Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ohio Street, June 30

Back in Chicago the water temperature reports are all in the 70's, so even though Lake season does not usually start until July 4 I figured I better check this out. I couldn't go early so I parked at Wilson Ave and biked down, arriving at the beach about 10:30. Bike parking was at a premium but not as bad as North Avenue which was charging $5 for bike parking. Two things stood out about the water, there wasn't much and what there was was warm. I had to go far out, just like in Canada, to get to a reasonable swimming depth. This year there are lane lines all the way past Chicago Ave but with breaks -- 50 meters line then 50 meters no line. Where the lines were the depth never got much above waist deep (and I am short, a real tall guy might scrape the bottom a lot). Going further out it did get a little deeper, I even found a spot over my head, but not by much. Fortunately these lines do not seem intended to mark the limits of the swimming area. The other thing about the water is that it was warm, by shore it was 75 and further in a cooler 74 with even a few isolated cooler spots. The water was mostly flat with some gentle swells farther out towards Oak Street. With shallow water it apparently heats up fast in this hot weather although that did not deter all the wetsuit wearers. Historically 75 is about as warm as we can expect of the lake so it will be interesting to see what the rest of the summer is like.

Another change at Ohio street is a fancy restaurant on the beach with waiters and all. There didn't seem to be any takers this morning. This sort of thing seems to be popping up all along the lakeshore.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sauble Beach, June 28

I swam briefly at Sauble Beach on the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario this morning. This is reputed to be one of Canada's great beaches, it stretches miles in a large bay. But I was unimpressed as a swimming venue as again it is very shallow and one must go far out to get deep enough water, at least where we were in the town of Sauble beach. Further there is pay parking all around the beach, basically they want $15 per day The water temp was 65 with air about 70 and no waves, certainly pleasant enough.

We also stopped by the beach at Grand Bend but did not swim. This certainly looked nicer although that may have been because the sun was out and the air was in the 80's when we got there. Observing the many people in the water, none actually swimming, it seems deeper faster. Again there is pay parking, although by the hour, but here is the only Canadian beach I observed on our trip with lifeguards. They were seated in groups on towers but still seemed fairly obnoxious by yelling at people who maybe got a little far out.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dorcas Bay, Ontario, June 27

My first official Lake swim of the year in a somewhat unusual place. Dorcas Bay is actually in Lake Huron which,
as I have mentioned before, is actually a section of Lake Michigan distinguished by politics rather than geology. Dorcas Bay is up on the Bruce Peninsula, which separates the main lake from Georgian bay which is the section of the Lake pictured at the upper right. I am presently vacationing with my family in Tobermory which is at the northern point of the peninsula. There are lots of cliffs and interesting rock formations caused by centuries of attempts by the lake to wash this peninsula away.

A typical beach on the Georgian Bay side of the peninsula looks like this, not real easy to get in the water.

However Dorcas bay, also known as the "Singing Sands" is on the Lake Huron side of the peninsula so has a sandy beach and is mostly distinguished by being very shallow. So first there is a 500 yard hike from the parking lot followed by another 500 yard hike through ankle deep water to waist deep water where one can begin a swim. Another 200 yards out gets one into water slightly over my head where one can do real swimming. There is then a large area where one can swim in a still fairly protected area. I ended up doing about 500 yards only because my wife was waiting impatiently in the parking lot and the long walk to and from swimmable water ate into my swimming time. Air was mostly cloudy and about 68 and the water was about 66 F (or should I say 18 C?). Not a bad start to the season.