Winter is here
and it’s getting cold.
I could be cavalier
but I am so very old.
The swimming season is ended,
as the rains begin to fall.
I am warm-blooded,
Yet I hear winters call.
Fear has leasehold
and when frost abates I again will leave landfall.
Dead Writer has written 10 entries about this goal
Winter is here
Owe, owe.. aha, eeek, splash, swim…
It is getting colder. It’s only uncomfortable for a few minutes, well maybe 10, but then that pseudo-burning sensation sets in and it’s fine. The real problem, the water is clearer. I can see the bottom. Does this mean the currents are changing? It has also been windy for the last weeks worth of swims. The rolling motion of the ocean is problematic for finding my waypoints in the water. But, it’s the clear water that bothers me. Now, I can see what possibly only used to lurk in the back of my head. There is no real fear. I think I saw some sort of bottom shore dwelling shark today. It might have been a blue shark, but I am not sure. While the water was clear, the area it was patrolling was turbid. It could have been a large lemon shark, but who knows.
I find that people want to talk to me after I am done swimming. At least once a week somebody asks, “Is is cold?” or “How can you do it?” or “Aren’t you afraid of sharks?” . Today was one of those days.
I have taken to not dallying when I get in the water now. There hasn’t been any sun for most of the week, and I am surprised that the water cooled off so quickly.
There is a warmer lateral current about midway to the buoy that I swim around. On days like today, the inshore water is cold, and I think that today was the coldest it has been since I started swimming.
This weeks picture is of two kids sitting atop of a basking shark.
They really are huge! Like jet engines moving through the water. Can you imangin seeing this trucked through your town in the 1910’s. When I dream of swimming, I sometimes dream that I am around huge mega fauna like basking sharks, whales, and friendly giant squid.
A woman in my building said, “I went swimming today and had a sea lion play with me.” So it isn’t just me. Damn nibbley sea dogs.
I went swimming late tonight. Perhaps a little too late. I am exhausted. Nothing tires one like a good swim.
Right now, swimming is the best stress relief that I can get.
I got off of work today early, because I went in early. I swam at sunset. There are no longer any lifeguards on the beach. The towers are still up, but they will soon be dragged off.
I came across a group of people swimming together. All were wearing wetsuits, many with bright orange or pink head caps. If I can get in good enfough shape to make the same distance in the same amount of time, I will try to join their group. Swimming by my self is not as dangerous as I think it to be, but being in a group is certainly safer.
[Catch up entry]
Off the coast, just a few hundred yards out is a spot sometimes called “Marina West”, it has a couple of other better known names. If you can’t afford a slip in the harbor, you park your boat right off the beach and hope nothing happens. The sea lions love to lounge on the boats, the large buoys, and from time to time the shore (mostly in very specific spots).
It isn’t unusual to find one or two bobbing about in the water with in line of site. It isn’t even unusual to have one or two swim near kayaks or boats. Once one decided to flop onto of a rental kayak I was paddling. Well I had a fun little encounter with a sea lion the last time I went swimming.
I swam hard out the first buoy and I decided to rest for a minute. I have decided that swimming hard, working on my stroke and breathing is going to well for me in the future. I turned around and swam in. Just a few strokes out something nibbled on my toes. I was already a bit touchy from a previous aquatic encounter (see previous entry), but not worried. I stopped and popped my goggles off. About 6 feet (2m) away was the bobbing head of a sea lion. They are pretty. It blinked, disappeared under the water. I was a little saddened that it didn’t continue to play, but it was funny.
Since then no aquatic mammal interactions, unless you count people.
I am a child born after the introduction of the modern blockbuster movie. Specifically, Jaws- perhaps the first modern blockbuster, at least the director and screenwriter argue that. Regardless of how much logic states that I shouldn’t fear being eaten, it does enter my head while I am swimming.
The tide was nearly at it’s peek when I headed out. Fighting the surge I made it out to the first buoy, but lost sight of it again and again due to the roll of the ocean. The wind was blowing shoreward and from time to time, white caps broke near my head in that eerie sort of way that makes one think that somebody just splashed near ones own head. Swimming laterally, kept trying to make it back towards the buoy when I saw the tip of a fin graze the water. Then, a bit of fear, my feet blistered from walking, could be bleeding and I just saw a fin in an area known for a few different “man eaters”. I did what one should do, which is not panic. I tucked into a ball, a cold water survival technique, and waited. Sure enough, it was a pair of dolphins.
Swimming with dolphins isn’t something fanciful or mystical- at least for most where I grew up. It just happens, especially if you are a surfer or spent a lot of time at the beach. I am guessing that it was two young males feeding, but that can be a problem. Apex predators, of wish off my coast are big game fish, sharks (including Carcharodon carcharias), whales can be found hunting together. It isn’t uncommon for a group of large tuna to be joined by a group of dolphins, nor is it unheard of of dolphins hunting in the same area with other apex predators.
In that 10 (perhaps 30) seconds, I relaxed, calmed down, and thought about the odds of becoming a MRE for a shark. The odds were not good, but higher considering my wounds, the area, and the number of sea lions about. During this time I also drifted out and realized that a bit of a current was pulling me out. I didn’t need to be out in the water with dolphins feeding, and they were not interested in me. I decided to call it a day and only do a short swim.
It started out as a sprint back to shore, but by the time I made half the distance I realized that I was really fighting the tide as it pulled out. I ended up swimming a diagonal for a bit, made shore and walked back to my towel and keys. The dolphins were gone, or at least hidden by the waves and choppy water.
On the way home, I had a good giggle at my oh $#!+ reaction. For no money at all, I got a good scare. Awesome! And all because I saw a good film with a great script.
I am thought to be part otter or sea lion by some, but not by most. Then again, those that see me more as an anthropomorphized crow, otter, or animal seem to see me as a trickster manifest- as well they should.
Each week I have been adding to my routine. One swim buoy is, I think, 100 yards out at the median tide. They are also 100 yards apart. I have been swimming just as the tide is at it’s highest, and unfortunately for me, I seem to be working against the current both ways.
I grew up in the water. The cold doesn’t seem to bother me, though as I grow older it does. The parts that were broken to complain from time to time, when it is really frigid, but seeing as I have been in rivers as the snow pack melts, with chunks of ice flowing past, I think I can handle 60°F (15.5°F). The in-shore water can be in the high 60s, then there is a band in the high 60s, perhaps even 70s, then a few hundred yards out it gets cold- and there is a current. Well, that’s for this season.
It seems that now that I have been swimming, my hair has become pleasant to touch. I didn’t notice this, but other have. It’s shinier, softer, and moves different. This is a benefit that I would never have thought of.
What has kept me from swimming in the past, aside from embarrassment, is my arms. For a while they locked up when I swam. This was due to damage done during an accident. I was kind-of broken for a while. Every year, near the anniversary, I would go to the local pool, get into the slowest lane, and start swimming. With in few hundred yards, early on just feet, my hands would become numb, my arms lock up or worse yet, start twitching uncontrollably. Getting out of a pool with out anybody knowing that I was in trouble is hard, getting out with out arms is nearly impossible. The last time, some 2 or 3 years ago, a lifeguard gave me a stern look, and was about to talk to me, but I managed to scurry away to the locker room.
I have a firm rule not to have goals that I can not accomplish. Good goals are able to be completed, hence why I haven’t added this goal until it is nearly finished.
Swimming is free, at least in lakes and the ocean. For now, I am close to the ocean, and while I am close to the ocean, I should use it.
I haven’t successfully swam for the past 5 years. I was extensively damaged in an accident, and only now am I able to move everything with out much pain or fear of causing inflammation of scar tissue, which causes numbness.
The ocean is warm, at least for now. Shortly, it will be below the 60’s, and it will no longer be comfortable.