High on a hill, it calls to me…

What calls to me is…San Francisco, likely my favorite American city.  Legendary San Francisco Chronicle columnist, Herb Caen said it best, “One day if I got to heaven…I’ll look around and say, ‘It ain’t bad, but it ain’t San Francisco'”.

Family vacation brought us to San Francisco and Stinson Beach in Marin County.  To me the whole Bay Area has it all: food, wine, culture, open-minded people, diversity beautiful scenery and importantly…an abundance of water to swim in!

First up was a trip to an open water swimmer’s nirvana the South End Rowing Club in Aquatic Park. Last August, I spent two very long, painful and important training days there training for the Channel.  It was great to come back as I just love the vibe of the club itself and the like minded hearty people that swim there.


This summer I haven’t swum in as much cool (never say cold) water so I must admit the water temp took me by surprise. It was a brisk 55 degrees and much cooler than the low to mid 60’s water that I have been swimming in.  I did acclimate but the first 5-10 minutes were a bit jarring.  Once in the groove I swam the buoy line several times and then latched on to a group of swimmers and swam to the entrance of Aquatic Park.  The best part of swimming out that far is that looking west you can see the Golden Gate Bridge with the fog slowly creeping in and the to the east you can see Alcatraz.


I will never tire of looking at those two iconic historical landmarks from sea level.  Post swim it was time for a sauna in the club and off to dinner in North Beach.  The next day we were off to Stinson Beach for some family R&R and…lagoon swimming .

Stinson Beach is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and we have rented a home on the ocean in a little private community that was developed in the 1950’s.  Across the street from our house was an open lot with easy access to a long, lagoon with  houses on either side of it.  The water was warm, somewhat clear and when breathing left I could see the hills of West Marin looking up toward Mt. Tam.


My first swim in the lagoon was easy going and I could tell we were going to have a chill and relaxing week.


Amongst walks on the beach, hikes on the Dipsea Trail and water fun we were able to spend some time with long time friends (not old friends) from San Francisco.  In fact, they were the ones that first introduced us to Seadrift over twenty years ago.


It was a conversation starting with legendary surfer Chris B provided the inspiration and challenge for a local, first ever epic swim…which will be featured on an upcoming blog.



Looking forward to a fun and enjoyable week int he Bay Area!

In wrapping up this blog I will close with Herb Caen’s classic three dot journalism and a nod to Tony Bennett…I left my heart in San Francisco!



  1. Hi Bob…really enjoyed your words. I was born in San Francisco and my mom’s maiden name is Newsom. Gavin is 2nd cousin but I do not know him. We all attended two family reunions over the past 12 years and he was definitely the “rock star” there. I love San Francisco too.
    Keep enjoying your family and life…it is a gift.


    Sue Chisholm


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