Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Evanston, July 20

The southwest wind today did not seem so strong and the lake did not seem so wavy near the beach. But as we swam the waves got bigger, especially in the shallow water near the far wall. We decided to stay out of the breakzone and swim further out on the way back, but this was probably a bad choice. We fought 2-3 foot waves all the way back and the last leg, towards the beach, was directly into the wind and sideways to the waves. This was not so bad for me, a right breather, but Mike is a lefty so got the waves in his face. I had a bad goggle day and had to rely on Mike to lead me, even though he was also having trouble. The water was 77 and the air was very hot, muggy and uncomfortable. We kept cool by looking for a bracelet a woman wearing an age inappropriate bikini, but looking OK in it, had dropped in the swim area. But the current must have swept it away. A rather inefficient lifeguard crew let us stay as long as we wanted.

On a related topic, President Bush nominated John Roberts Jr. to the Supreme Court last night. Roberts Jr. is, of course, the infamous "fry nazi" judge, jailing a 12 year old girl for eating one french fry. The girl complained that this punishment violated the "cruel and unusual punishment" clause of the constitution to which we imagine Roberts Jr. replying "the sign did not say 'one fry', it said 'no fries' so off to jail with you, young lady. The implications are ominous for our beach.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Evanston, July 18

This is the time of season that one has reasonably reliable swimmable conditions. Today the water was 75 with a strong southwest wind. Only windwaves in our swim area. We figured an easy swim out but a hard swim back. But by the time we turned around the wind died down so back wasn't so bad either. The beach was hot and Mike's wife joined us, somewhat, but not completely unexpectedly. We spent much of our beach time wading in the recently expanded official swimming area. The briefcase was not willing to chase us into the water and left us alone to stay until we were ready to leave.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Evanston, July 11

Yesterday Mike and his wife came to this beach. He reported that the water was warm, flat and clear. One of the best days ever although the rangers on the shore and das boot tried their best to be spoilsports. But the briefcase was kind so they had a nice visit to the lake. Today was great also, not quite as sunny but the water was warm (74)and reasonably clear, although with some low swells and surface chop. Mike had warned me not to wear the warm cap and I appreciated that. A light north wind made for a quicker return trip, although we were in no hurry to get out of the water. No rangers and the same kind briefcase. The only bummer is that twice in my swim I ran into floating garbage.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Evanston, July 7

We were expecting conditions similar, or nicer, than yesterday, but it was somewhat rougher. The waves had smaller amplitude but also had shorter wavelength, that means they were not as high but closer together. The surface was also more choppy. So we did, more or less, a straight out and back swim and it wasn't that bad. The water was 69 now, but we were about an hour earlier than yesterday so the air was cooler and we felt a bit colder. No boot or briefcase but the lifeguards closed the water due to e-coli when they arrived. But we had to run anyway so we didn't care.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Evanston, July 6

The forecast called for a mild northeaster, cool and wavy. I suggested to Mike that we do something different today but he felt it was time we had a wavy swim. It started out cool but it wasn't all that wavy, mostly 2 foot swells, a little rough in the break zone but fine further out. The water was 67 but felt warmer than Monday's 68, probably because it was a well mixed uniform 67 with no cold pockets. We swam out further than usual to avoid the break zone but otherwise our basic swim. Coming back we had to aim further out than we intended to go as the waves were pushing us in, but otherwise it was a quick easy return trip. No boot, but the briefcase evicted us even though we were the only people on the beach. On my way out I mentioned to the guard with the tiny bikini that she would have no one to guard, and she replied that they liked it that way. Since the sun had come out and it had turned into a beautiful morning we set up our chairs in the far north corner of the park where the only company was a few people with small unleashed dogs. It turned out to be a very pleasant morning so I'm glad I listened to Mike.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Evanston, July 4

Ever since I have been swimming in the Lake it is mandatory to swim on the 4th of July. So we would go today rain or shine. It was not actually either, but more towards the rainy side. The wind had been blowing from the southwest but had calmed down. As is typical when the wind is blowing out there was an absence of waves near shore but a gentle swell and some surface chop. The water was a comfortable 68 near the surface but colder below. Not bad, it seemed on the way out, and we got to the wall with surprisingly little effort. But on the way back it became evident why. The southwest wind had set up a current going north. Without incoming waves it was not hard to swim, but we did not make quick progress and the homeward swim took about twice as long as the outbound. Adding to this is the new addition of "das Boot" which apparently makes its rounds around 9AM with a bullhorn informing any swimmers that the "water is closed". A woman swimming asked us "what means in English water closed?" Our answer: "we are native english speakers and we have no clue either." At 10:15 the briefcase made her rounds early, clearing the beach of all non-paying patrons, which was everyone, so they wouldn't have to work. I pointed out that I had a right to stay until 10:30 and she conceded so I made sure that I stayed every second. I was rewarded with 30 seconds of sun.