Another Spin Around the Sun…In Slocan Lake

I had a birthday this weekend. You just can’t stop them from happening every year. I’m fortunate in that mid-September is often still warm enough for lake swimming in BC, and this weekend was no exception.

I have always enjoyed canoeing and camping on Slocan Lake. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world, with gorgeous beaches, clean water, and plenty of variety in terms of campsites, canoe routes, whitewater rafting, and places to explore. I’d never swam across it before though, and the occasion of turning 44 seemed to be the perfect opportunity with the water holding a balmy and refreshing 15 degrees C and the rain holding off (because of my special birthday rights). The lake is approximately 2.7 km across from Silverton to Sandpoint Beach.

I was also very keen to try night swimming. And it did not disappoint.

I set off from the boat launch in Silverton around 7 pm, wearing my thickest, warmest wetsuit – a Blue Seventy Sprint – 2 swim caps, and positive thoughts of warm fleece, hot tub time machines, steaming mugs of Earl Grey tea, and Swedish saunas.  Scarlet had both dogs and all of our camping gear in my big old blue canoe, as well as a bright light to guide her crossing. She’s an experienced, skilled, and capable paddler, and I had no concerns with her ability to guide me safely.  The sun set quickly while I was in the water, and soon I was making my way across in darkness next to the canoe. One word sums up this experience – exhilarating! The combination of the cold, the eerie play of the light on the surface of the water, and the feeling of swimming weightlessly into navy blue nothingness was just awesome. I definitely want to do it again. And again! Read More

Back in the Lake

IMG_7565I’m back in the lake!

Last Sunday was my first lake swim of the year. It’s much later than usual, due to the heavy snow pack in the mountains creating colder than usual temperatures. Or at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I swam out at Nancy Greene Lake, which is a smallish lake about 30 mins drive from my house. I like training here because I’ve mapped the distance quite accurately. Swimming the “triangle” gives me approx 1000 metres, so it’s easy to track my progress and accomplish a practice goal.  Swimming in a triangle is also nice, because triangles are one of those shapes that just do not get enough love.

The lake is cold and deep, and the weeds grow long and thick as the summer goes on. I don’t mind the weeds at all and actually find the surreal underwater green-ness to be quite thrilling and interesting. There’s always a chance that a big ugly fish face will emerge from the depths to say hello. I also like to take my dogs along on swims at Nancy Greene, because they can run alongside me on the shore. I can keep an eye on them and vice versa. Sometimes they swim with me, and we become a battle fleet. I’m sure they feel this way too.

I wore my oldest, thickest wetsuit for my inaugural lake training swim. It’s a 4 mm Blue Seventy Sprint, so I figured it would be the warmest option. I wore it for my first 2 years of events before I decided to upgrade to the Blue Seventy Fusion, which didn’t work for me at all. Read More