Tuesday, November 1, 2022

November Cruise

Water: 51.4

Air: mid 50s, slight SSW breeze
Waves: flat but surface ruffled by breeze, current heading north
Clarity: Pretty clear
Last swim: 6:30 a.m. Tuesday
Kru:  Lydia the Tattooed Lady, Corryn, Mr. Anonymous, Dragonfly
Shore Support:  Woman with many questions 

Photo by TTL
Despite the clear SSW breeze, we headed north. The water was dark.  Mr. A took off first in lava shorts and skin.  We followed in full wetsuits (mine sleeveless) with gloves and booties.  Corryn swam to the Cute Chairs; Amelia to the Snowy Peaks of Mt. Jackass, and myself to the Birches.  I was first back and Mr. A was already gone.
But there to keep me company was a woman with many questions.  Usually quite responsive to random queries, I never even glanced at her as I concentrated on getting a) out of wetsuit and b) into dry clothes.  I was having trouble focusing on exactly what to do next.  Everything looked different now in the light.
"So, did you swim?" the woman asked.  "Wetsuit or drysuit?"
"Is that a wetsuit?"
"Do you have a dry suit?"
Did I?  That's right, not anymore.  "No."
"Will you be here a month from now?"
"I don't know."  (It's none of her business, TTL commented later.)
"So will you need a dry suit in December?"
And so on til she wandered off.
A red sun peeped over the sill as I  flung my belongings about and danced around my blanket, searching out a sand-free spot.  TTL and Corryn rejoined me and we shivered and struggled as a group.  Corryn and I broke out Hot Snaps.  Then we labored back up the hill.
"Three workouts," noted Corryn.  "The swim, getting dressed, and going up this hill."

Monday, October 31, 2022

More Spectacular Foliage Effects and a PSA

For Saturday (at which I was present) and Sunday (per Tattooed Lady)

Water: 52.8/52

Air: mid 60s, sparkling sunny/mid 50s, soft grey overcast
Waves: More chop than appeared (Sat)\almost flat (Sun)
Clarity: Crystal plus (Sat/Sun)
Last swim: 12 noon Saturday/12 noon Sunday
Saturday Kru:  Sandy, Corryn, Sunny Luna, Lauren, Dragonfly, Itch,  Mr. Anonymous, Brick, Blake,  Magic Mike
Shore Support:  Alex, Squeeze o'Corryn
Sunday Kru:  Lydia the Tatooed Lady, Sandy, Itch, Brick, Handyman Hank, Moondaug, Mr. Bubble

PSA:  Sandy is putting together a Klode Kru calendar with photos she shot on New Year's Day 2022 and another day with big waves in the 2022 season.  Cost is $12.  Let her know in the comments if you would like one.

Saturday:  If I were selling Life on Earth, Saturday would be on the cover of the brochure. Stupid, incomprehensible, over-the-top beauty--between the sun, the sparkling blue (above) and turquoise (below) waters, and the blazing sumac and other trees. A little on the chilly side, sure, but that's what neoprene is for.  Unless you're Sunny Luna or Itch, who both swam skin and were thrilled to have survived after.  Even through my neoprene (sleeveless wetsuit plus sleeves, gloves and booties) I got enough for a big boost of joy.  I went a little further than I meant to, south to Love Rock, having earlier done an a.m. pool workout. I was tired and ready to get out with still a few hundred left to go.   But the feeling of being crazy alive - the vivid contrast of white rock walls and glowing red sumac leaves - the sun - the sun like a companion - oh, so worth it.

Sunday:  I recovered from Saturday on my couch, while others enjoyed a "lovely" swim as reported by TTL in slightly colder  waters, under soft gray equally beautiful but quieter skies.  The water was clear and almost flat, so the missing elements of paradise from Saturday were present on Sunday.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Glorious Fall Swimming

 A post covering both Saturday and Sunday:

Water: 51.6/54

Air:  low 70s, strong SSE breeze/high 60s, even stronger SSE breeze, a little more south
Waves: MAJOR chop/EVEN MORE chop!!! Yikes!!!
Clarity: Barely any/even less
Last swim: 6:30 a.m. Friday/12 noon Saturday
Saturday Kru:  Lydia the Tattooed Lady, Hollywood Abby, A La Mode, Mermaid Princess, We'Taco, Sandy, Mermaid Princess, Drangonfly, Itch, Brick, Diablo, maybe some others?
Shore Support:  Squeeze o'Showgirl

Sunday Kru:  Blake, Brick, Itch, Dragonlfly, plus Diablo on late shift
Shore Support:  Handyman Hank, Patriarch, many baptizees on North Beach
Next swims: Noon Saturday & Sunday

On Saturday there was a great schism, as Abby headed towards the warmth of the sun beating on the corrugated iron barrier to the north.  A number of us joined her there. Others persisted on staying in the shade to the South.

The water was Caribbean blue, the air was warm but the water was cold, cold, cold.  I felt the season had turned and wore full wetsuit - gloves, booties, the whole nine yards.   It felt like the right choice.  We battled south.  It was slow.  I went extra minutes  south because I knew the current would swoop me back to Klode in no time, and so it did.  I felt comfortable in my wetsuit but grateful for the sun - no afterdrop! 

As we exited the water, Sandy greeted us with giant coffee cake slices topped lavishly with buttercream frosting.  The frosting had the consistency of grease you might wear for a Channel swim, but it was so, so profoundly satisfying.  Maybe someone could share the bakery name in the comments?

On Sunday, I arrived at noon. No one in the parking lot.  At the beach, a lone figure (Blake) at the wall.  As we chatted, the remaining folks gradually showed up, including the rare but welcome appearance of Patriarch.  The water looked more inviting than on Saturday....but once I got in realized it was far far worse!  The chop was bigger.  The breeze stronger.   Though the reading was higher, the water seemed colder.  Maybe just because it was such a struggle.  Itch impressively swam skin. I swam mostly backstroke to make any headway at all. 

We snacked on Brick's hot pickles. Brick proposed, "To a shitty swim" but Itch protested and I backed him up, observing, "it was exciting!"  Not sure if we settled on a toast, but still we downed the Killepitsch.

Driving home, there were four kite surfers at Bradford Beach.  Perfect conditions for them.

Both days Kode  and environs to the north wowed us with a glorious fall foliage embrace.  Especially those mysterious trees with the quaking golden leaves as we climbed back up the hill.  Aspen? Poplars?  Perhaps someone from the Botany Corner can identify!

Friday, October 14, 2022

Going Down

 Water: 55

Air:  45, slight accelerating SSW breeze
Waves: Gentle swells from the SSE; we still headed north
Clarity: Just enough to see my watch under water
Last swim: 6:30 a.m. Friday
Kru:  Lydia the Tattooed Lady, Corryn, Abby (sleeveless wetsuits, sleeves, at least one set of gloves & booties) plus
Linda The Lamprey and Dragonfly (skin)
Shore Support:  Showgirl, Mermaid Princess, Assorted Wim Hofers 
Next swims: Noon Saturday & Sunday

Another beautiful sunrise peeking over a bank of clouds on the horizon.

Water was down two degrees from yesterday, yet I managed almost 100 yards further and two minutes longer.  Acclimatizing?  Also nearing my limit.  Will add gloves & booties next time.  Was in the water 12 glorious minutes.  Not to compare, but Linda The Lamprey was in for 36.  

The baby Wim Hofer was back, but today the woman held onto it while the man soaked.  

Linda and I struggled together up the hill with very cold toes.  No breath to talk.  We turned to watch as TTL, Abby and Corryn churned back across the bay in formation, coming from very far north, leaving long straight wakes.  I could see how they weren't immediately feeling the cold as they exited the water, protected in their neoprene, but it didn't take long for the chill air to impact everyone.

Even after an hour warming up in Stone Creek, as we took our leave, Linda noted, "my heart still feels cold."

                                                                            The Lamprey heads out.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

The Best-Laid Plans

 Water: 57

Air:  45, slight accelerating SSW breeze
Waves: Tiny ripples, maybe a northerly current (i.e. heading north)
Clarity: Can't remember.  More conscious of a slight film on top of the water
Last swim: 7 a.m. Thursday
Kru: Linda The Lamprey on early shift; Showgirl,  Dragonfly - all skin
Shore Support:  couple Wim Hofers, a guy, a dog & a baby
Next swims: Friday a.m. probably 6:30, Noon Saturday & Sunday

Large red ball sunrise and spectacular shoreline as the colors are finally bursting forth.

I was so certain:  I did NOT want to swim today.  But I was wearing my suit, and when Showgirl and I got down to the beach we saw Linda already in the water....and it did look inviting.

A novel experience, seeing the thermometer go up instead of down.  It made sense, since the air was colder than the water.

The baby in its bright red shirt, sitting in the sand against the calendar-worthy Fall Foliage somehow the final persuasive touch....how bad could it be?

Already shivering in the slight breeze, Showgirl and I eased into the water.  And it was glorious.  Sun on one hand and the moon (waning gibbous) on the other  I made it a little beyond sewer pipe but wisely turned, feeling nibbles of cold along my arms and legs.  My teeth hurt when I turned to breath.  As usual, the water seemed warmer past the rocks. 

Getting out, I knew, would be the worst part.

I must have timed it right.  With the help of Hot Snaps I was into most of my clothing before the Afterdrop hit. Acting on a coldwater blog tip, I left my swimming cap on until I was otherwise dressed.  It seemed to help.
Even my feet were not total blocks of ice, walking up the hill.

And the birthday coffee at the top, with additional Kru members Mermaid Princess, Lt. MJ and Sunny Luna, was worth it all!

P.S.  Hey guys, we are thrilled for you, that you had this amazing, once-in-a-lifetime  living-the-dream experience in Kona & Hawaii....but your Facebook photos are just KILLING us!  Talk about FOMO!!  No hard feelings, though. Truly hope the trip itself was even better than the photos.  (And videos - thanks Ziggy!)

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Snatching a Swim from Threatening Cold Front... & Best of Luck in Kona!

Water: 60.6 - Tattooed Lady procured thermometer batteries so a precise reading is again possible
Air:  64, calm
Waves: Glass
Clarity: In these conditions, who cares?  More once I cleaned my goggles.
Last swim:6:30 a.m. Thursday
Kru: Linda The Lamprey on early shift (she swam North)
Sunny Luna, Lydia the Tattooed Lady, Showgirl, A La Mode, Mr. A., Dragonfly
Shore Support:  Mermaid Princess doing hill sprints, Wim Hofers (we supplied them with our temp)
Next swims: Friday a.m. open to question, Noon Saturday & Sunday

Looks like Capt'n and El Jefe are both on their biking leg according to the Kona Ironman athlete tracker, we wish them luck!

Third day in a row rising pre-dawn,  A forecast cold front threatened to sweep away our Friday swim, so had to take advantage of today.

If  possible, conditions were even more perfect than yesterday.  Could not decide between these  TTL photos so here are both:

The barest of ripples touched the surface.  A dead fish lay inside the corrugated wall, and when it drifted north, it was decided.  We would swim South, overruling Showgirl, who none the less swam longest. 

I figured, Love Rock would the logical turn, but suddenly I was already at Sewer Pipe with Sunny Luna.  Amazed, as she is uber-speedy, but we swam together to the 1,000-yard silver staircase.  We turned to head back and she jetted several hundred yards while I was between breaths.  I didn't see her again til shore.

Linda, Sunny and Mr. A swam skin; the rest of us sleeveless wetsuits plus sleeves.  I was briefly tempted to tag Flat Rock, about 1,200 yards from Klode, but did not want to get all involved.  As Sunny pointed out, "then you have to at least stand on it, then you have to chat" "--and then you're cold!" I finished. Sometimes, oftentimes, less is more.

Was looking forward to checking my splits to see which direction was faster - North or South - but annoyingly, my watch froze at 1,755 yards while I was still several hundred yards out.

Now, mid-afternoon, it's dark & rainy.  Tomorrow's forecast has been revised and is not nearly so dire, so if we plan a meetup will post in the comments.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Still Swimming

 Crew: Showgirl, Rick From Boston, Dragonfly

Shore Support:  Wim Hofers

Water:Estimated lower 60s, varying pockets
Waves: Very calm, pondlike
Clarity: Some
Last swim:6:45 a.m. Wednesday
Next swims: Possible a.m. Thursday and Friday, weather permitting, Noon Saturday and Sunday

We arrived on the beach to find the Wim Hofers had secreted themselves on the South Beach beyond the metal barrier.  RFB boldly queried as to why.  The response:  "We can see the sunrise better." I suspect it was actually because we swimmers were making too much noise yesterday, shrieking into their tranquility.

Like yesterday, the water was smooth and pond-like.  Showgirl and I were comfortable in sleeveless wetsuits plus sleeves.  RFB was cold in skin. We swam to the Cute Chairs.

Yesterday's swim included a larger group:  Super Hera, Hollywood Abby, Showgirl, Mermaid Princess, Lydia the Tatooed Lady, Mr. Anonymous and Dragonfly.  Lt. MJ arrived later to share in coffee drinking.  Swimming conditions were pretty ideal. Nevertheless Showgirl and Mr. A experienced a mild head-on collision.  I swam to the base of the Cute Chairs and stood up, contemplating climbing the giant stairs, but then realized how much I hate to disturb my goggles-and-earplugs configuration with land-based activity.

For the Kona followers:  

Cap'n and El Jefe's Ironman is scheduled for Thursday, October 6.  We wish them favorable conditions and luck!