Wilderness a few feet from the shore

Mark Powell, whom I profiled today in this story, is swimming around Bainbridge to, in part, get a better sense of his island home.

Wearing a snorkel and goggles, he takes in the undersea scenery a mile or so at a time.

While the swim makes him feel closer to the place he lives, it also takes him far away.

“Bainbridge is not a pristine wilderness area, but 10 feet off the shore it’s more pristine than anywhere on land,” he told me before sliding into Blakely Harbor last week. “When I get in the water, I get that wilderness feel.”

It’s not just that he sees an array of wild animals – Dungeness crabs, salmon, loons and sea lions – it’s also that his senses are immersed in an environment devoid of all things human.

“Once I put my head under water, I’m far, far away,” he said. “It’s like a little vacation. Sometimes I don’t want to get out.”

But he does. And his first stop is often his computer, where he blogs about his close-to-home adventures.

After almost a dozen swims tracing the island’s south end, Mark is ready to be a tour guide. He’s inviting others to join him on one or all of his legs, which range from a half mile to two miles.

See his blog here.

To contact Mark, e-mail him at swimbi at gmail dot com.