during our family vacation to Camp Arcadia this summer, my brother-in-law and I took our boys down to the south pier for the traditional jumping off the pier into the waters of Lake Michigan. a few of the boys had jumped before, but this was the first time for some of the younger ones.
it was later in the evening, and the water temperature this year in Lake Michigan was just a tad on the cold side. I wore my shorty wetsuit, and was the 1st to jump in. I had them throw me a life jacket, and then I just floated the rest of the time down there with my GoPro Hero video camera to capture the action as each boy took turns jumping off the pier.
I thought it’d be a quick process, but it turned out that I had to help each boy get up and onto the ladder, as the water level in the lake is low enough that the 1st ladder run is probably 12 to 18 inches above the water level, and none of the boys had the upper body strength to pull themselves out of the water and start climbing the ladder. I would swim away from the pier, one of the boys would jump into the water, and then I’d swim back in with them and help them climb out of the water, and then repeat as required! I’m glad I put the wetsuit on, though, as I ended up floating down there in the cold water for maybe 15 minutes.
if you recall, this is the same pier that Dave and I jumped off a few weeks later, but with disastrous results – as the waves were way too big for us to have jumped, and the current was way too strong to swim against. Dave wrote his thoughts about that near-death experience he and I both faced in this blog post: underestimating the power of the waves.