Itchin’ to swim? Check the sign

You can’t see it, but it’s there.

The blissful bay water is tempting, particularly on those red-hot, we’re having a heat wave days, but before dipping that first toe into the water, go back to the wooden walkway entrances and watch for the signs that report whether or not it’s a good idea to wade in.

Swimmer’s itch is caused by microorganisms that sometimes throw large micro-organism parties and many are the times that children and even literate grownups have missed the sign, and played in the water. Not everyone comes out with a nagging leg itch, but some do, and while it’s not fatal or even a good excuse to miss school, it does itch. It really does.

Read the signs, then decide if it’s still a good plan to play in the bay.


Oh, poop

Who doesn’t love Robert W. Crown Beach and Park? The grass and trees, the picnic tables, the beach and the bay. It’s all so idyllic.

Except for one thing – the unpleasant downwind breeze along the shoreline path near the duck pond. This small pond is where waterfowl celebrate diversity, where Canada geese, gulls, ducks and coots all leave their doots – and the breeze blows softly beyond the pond to the shoreline path.

It’s not there all the time. It’s just there a lot. Enough to see strollers clamp their hands over their mouths and noses until they’ve passed through the reek.

Park Supervisor Michael Avalos said the pond is actually a storm drain let-off for the city. If a storm hits, the floodgates open. Well, we do need that. Avalos mentioned that the smell is seasonal, but the season just seems to last longer lately. Too bad there’s no way to pond-train our feathered friends.


Virtual surfing at the beach

Everyone who’s kite boarding in our fair waters probably already knows this, but it’s also fun for taking a virtual live look at the beach. The Board Sports School and Shop that teaches windsurfing and kite sailing has a Web site where you can look at a current photo of the sand and surf (a still shot, yes, but it updates every two minutes, so it’s more like a slow-moving virtual flipbook).

If you can’t make it to the beach for a walk or a wave-wrangle, the site is the closest thing to being there. Be aware, however, that the Web cam delivers its own version of the color of sand – it’s golden in the photos. (For you air-head authorities, there are also wind readings and other surfish information.)

Last note: Looking at the beach doesn’t count as fresh air or exercise. You have to actually get away from the computer for that. Sorry.