air Temp:  54 & Sunny
      Waves:  flat
      Clarity:  Crystal Clear
      Kru:  Diablo (skin), Forger (suit) witnessed by The Patriarch, Showgirl, Crash, Mr. Anonymous, Capt'n
      Skin / Suit:  1/1

It was a challenge to keep our feet in the water long enough to take an accurate reading this morning....but after several excruciating minutes in the water the Scientific-o-meter bottomed out at 7.1C.  The 7.1C reading barely nudged out the 7.3C reading recorded at last Friday morning's swim.  Regardless, Diablo still walked the plank skin and logged a 1/4 mile swim up to the Garage and back from Klode's north beach.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Undiscouraged by Cold Water

Next Swims: Monday - Friday Aug 24 - 28 @ 6AM each day
And if the Lake ever warms up again we'll do 6PM swims as well, check back

Last swims:  Saturday Aug 22, Great Lake Plunge, Clark Street Beach, Evanston IL
Water Temp: 53
Waves: Small rollers
Water Clarity: Ultra HD clear
Crew:  Mitch, Capt'n, Scarface, Crash, Showgirl, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin: 6/0 (wetsuits mandatory)
Pitsch: 5

Saturday Aug 22nd 11AM Klode Beach
Water Temp: 50?
Waves:  Calm,
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: Diablo, Kahuna, Gumdrop, Mark, Erin, Itch, and one other
Wetsuit/Skin: 1/7

Sunday: Aug 23rd 10AM Klode Beach
Water Temp: 44
Waves:  Small Rollers
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew:  Dave, Mark, Brian, Showgirl, Itch, Diablo, Gumdrop, plus a gaggle of North Shore Nancy's (including me) watching from shore
Waves:  Small rollers
Wetsuit/Skin: 4/3
Pitsch: 12

The Lake's been doing her best to discourage us, but we just keep swimming (or some do anyhow).

My own enthusiasm was severely tested at 4:30 AM Saturday morning when my alarm went off.  Did I really want to drive all the way to Evanston to swim in 53 degree water in an event that would likely be shortened, maybe even cancelled? Somehow I overcame common sense and went anyway.  I'm very glad I did.

Clark Street Beach is beautiful, nice and sandy, no rocks and a great view.  Northwestern University to the north and the Chicago skyline to the south.  The Great Lake Plunge was a lot of fun, a low key affair run by very nice people.  They did a really great job for their first event, especially communicating the cold lake conditions which forced them to shorten the course at the last minute.  I hope they do it again next year.  I will certainly be there if they do and I would recommend it for you too.

Halfway around the course I spotted golf balls on the bottom (Capt'n saw them too), and I burst out laughing.  They were too deep to dive for them in a wetsuit.  It seems they're everywhere we swim, there must be zillions throughout the lake!  I don't understand why so many people would drive golf balls into the lake, maybe just to make a splash?  But I must admit I've never tried it.  We've got enough now maybe we should drive a few back in?

After the Plunge we found a most excellent place nearby for breakfast, the Walker Brothers Pancake House.  Better yet, Capt'n bought.  A new annual tradition?

Speaking of Capt'n he continues to struggle with figuring out the "official" lake temperature.  This morning he was taking the water temperature with multiple thermometers in multiple locations.  All the readings agree within a couple degrees which is good enough for me but not for Capt'n Queeg. I'm afraid he's going to drive himself (even more) nuts with this quest!

Speaking of lake water temps, Steven "Mighty Mac" Wolfe pointed out this site which shows the water temps at the buoy that is off Atwater Beach.  The buoy temperatures seem to track closely with the water temps we measure at Klode, although I noticed that when the temperature is changing rapidly there is a couple of hours of lag time between when the water cools (or warms) at the buoy versus Klode. But it still gives us a pretty good idea of what to expect so I have added it to the list of links to the right of this blog.

By the way Steve, regarding your question about inland lakes to swim in as an alternative.  You're talking to the wrong people.  We'd rather be chipped out of the ice on the Lake Michigan shore than swim in an inland lake.

Friday, August 21, 2015

A new skin record??? (join the debate)

Next Swims:
   Saturday 8/22 @ 1pm
   Sunday 8/23 @ 10am

Last Swim:
   Friday 8/21 @ 6am
      Water Temp:  7.3C (45.1)  Scientific-o-meter / 44.6 Patriarch-o-meter / 43.2 Macho-meter
      Air Temp: 58 & Sunny
      Waves:  Flat
      Clarity: crystal clear
      Kru: Diablo, Gumdrop & Itch with witnesses The Patriarch, Showgirl, Crash, Scarface, Mitch, Fred and Capt'n
      Ball Count: 8 Itchy balls

Prior to yesterday the coldest official skin swim on record was set on August 27th 2013.  At that time the Scientific-o-meter registered 8.3C (46.9) and macho-meter.v1 registered 45.3.  Since that time both the Patriarch-o-meter and macho-meters have been upgraded/replaced with newer models.  (i.e. the originals died so we jumped on amazon and bought replacements at a hefty price tag of about $4.)  Remaining constant since the 2013 record has been Scientific-o-meter which was generously donated to the Klode Kru by AleWife's Husband.

While the macho-meter would nominate this morning's swim as a record breaker from yesterday's amazing swim (43.2) the Patriarch-o-meter nominates yesterday's swim as the record breaker (44.1 vs 44.6).  As the constant between the previous 2013 record and today's record swim is the Scientific-o-meter readings 8.3C vs 7.3C the Scientific-o-meter would nominate this morning's swim as the record.

As a result, I'd like to make the following proposal:
  • Declare this morning's swim as the "official" skin swim record at 7.3C (45.1)
  • Declare yesterday's swim as the "unofficial" skin swim record at 44.1.
  • ...and allow those who swam/witnessed this morning's swim to brag that the "unofficial unofficial" record skin swim water temp is 43.2.

So what say ye?  Do we have an accord? (Post a comment and voice your opinion)

By the way....not only did itch swim skin this morning he also returned with 8 golf balls!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Diablo Sets A Record!

Next Swim: Friday August 21 @ 6AM

After Friday morning's swim we will stop for a quick breakfast somewhere (Stone Creek? Collectivo?).   Those of us doing the Great Lake Plunge on Saturday can plan our strategy.  Please join us even if you're not Plunging.

Speaking of the Plunge, I will be driving and could take three others.  I plan to leave at 5:30 AM.  Let me know if you're interested, or come to the breakfast Friday and we can plan car pools.

Last Swim: Thursday August 20th @ 6AM
Water Temp: ***44.1*** Yikes!
Waves:  Calm
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: Diablo and two ducks
Wetsuit/Skin: 0/1

Only three of us showed up at the beach this morning, and only one swam.  But what a swim!  Diablo broke the skin cold water record he shared with Nanook.  The old record was 45.3, and the new record is 44.1.  He swam a quarter mile (from the north rock pile to garage and back) with only his speedo, cap and goggles.  Amazing swim!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Upwelling Continued

Next Swims: Thursday 8/20 @ 6AM and Friday 8/21 @ 6AM
Also, possibly Thursday @6PM (but no Wed 6PM swim)

After Friday morning's swim we will stop for a quick breakfast somewhere (Stone Creek? Collectivo?).   Those of us doing the Great Lake Plunge on Saturday can plan our strategy (my strategy: survival).   Please join us even if you're not Plunging.

Speaking of the Plunge, I will be driving and could take three others.  I plan to leave at 5:30 AM.  Let me know if you're interested, or come to the breakfast Friday and we can plan car pools.

Last Swims: Tuesday 8/18 6PM
Water Temp: 57
Waves: Very choppy
Water Clarity: OK
Crew: Kim, Crash, Itch, Jack Frost, Mark, Brennan, Patriarch, with North Shore Nancy cheering us on from shore
Wetsuit/Skin: 7/1
Pitsch: 8

Wednesday 8/19 6AM
Water Temp: 51!
Waves: 1 foot rollers
Water Clarity: OK
Wetsuit/Skin: 4/4
Crew: Nivens McTwist, Kahuna, Forger, Super Hera, Itch, Showgirl, Panini, Diablo, with me, Capt'n, Scarface and Crash wimping out and watching from shore

The upwelling I wrote of in yesterday's blog has continued and intensified.  The water temperature has dropped to 51, possibly even colder away from shore.  And strong offshore winds make for slim chances of any improvement today.

Because of the cold water many swimmers cut their swim short, and some of us didn't swim at all (or as Capt'n likes to say - we made it to Toe Stubber- the submerged rock a couple feet offshore).  However a brave few saw the cold water as a challenge.  Today Super Hera swam a full mile in 50 degree water, she wore a wetsuit, but that's still a long time in cold choppy water.  And last night Mark and Crash and
Jack Frost ventured a short skin swim in choppy 57 degree water, which I believe is probably the coldest water they've experienced skin.  Outstanding job!

I suppose it's time to start obsessing about the conditions for Saturday's Plunge, but if there's one thing I've learned about Lake Michigan swimming is that you've just got to roll with it.  I really want to swim skin, but if it's too cold and rough for that, no shame in donning the wetsuit, and if it's too cold for that we'll just head for breakfast somewhere.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Next Swims: Today Tuesday August 18th @ 6PM (if it isn't thundering)
Wed - Fri 8/19 - 8/21 6AM
Also, possibly 6PM swims on Wed and/or Thur

Last Swim: Tuesday 8/18 @ 6AM
Water Temp: 57
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Good
Crew: Kahuna, Goose, Diablo, Scarface, Showgirl, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin: 4/2

Word of the day is "Upwelling": Noun, a process in which cold waters from the depths rise to the surface.

If you want a really good explanation of upwellings, and how and why they can change Lake Michigan water temperatures so radically and so quickly, see this WISN weather blog entry, complete with charts and diagrams.

And if you want to hear about some really bad ass open ocean swimming, see this article and listen to the embedded podcast about Kim Chambers who recently swam skin from the Farallon Islands to the Golden Gate, thirty miles in cold shark infested water.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Monday 8/17 6am report

Next Swims:
   Tuesday - Friday 6am  (post comment if interested in PM swim)

Last Swim:
   Monday 8/17 at 6am
      Water Temp: 59  (cooler in most other spots)
      Air Temp:  73 / Sunny / humid
      Waves:  slight chop
      Clarity: Crystal Clear
      Kru:  Diablo, Kahuna, Scooby, Showgirl, Crash, Nivens McTwisp, Scarface, Super Hera, Forger, Julie, Brian, Capt'n
      Skin / Suit:  4 / 8

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Big Bay Day

Next Swims:  Mon - Fri 6AM (8/17 - 8/21)
There may also be some 6PM swims this week too.  Check back or leave a comment.

Last Swim:  Sunday August 16, 10AM
Water Temp: High 60's but warmer and colder patches, mostly warmer
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew:  Jackie, Lenore, Brian, Gumdrop, Mighty Mac, Kim, Diablo, Mark, North Shore Nancy, Taskmaster, Lorraine, Sketch, Itch, No-Ply, Zoom Zoom, Sir James, Crash, Patriarch, plus a couple people I don't know, and Kelly and Mr. Anonymous swam after us.
Wetsuit/Skin: not sure but I think 7/14
Pitsch: 8

Big Bay swims are my favorite swims, but they don't happen often.  Three times already this year I said in this blog that we might try it the next day but then BOOM, the lake turns choppy and cold.  Today was the opposite, I came to the beach not intending a Big Bay swim, but conditions were so good that we just had to make it happen.

Unfortunately I think this impromptu decision caused some confusion amongst the crew, sorry about that.  But hopefully most people had fun.  I especially like swimming under the huge mansions on the south end of the swim.

Special thanks to Mrs. Diablo who at the last minute helped us out by driving the one-way swimmers back to Klode.  It's always entertaining to listen to her side of the story.  We've always thought that Diablo was impervious to cold, but today we found out that he's come home near hypothermic several times. He's pretty good at fooling us but he can't fool the wife.

Hopefully we'll get another shot or two at a Big Bay swim, and we need to do a Shipwreck Swim as well.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Perfect Place on a Hot Summer Day

Next Swims: Sunday 8/16 @ 10AM, Monday 8/17 @ 6AM

Last Swim: Saturday 8/15 @ 8AM
Water Temp: 66
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: Scooby, Crash, Gumdrop, Scarface, Kahuna, Sonnakahunna, Mr. Anonymous, Mark, North Shore Nancy, Liz, Showgirl, Linda, Diablo, Jack Frost, Forger, Kim, Patriarch, and Phil aka "The Hot Guy in the Yellow Shorts" (according to the peeps)
Wetsuit/Skin: 2/18

Why would you be anywhere else on this hot sticky humid sunny sultry summer day?  Conditions almost ideal and Scarface brought her excellent fresh bakery and Kahuna brought coffee and donuts.  What more could you ask for?

P.S.  Congratulations to Mr. A who successfully completed his Alcatraz swim!  (I think Mike was planning to do that too, but I don't know the result. )

Friday, August 14, 2015

Friday (8/14) 6am Swim Report

Next Swims:
   Saturday 8/15 @ 8am
   Sunday 8/16 @ 10am

Last Swim:
   Friday 8/14 @ 6am
      Water Temp:  59.6
      Air Temp:  71 & mostly sunny
      Waves:  flat
      Clarity:  Crystal Clear
      Kru:  Diablo, Scooby, Showgirl, Crash, Nanook, Scarface, Forger, Super Hera, Fred, Capt'n
      Skin / Suit:  6 / 4

Another delightful day for a dip in the lake.  Flat, crystal clear and an amazing sunrise highlighted the swim.  The cooler 60ish water at the onset of the swim by the rocks gave way to mostly slightly warmer pockets further away from shore.

An earlier swim appears to be the favorite option for Saturday's swim so the Kru has announced intentions to assemble at 8am Saturday to walk the plank.  For those looking to swim with the Patriarch for $100 it appears likely that he will make his return for the 8am Saturday swim.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Catching Up

Next Swims:
   Friday August 14th @ 6am
   Saturday (8/15) at 8am & Sunday (8/16) at 10am

Last Swims:
   Wednesday August 12th @ 6am
      Water Temp: 66
      Waves: flat
      Clarity: clear
      Kru: The Patriarch, Diablo, Kahuna, Gumdrop, Crash, Itch, Super Hera,  Erin, Linda, Capt'n
      Skin/Suit:  8 / 2

   Wednesday August 12th @ 6pm (as reported by Kahuna)
      Temp.: 69
      Clarity: Not very
      Waveage: Little choppy
      Kru: Loraine, Linda, Kristy, Two Ply, Itch, Sonnakahuna, Kahuna
      Wetsuit/skin: 4/3
      Pitsch Count: 5

As the sun set slowly in the west, the Kru headed south, some to Silver Spring, Linda, Kristy, Two Ply and Loraine to staircase. A beautiful summer eve swim

   Thursday August 13th @ 6am  (as reported by Diablo)
      Water Temp: 67
      Waves: flat
      Clarity: clear
      Kru: Diablo, Nives, Scooby, Crash, Mr. Anonymous, Forger, Gumdrop, Linda
      Skin/Suit:  6 / 2

When we go arrived this morning Linda was already in the water in her journey to swim 8 hours today.  Also, Forger was worried that he didn't find any balls and Nives said that swims like this morning are good to remember during the cold days of winter.  Enjoying the Summer.

   Thursday August 13th @ 6pm
      Water Temp:  64.5 (with several much much warmer pockets and a few cold ones)
      Waves: Flat
      Clarity: clear
      Kru: Diablo, Frost, Crash, Scarface, Northshore Nancy, Mark, Brennan, Capt'n
      Skin / Suit:  6 /2
      Pitsch Count:  6

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

No Balls Today

Next Swims:  Wed, Thu, Fri, Aug 12-14th 6AM

Last Swims:  Tue 6PM
Water Temp: 68
Waves: 1-2 foot rollers
Water Clarity:  Murky near shore, better further out
Crew: Mark, Itch, 2-Ply, Liz, Brenan, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin: 2/4
Pitsch: 7
Balls: 0

Tue 6AM
Water Temp: 64
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Good
Crew:  I don't have the complete list, but here is what I do know: Linda, James, Scooby, Diablo, Kahuna, Sonnakahuna, Nivens McTwist, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin: 4/4?
Balls: 0

I am leaving for The Cities immediately following the Wed morning swim, and then our son will be in for the weekend, so this blog may fall behind.  Sorry!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Fantastic Swimming and Nineteen Balls

Next Swims:  Tuesday August 11th 6AM and 6PM
Wed, Thu, Fri 6AM
Possibly Wed Thu Fri 6PM swims, check back

Last Swim: Monday August 10th 6PM
Water Temp: 66
Waves: Calm, but a current moving south
Water Clarity: Good
Crew: 2-Ply, Itch, Mark, North Shore Nancy, Capt'n, Crash, Patriarch
Wetsuit/skin 1/6
Pitsch: 7

The swimming doesn't get much better.  Come and enjoy while you can, it won't last!

In addition to a fantastic swim there was a dramatic turn in the contest to see who has the most balls.  Until tonight the leader was Nanook with three balls.  But then 2-Ply doubles it by coming ashore with 6 balls.  And only a few minutes later Itch doubles again and comes up with an astounding thirteen balls.  He already had a ball, so that gives him the most balls by far.

Current Standings:
Itch - 14 balls
2-Ply - 6 balls
Nanook - 3 balls
Showgirl - 1 ball
Capt'n - only 1 ball, but the biggest most colorful ball


Next Swims:  Monday August 10th 6PM
Tuesday August 11th 6AM (And 6AM Wed, Thu, Fri too)
Maybe some more 6PM swims Tue Wed and Thu, check back

Last Swim: Monday August 10th 6AM
Water Temp: 64 (yes, really)
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: Diablo, Amy, Crash, Super Hera, Kahuna, Linda, Capt'n, Forger, Scooby, Brian, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin: 4/7

That's it!  I quit!  I'm through being Mr. Nice Guy!  TAKE THIS JOB AND SHOVE IT!

So you think it's easy being Patriarch?  Every day, sometimes twice, it's same ridiculous damn thing.  We walk down to the beach and the first thing I do is take a water temperature reading.  Then, no matter what number I report, high, low or in-between, I'm invariably submerged in a tsunami of disbelief.  "No way".   "It can't be".  "Are you sure?".  "Liar!".  "It MUST be warmer than that!"  "It MUST be colder than that!".  "You're Crazy".  "Take another reading, here, there, out there!"  "You must have read it wrong."

WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH YOU PEOPLE??  Are you there to swim or whine?  The lake is the lake, often cold, murky and rough.  Get over it.  You want nice?  Go play with your rubber ducky in the kiddie pool.   Stop using me as a punching back.  Why is it necessary to project your fears and anxieties on me?  Your psychotic delusions?  (Your secret desires?).  Shut up, man up and walk the plank.

And if that's not bad enough I go home and listen to wifey whine about her colonoscopy tomorrow and how awful the prep is, and how I'm an awful husband because I'm not sympathetic enough, etc, etc, etc

So I'm done. Get someone else to read the temp, I'm going swimming.  Oh, and by the way, do you expect Pitsch after your insufferable sniveling?  FORGET IT!!!!!!!!      

Sunday, August 9, 2015


Next Swims: Mon-Fri August 10th thru August 14 6AM every weekday morning
Also: possibly some 6PM swims, check back

Last Swim:
Sunday August 9th 1PM
Water Temp: 60 but warmer and colder pockets, mostly warmer
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Good
Crew: Mark, Brian, Linda, Phil, Erin, Jack Frost, Nanook, Neo, Scarface, Crash, Capt'n, Kahuna, Gumdrop, Diablo, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin: 4/11
Pitsch: 15

Congratulations to all the triathlon finishers!  Especially to North Shore Nancy who finished despite bad luck and great adversity.

I was surprised to see so many of you on the beach this afternoon.  I would have thought you'd have your fill of Lake Michigan, but there's no denying the power of her siren song.  

The lake just can't seem to make up it's mind.  65 on Friday, 53 on Saturday, and 60 today, but not really a steady temperature, patches of warm and cold, and even a great difference between the surface and a couple feet down.  A jumbled up mess, but I'm hoping the preponderance of warm spots means that warm water is moving in.  

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Bad Ass #4. And #5?

Next swims:  Sunday August 9th 1PM, Monday August 10th 6AM

Last Swim:  Saturday August 8th 10AM
Water Temp: 53
Waves: Choppy
Water Clarity: murky
Crew: Kahuna, Itch, Steve, Diablo
Wetsuit/Skin: 1/3
Pitsch: 8 (yes, that's two shots apiece)

The bad news: the water temp has fallen again.  The good news:  instead of whining about it, the Crew rose to the occasion and we now have another Bad Ass.  Congratulations to Kahuna who swam a skin mile in sub-55 degree water.  I was not there to witness this auspicious event but reliable reports tell a story of considerable suffering and shivering.  Double shots of Pitsch celebrated Kahuna's accomplishment.

Also:  Capt'n thinks (pardon the oxymoron) that I missed a bad ass swim.  Wednesday morning the temp was 52 and Kate joined us for a skin swim.  I did not think she made a mile, but Capt'n thinks she did.  Kate if you made it to "mudslide" and back on Wednesday you too are a Bad Ass.  Let me know.

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Lovely Ladies of Klode Beach

Next Swims:  Saturday, August 8th 10AM, Sunday August 9th 1PM
I will attempt a Big Bay swim on Saturday if conditions are right (water 65+, not too wavy).  Matriarch has graciously agreed to provide shuttle service for me and anyone else who cares to join me on this 1.2 mile one way swim.  Or you can swim it two ways or just do our usual thing of an out and back whatever distance you choose.

Last Swims: Friday August 7th 6AM
Water Temp: 65
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Good
Crew: Showgirl, Scarface, Crash, Scooby, Forger, Kahuna, Diablo, Capt'n, Itch, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin: 1/9

Friday at lunchtime a bunch of people swam the USAT course at Discovery World, but I was not there, perhaps someone can provide a report?

The Lovely Ladies of Klode Beach.  Showgirl (top), Crash (left), Scarface (right), and my beloved Barbie.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Return of Warm Water. And More Balls!

Next Swims:
Tomorrow Friday August 7th, 6AM, followed by breakfast somewhere
Friday August 7th 11:30AM, meet in front of Discovery World to swim the USAT Nationals course
Saturday August 8th 10:00AM (this may be a Big Bay swim, check back)
Sunday swim time to be determined, check back

Last Swim: Thursday August 6th, 6PM
Water Temp: 66, pockets of warmer and cooler, mostly warmer
Waves:  small rollers
Water Clarity:  Good
Crew:  Nanook, Littlenook, Mitch, Gumdrop, Mark, Amber, Capt'n, Lorraine, Itch, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin: 3/7
Pitsch: 7

Our suffering in cold water the last week has been rewarded.  Warm water has finally moved back in and we had an outstanding swim tonight.  It's seems so much easier to swim when your body is not contracting into a tight knot.  And no shiverfest afterwards!  Deeeelightful.

Lots of funny things happen on the beach, but tonight Nanook beat them all.  She emerged from the water and pulled three golf balls out from under her suit.   I'm still laughing.

This makes her the current leader in the balls contest.  Itch has a small ball, and Capt'n has one big orange ball.

Correction:  Oops, I almost forgot, Showgirl has a ball too.


Next Swims:  Today Thursday August 6th, 6PM
Tomorrow Friday August 7th, 6AM
Friday August 7th 11:30AM, meet in front of Discovery World to swim the USAT Nationals course

Last Swims:
Thursday August 6th 6AM
Water Temp: 58
Waves: One foot rollers
Water Clarity: Poor
Crew: Nivens McTwist, Diablo, Jenny, Erin, Showgirl, Super Hera, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin: 2/5

Wednesday August 5th 6PM
Water Temp: 59
Waves:  One foot chop
Water Clarity: Poor
Crew: Itch, Crash, Kahuna, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin: 1/3

The lake conditions at Klode have transitioned from cool calm and clear to (somewhat) warmer wavier and murkier.  Favorable winds continue through the weekend so I'm hoping for the warmup to continue.  We're still looking for that day when we can do a Big Bay swim.  

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Hard Core

Next Swims: Today Wednesday August 5th, 6PM
Tomorrow Thursday August 6th, 6AM
Possibly Thursday at 6PM, check back
Friday August 7th, 6AM
Friday August 7th 11:30AM, meet in front of Discovery World to swim the USAT Nationals course

Last Swims:
Tuesday August 4th 6PM
Water Temp: 56
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: Nanook, Scarface, Slip-n-Slide, 2Ply, Silas, Liz, Erin, Patriarch, and Mitch swam before us
Wetsuit/Skin: 6/3
Pitsch: 8

Wednesday August 5th 6AM
Water Temp: 52
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: Kate, Showgirl, Gumdrop, Neo, Itch, Diablo, Scooby, Capt'n, Forger, Zoom Zoom
Wetsuit/Skin: 4/6

You would expect that the cold water temps of the last week would scare swimmers away.  But you would be wrong.  Instead of turning tail we've been toughening up.  I can remember the days when we thought 55 degree water was really really cold, and it took all our gumption just to accomplish a short swim in wetsuits.  Now we have a number of swimmers who brave water in the low fifties and even lower for swims of a mile and more.  Amazing!

Still, warmer water would be nice.  After ten days or more of strong offshore breezes the wind is finally turning onshore for a few days, so hopefully that will improve things.  

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Bad Ass #3

Next Swim: Tonight Tuesday August 4th, 6PM
Wed, Thu, Friday August 5-7, 6AM
Also, possibly Wed & Thu at 6PM, check back

In addition we may swim the USAT Nationals course off Discovery World on Friday at lunchtime.  I am trying to learn more but in the past the course has been open for practice on Friday and we've been able to swim there.  It's behind the break wall and in an enclosed lagoon so it's generally much warmer and calmer than the open lake where we usually swim.

Last Swim:
Tuesday August 4th 6AM
Water Temp: 48
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: Nina, Showgirl, Itch, Diablo, and Scoobie on his paddle board and a bunch of us watching in envious amazement on shore.
Wetsuit/Skin: 1/3

Congratulations to Showgirl in earning membership in the Bad Ass Club this morning.  She joined Itch and Diablo in swimming a quarter mile skin in sub-50 water.  (Another way to be a bad ass is a one mile skin swim in sub-55 water.)

Despite the cold water we are coming back at 6PM tonight.  Yesterday the water warmed 10 degrees from 6AM to 6PM (47 to 57) and we are hoping today's bright sun and low winds will make it happen again.  


Monday, August 3, 2015

Mutiny! (Itch Made Us Do It)

Next Swims:  Tue - Fri, Aug 4-7, 6AM
Also possibly some 6PM swims, check back

Last Swim: Monday Aug 3rd, 6PM
Water Temp: 57
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity:  Good, surprisingly after last night's storms
Crew: Nancy North Shore, Mark, 2-Ply, No-Ply, Crash, Itch, Mitch, Capt'n, Super Hera, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin: 8/2
Pitsch: 5

Today I have a sad tale of a good man driven to mutiny by demon rum.  Capt'n had brought the Killepitsch for usual post-swim toast,  but then he and Super Hera took off on a late long swim, leaving the rest of us high and dry and thirsty.

The rest of us were patient but Itch's mad cravings would not wait.  With a crazed look in his eye he grabbed Capt'ns Pitsch and started guzzling straight out of the bottle.

"Stop, man, get a hold of yourself!",  I cried, "Capt'n will kill you!" But then Itch forced us all to join him at gunpoint. What were we to do?  

Bad Ass Kru members

Next Swims:
   Monday August 3rd @ 6pm
   Tuesday-Friday August 4th-7th @ 6am

Last Swim:
   Monday August 3rd @ 6am
      Water Temp: 46.4
      Waves: Occasional swell < 1ft
      Clarity: stirred up
      Crew: Diablo (skin), Itch (skin), Gumdrop (viking) with guest appearances by The Patriarch, Crash, Scarface, No-Ply, 2-Ply, Rosa, Capt'n

For the record, Diablo and Itch's SKIN swim today was the 3rd coldest ever at 46.4.  The record was set by Diablo and Nanook at 45.3 on August 27, 2013 with the second coldest skin swim occurring 1 day earlier at 46.2 and 3 swimming skin (Gumdrop, Nanook, Capt'n).

All these cold water skin swims have stirred up talk of starting a Bad Ass Kru.  The current proposal for membership to the Bad Ass Kru is to swim 1/4 mile skin (minimum distance to log a Klode Kru official swim) in sub 50 degree water or 1 mile skin in sub 55 degree water.  Of course all proposals must be blessed by The Patriarch and officially decreed at a Brethren Court.

For those worried that the lake temps have dropped into a bone chilling abyss never to should be noted that the lake has a pleasant tendency to rebound nicely following Bad Ass Swims.  Most recently the 49 degree water encountered 9 days ago was followed up by 71 degree water just 2 days later.  When the record coldest skin swim was set in 2013 the water temp 2 days later was recorded at 65.  While there's certainly no guarantees for these tendencies to always happen there's certainly a possibility that they may continue.

Sunday, August 2, 2015


Swims every weekday morning this week at 6AM (8/3 - 8/7)
Also: possibly some evening swims this week, check back.

Last Swim: Sunday August 2nd 10AM
Water Temp:  We recorded measurements from 50 to 59 near the beach, but pick any number you want and you could find a place and depth with that temp.  Cold and warm pockets and a steep thermocline.
Waves:  Calm
Water Clarity: Ultra HD Clear
Crew: Crash, Mark, North Shore Nancy, Capt'n, Showgirl, The Amazing One, Itch, Gumdrop, Kyle, Jess, Forger, Valerie, Kate, Diablo, Nanook, John, Erin, Gigi, Angela, Beth, Dan, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin: 14/8
Pitsch: 15

Despite continuing cold water temps we had another turnout of 20+ swimmers.  More like 30 if you count the tri group that swam after the main group of us finished.  Not just more swimmers, but tougher swimmers. Going longer distances including several skin swims of a mile or more.  Now if only those accursed big offshore winds would ever ease up and allow the surface water to warm up.  I'm dying to do a Big Bay swim, but we need mid to high sixties to consider it (or at least I do).

In other news:  It was nice to see The Amazing One join us, he's home for a week from Las Vegas.  And once again Showgirl put on a show, she emerged from the water and pulled her ball out of her suit bottom, golf ball that is.  Any of the regulars will tell you about the amazing number of golf balls on the lake bed.  The thing I don't understand is that they're not all in the same area but are scattered everywhere.  How did that happen?  Did the SS Titleist go down in a storm?  Perhaps we should have a contest to see who can show the most balls.    

Saturday, August 1, 2015


Next Swims:  Sunday August 2nd 10 AM at Klode Beach
Note:  In the previous post I suggested we might do a Shipwreck Swim on Sunday but I am postponing because of the forecast.  Best shipwreck viewing happens on a sunny day with calm water but storms are forecast tomorrow so we will do it another day.

Also: Swims every weekday morning this week at 6AM (8/3 - 8/7)
Also possibly some evening swims this week, check back.

Last Swims:  Blue Moon Swim Friday July 31st 7:45 PM
Water Temp: 55
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Excellent

We had a fantastic view of the rising moon from the water.  Pictures can't capture it and so I won't try.

After the swim many of us celebrated at the Three Lions Pub until almost midnight and after most of us went home, I heard a rumor about some of the group closing Wolski's.  I think everyone had a great time but it appears Capt'n had an exceptionally good time.  Take a look at his back this morning.  Apparently he forgot the "safe word".

Saturday August 1st 10AM:
Water Temp: 57
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity:  Super Ultra HD Clear
Crew: Diablo, Showgirl, Kahuna, Mark, North Shore Nancy, 2-Ply, Kate, Jackie, Crash, Liz, Capt'n, Mr. Anonymous
Wetsuit/Skin: 8/5
Pitsch: 9

A magical summer morning.  Hundreds of bright shiny dragonflies danced in the sky reflected in the water by huge schools of shimmering small fish.

And we had even more reason to celebrate; three new swimming names.  North Shore Nancy is North Shore Nancy because she is one.  2-Ply is 2-Ply because he used two wetsuits while his wife had none.  And Scarface is Scarface because you don't f*** with her.

Speaking of swimming names, Kahuna is paying dearly for naming his wife Squeezeakuhana in this blog.  If you have any rooms for rent you might want to let him know.