Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Mirror mirror in the see

Last swim: 5 PM 6/14/21
Next swims: Generally 6AM and 5PM weekdays
Water temp: 65 per duck-o-meter
Air temp: 70 
Clarity: Not really
Crew: Synchro, Itch, Hannah, Moondaug

The beach was rather quiet and the water had a sort of other worldly mirror like quality to it, with a small well timed swell that gave a nice push on the way back, all in all it was rather serene. The water temp felt like there were little cold spots all over, but when a wave rolled over you, it was like the donning of a warm cover, interesting sensations. It seems like there should be a name for this sort of feeling. 

Talking points were; a possible moon light swim with a little  bon fire somewhere,  recycling nicknames of those who have been AWOL the last couple years, Mr. Bubbles lack of accuracy in naming crew (omitting some and naming others who were not present) which lead to some theorizing about why? Perhaps we may need to start up the Killepitsch counter again?

Monday, June 14, 2021

Riding the Waves + PSA

Next Swims:  Mon - Fri 6 am and afternoons at 5pm
Sat/Sun 8am and noon

Last Swim: Monday 6 am
Water Temp: 66
Air Temp: low to mid 60s
Clarity: very murky
Waves: OMG!  mostly 4 feet or more
Kru: Diablo, Magic Mike (early shift), Mr. Anonymous, Mr. Bubble, Lt MJ, Sunny Laguna, Nanook

Athena (Thea) Aster Kegel was born Friday morning
The story of how this Athena came to Earth is a little different than the events leading up to the first Athena's arrival. For those of you who remember your Greek Mythology:
Athena's mother was Metis. Metis warned Zeus that if she bore him a boy child, the child would be greater than him. Zeus swallowed her and started having a terrible headache. Then his head split open by an axe from help from Hephestus. Suddenly, Athena came out of his head. Athena came out fully grown, with her symbols the aegis and the famous helmet of Athena.

The 21st Century Athena's mother is  Klode Kru goddess and Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge, the Right Honorable Super Hera.  Her Facebook post about the blessed event does not mention anything about the father swallowing the mother or having a terrible headache, just that it was a medication free birth filled that was completed ahead of schedule.  

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog post

Just like old times...Diablo departing on his bike just as the next shift was arriving.  "How was it Diablo?" "Not too bad.  A little rough but no whitecaps".  Of course, "Not too bad" is Klode Kru Kode for "Not too good either".  But he was right, insofar as the water temp was concerned, and that's what most of us are wondering about when we ask for a status update.  

Get down to the beach and there's a backpack and a pile of clothes, which is quickly identified as Magic Mike's - the red Point to LaPointe t-shirt gave it away.  Within a minute or two, we spot Mr. Mike heading in to shore.  "How was it"?".  By now, we've inferred that Diablo must not have seen those whitecaps in the dawn's early light.  Magic Mike's response - "Pretty rough!  I only made it to the second garage before turning back, and then made it back in just 7 strokes"  (slight exaggeration but not much).  We asked if Mike was able to ride the rhythm of the waves - "Not really.  You could tell that a wave was coming because the water would get darker".  Hadn't experienced that before and was assuming it was because the flotsam and jetsam was being stirred up.  Once I got out there, I discovered the real reason the water was getting darker is because the waves for so fricking huge that they were blocking out the rising sunlight.  

So, the four of us set off, and we're all heading back from spots much closer than we usually would.  Lt MJ even got out on the beach and walked back part of the way.  I was sighting the rock wall and was determined to get there, until I got whacked alongside the head.  Everyone else was on their way back, so it was an easy decision.  

Getting reacquainted with Nanook made me think of the lead songs Frank Zappa's album Apostrophe - Don't Eat The Yellow Snow and Nanook Rubs It.  Sad to say, our Nanook was not familiar with these masterpieces, so I promised to post it here so she could learn more about her ancestry.  

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Heat Wave Continues!!

Next Swims:
Mon - Fri 6 am and afternoons at 5pm
Sat/Sun 8am and noon

Last Swim: Noon Saturday
Water Temp: between 68 per brick-o-meter, 71 per mitch-o-meter
Air Temp: mid 80s and sunny, very light wind
Clarity: murky inside the rocks, very clear beyond that.
Waves: 1'-2'
Kru: We'Taco (early shift) Itch, Brick, Mr. Anonymous, Mr. Bubble, Parker, Will, Capt'n, Ziggy, Diablo, Neo, Adam (first timer) 
Shore Support:  Neo's kids

Most remarkable thing for me today - I thought I was dreaming or hallucinating.  I'm approaching birches and I notice to my left there's somebody's head bobbing up and down - some guy doing the breast stroke!  I could have sworn I took my meds this morning!  I had to find out if I was in touch with reality - but I couldn't catch up with him, until he stopped and stood up on a sandbar to clean his goggles (just like I had last night).  So, I called out to him and learned his name is Adam and this was his first Lake Michigan swim ever.   Like me, he also just does the breast stroke.  He's in training to do the Olympic at the Lake Country Triathlon on July 31.  Adam had been lurking the blog and decided now was the time to go for it, after reading Dragonfly's post First Skin Swim (he swam skin today, too)

Another first timer for 2021 - Parker!  Her real name is Leslie, but I gave her the nickname Parker because first time I met her, she was wearing a swim cap from her swim team at Parker High School in Janesville.  Alas, that swim cap is torn now, and Leslie is experiencing an identity crisis - she no longer feels that she deserves that nickname!  The torn swim cap is forcing her to undergo a personal transformation.  Stay tuned for further developments in the following episodes.  

Even before the torn swim cap, Parker had started undergoing a transformation to become a Klode Kru evangelist - she is looking to convert other people to our religion!  Today, she brought her first novice - her friend, Will.  So actually, there were two "first ever Klode swimmers" today - Adam and Will.  

In other news, Diablo was out past the southern most rock, submerging and surfacing, over and over.  Itch came back to join him, and they pulled up a submerged tire and brought it to the beach. 

Another best swim of the season!

Second to last swim - Saturday at 8 am.  Per MJ, it was "65ish and pretty choppy".  Four hours later, she says "I still feel like I'm rocking".  Rock on, MJ!

Third to last swim:  Friday at 5
Water Temp: - different readings from different devices, between 71 and 75
Air Temp:  mid to upper 80s and sunny with light wind
Clarity:  Crystal
Waves:  2'-3', made Big Swell look calm
Kru: itch, Brick, Mr. Bubble, Showgirl, Synchro, Janneke, Kim G, Laguna, Stickler, Capt'n and Ziggy 
Shore Support:  Patriarch!

So, the warm weather and warm water just keeps on coming.  This graph of the Atwater Buoy readings says it all.  You can also see that the buoy was taken offline late Thursday night, when the official reading had only climbed to 67.  I'm sure it would have been an even steeper asymptotic curve if it had stayed online.  I wondered if the buoy was taken offline because it had overheated!

This was Stickler's first swim of the season and she seemed very happy about it!  Come to think of it,  everyone seemed really happy to be participating in first 70+ degree swim of the season.  

Sometimes I stare in space
Tears all over my face
I can't explain it, don't understand it
I'ain't never felt like this before
But that doesn't mean it has me amazed
I don't know what to do, my head's in a haze
Just like a heatwave (Heatwave)
Burning in my heart (Heatwave)
Can't keep from cryin'
It's tearing me apart
Don't pass up this chance
This time it's a true romance

Friday, June 11, 2021

An Undisputably Official Skin Swim

 Probable next swims:

Mon - Fri 6 am and afternoons at 5pm
Sat/Sun 8am and noon

Last Swim: Friday 6am, , and evening swims, people are saying
Water Temp: 65 per mitchometer, cooler near the rocks
Air Temp: 70 and sunny
Clarity: pretty nice
Waves: Mostly flat, tiny swell out of the south + southerly current offshore
Kru: Diablo and Mr. Anonymous (early shift), Linda the Lamprey, Lydia the Tattooed Lady, Lieutenant MJ, Mermaid Princess, Laguna Mike, Magic Mike, Mr. Bubble, Dragonfly
Shore support:  Two teenage girls (Q: "How's the water? A: "It was warm when we got out.  It's nice in the sun.")

Any kind of officiousness seems like an un-Kru-like anti-virtue, but I challenge anyone to defy the skin-like nature of today's swim! 9 stalwarts showed lots of skin as well as varying wetsuit coverage ranging from sleeveless wetsuits to sleeves alone, with swims of impressive distance and duration.

How will I ever keep track of who wore what for the blog, I thought?  I tossed anxiety out the window by resolving to track none of it.  

I myself opted for total skin and felt cold sans gloves and booties.  However I must be acclimatizing as I swam 400 yards further than yesterday.  Was cruising with MJ and Lydia, ready to turn back at 600 but they kept going so I thought, I can do another hundred, against my better judgement!  Turned at 700 as they swam on. 
Fired the up jets on the way back, which somewhat compensated in generating body heat or at least provided some distraction. Active mental game to assure myself I was not really that cold.

Though it seemed like a long swim, I was one of the first back to shore.  Several of us compared afterdrop notes as well as notes on virtual conferences we had attended in the past week.  Others chimed in on this rich vein as they emerged from the water.  I complained about how there were NO SCHEDULED BREAKS and since we are all used to watching videos, there was no timeline at the bottom of the screen to show how long the interesting people were going to talk, thus  it was hard to time necessary bio breaks.  Others complained about how some people just needed to STOP TALKING, especially after NINE HOURS OF TALKING.

A UFO (unidentified floating object) of almost swimmer-like proportions slowly made its way south, maybe 4 or 500 yards offshore.  "I  kind of want to swim out to it, see what it is," Magic Mike commented.

There remained much to discuss as we departed the parking lot with hopeful thoughts about a long summer ahead.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

First SKIN Swim!

 Probable next swims:

Mon - Fri 6 am and afternoons at 5pm
Sat/Sun 8am and noon

Last Swim: Thursday 6am, , and evening swims, I assume
Water Temp: 63 per mitchometer
Air Temp: mid 70's, humidity 150%
Clarity: pretty nice
Waves: Mostly flat, slight gentle amusing swell
Kru: Rachel, Mr. Bubble (early shift) Showgirl, Dragonfly
Shore support:  Two 20-something blonde girls on Robin's Rock

Late shift!  I woke up at 5:56 a.m.  Showgirl was already at the beach.  "Be there in 20 minutes!" I gasped on the phone as I flung myself out the door.  For the 2nd straight day the Hoan was engulfed in a solid slab of fog, I turned on the headlights.  Unlike yesterday, it cleared only slightly north of downtown.

Rachel and Mr. Bubble were only represented by piles of stuff on the beach when I arrived at 6:22 but Showgirl had waited for me.  

"The buoy said 60.  Mr. Bubble said 63" she announced.


"Well, the buoy lies?"

"Well yeah but  -- Well it's skin!  We have to try.  Do you think?"

She did.  We still garbed up with gloves & booties and cautiously waded in.  Immediately you could tell, slightly more than ankle deep, the water was warmer on the few square inches of exposed shin than it has been yet this year.

We ventured out inside the rock pile, heading North.  The barrier is only about a foot under water, so that was interesting.  Lots of interesting rocks on this side.  We conferred at Sewer Pipe...then again at Garage, then agreed to 50 more yards.  

We turned back then, "Because I'm not certain as to how cold I actually am," I said.

Still, it was pretty glorious.  With the fog, the underwater scene was pretty monochromatic - a sort of yellowish gray, but off infinitely to the sides, sort of a dirty aquamarine.  I could see Showgirl next to me both above and under the water.  We kept pace pretty well together, except she kept heading out to sea.  We paused again off Sewer Pipe and she said, "How did we get out here?"

My arms and shoulders (though a little cold) felt so free.  It felt so good to have the water flowing over them.  Oddly, my hands and feet felt wet in their gloves and booties.  Showgirl felt the water "catching" on one of her gloves.  I am sure the gloves will be off soon.

We swam back around the outside of the rocks on the return journey, then around the south rocks, then around the south rocks again to make 1,000 yards. Definitely warmer and cooler patches, a little pool of fingerlings just south of the rocks.

Rachel & Mr. Bubble returned from their swim to Mudslide.  They had opted for wetsuits - probably a good thing, since they complained about "getting lost" in the fog!  However brief that experience might have been, it is not one I would care for.  

One more thing I wanted to add (how quickly we forget) even though it was Skin-able - there was a lot of shivering on the beach afterward that continued over coffee - caveat afterdrop!  Please swim responsibly.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Too Warm To Swim

Probable next swims:
Mon - Fri 6 am and afternoons at 5pm
Sat/Sun 8am and noon

Last Swim: Tuesday 6am, , and evening swims, I assume
Water Temp: 52 <sigh)
Air Temp: mid 70's, humidity 150%
Clarity: not much
Waves: Flat, 
Kru: Mr. Anonymous, Handyman Hank, Showgirl, Lydia the Tattooed Lady

It was a weird combination of bright sun plus fog this morning.

Even though there is no "late" in swimming, I arrived just as everyone else was about to enter the water.

And even though the water stubbornly remains in the 50's, the muggy air makes it quite an ordeal to struggle into a wetsuit/gloves/etc.  

But we did it.  

Mr. A did a speedy and commendable Lava Pants swim, and the rest of us disappeared into the fog, hugging the shore for safety.

I can only hope that these warm days will heat up the lake and allow us to stop trying to jam sweaty bodies into resistant neoprene.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Killepitsch: Breakfast of Champions!

Last swim: 8 am Sunday

Next swims: Noon and 8 am Sat. and Sun. 

Probable swims:  6 a.m. and 5 p.m. (?) Monday-Friday

Water temp: 53.almost54
Air temp: 80s, sunny & glorious
Clarity: Nice going with the current
Crew: Showgirl,  Northshore Nancy,  Panini, Handyman Hank, Kahuna, Mr. Bubble, Mr. B's friend Angelina (?) Dragonfly

Heading down, Handyman Hank found a quarter "I'm getting paid to swim!"  He is definitely the Scavenger King.

Again the Bubble-ometer seemed to be running hot as everyone agreed that whatever the temp, it was still DANG cold.  Despite a north-running current we recklessly swam north, skittering along to Mudslide, where Showgirl & I took stock and decided it was high time to turn and reckon with the long slog back.  Showgirl took off hellbent-for-leather while I took a more leisurely approach and tried to enjoy the process.  There was actually quite a lot to enjoy as the sun was plentiful and warm and the breeze, though kicking up, was sweet-smelling as yesterday.  

Kahuna hustled us along with a surprise a.m. serving of Killepitsch!  My standards are so low, I wasn't even out of my wetsuit. "To the Church of Lake Michigan!" Mr. Bubble added a blessing in Hebrew.

Congratulations to all the Klode Kru who made a great showing at the 2021 Big Swell Swim in Madison including Lydia the Tattooed Lady, Captain, Lieutenant MJ, Cindy (?) and Mr. Bubble.  We'll show you chop!

How long the indefatigable iPhone was swimming with the fishes remains a mystery.

And finally, a memo to the KACHOW!! folks (inspired by my swim yesterday):  Love Rock could use a touch-up.