4th of July Open Water Swim - Dream Inn to the Harbor Lighthouse and Back

The Santa Cruz Masters has some darn good swimmers, taking home some coveted awards and accomplishments from the recent Nationals. Today would be celebrated with a swim from the Dream Inn to the kelp bed just before the jetty entrance to Santa Cruz Harbor, and back. Recent water temperatures have been cooling off from the near record June temps. Today it was only 56F and low fog hung over the coast till late morning. Lots of positive energy as two dozen people gathered on the sand in front of the Dream Inn, and club leader Joel Wilson organized the SUP's and kayak who would accompany us. Most wore wetsuits, a few very hardy people did the longer 2+ miles and sans wetsuit. I was interested in seeing how I felt doing a cold water swim in my "farmer john" style competition suit for near ~Ironman distances. Recall I was a bit freaked by the cold water/weather for the St. George Utah Ironman in 2010, and it's still a goal of mine to do another Ironman, as inspiration for those others out there on hip resurfacings.

I swam out ahead, wanting to minimize the heat transfer thing. Definitely felt on the chilly side compared to earlier ocean swims, but as Ferrell likes to say in just about any context, "just wait till it numbs out". I actually felt fine all through the swim, although I could tell that I must be getting cold towards the end because I started to lose power and coordination, and also I felt my left hip start to ache. Now why was that? I was doing only minimal kick so I couldn't have worn out, and my right hip felt fine. Maybe the cold had seeped into my metal hip and conducted itself into the bone (which has plenty o' nerve endings)? Whatever, anyway it was hard to walk for a few minutes after getting out. It took me almost exactly 1 hour (1:02?), and what with the wavy navigation, it was pretty close to 2 miles, maybe 1.95. Everyone was shivering, but happy; me too! Now after a peel-off and shower, we could walk across the street and do "The Picnic Basket" with their big breakfast burrito and hot chocolate, and swap stories. Somehow in my focused state, I missed the family of sea otters which we swam right through, in the kelp beds near the jetty. The kelp beds themselves were beautiful, waving in the surf, and with clear water that let me see down 10 feet or so. I arrived at the turn-around at the same time Marta and the 'round the wharf group arrived, and we headed back. Pretty soon, Marta in the pink cap was swallowed up by the Kelp Monster patch and I pulled ahead - she looked miffed!, did a left turn out to me, and then swam hard to leave me behind. "The Force is strong in this one", as demo'd by her PR at Nationals last month in the 400.

Here's some pictures from the WWW Swim Club's excellent waterproof shooter (Mona?) on the same morning and place, but who started a bit later than we did.

At the Dream Inn water's edge

First bouy

At the end of the wharf, and our turnaround at the harbor entrance in the distance

Great shot! The Boardwalk in the back; this is just a hundred yards from the finish


The breakfast burrito was excellent! And the hot chocolate even better, and soon I was feeling pretty normal. Next, get home and see if I could catch the end of the Wimbledon men's semi-final between Roger Federer and Milos Raonic (Roger won, good!). Then, rest up, cook up some pasta for friends, and get on my bike for a 27 mile ride out to the Delucchi's for a 4th BBQ. A very fine day with great people!