Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Day 5: Restoration Point

Big swim today, I want to get all the way around Restoration Point, to get past the Country Club and the signs warning me away. At least they don't own the water and a person can swim by, but it'll take at least a mile to get past the private land.

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blue markers show entry and exit points, click for notes

There's some wild water here, as my wife calls it. Around the point there is what passes for swells in Puget Sound, and a more exposed feeling. Also a buoy where sea lions haul out and rest. Not exactly open ocean, but then I probably wouldn't be swimming 53 miles in the open ocean.

Nice Seattle view, the picture at right is looking east past the Country Club dock to Seattle, with a telephoto to bring Seattle closer.

I have some time today, a chance to swim as far as I want. We'll see how far that is.
The picture at left is a view looking north towards the entrance to Puget Sound.

Air temp: 55F
Water temp: 52F
Nov. 9, 11am, cloudy
wind from the SE at 5mph
medium tide, rising
visibility 5-25 feet
Today's distance: 1.44 mile
Total so far: 4.33 miles

Today's creatures of note:
dungeness crabs (big)
giant barnacle (fields of these big guys)
And I found some of my favorite creatures today, OYSTERS! I brought home my first souveniers, two oyster shells. Well, 3 really but two are fused together. An introduced species from Japan, and very good to eat raw!!

I drive out Country Club Road, turn off Upper Farms, and park where it turns into Bean's Bight Road. Narrow, fairly private, not many places to park. I find a spot near a big garage, and quickly sneak through an open spot onto the golf course and skulk down towards the water.

To make these quick entries I put on my drysuit at home, slip on my booties as I get out of the car and just grab my mask, fins, snorkel, hood and gloves and trot down to the water. Then, I get partway in before stopping to put on the rest of my gear. I figure I'll just plunge in if anyone challenges me, and see if they bother coming in after me to give me a hard time. I've already pictured sitting there in the water getting yelled at, then waving and swimming away. Is this picture my imagination, or will I actually make entries like that?

Will it be easier or harder if people start paying attention to me? I might get some encouragement. But another possibility is that I might get people watching out for me and trying to send me away because they don't like what I'm doing.

I was worried about the golf course entry, but it doesn't matter, I'm in cleanly and swimming out towards Restoration Point.

The bottom is fairly typical of what I've seen so far, sandy patches mixed with bedrock and gravel. The bedrock tends to stick up here, instead of being flat shelves. Instead, it rises up in the form of rocky ribs between patches of gravel or sand. A bit of eelgrass and geoduck flats, and then the bottom gets rockier as I approach the point.

Restoration Point was named by Captain George Vancouver of the Royal Navy when he anchored here in 1792, after the English Restoration which restored the monarchy in the late 1600s. So my swim relates to King Charles II of England. Huh.

Right off the point, in open Puget Sound, two sea lions are sitting on the red buoy. On the bottom at the point, there are big patches of shell debris, broken shells from barnacles, clams and oysters. It's worth exploring a bit, even though I don't want to get too close to the sea lions. I've been yelled at and harassed by a sea lion years ago, and I don't want to repeat that experience.

On the north side of the point, the bottom drops off a bit more steeply in some places and there's more vertical relief. I'll be swimming in 4 feet of water and see the bottom drop away to 15 feet. This is different, off Fort Ward and South Beach the bottom was fairly flat.

I swim under the Country Club dock, which is about a mile from today's entry, I think. A little further on, I get a few lucky sparkles of sunshine and some beautiful underwater coves that are little sandy patches surrounded by rock walls. One of these is fabulous, with calm, clear water maybe 20 feet deep, bright white sand, and great visibility. I can see the bottom clearly. Enjoying the view, I swim slowly along and feel like I really don't want to get out. I'm a little tired and my hands and feet are a bit cold so I decide to pull out on a convenient rock.

From here, I'll enter Blakely Harbor with my next swim. The harbor is to the left in the picture which is northwest. The kitchen sink in the photo is sitting on today's exit rock.

After a little scramble up the shore I find myself right at the intersection of Country Club Rd and Upper Farms, probably only a half mile from my car. A mile and a half swim could turn into a long walk, so I'm happy to have this nice cross peninsula road that isn't even private.

When I get back to my car, a dog comes out and I worry that I'm found out. A minute later, a man on a bike comes out of the same sneak I used to get down to the water through the golf course. He says hi and is perfectly nice. This is my first encounter at a sneaky entry point, and he doesn't care. It's a nice end to a great swim.

1 comment:

Mary said...

For some reason in my mind I keep seeing that iconic big foot picture, you know the one where he is sort of loping along, with arms swinging...I wonder about someone seeing you in the dry suit, heading into the water and dissapearing, leaving them wondering "What the heck WAS that?"