Art education, inspiration and encouragement for children and parents in Arlington, VA
John de Wit coached a new swimmer today “you want to get out of the wetsuit as soon as you can” he said. “It should be the very first thing you do, some people make the mistake of thinking the wetsuit is better on because it feels warmer when you first get out of the water”. He continued to explain “after drop”.
When I was home and warm and my brain could focus on something other than getting warm I looked up "after drop". When the body is swimming in the cold, the blood goes out of the limbs into the core to protect vital organs. Once out of the water, the blood starts flowing into the limbs again. The cool blood already in the limbs flows to the core creating a temperature drop called the after drop. Getting out of wet clothes and into warm dry clothes is key to helping the body with after drop.
The technique for getting out of a wet suit while in the water, which I learned at Goss Lake during summer clinics is to go under the water, let the feet come up, like a baby grabbing its toes. I always turn upside down when in the water like that. While I prefer to getting my wetsuit off in the water, I bought my beach blanket today to sit on and get out of the rubber.
I enjoyed not thrashing in the water without balance, but, there was sand to wash off which meant going back into the water. My fingers and thumb struggle to grab and hold the fabric. It’s even difficult to get my fingers to push down between the rubber and my skin to help the wetsuit over my heel.
John and Joe are still swimming in briefs, no need to worry about the wet-suit. Teresa donned the rubber skin today and boy was I glad to not have to look at her and try to stay warm myself. So what’s the scoop on what humans bodies can endure in cold waters?
The author of the same article sited above explaining after drop, has experience, being part of a research project on swimming in cold water. The Salish Sea seems to be the perfect temperature (so far this year) for swimming in cold water for long periods if one has experience. After water temps drop below 50 however, it advises conserving energy by staying in shorter times.
More helpful ideas for when the temperatures drop: Bonnie wore her SurFir coat “It’s what surfers wear. It’s the best” she encouraged. Peter, in a summer clinic mentioned wool as one material that is good for keeping a body warm whether the fabric is wet or dry. No matter what one wears after the swim, John’s advice is to get out of the suit quickly before after drop sets in.
How long before Joe and John wear a wetsuit? We shall see what the future holds. The water temperature this Saturday was 52 ° according to John Lovie.
Address to the article:
Saturday morning swims at Robinson Beach on Whidbey Island take place year round at 8:30 a.m. The host, Teresa, brings hot chai, other swimmers bring home baked goods. When I moved here in July I had already decided to swim whenever I could. It was what we did when I was younger. I've never lived by the sea. It turns out, it's easy and fun to swim in 45°-55° water with an enthusiastic sea-loving crowd.
Whidbey Parks and Recreation hold clinics during the summer for new open water swimmers. It was there I learned about currents, tides, the particular beaches and lakes on Whidbey. I also learned about wet-suits, goggles, hypothermia, and being a safe swimmer. We went on swims where we each had a mentor to swim alongside us. It was a great introduction to swimming in a new, adventurous and supportive way.
Fifteen swimmers are on the beach on this foggy morning donning wetsuits. Teresea and John are in swimsuits only. Four people walk toward the water initiating the start. "Burrr" repeats one swimmer. One by one, we submerge into the water, buddy-bags following behind; orange luminescent ovals gliding on the cool gray water.
Several strong, long-time swimmers will do a two-mile swim. Everyone has their own goals and there’s no competition. My goal: show up and get in the water. I'm taking it in: a sea gull glides close overhead, a dark kelp bulb wanders by, crabs skittle across the sandy bottom.
I can see by the sea lettuce rolling on the floor the current is moving north toward Bush Point Park, one of the many ways I've learned to tell the direction of the current. At the end of my swim I am rewarded today by seeing my first starfish on the sea floor. "There's a big orange one up where I was" a man shares.
Ashore, the group gets into warm, dry clothes, among the sandy driftwood, holding a hot chai in shaking hands; tasting home-made goodies. “How was the swim?” We all share one thing in common: love of swimming and the enriching, invigorating feel of the sea.
As I sit in the heated car seat looking forward to a warm shower at home, I'm grateful for this experience and looking forward to the next swim in the sea with my new island neighbors.
Here's an article about open water swimming on Whidbey including the clinics and some of the people mentioned in this article. Clinics are over until next year, but it's never too late to get excited and interested, curious and prepared for open water swimming:
I've been reading John Muir, Nature's Temple. I did not know that much about him, only that he was an icon of literature and he was a naturalist, woodsy person. Now that I am immersed in the woods, I'm ready to listen because I am hearing my own heart through his words. In this book are paired Muir quotes along with Religions from around the world.
I'm also listening to an audio book, the Religions of the World by Huston Smith. In this audio book I am learning about the Hindu religion and it's four stages of life. Right now I am in Vanaprastha, which starts when a person hands over household responsibilities to the next generation.
Literally I am ready to sell my house. The responsibility of cleaning, collecting and upkeep of that physical space I tended to for years is no longer serving me. In reading that this is an actual developmental stage in life, helps me to feel peace with my changing inner landscape.
I want to move to Seattle because it is here I have found the forest where trees and plants grow large and lush and it nurtures my heart and soul. Vanaprastha means "retiring to the forest".
The only way to get to the forest is to leave what I "have" behind. To step into the boat and let it (the flight of the bird) direct my course is a leap of faith. With a bit of trust, it will take me where I need to be when I need to be there.
Once I entered the forest I found Muir, and in expanding my own upbringing of religion, I am seeing all religions hold a piece of light I need in order to understand my journey now. That others come before me and greet me at this time in my life, showing me the way: Muir, the Hindus, is comforting.
I don't want to be right anymore. I don't want to know everything like I used to think I had to. A coffin, a boat and a bird...what could they mean? One day disappointment and frustration, another enlightenment and joy.
I love being stuck at home and feeling the calm, grounded energy of my neighbors having to stay home too. It feels stabile, even though there is a virus on the loose. This is a time of quiet reflection and contemplation for everyone. A time to be caring, to come together.
I am in bed and instead of being productive and making art videos for you and your children to watch, I am resting. I woke up in the morning with a cough a few chills and at slight temperature. I am learning that I can have fears without being fearful. I wasn't sure if I was just feeling ill or coming down with "the virus".
Before I confined myself to the bedroom, Andrea and I were in the process of making a vision board. We looked through an accumulation of clothing and travel catalogues, tearing out pages and cutting out images. Italy, a river cruise, clothes from SunDance, a renewed romance with my husband. Andrea was creating a new bright wardrobe for herself "this is so much fun, I haven't taken time to do something like this in a long time" she said (Andrea works very hard).
This is a wonderful time to wonder, ponder and wish for what you want, not just what you need. Sure this is a very serious time. We are all stepping up, more and more every day. This is hard and tiring stuff and we need rest and recovery.
If you need something to do and still feel restful, get a catalogue and imagine yourself with all the things that make your mouth water and give you that "ooouuuu-ahhhhh" feeling. Even if you can't afford the clothes, trips, rugs, house or whatever it is, just play with the possibility of it all being yours somehow, someway, sometime.
Cut and paste your dreams on a piece of cardboard. Hang it by your bed so when you wake up your dreams are right there reminding you "I have dreams in life!". Playing, being imaginative and having fun are the best immune builders. Envisioning is a great way to take a journey without leaving home. Someday you might find yourself on that boat wearing that shirt and flirting with that someone special in a new way, all while soaking up the sunshine and smiling at the world.
For now, be safe, stay your distance and keep playing with ideas that make your life, the world and everyone beautiful. In this incredible journey we are so brave and courageous to embark on together we need time to play and recover, to imagine and have fun.
Update: I took my temperature in the evening and it was below normal. I have been taking lots of herbs and oils made up by Andrea, who is an herbalist and earth moma extrordinaire, so I feel very lucky.
Gibran wrote "Let there be spaces in your togetherness. And let the winds of the heavens dance between you".
I'm going to copy those words of Gibran and post them near my bed. With Ray taking a temporary job in the Northwest, we are both enjoying the space in our togetherness, and togetherness in our space.
During this trip we headed from Seattle to Kalaloch Beach in rainy February. We took the Seattle Ferry to Bremerton, about a half hour ride, where we would wake up the next morning to begin our journey. We stayed at the Hampton Inn next to the ferry and enjoyed a scenic view of the marina from our room.
For a hotel, I was impressed to find green pressed drinks, and gluten free alternatives at the continental breakfast buffet. I don't know why I am surprised by Seattle's progressiveness.
With breakfast in our bellies, we traveled south around the eastern part of the Olympic Peninsula then up the western side to Kalaloch Lodge. We made a note-worthy stop at the 1835 built, comfortable and inviting Tokeland Hotel and Restaurant and will someday enjoy a return trip there.
After lunch at Tokeland Restaurant and watching the guinea hens outside we headed north. Am I the only one learning to check every step of the way? We ended up in what we thought was our destination but was-in fact...not.
Maybe it was the fried oysters fogging up our brains. We ended up in Taholah, the end of the coastal road north from the Tokeland Restaurant. To get to Kahaloch we had to back-track and go around the protected coastal wilderness to get to our destination. Ugh, we'd been on the road in rain since morning and it was approaching the evening. It looked on the map like another hours drive.
The shore and forested land is protected from vehicles for the sake of the wilderness and life therein. It's not possible to drive straight up the coast in Washington State. While it was really frustrating to have not read the map correctly, it was a good lesson in knowing Washington better and to not take for granted that the coastline would be available to us furless two-leggeds.
Luckily even though not on the map, there were several roads heading east and one read "To 101 N. I turned and fairly soon we reached our destination.
Kahaloch Lodge is a National Park Lodge and Restaurant. There is little in groceries or anything else close by. Our room overlooked the mouth of a creek which fed into the ocean. The roar of the ocean was a loud, continuous roar. I couldn't get over how very loud it was. There was also a lot of wind that evening and rain blowing horizontal.
We woke to a cloudy sky with the promise of sun by 11:00 along with a high tide at 11:35. All the workers at the lodge were happy for a sunny day and proclaimed that it has been "some time" since a day like this was remembered. Everyone had on a bright smile to go with the bright day.
After breakfast, we headed north, a quarter mile walk on 101 North from the lodge to a footbridge lead into the forest.
The high tide brought with it the sea foam. So much of it, we were amused and entertained. Why was there so much foam? According to the National Ocean Service agitation of wind and waves can cause seafoam.
The jello-like textured substance made us both laugh as it undulated in the wind and little balls of it lifted and blew over the surface like tumbleweeds.