Normally I don’t really care about football, but I am a native Wisconsinite so the Packers being in the Super Bowl meant I was actually going to watch it this year… luckily the game wasn’t on until 3:30 and didn’t interfere with my Sunday ocean swim!
I was up kinda early today and decided to go to the beach early and just hang around. When I got there I decided I might as well be productive too. I grabbed some supplies out of my truck and did a little clean up. The beach is a lot cleaner than the last time I did this, but there was still a lot of garbage out there. I found a lot of the usual suspects like cigarette butts and styrofoam, but I also found really not good stuff like sharp metal pieces and broken glass down in the wet sand by the water! Glad I pulled that junk out before someone stepped on it!
When I had worked my way back to where my swim group meets up 1 other swimmer had shown up so I traded my bucket for my backpack. It’s pretty warm here at the moment and I was all heated up so I changed early into my boardshorts and got acquainted with the water while everyone else started to show up. It felt really really cold today. My feet hurt for a few minutes before I could get that all regulated. My body was saying low 50′s today, Niel’s thermometer was at 55 though. Not sure if I was being a wuss or if the thermometer was lying to us… later on everyone else seemed to agree more with my assessment of the situation. Eventually I got all the way wet and tried to catch a wave or two. The way things were breaking I just couldn’t grab one without fins on so I went back to the beach to get ready for our actual swim.
Over in our get ready spot I saw my buddy Monte who had come out to swim. Unfortunately swimming wasn’t on the menu today for him, he’d taken a tumble doing some trail running that morning and was a little bloodied up. He figured ocean swimming while bleeding might not be the best idea ever and I’m inclined to agree with that plan! I stripped down to my regular swimsuit, put on some bodyglide then capped and goggled up.
5 of us walked down to the water together. I was particularly stoked to have Duke back in the mix after a long absence which he spent cycling obnoxious distances. The plan for today was to swim the left side of the buoy line then turn and swim back down it all the way to the creek buoy on the right side of the pier. From there it was to the Poly pier and back down along the way we came. No GPS map today because I didn’t charge my Garmin, but here’s roughly what our 1.5 mile course looked like…
After whining for a little bit about how it was still cold I tossed myself through a wave and followed the rest of the group down to the first buoy. Once we had everybody we made our way down towards the point. It was still feeling pretty cold but I was working through it. The water was looking much clearer than usual and it’s always really cold when you can actually see through it.
Our pause at the far end of where the buoy line should end (we lost a buoy a long time ago to a storm or something and it’s never returned) was brief. We ended up swimming straight through the pier and down to the creek buoy without stopping. On our way we had to swim under the pier and we had a healthy number of folks up there that had stopped to watch the swimmers. I saw couples and people on bikes and random walkers stop what they were up to and watch us until we disappeared under the pier. On the other side I looked back to make sure we had the one swimmer I didn’t have a visual on and saw a few of them had switched to the other side of the pier to keep watching. They must think we’re nuts… little do they know that this is actually fun!
Out at the creek buoy we confirmed who was going to the Poly Pier and who wasn’t. Sylvia checked out and the 4 of us that remained made way for the big pier. The water felt a touch warmer out here, but still pretty cold. Good news was the sun was shining on our backs and everything was nice and flat for us.
At the Poly Pier we regrouped and ended up with a couple new pinneped friends. First it was just one and then another popped way up out of the water to get a good look at us. I haven’t seen much seal activity in a while. Although it’s cool to see them in the water at their level, I really don’t like to swim with the shark bacon so we made moves for the creek buoy again to finish our swim by retracing our steps to where we started from.
On the way back we split into two groups following two different lines. Me and Duke went more to the left and Niel and Susan swam more to the right. I felt like the line Duke and I were taking was better, but Niel beat us to the buoy by a couple seconds so I guess not. Out here we saw one of the seals had decided to follow us. It was looking at Duke like he was either handsome or delicious… either way that’s a bad ending for him so we kept swimming.
We crossed under the pier one more time and then arced back towards the beach. I hung behind a little hoping for a good wave that never came. In the meantime I was having a stare down with our seal stalker. He ushered us like half a mile. While I was looking out at the incoming swells trying to find something I could bodysurf this seal was looking right at me… like eye contact stare down looking at me. Very weird. It wasn’t hostile, but it was uncomfortable for me seeing as I was the inferior marine mammal in this situation. A set of waves starting rolling through but breaking out by the seal and not by me. He floated up and down with the first two and then the third one went over his head. I could see the seal inside the green wall of the wave, he went totally vertical inside it and after it crashed I never saw him again… who knows where he swam off to.
I hung around for the next set and kinda sorta caught a wave but not really and eventually called it a day and landed on the beach. I dried off and changed quick so that I could get out of there and get in some Super Bowl action. I ended up going to Monte’s parent’s place with him and my friend Dani to catch the game and some really good BBQ. I was very happy to have the game go my way with the Packers winning, and now I can go back to not caring about football for the next 10 years or so :)