Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Evanston, June 28

Yesterday was so good we returned today. I even brought a lighter cap because my heavy cap was too warm, but fortunately I brought the heavy cap too. The warm water did not last, today it averaged about 65 but cold pockets were much colder. We did an abbreviated swim. It was largely overcast and cool on the beach, but not at all unpleasant given the recent heat. By the time we left a southwest wind had developed, the sun had come out and it was getting hot again.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Evanston, June 27, 2005

I was somewhat out of commision last week, having to work morinings and prepare for the 1500 pool race (I did quite well, thank you). Mike went to our Evanston beach on Monday and Friday, Monday he reports was barely swimmable. By Friday, with steady 90+ sunny days and some east winds he figured it would be good, but, in fact, he says it was not swimmable. Mike does not have a thermometer with him, but knowing him the water must have been below 58 to say that.

So it was with some reservations that we decided to try Evanston again today, but time considerations ruled out a longer trip to a traditionally warmer beach. We planned a halfway swim at best. Suprise, the water is all of a sudden 71! So we had to go all the way for our first complete Evanston swim of the season. The water was mostly clear, although there was a fishy smell near shore, and light waves even though there was a reasonable south breeze. We'll be back tomorrow!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Evanston, June 13

Today Mike was running errands out in the direction of Evanston, so he stopped by our beach to check it out. Of course he brought his suit, and gear. He reports that he attempted to swim to the halfway point but got too cold and came back. Mike doesn't have a thermometer with him like I have so no reading, but we can be sure it was less than the 58 of our last swim. This is quite typical, hot weather often brings up cold water. He also reports that the briefcases (Park district employees who collect money) were out in force, so his beach stay was brief.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Promontory Point, June 8

The weather was expected to change (and did) this afternoon so Mike suggested we drive to the south side to see what Promontory Point looked like. I wasn't so keen on him driving trough the city in the 90 degree heat in his car with a defunct air conditioner but it was his turn to drive so I came along. The good news is that most of the work on the 57th St. beach is done and no work appears to being done on the point. So it was very pleasant. We were suprised that no one else was swimming, although we did get there fairly late, around 10:30. The water on the rock ledge near the retaining wall was around 60 so didn't feel too cold. We decided to aim for the first bouy and decide then what to do. We almost considered turning around there but figured that since we had driven all this way we should go at least to the second bouy. Still not an official swim but enough in the 58 degree water. For those not familiar with our ongoing blog, we don't use wetsuits except in extreme situations and today was not one of them, but we usually try to avoid water below 60 early in the season. The nice thing was that when we got back to the ledge the 60 felt warm, and it was actually not a bad snorkeling day in the relatively calm and clear water. Lots of smelt, perch and a few trout. Mike grabbed a crawfish in his hand for me to look at, then put it back. Mike stayed in for about 15 more minutes but now I understand why people prefer snorkeling in warm tropical waters. We had bought beach chairs so enjoyed our mostly private spot for a while and did another quick swim to the first bouy before leaving. One of the really great beach days.

Postscript: The June 9 Chicago Tribune confirmed our observations claiming the Lake was 7 degrees warmer than last year and a whopping 17 degrees warmer than June 7th of two years ago, at least at the weather bouy. Good news is that the Lake is 3 inches higher than last year.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Ohio Street, June 5

It has finally turned hot in Chicago after a cool spring. But posted water temperatures seem warm so today was a good day to give it a try. At this time of year it makes sense to go to Ohio Street, no longer our favorite place due to low water levels and massive development of the area making parking scarce and expensive. But our new paradigm is to park north where parking is still plentiful and free and bike down. So we parked at Irving Park Rd and biked. As we passed North Avenue we noticed people actually swimming, even without wetsuits. This was very encouraging. And when we did get in the first sensation was warmth. As we got in further we found the warmth was only a few inches with very cold pockets deeper down. But overall we measured a very comfortable 63 average temperature. We swam to Chicago Avenue and back which is enough to make it an official swim, one of the earliest on record. A very pleasant day and a good start to what we hope will be a long season.