Thursday, September 29, 2011

Why are we in this brown water?

OK. The 3 dozen or so surfers and this swimmer must have a screw loose because we are going into this brown ocean water that has powdery, fluffy, brown stuff dispersed throughout it that is algae-and it is getting too gross to believe.
I couldn't even see the end of my arms yesterday in the thickest parts-which is the first 100-150 yards from the beach. The water is about 62 degrees, small waves, and flat ocean.  Mild current moving south.
My swim was 37 minutes of weirdness.  The tide was as low as I've ever seen it. 
Please go away, red tide...

North County Times Article About The Beach

"The first time you quit is the last time you try."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday Pier Swim in Red Tide-Nasty, Brown Water-Oceanside, CA

So, they are saying that the brown ocean is from a bloom of algae called a red tide.  I tried to stay out of it for a few days but couldn't help myself yesterday.  I jumped in and swam a long route around the pier in 37 minutes.  Visibility was just to the end of my arms, and the thick, brown areas had tiny, solid, brown particles in big clouds of water out there.  Off the end of the pier it thinned out and some blue broke through.  There were still about 3 dozen surfers there surfing the well-shaped 1-3 foot waves.  Two feet was about the common size wave but the shape was good.
My eyes were stinging afterward and red, so I was using eye drops to rinse them out and soothe them for a couple of hours.  The water was cold but I was in trunks.  Probably low sixties.  I hope the algae die off soon.

"The first time you quit is the last time you try."

Monday, September 26, 2011

Link to North County Times Tiki Swim Photo

Pretty good crowd for the long swim out there

.North County Times Tiki Swim Photo Link

"The first time you quit is the last time you try."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Surfers Ear

Surfer's Ear is a condition that I'd like to write about today.  Since Oceanside is having Harbor Days this weekend, I am staying away from the beach and crowds.  I suppose that I'll swim tomorrow.

As the water begins to get colder for the winter season, I thought that the time was right for a brief mention of ear problems and prevention for cold-water swimmers and surfers.  There is a common medical condition referred to as "surfer's ear" that refers to a narrowing of the external ear canals and an increased occurrence of external ear infections.  To review, the external ear is that canal from the tympanum (eardrum) to the outside ear (auricle).

The external ear canals are lined, or formed, by bone.  When we are exposed regularly over a protracted period of time-such as year-round swimmers and surfers-to cold water, our ear canals don't like the cold exposure.  They will try to protect our hearing by growing bone to narrow the ear canals and protect the middle ear from the cold.

This protective mechanism is called hypertrophy of the bone tissue surrounding the ear canals and is intended by nature to be a good thing.  However, what commonly happens is that this canal narrowing leads to water being left in the ear canals to stagnate and cause infection.

External ear infections are quite common among swimmers and surfers.  To prevent the common otitis externa, or external ear infection, simply put some "Swim Ear" drops in both ears after swimming and surfing.  The Swim Ear product is isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and a little glycerin to give a tiny bit of density to the drops. The alcohol evaporates any leftover water and cleans the canals.

Now, to the main point of this post: the Surfers' Ear.  We should protect our ears from the cold to prevent boney overgrowth, or hypertrophy, of the ear canals.  When we see a surfer wearing a neoprene hood in December while surfing, we should be thinking "smart guy," instead of "what a wimp, can't handle a little cold water."  This person is preventing ear problems that may become permanent or require surgery to cut out excess bone over time. 

Wear your swim caps in cold water and pull them down to cover your ears when the water is cold.  I wear two swim caps when the water is cold.  I don't care how goofy I look; I'm protecting my ears.  If you're a surfer, wear the neoprene hood to keep yours ears protected from the cold water. 

For swimmers, buy a few thick caps and pull them way down over the ears.  Of course, you probably won't hear anything and will get run over by a jet ski-but your ear canals will be beautiful inside!

"The first time you quit is the last time you try."