Two of Michelle's friends - second timer Katrina and Loren - kindly agreed to kayak for us. We drove down to Santa Cruz, rented some kayaks, and swam from the pier to Capitola and back.
It was a slightly weird experience, because after swims around the Bay, where you have a lot of familiar landmarks to guide you, the unchanging backdrop of sandy coast and beach homes gave no indication of any progress in the swim. The only time I knew I was getting anywhere was when I brushed past yet another piece of kelp, although when my mind started playing tricks on me, I fancied I had seen particular pieces of kelp before, and that I was being swept around in circles by the current, only to revisit the same kelp bed....
It was really cold. It must have been low 50s. Occasional outriggers and a sailing race provided some drama, and Katrina and Loren did a fine job of regular half hour feedings, and protecting us from over-inquisitive harbor seals and recreational boats.
It took us 1:55 to get from the Santa Cruz pier to the Capitola beach, probably half a mile from the pier. I fantasized of getting out and going to Zelda's for breakfast, but apparently it's not the season for speedo-clad diners. We turned around and got back to Santa Cruz in 3.5 hours total. Instead of climbing up the ladder to the pier, we swam to the beach and had a Baywatch moment running back to the pier to keep warm; a Baywatch moment, if the actors on Baywatch were hypothermic and unable to speak due to their chattering teeth.. We also had trouble picking up a dropped ear-plug. The combination of dizziness and stiff lower backs made us look like we were doing an unkind imitation of drunk geriatrics.
A fine swim, and I dare say that the 3+ hour swims are getting easier as they become more commonplace.
Thanks to Michelle for organizing.