Thursday, June 25, 2009

Day 37: Lytle Beach

I can smell the finish now, and I'm ready for the finishing party June 27th at Fort Ward State Park at noon. Come join if you can.

How fitting to approach the finish line on a grey northwest day, this time in June. Much like day 1 back in October 2008. I've seen a lot of grey this winter, both above and under the surface. You might say I've become a connoisseur of grey. The water and the air are also about the same temperature as on the day of my first swim.

Today I got in at Lytle Beach and swam almost to the Fort Ward Park boat ramp where I began just over 8 months ago, on Oct. 13, 2008. Remaining, just a small cermonial swim of about 100 feet. On June 27th, we'll do that in a group, and then have a celebratory half mile swim to the picnic area for the hardy. Then a party!!

Lytle Beach was beautiful on a low tide, thick eelgrass and some kelp beds, with a nice assortment of fish and invertebrates. Here's a cabezon (right) that was (apparently) guarding eggs in the shallow water.

Another interesting sight was this "fried egg" jellyfish (left), I don't know what it is so to me it's the over easy jellyfish.

air temp: 58F
water temp: 52F
June 19, 2009, 10 am, cloudy
wind calm
extremely low tide, rising
visibility 5-15 feet
today's distance: 0.74 mile
total so far: 40.81 miles

sea cucumber

I park at the Fort Ward Park boat ramp, just like day 1. Only this time I walk north for 3/4 of a mile to Lytle Beach to get in for my swim back to Fort Ward. It's exciting to be trekking this stretch of beach, knowing that this is my last big swim, and also my last solo swim. The ceremonial finish will be a social event, much different than most of this circuit.

Lytle Beach is deserted when I arrive, and I pile into the water on an extremely low tide. Immediately, I'm back into the kelp and eelgrass forests, parting the fronds to swim through and seeing animals everywhere. These low tide swims are great for seeing ocean life when the visibility is low, I'm immersed in murk and find the animals usually at arm's length, eyeball to eyeball (for those with visible eyes).

The bottom is a bit rocky, transitioning to sand as I move south. Mostly eelgrass over the sand, although a few lonely kelp plants try to hang on to whatever they can, often just small rocks. Loads of jellyfish, in the eelgrass and more open water. Also a few interesting red/orange sea cucumbers(?) (left).

I come upon some pilings, crowded with starfish and crabs (right).

Finally, I'm approaching the boat ramp and my starting point. I get out about 50 feet before my starting point from last October, leaving a short stretch for the finishing swim and party June 27th. Wow, I can't quite believe it's coming down to one last swim.


Hans said...

Great photos I love your blog.

Chris said...

Hey Buddy, I just saw this blog post while surfing the swim blogs. I'm in Oceanside, CA, and swim the ocean here. I went to the Univ of Washington. Curious? What are you wearing for wet suit? Tickness? Brand? Are you scuba diving for the pictures? Tell me a bit please. My water temp is 57 now and I wear a 1 millimeter wet suit that is flexible but cold. I wear fins and webbed gloves and 2 swim caps. Curious what you wear for equipment. Check this guy's blog He is a guy who swims with no wet suit. Tough dude.

Chris said...

I'm at blog