How far would you swim to save the bay?
Ever since I wrote an article on the native oysters of San Francisco Bay, I have been awed by the complexities of our estuary’s underwater ecosystems. Despite its murky appearance, the San Francisco Bay supports a diversity of wildlife — from oysters clinging to pier pilings to bottom dwelling leopard sharks.
This summer I got a little closer to the Bay’s web of life (notably jellyfish, harbor seals and brown pelicans) by training to swim from Alcatraz island to Aquatic Park in San Francisco with a close friend. Before setting this goal, the idea of “open water swimming” had not even occurred to me.
I discovered the Bay Area is full of open water swimming enthusiasts who venture out into the Bay’s cold and choppy waters routinely. Many of them are concerned about the health of the Bay – including seven brave swimmers who plan to Relay for the Bay, swimming over 100 miles, from Sacramento to San Francisco, beginning tomorrow. They will swim 40 nonstop hours from September 18 to September 20, 2009.
The swimmers are members of the San Francisco-based Dolphin Club who want to raise awareness and funding for Baykeeper’s work to protect San Francisco Bay from pollution. The 100+ mile swim route begins in the Sacramento River.
How to Explore San Francisco Bay
- Swim in It: Swim-Art organizes evening group swims at Aquatic Park (Monday evenings) and Treasure Island (biweekly Wednesdays) and expedition swims, including an Alcatraz swim.
- Learn from Bay Nature Magazine and The Bay Institute
- Volunteer with Save the Bay or The Watershed Project (The 25th Anniversary of the California Coastal Cleanup Day is this Saturday)
- Visit Aquarium of the Bay
- Join a club, team or association. Bay Access (advocates for a Bay water trail) provides a comprehensive list from kayaking and kite sailing to dragon boating.