Friday, May 10, 2024

Pink seagull and Mr. A: Signs of Spring

  Last Swim:  6 a.m. Friday

Next Swims: Saturday and Sunday noon; also 8 a.m. Sunday pre-Mother's Day swim

Water temp: 52.9 degrees F per Lydia the Tattooed Lady 
Air temp: About the same, a little chill-ish breeze, initial cloud but then beautiful sunshine 
Kru: Lydia the Tattooed Lady, Showgirl, Fin-Fyn, Dragonfly, Mr. Anonymous, Diablo
Waves:  Maybe about 1 foot of fairly gentle swell
Water:  Pale brown, a little stinky and greasy around the rocks, clearer offshore

A pink seagull was the first thing I saw stepping out the back door this morning.  Pink because the sunrise was reflecting on it as it sailed among pink clouds.  A good omen for sure.

What do you think of when you think of signs of spring?  New bright green crocus shoots?  Tulips or daffodils? The first trill of the redwinged blackbird?

For us open water swimmers, it was definitely the first appearance of Mr. Anonymous on the beach.  Sporting a Lake Effect t-shirt (Milwaukee's surf shop on Capitol Drive), he arrived at our little encampment.  

"How was everyone's winter?" he asked in his polite, debonair way.

He & Diablo went in for brave skin dips.

The rest of us followed in full wetsuits.  me in a sleeveless with sleeves - earlier than I would have planned, but my full wetsuit has developed a small seam separation which must be dealt with STAT.

The swim was absolutely gorgeous, with the sun grandly emerging from a horizon cloud bank and just enough wave to rock you gently.

Photo credit:  TTL.  And TTL fully deserves the credit, as she devotes the energy to the group experience, taking not only the photo, but the temperature, while the rest of us are lazy slobs.

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

6 a.m. swims begin! "Is this fun?"

  Last Swim/Dip:  6:00 a.m. Tuesday, April 30

Next Swims: Friday a.m. - probably 6?  Saturday and Sunday noon

Water temp: 50 degrees F per Lydia the Tattooed Lady 
Air temp: 51, cloudy but beautiful (see photo below)
Kru: Lydia the Tattooed Lady, Showgirl, Lt. MJ, Fin-Fyn, Dragonfly
Waves:  Flat-ish, brown but clear.  Strong smell of coffee at midpoint, goose-stinky heading back.  Geese on beach looking smug
Shore support:  Wim Hofers Nahid and Mermaid Princess (yes, MP has crossed over!)  A La Mode with her running group

It started innocently enough on a random Monday with Lt. MJ's text post from Surf Captain that conditions would be "flat and fair" on the morrow.  Surf Captain is reliable enough, on occasion.  LT. MJ also noted that the Atwater Buoy 45013 was "on vacation" already - so early in the season!  Might as well believe Surf Captain.  They are all liars, telling you what you want to hear.

At the beach, conditions were indeed flat...ish.  Though the water temp reading was 50, it felt MUCH colder, imo. My hands in particular started cold and never warmed up.  Even my face warmed up enough to get somewhere past Garage.  

Showgirl, Fin-Fyn and I all arrived back to our blankets around the same time. I wasn't the only one chilled. We struggled out of neoprene and into dry clothes for at least 5 minutes in complete silence, finally broken by someone asking plaintively, "Is this fun?"  Hi, it's me, I'm the problem.  Fortunately Fin-Fyn laughed, and it was immediately  more fun.

TTL and MJ emerged a bit later, TTL declaring, "the trip back took about a million years!"  

Start of swim, Photo courtesy of Mermaid Princess

So early in the season, people's watches were acting up.  Lake Michigan and electronic things just don't always get along.  "Apparently I am still somewhere short of the Rock Pile," Lt. MJ commented a couple of hours later on this photo:

Friday, March 15, 2024

Mildly poor choices

   Last Swim/Dip:  7:30 a.m. Friday, March 15

Next Swims: Saturday and Sunday noon (noon defined loosely)

Water temp: 42 per TTL's new thermometer with the really long line 
Air temp: 37 and sunny
Kru: Lydia the Tattooed Lady, Fin-Fyn, Dragonfly
Waves:  Pretty significant shore surf - lots o' surfers at Bradford beach. Maybe 3-4 feet?  Looked corrugated from the bluff side

Surf Captain (aka Lt. MJ's Boyfriend) called it - rough.  Not conducive to swimming.  Kudos to TTL for "conducive," vocab word of the day. 

We set up at the North wall.  TTL claimed to have no experience with dipping or plunging, since she is always swimming.  
"It's pretty freeform," I said.  
She expressed skepticism.  
"I  make sure my feet leave the bottom, as that's the difference between swimming and standing on shore," I explained.  With this minimal instruction, she went for it, and the 3 of us frolicked in the waves. It is always an amazing feeling, to be lifted up by a really large wave - a moment of anti-gravity.  Waves were big enough to be intimidating.

I was first to head to shore, as the strong undertow seemed like an invitation to making poor choices.  We agreed it was good to make mildly poor choices, and take somewhat controlled risks.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Among the Ice Floes

  Last Swim/Dip: Friday, January 26

Next Swims: Sunday noon? I assume

Water temp: 35
Air temp: 37
Swimming Kru: Lydia the Tattooed Lady, Fin-Fyn in full wetsuits.
Dip Kru & Videographer:  Mermaid Princess

Mermaid Princess captured these beautiful scenes from just offshore.  I wasn't there, but between this and Magic Mike's post, I am inspired to be there again soon.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Cold Water swimming

 I was moved almost to tears (was watching this at school during the lunch hour). Thinking of so many of the wonderful connections people have made and nurtured at the water. Bless you all!

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Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Happy New Year, 2024!

 Last Swim/Dip: Monday, New Year's Day

Next Swims: Friday, 7 a.m.  Saturday/Sunday noon

Water temp: 38 (per Tattooed Lady's NEW Fish Thermometer!)
Air temp: Upper 30s?
Kru: Lydia the Tattooed Lady, Holly, Moondaug, We'Taco, Showgirl, Lt. MJ, Nathan, OG, Rick from Boston, Itch, Brick, Dolly Llama, Hawaii 4.0, Hollywood, Tom, Dragonfly
Late shift:  Diablo and family, all skin
Shore support:  Squeeze o'Showgirl, Jimmy, Mr. Dragonfly,  Susan, Rick's Mom and Sister

The traditional Klode Kru New Year's Day swim/dip was a great success!  There was still a robust Kru, despite competitive venues including Bay View Beach (with a bonfire), and Bradford Beach (with saunas).  WE had Moondaug's cooler of warm water and also our own small bonfire down the beach.

Swims ranged from skin "shriek & dips" to full-on wetsuit voyages, with every permutation in between.  Efforts were rewarded with Killepitsch, Twisted Chai, Fireball, and TTL's amazing Mediocre Homemade Cinnamon Rolls.

I do believe New Year's Day is my favorite Holiday.

Also - if anyone picked up Mr. Dragonfly's folding blue canvas chair, please let me know!

TTL eyes her new Fish Thermometer


Dolly Llama, Hawaii 4.0, Moondaug

Erin & Showgirl

Rick From Boston

Lt. MJ, Hollywood & The Gang

Here's to a brand new year of friends old & new, and fabulous swimming adventures!

Sunday, December 31, 2023

New Year's Day Polar Plunge - Join Us!

 Last Swim/Dip: Saturday 7am - also probably Saturday noon

Next Swims: Sunday noon, Monday - NEW YEAR'S DAY - NOON

Water temp: 39
Air temp: Hi 20's
Water: Calm
Kru: Lydia the Tattooed Lady, Fyn-Fin

Tattooed Lady takes temp

Kayak with Christmas lights

TTL & Fin-Fyn set the bar high for sunrise badassery.

But you too, can be a badass - join the Klode Kru for the traditional thrills, chills, conviviality and kvetching at noon on New Year's Day.  Please note, this is a FREE celebration!  No tickets will be sold, or money change hands.  We will simply enjoy the gifts that Nature has provided.  You may bring your own portable sauna* but be prepared to share!

*Friday's outrage:  The OG Wim Hofer had erected a portable tent (similar to the ice fishing tents that pop up on the Summerfest Lagoon) with a chimney and sauna inside.  He was proposing to charge $250/hour for its use, and as we left the beach (no blog for Friday, sorry) we saw his group of about 8 people coming down the hill.  

I felt that this violated the spirit of the beach, and turned to the Kru's own legal eagle, Kahuna (Esq.) for an opinion.

His response:   "Fun law school exam hypothetical. My answer would be something like this. Bradford Beach is owned by the County. The owner permits others to be on its property. The owner has the authority to prohibit a wide variety of behaviors by users of the beach. So the sheriff could break up the sauna operation. But if a typical beach user uses physical force to move another (such as someone who has set up a sauna) out of the user's way, so that the user can access a portion of the beach, the user has probably committed the tort of assault, and the other would have a theoretical civil tort claim against the user, though he would have difficult time establishing damages. It similar to the hypothetical question I sometimes get about staking down a sheet in a park to watch fireworks, or blocking off space along a parade route."

I was not totally satisfied by this, as I felt it did not answer my question, which is this:  

Is not any beach goer free to wander onto ANY square footage within the public park? Regardless if a "sauna tent" has been erected over it?  

Please share your thoughts in the comments below!