Hooray, the plankton bloom has faded enough so that I can see! The visibility isn't great, but I can see the bottom while swimming in water 8-10 feet deep (my typical swim depth).
I found some nice bull kelp (left). This one was very disorganized hanging from it's float in the absolutely still water (zero wind, zero waves, no motion at all).
This stillness is incredible. The photo at right is looking across the channel from Fletcher Bay to Kitsap County on the other side, about 2/3 of a mile away.
I've had several days this still out of my 30 swim days so far, and it's incredible to swim a mile through this thick-seeming glassy water. It's even more amazing on a day of light high clouds; the air seems to merge with the water. Absolutely the only disturbance on the water's surface is my wake as I swim. Can this really be the ocean?
air temp: 60F
water temp: 47F
May 4, 2009, 1pm, mostly cloudy
high tide, rising
visibility 8-12 feet
today's distance: 1.01 mile
total so far: 34.36 miles
loon, kingfisher, and angry goose
I park at Fletchers Landing and walk to the mouth of Fletcher Bay. There's a grouchy Canada goose that wants to own the sandspit at the mouth of the bay, hissing at me as I approach the end of the spit.
I'm going to cross the channel on my hike, this is a fun hiking feeling, I have to go another half mile to my entry point, but there's an ocean channel in the way. No problem this time, I just dive in, swim across, and then resume my hike. That doesn't usually work in the northwest, it's too cold.
Walking north, there are quite a few cables running up from the beach to the top of the bluffs 50-100 feet up. The photo at right is a Bainbridge funicular (right), a cable car for going up and down the near-vertical slope to reach the private beach below from the house above. There are quite a few of these things, when you own waterfront property it's tempting to try to reach the water from your house, even if the beach is 100 feet below.
Click on the photo to enlarge it and see the details. The car is the dark spot at the top, you can see the cables going down through the bushes, and there's a concrete landing pad on the beach.
I get in the water, and slip under trying to disturb the surface as little as possible. It's amazing, the water is truly unmoving. Not a breath of wind, no puffs, no breeze, nothing. And the tide is almost high slack, so there's no current here.
The plankton bloom is reduced, here's my Mark-o-meter (left), a photo of me taken at arm's length, about 24 inches. I'm more visible than in the last couple of Mark-o-meter photos. The color of the water in this photo is accurate.
Hey, I can see the cracks on the shoulders of my wetsuit in this picture. I guess I need to hope for the water to get warm so I can finish even if my wetsuit keeps falling apart.
I head for the mouth of Fletcher Bay and the grumpy goose. There's a slight flood pushing me into the bay mouth, so I drift slowly in. The bay gets murky and it's small, with a narrow entrance. I'm not planning on swimming far, and as the bay murk closes in I head out after only a few minutes and a mere hundred meters or so.
Back out of the bay, after a brisk swim against the slight tidal current. It's only noticeable because of the narrow bay mouth making it run in to fill the bay.
I see one new creature, a strange green crab (bad photo at right). Might be a helmet crab, I didn't get a good look or photo before it scuttled away into the dim depths. Also a school of small fish that dart away before I can identify them. A bit more swimming, past some nice kelp that drifted in from deeper water (photo above).
Then I'm at the point before the most remote coast on Bainbridge, there's no road ahead. Not sure how I'll manage the access here, might have to come at low tide and walk the beach for a distance, walk the trail down from Gazzam Lake, or just make a hellacious long swim of 2 miles or something like that. It'll give me somthing to puzzle over as the winds hit tomorrow and the rain socks us for the next week (predicted).