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Open water swim encounters
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I’m trying to come to grips with my irrational fear of what can not be seen in murky waters. Does anyone have any real encounters with wildlife during an open water swim? Outside of a jellyfish sting, I’ve never actually had anything happen to me while swimming in an open body of water. That being said, as soon as my head goes under the water I worry about everything from snapping turtles to snakes. I swim in the Chesapeake Bay for the most part, so I (thankfully) don’t have to contend with sharks.
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Re: Open water swim encounters [Mizzouvet] [ In reply to ]
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Not during a race or training but just for fun swimming...

Alligators (that was kind of cool. I touched it on the tail haha), LOTS of sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, box jellyfish, water moccasins, etc.

Only ever been tagged by the jellies and stingray. Hoping to never get tagged by the others. Welcome to Florida!
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Re: Open water swim encounters [Twinkie] [ In reply to ]
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Here in the upper Midwest we have to watch out for Otters and Musky. They are fast and can do a lot of damage.

http://www.startribune.com/...ar-duluth/162482036/
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Re: Open water swim encounters [Mizzouvet] [ In reply to ]
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Dolphins quite often. One got vertical and did a 360 scan just 10 feet from me. I had some juvies dart under me while swimming. Saw a 6 foot great white once. Had a big gray whale swim under me, about 5 feet beneath me. Saw a 3 foot salp. I stepped directly on a stingray's barb. We bark at seals on Seal Rock. Sometimes they jump off and swim to us and check us out. Saw a sea turtle once. That's pretty rare for one to be in Shaw's Cove. I love it out there in the ocean.

Proud member of FISHTWITCH: doing a bit more than fish exercise now.
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Re: Open water swim encounters [kaaite] [ In reply to ]
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That otter story is absolutely nuts.
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Re: Open water swim encounters [Mizzouvet] [ In reply to ]
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It IS otterly nuts.

I swam in the waters off St Maarten/St Martin with my fiancée. (now wife). We went pretty far out. The water was really clear and there was very little chop or current. I saw a long silver body in the water, yelled "Barracuda," and started swimming for the shore. She was so pissed that I took off swimming ahead of her.

You don't have to swim faster than a barracuda, you just have to swim faster than your fiancée.
Last edited by: 140triguy: Jul 10, 18 20:47
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Re: Open water swim encounters [Mizzouvet] [ In reply to ]
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No, nothing, but thanks for reminding me....
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Re: Open water swim encounters [Mizzouvet] [ In reply to ]
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Not an “encounter” but had a juvenile 5-6 foot great white swim under me three weeks ago, 5 minutes into my hour ocean swim, at Torrance beach in so cal

I dive and have seen hundreds of sharks. It was doing what most every other shark I’ve ever seen doing, just swimming along doing its shark thing

At that age/size they’re after rays mostly. If it was 10 foot I wouldn’t have continued....
Last edited by: ChrisM: Jul 10, 18 8:35
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Re: Open water swim encounters [Mizzouvet] [ In reply to ]
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I've encountered a few triathletes OW swimming, terrifying.
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Re: Open water swim encounters [Mizzouvet] [ In reply to ]
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Ran into these guys a week or so back;




Last edited by: GreatScott: Jul 10, 18 8:47
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Re: Open water swim encounters [Mizzouvet] [ In reply to ]
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OWS in ocean, Tasmania, Australia.

Was about 300 meters off shore, poor visibility day, could see my hand in front of my face, not much more. Although that far out you cant see the bottom anyways so *shrugs* The beach near my house is a shark sanctuary - but have never seen a shark in 30 years swimming there.

Had a long dark shape pass underneath me, far enough down that it was just a long dark shape... shark or dolphin or seal... couldnt tell. But it was big enough to have me worried so headed back to shore.

Until a pod of dolphins started swimming around me, playing.

Went from shit scared to one of the coolest experiences of my life.

Have also had a 1.5 meter diameter ray come up from the sand beneath me and leap out of the water - swimming closer to shore, around dusk... got out of the water on that occasion, it freaked me out.
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Re: Open water swim encounters [GreatScott] [ In reply to ]
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I live on a crystal clear lake in NH. Snapping turtles are ambush predators, they sit on the bottom waiting for fish to swim by. We have netted and transplanted several that have necks the size of your calf. They look like rocks, one time I was swimming over a rock reef and one swam up straight at me, scared the hell out of me.
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Re: Open water swim encounters [Mizzouvet] [ In reply to ]
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We were hiking in Sedona, had done an overnight and coming out we found a swimming hole. Surrounded on one side by 15 ft rock walls you could climb and jump off of. You would swim under a natural rock arch to get to a point to exit the water. I was swimming underwater and popped my head up and right in front of me was a tarantula sitting on top of the water. If a spider can look scared to the human eye, he certainly did to me, although I subsequently learned tarantulas often swim. I swam out, grabbed a stick, and reached out so he could grab hold. Brought him out and set him on the rock. He sat still for us to take a few pics, then scampered off.
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Re: Open water swim encounters [iwaters] [ In reply to ]
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iwaters wrote:
I've encountered a few triathletes OW swimming, terrifying.

Were they wearing huge goggles too? I bet that's scary.
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Re: Open water swim encounters [bluemonkeytri] [ In reply to ]
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I used to surf in South Africa (Southern Natal Coast) in the 1990s and the seas there were full of wildlife. You'd sit in the lineup staring out to sea between sets and an occasional tuna or other gamefish would jump out of the water 20 m away or once in a while a turtle would pop up, see you and duck under again sharpish. There was this one right hand pointbreak we'd surf called Mfazazana where more often than not a pod of dolphins would cruise through the lineup most days, feeding surfing and playing around. It was magic - they'd swim right past you as you sat on your board, or they'd dart down the middle of a wave as you paddled out so you'd almost duckdive into them. I always remember a glassy, well overhead day taking off on a wave and riding it 100s of metres with a couple of dolphins surfing up and down inside the wave under me as i just stood there entranced trying not to fall off onto them or lose the wave.

There were also some sharks. The locals weren't scared of them at all. I was constantly on the look out for them and quite often got out of the water spooked. I got circled a couple of times, but all this was when I was younger and dumber (and probably stoned).

Nowadays I no longer surf and I swim only in the UK, and I stay very close to the shore (unless it's a race and there's 100s of us) and I still go "what was that!?!?" every now and again even though the nearest shark is probably 1000 miles away..
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Re: Open water swim encounters [Mizzouvet] [ In reply to ]
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I knew I shouldn't have opened this thread.
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Re: Open water swim encounters [Mizzouvet] [ In reply to ]
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We get some pretty massive gar in Wisconsin. Never heard of them biting a human but they're definitely not afraid of us.
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Re: Open water swim encounters [Mizzouvet] [ In reply to ]
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As my father once told me, "I'm not afraid of the dark. I'm afraid of what's out there in the dark." The same can be said for OW swimming. You can either worry about it and realize there isn't much you can do, or you can ignore it because there isn't much you can do.

I choose the latter.

"...the street finds its own uses for things"
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Re: Open water swim encounters [squid] [ In reply to ]
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Punched in the face by another athlete and almost lost my goggles... thats about it
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Re: Open water swim encounters [Mizzouvet] [ In reply to ]
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If you do IMFL, you may get to see this guy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVsRtmqRWBU
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Re: Open water swim encounters [Mizzouvet] [ In reply to ]
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I swim in the ocean 2-3 times per week here in Monterey for the past 13 years. I've only seen a Great White once, about 10 feet below me and it was a big one! I was 1/2 mile off shore, so nothing to do but keep swimming. There's a shark-tracking bouy close by, and it "pinged" on a tagged GW a few times that weekend, so I think it was the tagged shark I saw. Probably countless have swam underneath us over the years, but that was our only sighting.

I once got "swarmed" by dozens of huge sea lions. I saw them approaching from a distance, probably chasing a bait ball. I just stopped and waited as they went by. These beast were jumping out of the water right next to me, but none touched me. One big bull/male, stopped and gave me an evil eye, then kept swimming.

Here's a picture I took while swimming with dolphins along Carmel Beach...



Chris
*********************
"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out,  shouting, holy crap, what a ride!!" - author unknown

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Re: Open water swim encounters [Mizzouvet] [ In reply to ]
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A tampon in a local swimming pool was the scariest thing.
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Re: Open water swim encounters [Mizzouvet] [ In reply to ]
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I swim in the Chesapeake Bay for the most part, so I (thankfully) don’t have to contend with sharks.


As a fellow sufferer of irrational fear of sea creatures while OWS swimming or what I like to call JAWS disease. I have some bad news for you. I was going to do a OWS there a few years ago so of course I looked first.

Chesapeake Bay

"I think I've cracked the code. double letters are cheaters except for perfect squares (a, d, i, p and y). So Leddy isn't a cheater... "
Last edited by: Leddy: Jul 10, 18 10:31
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Re: Open water swim encounters [imsparticus] [ In reply to ]
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Funny you mention that, swimming in the Gulf during Ironman Florida, I saw many big, dark bodies under me. I couldn't make out what they were...I didn't want to. Also passed by many flying fish too.
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Re: Open water swim encounters [kaaite] [ In reply to ]
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kaaite wrote:
Here in the upper Midwest we have to watch out for Otters and Musky. They are fast and can do a lot of damage.

http://www.startribune.com/...ar-duluth/162482036/


the actual hell haha otters? I had to look up a Tiger Musky and those things look like Barracudas! I always thought you didnt have anything to worry about if you swam in a lake anywhere up north. Good lord haha
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