Friday, November 14, 2008

Swim Around Bainbridge

Swim Around Bainbridge is my other which I swim the 53 miles around my home island, Bainbridge Island. I'm swimming it a little bit at a time and blogging about the experience.

The sea lions and oysters, the salmon farm and the Superfund site, the sneaking through private land to get to the beach, and the invitation to dive under the covers with an alluring mistress, etc. So far I've made 5+ miles, and it's feeling good. Lots more fun to come, so check it out.

Blakely Harbor, close up (left) and wide angle (right)

Day 6, and I've been uncovered. Tristan Baurick, a reporter for the Kitsap Sun, found me and asked to talk. He came with me to my entry point today (photos above), we talked a bit, he took a few pictures, and then he watched me swim away from the beach.

I'm also getting some interest from potential guest swimmers. tres arboles said yes, we only need to set a time, but now my wife wants to be first and her mother wants to take a ceremonial dip in just her bathing suit as part of the next swim. Then a CA friend wants to fly up and join a leg or two. Wow, this is starting to take off. Will it be more fun or too much trouble to coordinate? So long as everyone is flexible, it should be fine.

I head into Blakely Harbor, expecting to find quiet water. It's been raining and windy for several days, but today is mostly sunny and almost calm.

Surprise, today there is an actual north swell running about 1 foot. That's unusual for a fairly calm day in Puget Sound. The water isn't quite as clear as I expected with the recent calm.

A few surprises today...a sea lion swam by the beach just as I was about to get in, I saw a kingfisher on a branch over the water, and I ended up swimming much farther from shore for part of the day since the bottom slope was very gradual in the sandy part of the harbor.

air temp: 49F
water temp: 52F
Nov. 13, noon, mostly sunny
wind from the northeast at 5mph
medium tide, slack
visibility 5-15 feet
slight swell from the north
today's distance: 0.93 mile
total so far: 5.26 miles

today's notables:
basket star
California sea lion

This is about 10% of the way around Bainbridge Island, and most of the way around the island's southern peninsula where I live. Things will get more and more unfamiliar from now on.

View Larger Map

The ocean bottom where I get in is mostly gravel with bits of bedrock and sandy patches. The water feels cold starting out, as usual. The water is also fairly dark, with the sun low in the sky (November at this high latitude) the hills and trees shade most of this north-facing shore. It's a bit hard to see, especially in a few places where there's a bit of murk in the water.

The harbor has more sand than the exposed coastline, including broad expanses of clean sand with little ripples formed by wave action. Patches of eelgrass are scattered around, and there are only a few obvious surface-dwelling animals. The action in these sand flats is mostly under the surface. Holes of different shapes and sizes are everywhere, and occasionally a stream of bubbles comes streaming up out of a hole in the sand.

After getting out, I notice a sign on the road for a beach replenishment project, a landowner wants to put sand on the beach, either to protect property or make a nice place to enjoy the shore. I wonder if they know that most of their sand is where I am, and that pumping sand onto the beach will end up replenishing the ocean bottom in a few short years? Maybe they don't care, and they'll just do it again in a few years.

I'm out of time and have to get out and go back to work, but the beach is a bit steep. After I haul out, there's a short hike up to the road, and my breath is steaming in the cold air. Later, back at my car, my whole body starts steaming after I peel off my drysuit. It's not really dry in this suit, enough water gets in and gets warm to produce steam when I peel off the suit.

Now I have to hurry back to my office and join a meeting, this longish lunch hour has got to end. I've only spent an hour and a half away and I got in a very nice swim!

1 comment:

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