Friday, August 03, 2007

Thank You SF Tri

My pool.

A special shout out to our swim buddies from San Francisco Triathlon. Not only where they good and friendly company at this afternoon's swim but they distracted the seals long enough for me and and my swim buddy Ariane to have a seal free practice.

This summer I've been spending my Friday afternoons swimming at Aquatic Park, a great way to end the week and welcome the weekend. Ariane and I take turns posting the workout on the club calendar but we rarely have people come out. Even in this community of experienced open water swimmers, Aquatic Park is a tough draw. People complain about the cold, the fog, and whatever else. As usual it was just Ariane and I but today we joined up with 3 others from our companion club, SF Triathlon. We chatted with these guys and resolved to combine our two workouts. However they took a long time getting ready so Ariane and I headed out to the water first. There was a seal hanging out by our side of the beach. It'd pop it's head up, sniff the air, go back down. We thought there was only one but we would later learn there was three. Seals are not killers and are more curious and playful than anything else but it can be unnerving when one decides to play with you. Ariane was a bit iffy about the whole thing and frankly if it was just me I might have called it but I noticed that all the other swimmers were fine. No one was leaving the water in droves, so we proceeded forward. Fresh on our minds was the seal from last Christmas that harassed swimmers. It nibbled/bit over a dozen swimmers, drove out a whole lot more out of water. As we we made it to the waters edge a woman approached us. She was wearing a red swimsuit, yellow swim cap and fins. She's one of the "no wetsuit" swimmers that swim here regularly. Every time an amazed tourist asks me if I'm going in the water I say yes and point to one of these guys - "I won't be as cold as those guys". Anyway she points at the seal and goes "that little guy has been following me, I'm walking back to our clubhouse from here". She looked amused and almost ashamed for being scared. She told us the seal had followed her, nipped at her flippers, bumped her and swam below and alongside her. She had enough when she reached the other end of the buoy line. We chatted with her for awhile but we remained determined to get our workout done, I mean c'mon what would the hardcore folks say:) So drawing strength from the other swimmers, especially the other sans wetsuit folks, we ventured forth, I was fully expecting to be bumped at least a couple of times. Ariane promised not to scream if she got bumped by one; perfect, no need to alarm the folks on land, my screaming will be enough. So we did our usual loops but cut out the western most section where we knew the seals were frolicking about. On our second loop we noticed the SF Tri folks huddled together on the western most buoy, on our third and final loop we noticed they were all in the shore, joined by other swimmers looking at the water. I was like "uh-oh did they get driven out of the water?". We both laughed and headed for shore. Sure enuff, the seals had been playing with them while they were out, we got the full report on shore. Miguel said that one nipped at his feet, when he finally stopped the seal stopped too and hung out with him. Suzanne kept getting bumped in her legs, when she stopped and looked at the seal, the seal stopped and stared back. At the time we saw them huddled together at a buoy they were deciding whether to continue or go in, Suzanne was getting a little freaked out. She said that what finally did it for her was when she noticed,while they were talking, the seals, all three, were also huddled together not too far from them. Ahahahahaha, I don't know why that's so funny. I'm picturing two huddles and imagining the seal conversation going like this; "aite you cover the guy with the red stripes on his wetsuit, you cover the other guy with the blue stripes on his suit and I'll cover the girl. Clearly it wasn't funny to Suzanne, Miguel and Gary at the time but while they played with the locals, the rest of us had a wildlife free workout. I think it's our turn next time though. The only thing Ariane and I had to contend with was a couple of ducks floating non-chalantly in our path.

It made for a good laugh after the swim. Turns out these guys will also be at the Big Kahuna Triathlon at Santa Cruz in September, the swimmers. Not a bad afternoon, made friends and successfully avoided the wild far:)


  1. Funny...yeah, right. Boy, nobody ever ask me again why I don't do tri's!
    Dude, need to make plans for next weekend to see you! Where is Jas?

  2. seal free practice...

    Well isn't that special--lol u swimmers are nuts I will stay on land :-)

    Is pretty funny how those seals just want to play around with ya...kinda like a underwater puppy--haha

  3. That is pretty funny. I am imagining the seals drawing up plays like it was a sandlot football game! :)

    Great story, Rick!

  4. You sure are living dangerously, aren't you? ; ) Funny story! All in a day's tri training.... : )

  5. haha :) I used to wade in aquatic park after my long runs in SF when I was training for my 2nd marathon and remember when they closed it down after that seal 'attacked' all those people. Made me a little cautious when I went in the water, but I figured I was only in about 4 feet, so I'd probably be fine ;)

    Crazy how they like to play with the swimmers :)

  6. And once again I am reminded as to why I do not swim in the Bay! Ha!