Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Green Bell Swim

For years I have stared out at the buoys off the coast of HMB and dreamed of swimming them. Sometimes the buoys seemed so close,  not many swim in these waters and less want to swim over a mile offshore to a shallow reef in sub-55 degree water.  And conditions (fog, swell and wind tend to define HMB swimming) are additional obstacles.

In 2011, I went so far as to purchase the NOAA nautical chart for the area and measured out the distances to shore:

* about 1.5 miles from the Green Bell to Surfers Beach (our old "clubhouse")
* about 1.5 miles from the Green Bell to the Miramar Restaurant (the new "clubhouse")
* about 1 mile from the Green Gong to Kelly (Francis State Beach)

My thinking was at that time was:
This is like doing an Alcatraz.
The Gong is closer, but the Bell should normally be easier (Kelly can get downright nasty).

The plan was that I'd finish the Maui Channel (2011) then we'd tackle the buoys when I got home.

So much for that plan.

On Tuesday afternoon five of the Crew (Gabor, Joel, Kenny, Randy and me) rode out of the harbor to the Green Bell on "The Good Life" (Bills boat).

The buoy to the right of the boat is the Yellow Buoy.  The buoy on the horizon is the Green Bell.
Conditions were almost perfect:
  • Clear skies 
  • Swell and wind were from the NW giving us some help towards shore
  • Water was that clean green/blue that you don't get near shore
  • Water was +52-53(?).  Not perfect, but it had been 49-50 not too long ago. 

It was a great swim.

Thanks to Bill and the guys for putting this together and letting me still be a part of it.

Now I'm looking forward to the Green Gong

Joel is moving to New Mexico today. 
I wish him good luck on this new adventure. 
I will really miss our impromptu swims together, his infectious smile and laugh, and his positive spin on the worst of conditions, but I refuse to get too sad because I know that he can't stay away for too long - We wont let him!

Goodbye Newport Beach...and your warm waters

I know I have not been blogging very much, but I have been having a lot of fun including a great snowboarding trip with friends in Park City, UT....

and LOTS of ocean swimming.

I have always preferred swimming in the ocean vs pool, but living in HMB it's not always an option.
This past winter I was living near the Balboa Pier in Newport Beach and the lack of a south swell and little rain made it possible to swim almost everyday even when I couldn't find a swim partner.

Conditions changed over the eight months, but the water temperatures only dropped to 53-54 for a few days and for most of the time were +60 making it pleasant to swim the 2 mile loop down to Tower 10 and back after work (For my last week the water was up to 68!)

Thanks to all my SoCal swim buddies:  Jeff, Darwin, Mike, Robin, Isabel, Colby.

Here's a shot of one of the many sunsets I was able to enjoy from my porch