Great Salt Lake in September

I had been planning to swim from Antelope Island to Black Rock this morning. After a conversation with the Harbormaster about the anticipated high winds, I decided to listen to his advice and cancel it. The wind was forecasted to blow fairly hard from south to north, which is exactly opposite of what I needed. There were all kinds of high wind warnings on the marina website. I don't know what a "negative storm swell" is, but it sounds bad.

Sue had volunteered to paddle for me for on the long swim. Since cancelling, we decided to go out to the marina anyway for a quick swim.

The water was nice. September is a really nice time to be out in the lake. The bugs are gone and the water temperature is still warm.

We swam out along the buoy line to the last red buoy. The wind was pushing us a little on the way out and we fought it a but on the way back. As we were getting back to the marina, the wind picked up and started making the water spray. I stopped just short of the boat ramp and Sue bumped into me ("head butted my butt" as she put it). I thought it was pretty funny. There were a few tour busses pulling up as we got out. All said, I think we did about 1.5 miles.

The water was so nice, Sue and I were talking about the possibility of organizing another GSL race in September, or at least a SLOW club swim. Sue suggested Saltair to Black Rock, which sounds like a lot of fun.


Going Back to the Great Salt Lake

A beautiful sight.  Looking east from the Great Salt Lake Marina.

Looking at my calendar last night, I realized that this coming Saturday is my last shot this year for completing the Utah Triple Crown.  I did Bear Lake in July and Deer Creek in August, but I still need to do Antelope Island to Black Rock at the Great Salt Lake.

I've been avoiding the GSL during the hot summer months because the water it too warm and there are too many bugs.  This morning I went out to the marina to see what the water was like.  Walking down to the boat ramp I saw a cloud of bugs and thought "oh great".  The water level was pretty low and there was some scummy stuff near the shore.  I figured it would be better out in the open lake, so I dropped my thermometer in and headed out.

There were some bugs on the surface of the water in the marina, but nothing too bad.  There were also some pretty cold spots inside the marina.  Once I got out into the open lake, things got 100 times better.  The water was perfectly flat and glassy and the reflection of the rising sun made the water look pink.  There were no bugs and the water temperature was significantly warmer, I'm guessing at least 74 degrees.  I was really encouraged and excited and started out for the first buoy.

I ended up following the red buoys, counting my strokes, for half a mile.  I stopped part way through just to enjoy being in the water and watch the sun coming up.  After half a mile, I turned around and headed back.

This photo doesn't really capture how many tourists were there this morning.  Eight tour buses!

The water temp dropped again when I got back into the marina.  When I lifted my head to sight, I saw a MASSIVE crowd of people milling around the boat ramp.  As I got closer, I could see several tour buses.  I collected my thermometer (which showed 70 degrees) and headed to the hose to rinse off.  The hose was being used by a couple tour bus drivers to wash their buses so I had to hang around in my speedo in a crowd of tourists until it was free.  A few people came up and asked about swimming in the lake.  After rinsing off I hopped in my car to leave.  I counted eight tour buses on the way out!  I've never seen that many buses or tourists there before.  The visitors center and gift shop are now open and I wanted to go in and check it out, but I'll wait until I have more time.

This morning I am going to try to get a hold of Dave Shearer, Harbormaster at the GSL Marina, to see if he can take me and a paddler to Antelope Island on Saturday morning so that I can finish the Utah Triple Crown.  I'm also looking for a paddler if anyone is interested.  It should take me about four hours to finish and I'll buy you lunch afterwards.