Thursday, July 9, 2009

Open Water Swimming near Silicon Valley

Last weekend I enjoyed an open water swim every day. Short shopping list compared to backcountry snowboarding: Towel, speedo, goggles, ear and nose plugs, bottle, sun screen, key bag.

A brief swim at Cowell's Beach in Santa Cruz on Thursday after work (the map shows my "classic" route instead).

Then, Lake Del Valle near Livermore on Friday, for a lengthy swim (>2 miles).

I admire this beautiful machine while driving to Mt. Hamilton.

Arriving at Mt. Hamilton for the sunset, the views are spectacular. Unfortunately my visit is cut short by an officer demanding that I leave immediately without stopping for pictures.

Saturday, Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz.

Kids at the beach.


I swim two laps along the sandy beach.

Main attraction is the natural bridge.

Sunday, Baker Beach. San Francisco putting on the gloomy face.

Sitting on the sand and getting goosebumps just from the breeze I wonder whether this is the best timimg for my swim. I can't see China Beach from here, but I'm fairly sure it's around the corner, behind the prominent rock. I have studied the satellite pictures before and also consider the NWS small craft advisory, the west wind, and the rising tide. As planned, I swim mostly against the current from Baker Beach to China Beach and it's much easier on the way back.

Driving south through the Santa Cruz Mountains I leave the gloom of San Francisco behind and trade it back for the ever-present sunshine of Silicon Valley.

The maps of my swims from the independence day weekend embedded in this post are approximate (hand drawn, no GPS tracks). I felt these swims were reasonably safe for myself, but open water conditions may vary drastically and can change quickly. In case you're a strong, confident swimmer and this post prompts you to try the open waters, congrats! But don't blame me for anything, including lack of lifeguards, big waves, currents stronger than you, boat traffic, dense fog, sharp rocks, frigid water, and big white sharks chewing on your toes occasionally.

1 comment:

  1. Dude, you need to stop following me around on weekends. Cristin and I were up on Mt. Hamilton checking out the observatory on the 4th.