A Dangerous Lake in the Winter

Dave was out at the lakefront yesterday and took this photo over by Diversey Harbor:

Diversey Harbor_28Feb2016_1

He sent me the pic along with these comments:

The break wall straight ahead is the Diversely Harbor wall where the 18 year old boy was washed off by the huge waves into the lake last Thursday. The police and fire department dive team gave up looking for him on Sunday morning.

The crowd you see still out there are the family members of this young man. Can you imagine the agony they must be going through right now?

The stark reality is that Lake Michigan is dangerous and merciless, particularly during the winter months. If you or a loved one falls into the sub-35F lake, you’ve got about a minute or so before your system completely seizes up and you sink to the bottom.

Whenever we come out for a lake swim during the winter, we are very deliberate about it, and we prepare extensively for the conditions we expect to face. And even with all these precautions, we will sometimes nix the swim entirely because the lake conditions are just too perilous.

Bottom line, unless you are fully prepared for a sudden immersion into these extreme temperatures, stay away from the lakefront this time of year.

And what’s more, don’t let any friends or family members get anywhere near the lakefront – especially if there are waves or swells!

Remember, Mother Nature has unlimited energy she can throw at you. You won’t win.

Charles Cushman Photography

Charles Cushman was born in the small southern Indiana town of Poseyville in 1896. Like many other young and enterprising Midwesterners, he felt the draw of Chicago and made it his home for a large part of his adult life. But he also had a very interesting hobby.

He took pictures. Lots of pictures. Over 14,500 to be more precise – and quite a few of our fair city and lake!

When he died in 1972, he bequeathed his entire photo collection to his alma mater, Indiana University. You can check out the entire collection – taken between 1938 to 1969 – at this link.

But here are just a few swimming and lake-related ones that he took in Chicago circa 1941 – mostly around Promontory Point. As you can see, Mr. Cushman had an appreciation for feminine pulchritude!

And my favorite, circus clown Paul Wenzel training his goose between shows!

Peoria Carp Hunters

Please support our embattled brethren downstate…

Heat wave!

We’ve had a string of warmer days now that have broken up the ice, so the lakefront looks pretty clear. I can’t wait to get back in again!

The Snowy Owl

A snowy owl made a rare appearance at Montrose Beach during the swim on Sunday (the one I missed out on, of course). Fortunately, local photographer Tom Rossiter was there to capture it on film. Check out some of his amazing shots!

The many moods of Lake Michigan

Nick was out at the lakefront Thursday and Friday and captured some neat images and videos. Per Nick:

I took a picture of a rainbow hitting the water crib on Thursday night right after the rain. I also shot a short video of Oak St beach yesterday morning around 6:45 and even I thought that it was not swimable as the waves were crashing everywhere.

Check these out!

Rainbow over the crib

The Beach Boys

Whenever you make a jaunt out to L1 during the warmer months, chances are quite good that you’ll see one or more of these loyal lakegoers within the vicinity. They maintain an unofficial vigilance over our beloved swimming site, and they’re always ready to offer friendly greetings or a pleasant conversation.

In short, they’re great fellows who have fascinating stories to tell. And I always enjoy seeing them out at L1 because they personify everything that’s great about summer in Chicago!

So in this spirit, I’d like to hand out some honorary Lake Monster numbers to the real “beach boys” of L1. Dave had some shots of the group taken last week, so I’ll post a few below with some details:

Left to right:

Diver Dave – #21 (Ice Monster #1!)
Dr. Pete – #146
2-Liter Pete – #147
Paul (The Chairman) – #148
Dave (Paul’s son) – #149
Freddy – #150
Danny – #27
Jules (seated) – #151

Another shot of the L1 crew!

Ladder in the mist

SF Bay’s got nothing on us! Here’s a shot of an ethereal Ladder 1 that Dave took earlier today:

And the official lake temperature – 57F!

Happy Birthday to Diver Dave!

Our long time L1 stalwart has a special day today. So be sure to send him your birthday wishes in the comments!

Ladder 0.5

Dave was out earlier today and took this shot of an ailing L1: