Just 3,4 or 5 of these swims back-to-back (on a good day) would be enough to get across the Channel! Michelle and I managed to get from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Islais Creek Channel before Hunter's Point - around Cesar Chavez.
It felt good to get through 3 hours of <54degree water. The Channel should be much warmer :) I think we covered almost 9 miles.
Joel (the nicest man in the world) Lanz, and Mera (your worship) Granberg were the master pilot and feeder respectively. Mera got called up last minute when Joel took the pilot duties from Bobby. Many thanks to them both for making it possible and fun.
[this GPS plot of the swim from Joel's GPS - check back for photos]
We motored up to the Golden Gate Bridge which loomed out of the fog. Having seen a finned beast pass us on the way up, we were rather on edge, until we positively identified it as one of a school of dolphins. There aren't too many sights more beautiful than a school of dolphins swimming fast and porpoising their way through the waves. With the bridge fog horn ringing in our ears, we jumped in to some serious chop, and I for one kept looking back to make sure no container ships had decided to go through the wrong side of the bridge. A few speedboats sped out of the fog to be safely detered away from us by the calmly capable Joel and Mera.
Jumping out at the Golden Gate means that you don't have to interpret the tide tables that are based on currents at the Golden Gate for other locations in the bay. We jumped in at 7.20am shortly after the slack at 06:51, and then enjoyed the building flood, apparently to a 3.6knot max at 0946 (at the GG bridge), of course by then we were down near Hunter's Point, and it felt like it was ebbing slightly.
It took us an hour to the club, and we were feeding every half an hour. Michelle and I were looking nice and pink, which is a much better cold water color than blue, and felt strong. As usual she blasted off, and I strained to keep up, and then I warmed up and lengthened the stroke out a bit. I was experimenting with different breathing patterns to try and share the load on both sides of the body, and there was even the suspicion of a kick from my right leg when I was breathing to the left. A rare sighting indeed.
There was a bit of small boat traffic around the Pier 39 corner, and a few ferries backing around the ferry terminal, but we swept under the bridge without incident, and then seemed to lose the current as we crawled along by the Ball Park and down the shipyards.
Other than a moment when I couldn't find the boat, and it turned out Joel was still by the Bay Bridge seeking relief, the boat was nice and close, and Joel gave us a good line. I still can't work out how to get relief myself while swimming, without floating around for a bit, so I will clearly have to seek counsel from peeing gurus (Sharko?), or put up with feeling bloated on all my swims.
We were taking it fairly easy, and without the foot on the gas, my mind wandered, and I lost focus. We had said we would see what we wanted to do after 3 hours, and when we fed on the stroke of 3 hours down by Cesar Chavez, I suggested we get out having achieved the primary goal. Bet we could have kept going to Candlestick..
Miraculously, neither Michelle or I were shivering in the boat under the blankets, as we motored back to the club. Michelle was very happy after the Candlestick-to-club swim, where she got out a little blue.
Capurro's turned in their usual fine breakfast performance, and I capped off an enjoyable morning with a monster nap.
A great swim, and the high water mark in terms of duration for 2007. I feel a 4 hour swim in the next few weeks would be good.