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.


Lorraine said...

Am I just imagining things or are there lots more days this August with westerly winds? I don't recall this many days in August with such low water temps.

Linda Stewart said...

I will try to make the swim on the 25th. Here are my official race results, they limited the solo swimmers to 17 miles instead of 20 due to a coastguard warning and small craft advisory... The second half of the swim was done in 25mph headwinds and a ridiculous head current:

Patriarch said...

Holy Cow Linda! Seventeen miles in Lake Superior! That's amazing. I can't imagine being in the water eleven hours. How cold was it? I look forward to hearing about it tomorrow. Patriarch

Katie Bricco said...

PM swim tonight or no?

Linda Stewart said...

Thank you, so much. The water temp was 67ish to start and maybe dropped about 2-3 degrees towards the end. I swam without a wetsuit. I could not have done it without the encouraging kind words and comraderie of the Klode crew! You guys are amazing, and I thought about the group at several times during the swim. :)

Patriarch said...

No, the water is bitterly cold

Lauren Harper said...

Fantastic and entertaining post, Patriarch!