Saturday, November 15, 2008

Like A Box Of Chocolates

Ocean swimming is like a box of chocolates.. you never know what you're gonna get...

I did the ocean swim with my friend Kathryn again this morning. We've got a different weather pattern right now that involves south winds, which transformed the south shore of Oahu from the more typical wind chop to perfect and glassy lake-like water.

Before getting in, Kathryn and I mused about what it might be like once we get out to the deep water where we do the majority of the swim. Looks calm. Not as clear today. Might we have a head-current?

It got me thinking about all the possibilities of the ocean conditions, and it occurred to me that we never really know what to expect. In 3+ years of (almost) weekly swims out there, we've experienced a lot... although luckily no sharks yet!*

~It could be perfect and glassy.
~We could have massive wind-chop.
~There might be a really strong current pushing us along. Or maybe that's a head-current that makes us feel like gerbils on an exercise wheel. And it's possible that the current will change on us half way through when the ocean floor drops and the water gets really deep.
~Sometimes it feels really warm. Other times my hands go numb because I get so cold.
~Sometimes we get to count how many turtles we see while swimming. Today was a 'One Turtle Swim'.
~Most of the time we do a good job finding the sand channel on our way in. But occasionally there's a current that sweeps us away from it and we end up 300 meters down from where we want to be in 18 inches of water and sharp reef. My swim partners can verify how much I love it when that happens.
~Sometimes its really just a nice mellow social swim. Other times it turns into a race. Depends on who shows up and what kind of mood everyone is in.
~Most of the time we finish the swim without being stung by anything. But sometimes we get caught in jellyfish, or man-o-war, or some sort of crazy 'sea lice' that sting like crazy all over. That sucks.
~Depending on the season, we may have some decent waves to negotiate on our way out or the way back in... duck diving through white water crashing waves can make the swim fun and adventurous!
~A couple times we've ended up swimming with a pod of dolphins out there. Chasing them actually.
~Once we swam up to a boat full of strangers who were drinking beer during their Sunday afternoon sail. We climbed onto the boat and drank a beer with them before swimming the mile back to shore. I'm gonna have to find my pictures of that!

So even though we didnt get dolphins or beer today, Kathryn and I felt lucky that it was such a perfect swim. We commented about how its days like this that make us love ocean swimming. Of course its not always like that, so we take the good with the bad. It made me think a lot about how raising Moana has been similar so far. You never know what you're going to get with your infant. And you can't really control it. Sometimes she's hungry. Sometimes she sleeps. Sometimes she's awake and sometimes she gets really fussy. But it's the same thing- there are times that are so awesome that you're totally willing to take the challenging conditions because the perfect conditions are so perfect.

*I've never seen it, but apparently this tiger shark was sighted in the same waters about a year ago**...

**And for the record, we all stayed out of the water for several weeks after this photo circulated...


Clare said...

ok, if i lived in hawaii i would find a way to be a better swimmer! except the stingy things might scare me off...but i think i'd risk it for the chance to see turtles! that swim sounds awesome, and to have a group to do it with even better! i am missing social workouts...

lilrunner N.D. said...

Wow what a beautiful picture of the beach and ocean. Do you walk there from where you live? I am so jealous!! You are brave with the possible sharks and man of wars and all that stuff, that would scare me!I would love swimming though. I'd say running right now is like a box of chocolates too, never know how much I'll be able to do!! : ) Glad the swim went well!

Angela and David Kidd said...

I am so jealous. In Lake Michigan when it's warm enough to swim you always know the conditions will be dirty and polluted.

Frayed Laces said...

Oh man I miss Hawaii so much right now. It is so cold my knees are aching...all I want is to go for a good swim in the ocean!

BreeWee said...

Oh no joke, the ocean is such a mystery!
I LOVE that family foto... you 3 look wonderful, you look radiant! You have that "I am a mom" glow!!

Glad you are getting back into some swimming and life!!