Last month, before the Cape May swim, I was in Alaska. I mentioned before I meant to be in the Bering Strait but instead I was in Ketchikan, Anchorage and Homer. I was re-entering a dream from 2011 of plotting a course across cook inlet. I got together with people from AOOS and Cook Inlet keeper and spoke to local fishermen and rig tenders trying to understand the interplay of tide and current, wind and water in a place with some of the largest tidal swings in the world.
With guidance from these sources I chose a swim across Kachemak bay as a trial run of our models and ideas. Kachemak is bordered on one side by Homer AK, it opens into Cook Inlet and share the tides but it is the inlet writ small. This bay attracts fish Orcas (and tourists) although Beluga whales used to frequent it, today they stay away, perhaps their reduced population is not enough to brave the Orcas (who will prey upon them). Large ships sit behind the spit in Homer await a change in tide to help carry them up towards Anchorage. The town is a tourist spot and near the west most point on the continental USA highway system.
The swim was quite interesting and at the end very cold where there is glacial runoff. The runoff part was a bit of a surprise as its both very cold and freshwater floating on top of salt so the swimmer sinks. Other than this surprise the rest was great. The wind held off, we launched at the correct portion of tide and tidal current to be pulled a bit away from the land at the start and pushed towards at the end, until I encountered the glacial runoff which ran perpendicular to the ocean current pushing me along the land.
What came next was press. I hadn’t’ dealt with the press in a while and hadn’t’ prepared a press release. I thought it wouldn’t’ matter but in the end each tale was confused. What is so: it was my birthday but not my 40th, I swam the bay solo, in the past a group of 4 and another group of 2 crossed on the same day in wetsuits, they were not with me at the time. Liz organized that previous swim. I also swam across Sitka sound solo, later we organized a race (Sitka sound adventure swim that became the change your latitude swim in later years). http://www.anchoragepress.com/news/going-naked/article_f92f550e-1b50-11e3-8335-0019bb2963f4.html?mode=jqm
I love the graphics form this and the round-up of Alaska open water swimmers, in the past such a thing was unheard of!