Tyler Lindquist - Big Bay de Noc
Chippewa Point to Burnt Bluff
10.4 km (6.5 miles)
5 hours, 51 minutes on 17 August 2019
Observed and documented by Ann Lindquist
First swim across Big Bay de Noc
- Name: Tyler Lindquist
- Gender: male
- Age on swim date: 35
- Nationality: United States
- Resides: Woodbury, Minnesota
- Corey Wright - pilot
- Katie Lindquist - safety officer
- Kelsey Wagner - first mate
- Ann Lindquist - observer
Escort Vessel: 17’ fishing boat (unnamed) (Ogontz)
- Category: Solo, nonstop, unassisted.
- Rules: MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming, without exception or modification.
- Equipment used: Nike nylon swim shorts, goggles, latex swim cap
- Body of Water: Lake Michigan
- Route Type: one-way
- Start Location: Chippewa Point (45.722356, -86.838339)
- Finish Location: Burnt Bluff (45.683630, -86.715979)
- Minimum Route Distance: 10.4 km (6.5 miles)
No known previous swims of this route.
- Start: 17 August 2019, 07:36 (America/Detroit, UTC-4).
- Finish: 17 August 2019, 13:27
- Elapsed: 5 hours, 51 minutes.
Summary of Conditions
|Water Temp (F)||68||70|
|Air Temp (F)||64||70+|
Trackpoint frequency: 30 minutes. Download raw data (CSV).
Nutrition: Electrolyte drink, PB&J sandwiches, bananas, clif bar
Swimmer Narrative (Tyler Lindquist)
The idea to swim around Big Bay de Noc came up while attempting to swim across Little Bay de Noc. I’ve never swam competitively but have always had an interest in swimming from one point to another, at small inland lakes as a child and the idea of swimming across the little bay was one I remember thinking about, either when swimming at Twin Springs beach on the peninsula or when swimming out to the platform at Gladstone beach.
I had two unsuccessful attempts to cross the little bay, one in 2007 when my dad was in a support boat but didn’t feel compelled to use any navigational tools. We got lost in the fog and ended up swimming a big U, hitting the shore we departed from. The second fail on the 5k swim was due to weather and an emergency room visit for my wife in the middle of the night. I trained for it but never got into the water.
I finally swam across Little Bay de Noc, from a boat ramp on stonington that now appears to be closed to Escanaba’s sand point in 2017. I remember it taking longer than expected, the 68 degree water felt cold and thinking that Big Bay wasn’t something I was going to do. However, as time went on and I listened the experiences of swimmers like Kim Chambers and Ross Edgley, I became convinced and I couldn’t leave this as an unfinished objective. In addition, learning about the Marathon Swimmers Federation and that the Big Bay swim would be just over their minimum distance, I set about making plans. My wife Katie, Sister Ann and friends Corey and Kelsey graciously agreed to be my support crew.
On Saturday, 8/17/19, we departed from Ogontz Bay boat launch and drove to Chippewa Point to begin the swim. The temp at the start was in the low 60’s and I was eager to get started so I stood on shore for a brief moment and started into the water. It is very shallow at the beginning and the rocks are sharp so I started swimming as soon as I could have enough room to begin a stroke. I could see the bottom for roughly the first 20 minutes of the swim.
Even though the water temp was roughly the same as the Little Bay swim, I remember thinking that I was quite comfortable in the swim. The waves were low and I only occasionally missed a breath due to turning into a wave. At about 30 minutes in, I drank an electrolyte beverage (body armour) and it was clear that there was some stress on the boat. They were struggling to keep a straight line and we were off course from the GPS waypoints I had provided. I noticed the impact of the current as well, it seemed like I was constantly turning left. Even when consciously trying to keep left, I was always a pointed to the right when checking my site line.
Because the rules of the Marathon Swimmers Federation prohibit grabbing on to any flotation device, I also had to learn a skill that I had not practiced which was eating while treading water. I had multiple instances where I really struggled with this and choked heavily on a PB&J at about the 3 hour mark. Because the destination, Burnt Bluff, is tall, it creates the illusion of being closer than it is. At the 3 hour mark I decided that I was done with food. I was under the false impression that I had about 90 minutes left. If I had known that I had over 2.5 hours to go, I would have requested more nutrition. At this point, I could make out trees and no longer used the boat to site my course.
We encountered a large sail boat, and I was grateful that my crew moved their boat in the way so that the sail boat diverted course. It appears to be headed straight at me. The sail was down and we couldn’t see anyone on the deck. Without siting a swimming, I’m sure it appeared as though a fishing boat abruptly positioned itself right in front of the boat.
At hour 4, I started to feel completely out of energy. Cramping had been a significant concern and something that I had experienced in training. I was grateful to avoid cramping but pretty discouraged at about 4:30 in when the boat informed me that I had about an hour left. My stroke rate didn’t slow down a lot but I was probably pushing through the water about half as hard as I was during the first half. I thought about requesting food but had was concerned about how draining it was to tread water and try to eat and decided to keep going. I remember thinking with amazement at how fast and how far serious swimmers can go, as I was struggling with something that was just over the minimum. The wind had dropped to almost nothing at this point and it was just a slow crawl in calm water to the finish.
At the finish, I couldn’t see bottom until about 4 minutes before finishing, the water drops off steeply from Burnt Bluff. Total time of 5 hours and 51 minutes, just about 3:00 minutes per 100yds, by far the slowest swim I’ve ever tracked. I had difficulty standing when I hit shore but was elated to be done. It was a fun boat ride back, along the bluff and we took a spin into Fayette park, seeing the sail boat that had crossed our path anchored there.
My hope is that this route is displayed in the Marathon Swimmers Federation and that others in the Midwest come and give it a try. I put up a slow time, so getting a fastest result shouldn’t be difficult.
Observer Narrative (Ann Lindquist)
My Brother Swam An Ocean
(well…it was a lake but it felt like an ocean)
Somewhere in 2017, my brother says to me, “Want to wake up early and get on a boat with Dad so I can swim across Little Bay de Noc?” I, thinking he was nuts but am always down for an adventure, replied, “Yup. Sounds like the perfect amount of crazy.”
So, he did it. A little over 3 miles, we boated along side, dropping banana pieces off the side of the boat, trying to steer him in a straight line across the bay of Lake Michigan. We arrived to a small crowd (it was probably only like 10 people but in the U.P. of Michigan, that counts as a crowd) noticing what he was doing and started cheering along side as he came to the finish line. Yes, this was an accomplishment. He should be proud. But as he climbed into the boat, I could tell … this was just the beginning.
Fast forward a couple years and wouldnʼt you know it, I was right. He said “when we go home to visit Mom and Dad, I want to try to swim across Big Bay.” So, training began. This part is the part Iʼm not clear on … I mean, Iʼm sure there was swimming involved but the only training I do is how many tacos can I eat and still be able to walk home. Brother and sister…polar opposites.
The week of August 12th, we make the drive from the Twin Cities (Minnesota) to the U.P… car full of his kids, wife, dog… and me. This was the trip it was going to happen. The marathon swim. 6+ miles mapped out across Big Bay de Noc, MI. Constantly checking water temperatures, weather and wind. Have you ever met someone obsessed with wind? I have and let me tell you, itʼs weird. While Iʼm scrolling through my Instagram feed liking photos of my friends at happy hour or dogs doing cute things, my brother was like, “the wind looks like itʼs going to calm down tomorrow” and my response being something similar to “Did you know that the Howe restaurant has wine slushees?” Polar. Opposites.
Before the big day, my brother asked me to be the “Official Observer” of the swim. This not only came with a fun list of tasks but also, it required me being aware of the rules of the Marathon Swim Federation … which I took very seriously and can even rattle of the date the rules havenʼt changed since (1875) and the date this federation became official (2012). Ask me the rules. I. dare. you. All of a sudden, this became very real. Not only to me, but to his friends who drove into town to help drive the boat and navigate this swim but also to his wife. She was the official “safety officer” on this treck as he couldnʼt wear a wet suit and the water was consistently at 67 degrees. Woof. So, a slight, quiet panic shifted through the house. We realized this was happening and it could potentially have two very different endings.
The morning of, everyone is in high spirits. My brother quietly looking serious like he is getting his head in the game but equally looking like he is about pee his pants from excitement, his buddies cracking jokes about having to poop off the side of the boat (this is real…and it happened), his wife running through the checklist of questions she is going to ask him while he is taking food and hydration breaks to check for hypothermia and me, somewhere between “holy crap …do I know what latitude and longitude even mean?” and “what if I also have to poop during the boat ride?”
We head on our way around 6:30am, boat loaded with the crewʼs snacks which consisted of chips and cookies and his snacks which consisted of bananas and peanut butter sandwiches (clearly one of us is actually doing the dang thing) and then we stop. We are at the point where we are dropping off my brother. The air was crisp, I canʼt even imagine how the water felt, and before you know it, he was lathering on sunscreen, Vaseline and jumping in the water. Now, as official observer, I have to start paying attention to location, his stroke rate, etc. But as micro managing sister, I also set a timer on my phone for every 30 minutes when he was going to need to hydrate or eat food. At this point my thought was “What if HE needs to poop during the swim?” (Have I talked about poop enough yet?)
He is off. He is doing great. The boat, however, was a mess. Between disagreeing on how to read a GPS (once they started listening to me, we got on course. ‘Sup Kelsey and Corey? ) and then loosing Tyler in the fog, the first half hour was chaos. 30 minutes go by, time to load up the snack bag (attached to a rope, this was how we were getting food and beverage to him without him having to get too close to the boat. Did we get smarter since the last swim? Yes, yes we did.) We stop him, he treads water, we all put on a brave face and he cracks a joke asking for directions and pretending we are all strangers. Tension breaks, he hydrates and we all go on our way. The fog lifts, the boat crew starts telling funny stories, the men start fishing, we can see our little white bobber friend (he was wearing a white swim cap) clearly and we are on course. Perfect day.
The next couple hours was a series of us stopping every 30 minutes, alternating between feeding and hydrating our friend, jumping off the boat to pee (holy crap the water was cold), asking Tyler funny questions to see if he was slurring his words … and then it happens. Tyler asks “am I half way yet?” He isnʼt. Almost, but no. He is only 1/3 of the way. His friend, Kelsey, without skipping a beat says “Yeah bud, youʼre killing it.” Now, I had since taken over the GPSing to our checkpoints Tyler had mapped out so no, his friend wasnʼt paying attention and he was also the “Chief Spirit Officer” of the swim so I know he meant well but I also knew…the last 2/3 of this trip were going to feel like the longest ever because my brother thought he was half way done. Another woof.
His pace stayed consistent, his spirits turned less into funny jokes and more into “how much further” and us on the boat kept getting our minds blown that “he is going to do the damn thing.” One stop, actually the last stop Tyler ate any food (for good reason and Iʼm about to tell you why), the dang kid choked on a peanut butter sandwich. Now, Iʼm not sure how many of you reading this have tried to eat a sandwich while treading water, but it doesnʼt seem to be any easy task. For me, since I feel like all my taco eating has giving me my own personal flotation devices, I think it could be a piece of cake. But for a guy who trains to swim across a Bay, he is built as much to float as a bolder, trying to eat while staying afloat looked painful. So, he would shove the whole sandwich in his mouth at one time so he could use both arms to stay above water. And then, he sucks in. Sucks what I imagine to be the entire dang sandwich and the ocean (Lake Michigan) into his lungs and proceeds to have the coughing fit of his life. Of course he did. He is coughing so forcefully I swear he was about to puke or pass out, but then…he coughs so hard, we hear him suck in air, puts his goggles back on, and without saying a word starts to swim again. He. Is. Over. It.
The sun came out for the last couple hours of the swim which made it actually breath taking weather wise (later to find out that Tyler had the “Iʼve got a pocket got a pocket full of sunshine” song stuck in his head to which he only knows those exact lyrics and those few words were on repeat. Poor guy), the water was calm.
We get to a check point that was about three checkpoints away from his finish line, he hydrated with an electrolyte filled water mixed with warm water we brought in a Thurmond trying to keep him warm and this is when I knew he would succeed. He said to us, “this is the last time Iʼm stopping until I hit that shore.” We all respond “Are you sure? Thatʼs like an hour and half without stopping.” But before we could ask questions, he was back at it.
This last hour and half the dialog on the boat when something like this:
Person 1: “He is going to do it.”
Person 2: “Yeah, swim across Big Bay.”
Person 3: “I wouldnʼt have made it a half mile.” and then repeat that every 10 minutes or so
He gets to the point where you can see the bottom of the lake and I can tell he knows he is close to the finish. His pace slightly increases and I have never heard 3 people cheer as loud as the crew did knowing our brother, husband, best friend had accomplished a huge milestone goal. Congrats, bro!
My only remaining question as the Official Observer is, when is the Taco Marathon Federation going to be a thing?
- Daily Press (Michigan): Man swims across Big Bay de Noc