1. S.S. Eating Disorder
In the swim zone with thoughts drifting in and out like a slow moving current, I pass a sail boat anchored in the bay at Manitou in Naramata. I casually note the vessel’s name and swim on. “Mmmm, odd name for a boat…The Bulimia.” After a day of reflection I make it my mission to swim closer to The Bulimia for a confirmation check of the unusual name. “The Bohemia”…makes more sense.
2. Cats and Rats and Elephants
A swim alongside ducks is pretty common here. We note each other’s presence and do our thing. An eagle flying over and making off with a duckling a foot away is not as common. Despite the mother’s efforts to shield her remaining fuzzy kids, the eagle made a second pass and then there were five. Circle of life right?
Swimming on a hot day at Manitou can bring other hot creatures to the beach for a dip. It’s not uncommon to see horses wading out from the dog beach for a paddle around. No eagle worries there.
Weirdest of all. A woman arrives at the Penticton beach with cat in her arms. Both head out into the water for a short dip and the cat seems pretty OK about it. I stuck around to watch it being towelled off before they packed up and headed for home. The cat looked cooler and still pretty OK with it.
The summer of 2015 I could have opened a used sunglasses shop. I found six pairs of sunglasses on various long swims in the lake. Many were found beneath the buoy most used to anchor floaties filled with wobbly-pop drinking sun-tanners. My new Maui Jim’s retail for $269.00 US. The rhinestone beauties went to my sister-in-law. Another pair ended up back in the lake. Circle of life right?
4. An argument for skin
Conventional wisdom is to hydrate well before the long day on an Ironman course and pee while swimming to save time before hopping on your bike. Never having practiced this, a tri friend gave it a go during the race. “No problem, made it happen. Then I started envisioning my body covered in pee and literally freaked out. I grabbed my zipper and peeled my wetsuit half off to rinse myself. It’s impossible to put back on in the water. Long, awkward swim.”
Another bud, Crazy Canuck team member Jaime put her wetsuit on for the first time on a 30-plus degree day. As my daughter aptly described wet suiting up as, “like putting on a dolphin,” a red-faced, sweating Jaime did the Ta Da dance after the epic struggle. “Hey Jaime, You know the zipper is supposed to be in the back right?”
Swimming blithely along, a search and rescue boat pulls alongside and attracts my attention. “We’re searching for the victim of a fatal boating accident. Please be aware of the search boats in the swim area.” As I answer, “OK, sure,” my thoughts go to the deep, weedy area I’m just entering. I’m not really worried about the boats.
6. Great balls of fish
Swimming in the ocean in the Kailua harbor in Kona, Hawaii is cool but for us Canadian shark-worriers…it’s a bit daunting. Imagine our surprise at coming upon a fish ball, or bait ball. It’s a large, teeming mass of fish that swim in a tightly-packed formation for less than 10 minutes in a kind of last-ditch measure to protect themselves from predators. Well at least the fish near the centre of the ball. “Mmmm fish ball… predators…sharks.” The experience notched up a level when a snorkeler emerged from the very centre of the ball beside Crazy Canucker, Al.
7. It who shall not be named
“I guess you know why I asked you to give me a call,” I said.
“I’m in,” says Chris.
“That was easy,” I say.
“What do you need me to to do?” Chris says.
The fifth member of the Crazy Canucks relay team making a bid to cross the English Channel this summer telepathically knew what the call was about and signed up without a qualm.
Well maybe a few qualms…”The swimming itself is perhaps not the challenge. It will be the weather conditions, the dark, seasickness and nerves. But it will be a blast!”
Chris spent summers at a cottage in the Gatineau hills of Quebec and swam down the lake with canoe escorts. He and his family still spend time at the lake and swims now circumvent the entire lake. A triathlete, he has raced in many events including numerous Iron distance races. He says, “In the past couple of years the ‘swim only’ bug has bitten and he has completed some four and five-kilometre open water races.
Making his home in Canmore, Chris will have no problem getting in some cold water training … once the ice on the mountain lakes melts in June.