Monday, July 26, 2010

Indiana Dunes, July 26

Today was a very nice day and some of my grandkids were in town so my daughter and I decided to take them to see dunes, a sight they were unfamiliar with in Kansas. We went to the Indiana Dunes State Park and I took the kids down the Beach House Blowout, one of the larger dunes that is still available to walk down on the sand. They grumped on the hike over, but were very impressed at the blowout. After playing a bit and having lunch on the beach by the blowout we decided to take them to the official swimming beach for a swim.

It is amazing, midway between the swim beach and Beverly Shores we had the beach to ourselves, no one within 1000 feet of us.

Yet in the swim area half a mile away it looked like Oak St beach on a hot weekend.

While the kids were playing in the water and on a smaller dune near the beach I went for a swim. I was OK out of the designated swim area but in the swim area I was informed several times that I could not be in any water deeper than "my nipples". So the question is, were all these people in the swim area to keep their nipples dry? Or did they congregate there because they could be close to their cars in the parking area?

By the way, the water was calm with only 6 inch swells and averaged 73 on my thermometer. But the warm water was only a few centimeters deep on the surface with colder water down below. There were also pockets of warm and cold water all over. But I was in for 40 minutes without even a cap and felt quite comfortable.

Lake Michigan, July 24-25

This weekend was not promising plus hardly anyone even seemed interested although Sue and her friend planned to go Saturday. It is just as well. Saturday dawned with heavy storms on top of the heavier storms overnight. Roads were flooded and it would have been nearly impossible for me to get to Ohio St. Sunday all the Chicago beaches were closed since lots of raw sewage had been dumped in the lake both at Wilmette and the Chicago loop. Leo was down at Beverly Shores IN and reported waves so large that it was impossible to swim. He did try the water and estimated it in the 70's, however.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ohio Street, July 17

I have been away this summer so have had little chance to lead trips to the Lake. This weekend I am home so I attempted to rally the troops. Unfortunately although the Lake was warm early this summer the recent steady west winds and hot air has sent all the warm water to Michigan and brought in cold from deep in the Lake. I decided Ohio St would be the most likely to be warm, with the shallow confined area the water would warm up during the day and there was some hope it would stay that way, especially as the winds were predicted to be light and possibly even from the south east overnight. Even with a warning that the Lake might be cold I got 4 takers, Ken, Jody, and Sue with a friend. Unfortunately I woke up with an intestinal disturbance, not a good thing with the limited facilities near Ohio St. So I bailed out. But the rest persevered. The report I got was that the water was indeed cold. Since I was not present I must rely on the estimates I was given instead of my trusted thermometer, but the guess was 62 degrees. The group swam the entire way but reported various symptoms of mild hypothermia. But none seemed to regret going and I regret not going.

Meanwhile our friend Leo tested the water at Wilmette and also reported an estimated 62. Leo also does not have a thermometer but over the years he has been a very good judge of temperature.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Ohio Street, July 1, 2010

Generally the season starts July 4th but I will be out of town so I biked down to Ohio St and this time got in the water. I thought I was at Waikiki beach! It was warm, crowded, quite shallow, fishy smelling and I ended up with a lei around my neck (seaweed). The water was 71, warmer than any day I swam in this Lake all last summer, at the formerly known "rusty poles", (now "orange poles") with the air only a few degrees warmer. But it was a beautiful bright sunny day and there was no need for cold water gear such as a warm cap. It was actually quite wavy for that area, but no real problems. I swam during the noon hour so there was lots of company, in fact it was hard to find a place to park the bike as all the racks were full, I had to chain it to the railing. The "lane line" is back in, but even so there were lots of near collisions. The description above doesn't sound too appealing but for a Lake lover just to get in for the first swim of the season in the Lake was wonderful.

I turned around at the orange poles because I had other fish to fry, or more precisely mustard fried catfish to eat at the taste of Chicago. A swim, a lunch at the taste, a ride along the lakefront on a beautiful day, life doesn't get much better.

It was recently pointed out to me that I have some competition in the "lake condition reporting space" with a website This is run by a bunch of swimmers who swim from "ladder 1" near the North Ave chess pavilion. It is not far from Ohio St. I have swum there and its not bad, usually a bit colder and wavier than Ohio St and even harder to get to if you don't live in the neighborhood. This is a more serious and elaborate site than ours and seems to target triathletes which should give you some idea of what to expect. We are more rouge swimmers and don't need wetsuit ads and all that stuff but you might find something interesting at this site.