I had today off work for the New Year’s holiday so I took the opportunity to run down the coast to Santa Barbara to see my buddy Evan from FreshWaterSwimmer.com. He was in town for a few days visiting from Chicago so this was a perfect chance for us to hang out for a little bit and depending on how the ocean looked maybe even get in for a little bit!
I met him and his wife up at his parents’ house and then we embarked on a tour of the hills of Santa Barbara making stops to soak in some pretty stunning views of the town and ocean below. After finding some lunch we decided to go search out some water to play in. He took us down to Butterfly Beach in Montecito close to a couple of really fancy hotels. I’m glad we went here because this is one of the beaches the Santa Barbara Ocean Ducks work out at and I’ve never totally been sure where it actually was. I’ll have to come back down one of these days to actually swim with the local crowd.
Neither of us had ever been here before so we scouted it out while we got suited up. I saw a couple of dolphins out in the distance and we could see plenty of kelp not too far off shore. There was a bit of a swell but nothing really breaking at the beach. We decided to swim north towards a point at the end of the beach and just see what happens.
The water was probably about 55, it felt warmer than yesterday’s swim but not by much. After easing into the water for a little bit I threw myself in and started swimming towards a boat parked offshore and then banked right towards the point. We took a pretty mellow pace and just sort of cruised. I needed time spent being cold today more than I needed a big long swim. We took a few pauses at the big clumps of kelp, I’m not sure Evan has ever swam through this kind of stuff before. It was pretty thick in spots, there was definitely some kelp krawling to be done this afternoon!
Around 3/4 of the way to our goal point we took a break and I decided that maybe we should take it back the other direction. The swell was coming up a bit, I didn’t know how rocky it was or wasn’t over there and I saw a fair amount of trash floating in with the kelp that way. I figured we didn’t need to figure out where that all came from.
Once we got back to about where we had started we took a little more time to just float and talk a little. I was feeling pretty decent with the cold and could chat with out getting colder. While we were there a big seal came by to check us out. He got within 5 meters of us and took a couple good long looks. After a bit it seemed to me like he was looking at us a little too hard… and then a second one popped up on the other side of us. This was about where I decided we were done… if the shark bacon has taken this much interest in us it was time to go somewhere else.
After we left the beach we toured around Santa Barbara a little more checking out other beaches and finishing up with a trip to Goleta Beach. Me and Evan spent a good long time just hanging out by the water catching up. Eventually we split because I had to get home to pack and prepare for tomorrow’s Pier to Pier… whoo! Hopefully by tomorrow evening I’ll have good news accompanied by pictures! If you want updates twitter and facebook are probably the best places to watch. **Update: check here between 8am and about 11 or 12 for possible livestreaming of the swim!
In other news… I was on the front page of my local paper today! How rad is that? They did a really good story on my upcoming swim, I’m stoked on how it all came out. You can read the article online over here.