Saturday, October 05, 2013

Evanston, October 5

After a week of discouraging forecasts things were looking up last evening. No waves, air 68 and water 64-67 was the forecast. Although we, Jody and I, considered Ohio St, which in retrospect might have been a better choice we picked Evanston since we like that beach better. Arriving at 6:30 we were able to park right by the beach, and since the fences have been moved, walk directly in. It was still fairly dark. Things were not quite as forecast, there were 1-3 foot swells, which was not the problem. The problem was the water was 61.5. That's not really so bad but we have not had the experience with such cold water this year and, in the last two weeks I have been swimming in 80-85 degree indoor pools. The air was plenty warm for this time of year, but without the sun to warm us it felt pretty cold. We debated driving down to Ohio St but didn't want to miss the sunrise which is one of the great features of early morning in Evanston. So in the end we were in the water about 30 minutes but only really swam about 10 of them, and then relatively close to the beach. But we saw the sunrise from the water. And, figuratively, the sunset of our 2013 Lake swimming.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Evanston, September 14

Even though the race is over there is still summer left in Chicago. After a day of high winds and waves but to Jody and me it seemed an interesting morning for a swim. The prediction was for 3ft waves at 5am subsiding to nothing at 8. Not quite true. We did not rush but did get to the Lake around 6:30. The air was about as clear as we have ever seen, high buildings in the loop were clearly visible. We were in time for another spectacular sunrise, in fact it happened twice, first the sun popped out of the water, then it re-emerged from behind some low clouds near the horizon. The evidence on the sand did show that very high waves had been around recently. Perhaps you saw the
pictures of yesterday's water spouts near Kenosha.

The air temp was in the 50's and initially the water felt warm, it was about 67 near the beach but there were areas of 65, especially near the far wall. There were still some 4 foot swells and waves converging in various directions. But overall swimming was pretty good and we were even able to touch the far wall without difficulty. We took our time this morning and paused various places to test the currents, which were present but fairly random. We tried to find the eddy by the end of the near wall but it was not present, only a mild southward current. The waves did subside somewhat during our swim but Jody did get a few rides on incoming waves.

We may try again but if this is the end it was a glorious end.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Big Shoulders September 7

For one of the few times in its 23 year history the Big Shoulders swim took place on an ideal Lake day, water 70 air 80 and light winds. Except for a brief time, about 1.5 hours into the swim when it clouded over and even rained a little on the spectators, the water was flat. During the rain episode the back stretch did get a bit choppy. Otherwise a rather routine swim.

The next day would have been more interesting with reported large waves on the Lake. But only your correspondent would have really welcomed that outcome for the competitive advantage he would have had.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Evanston September 6

We planned to swim Tuesday and Thursday but Jody returned from her Labor day vacation with a cold and the swimming conditions were not good for Evanston anyway. She's better, conditions not so much but enough for a quick swim just to loosen up for tomorrow's race. We got to the Lake the same time as last week but it was noticeably darker, just a red glow to the east. Light enough to see that the water was still pretty rough. Jody was ready to go right home but when we realized the water was fairly warm, 70, she decided to swim. The outbound (northbound) swim was fairly easy, we went past the halfway mark and decided that it was far enough for today. It did not seem at all windy but a moderate south wind had been predicted and that was enough to make the return swim much more difficult, now we noticed the chop on top of the 2.5 foot swells. We did stop and tread water, or at least I did -- Jody floats, and watch the sunrise. Being out in the Lake is like having front row seats, only the waves kept standing up in front of us. After terribly long preliminaries the sun suddenly popped out of the water like a beach ball. Awesome. A fun swim after all.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Ohio Street, September 1

Neighbor Joe and I drove to Ohio St and met Will. In between two days of predicted bad weather the Lake was perfectly flat except near the Ohio St Beach where there was small chop and past the turn towards Oak St. which had 1ft swells. The water was 70 and the sun was out. So a good swim past the turn and close enough to Oak St beach that we could stand, or at least Joe and Will who are each about 6 inches taller than me could stand.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Evanston, August 30

As the Big Swim gets close we use every possible opportunity to get in some Lake swimming. Today we arrive at the beach at 5:50, not really so early by our standards since 6:00 is our usual pool swim time. But this late in the Summer there is only a thin crescent moon and a small amount of glow to provide light. But it is not only enough to swim by but enough to see the Lake bottom for almost the first time this summer. The water is a refreshing 69 and very flat. When the sun comes up it is an amazing purple ball that looks like it is rising out of the water only a short distance from us. Jody is a woman on a mission, way ahead of me, she almost makes it to the wall. We both turn around at 6:10 and head back to the beach so Jody can get to work around 7. A short but sweet swim.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Promontory Point, August 24

Jody, Will and I met at the point at 6:15. It was a beautiful morning but the water was rougher than anticipated, two foot swells with chop. Fortunately Will has gotten some additional wave experience since our earlier swims so he was up for it. My main problem was seeing Jody and Will. But we did, as planned, swim almost to the 63rd Street beach, we didn't want to disturb what seemed to be some sort of church service, and back. The water was not quite 71 but felt warm in the sun. A hard but satisfying swim.