"I loved it beyond anything I had anticipated," says Mimi Osborne about the day in 1979 when she started swimming in San Francisco Bay. "To be in water that has its own motion, and its own wildlife, is wonderful."
She's been swimming in the Bay ever since. Five mornings a week, she's in the water at Aquatic Park. "And every morning, it's a feeling of renewal."
"Bay swimming changed my life," says Mimi. "It turned me into a very active person. It's good for my body, and good for my mind. When I was widowed, I was surprised by how much comfort it is."
Over the years, Mimi has seen a lot of changes. During the 1960s, there was a sign on the Aquatic Park municipal pier that said, "Please throw trash overboard."
Since then, she's seen a big decrease in trash and sewage pollution in the Bay. "The Bay looks better, and the water clarity has improved," she says.
Mimi believes that Baykeeper has been a major part of this improvement. "Baykeeper has done a good job of getting at pollution at its source. They were the first group monitoring on an ongoing basis. And Baykeeper had a good sense of where to look and where scofflaws might be who would illegally release toxic stuff into the Bay."
An architect by training, Mimi now works as a botanical illustrator. Her illustrations have appeared in Bay Nature magazine, the Bay Trail Guide, and in numerous books and websites. She has also donated paintings to the auction at Baykeeper's annual dinner.
In the future, Mimi would like to see more beaches around the Bay for swimming access. She'd also like to see more facilities along those beaches like the Dolphin Club, where she is a member, with services such as lockers and showers. "It would be nice if people could get into the water at more places," she says, "because today, the Bay is clean enough to swim in."
Photo by dankutler.com/photography