Friday, January 31, 2014
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
I love the ocean. I love to study the water, the time it takes your body to get used to the cold, the foam after a wave breaks, the saltiness—gosh, so much to love at the beach. I love the lightness of a bubbling wave spraying me as I face into the oncoming rush, like carbonation from a shaken bottle of club soda. I don’t care much for a beach with more than a couple of dozen people on it; I don’t want anything to do with crowded beach parking and families hustling their kids with all their equipment to the sand. A towel and a bottle of water seems like enough to me.
I mean to say that I’m glad that others love the beach and the water, but I just don’t want to be there with them. It’s a sad thing in a way. There’s loneliness in my solo swims. I can’t share the beauty and excitement of hundreds of pier and beach swims with my family because they’re not beach people. I’m reminded of being on deck of a carrier when I was young—there were times, beautiful scenic times underway, when flight ops were shut down, and walking the deck in absolute amazement at the endless, flat surface of the Indian Ocean, that I wished my old best friend from childhood was there alongside me to share the awesome experience.
I love the myriad colors of the ocean—the greens, blues, and grays, and the blends of color in between. I love the breaking wave, to observe it from the side as it builds its volume of water, organizes itself, and starts to approach its turn to crest. Watching the inside of a wave as it curls is a thing of beauty, and with surfers doing their graceful magic dances my pleasure is enhanced.
I love being beyond the breakers, watching them from behind as they form their swell, peak, crash, and generate their foam—sometimes angry, sometimes gentle. Gosh I love being behind a large wave, say a twelve-footer, as I easily move up and down with the large, friendly swells before the wave forms up, takes its turn, and does what it must do.
Rarely, the waves are difficult to navigate through—perhaps the size is just too scary or the interval between them is short and the pounding of repeated waves is too much on the body and lungs. But guess what? I love this too. Selecting a spot of water that you think you can penetrate is exciting. Going into a raging, surging, overhead of white water and trying again and again to come out the far side is absolutely excellent. It’s fins for me but my manliness is not in jeopardy because of that. That’s just safety. And many a day I’ve worn a swimmer’s safety vest also. I love my gear too. I love carrying my fins on one hand, my hand through the loops of both fins leaving my hands free for safety. It takes me back again to my Navy time and training. I love how it feels to kick my legs in the water back and forth with my fins on--the muscles of the legs working with the fins, rotating from my hips, and counting off kicks alternating a slower and quicker pace.
I love getting cold in the water. There’s a crispness that heightens my senses and motivates me to do more. I enjoy the cold water on a beautiful day, but even more I love an angry ocean--the misty, fogged-over day with both the waves and the ocean’s surface unable to find their customary shapes. Instead, a windy, choppy, splashy, washing-machine mess is outstanding for my frame of mind. And throw in a current, why not? You can’t enjoy that with your family out there with you. But you can imagine your old best friend alongside kicking and stroking it out with you. Afterwards you’d do the towel dance getting changed, pull on heavy hooded sweatshirts, and find a hot cup of coffee. Damn. What could top that for a day at the beach?
Oh, and one last thing—in the water we all get the fear. I love the fear; it makes you feel alive. I’ve always felt that if I’m smooth and regular in my motions in the water the sea monsters will leave me alone. Smooth strokes and flowing kicks are my friend. The sea dwellers will take a look at me, see that I belong there, and glide on past. The splashing arms, sloppy, frenetic kicks of a swimmer with too much fear are indicators that you need more training. But not to worry; the ocean is a constant and when you are ready to train, you’re welcome. One thing is for sure: there is plenty of room out past the breakers.
"The first time you quit is the last time you try."
Posted by Brendan Drury at 8:48 PM
The water was at an extremely low tide when I got there and took these photos. Very low tide! I looked for shells and eased into the water with wet suit on. 59 degree water but I felt wimpy in it today. Nobody in on my side of the pier--right side of these pictures as you look at them. I relaxed and kicked back and forth with the fins. The waves were small--1-2 feet, and grew to 2-3 feet as I was in. Just a half-hour of water therapy. I did step on something slimy and slippery that moved when I stepped on it, so a tiny bit of excitement there. Then after I got out seven guys were doing gymnastics and capouera on the sand. They were happy! The end.
"The first time you quit is the last time you try."
Posted by Brendan Drury at 4:22 PM
Monday, January 27, 2014
Again it has been a while since I got wet. Yesterday and today I felt better so I got my lazy butt down to fabulous Oceanside, CA. There was one surfer north side and one surfer south side. Nothing good to ride; the waves were big but closing out horizontal to the sand mostly into a big, white, surging, foamy hunk of loveliness. The surging foam was pulling to the south moderately. I wore the wet suit and warm hood and just kicked it out around past the breakers. The water felt nice after ten minutes; just kicking on my back with fins relaxing and easing up and down with the rise and fall of the swell is sweet. I stayed in maybe twenty-five minutes and got out because I didn't want to overdo it on my back. A nice day for me. Then when I was cleaning my junk out of my car when I got home I stuck my finger on a safety pin while reaching into a car crevice to get my wedding ring. In my cursing and shaking my hand my ring disappeared. I looked around everywhere imaginable but I can't find it. I may have to invest another hundred dollars again for a replacement ring. If I do that will be my third hundred dollar wedding ring. And, oh yea, "The first time you quit is the last time you try."
Posted by Brendan Drury at 3:04 PM