Monday, October 16, 2017

Sunday, October 15, 2017

It was a sunny and warm 78F at Avila today.  The water was glassy and calm with thick patches of red tide near the pier and buoy line.  Beyond this area to the west appeared to be clear water so Duke suggested swimming to the end of Avila pier then to Cal Poly pier.

Swimming today were Duke, Sam, Sydney, Karen, Maria, Pete, Peter Kelley, Heidi, John and Jonny.  Jonny's friend Sean joined us on his kayak.  The Port was reporting 59F water but we all agreed that it felt more like 56F.

Our swims were variable from the start.  After several weeks of competitive swimming, Sam & Sydney chose a laid back swim near the pier and along the buoy line.  Peter Kelley did his own swim, sans wetsuit, as usual.  Karen, Heidi, John, Jonny & Duke swam to the end of the pier then to Poly pier.  John & Jonny were accompanied by a curious sea lion during this leg of the swim.  

From the Poly pier, Karen and Heidi swam back to the end of Avila pier then into shore, while John, Jonny & Duke swam to the center and under Avila pier then to shore. 

Maria & Pete got a late start and eventually caught up with us, but I’m not sure which route they took.

The water between Avila and Poly piers was calm, clear & beautiful - a very nice swim indeed.

(the map I sent to you is the route Karen and I swam, 1.37 miles)


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Wednesday Evening, October 11, 2017

Heidi and Niel swam a mile down the beach to Fossil Point and back. The water was nice and clean with a temperature of 58 degrees. It was flat and calm with no current. Peter Kelley was getting in at the same time and we met up out by the buoy line and had a brief discussion about the water conditions.

Avila from the first buoy

We ended out swim at the first buoy just as the sun
dropped behind the hills at Port San Luis.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

We had a nice group today with two guests from Southern California. Dena (and Eric) from Pasadena and Courtney, from Redondo Beach (?) were visiting the Central Coast and joined us. Courtney does tris and has been swimming for two years. This was Dena's first ocean swim. The rest of the group was Niel, Amy, Sara (with Ben and their daughter on the kayak), Heidi, Duke, Karen, Jim, Jonny, Maria and Pete.
Jonny, Pete and Maria get extra double points for having run the City to the Sea Half Marathon this morning before coming to the beach to swim.
It was overcast and cool at 10:30 but the sun came out as we began swimming.  The water was 58 degrees with medium red tide.
The plan was to start out on a clockwise triangle, which would give our Southern California swimmers a chance to get comfortable and to complete the triangle for a mile or, if anyone was interested, to add in some additional distance.
Dena swam the first leg to the end of the buoy line and back to the pier, which was great for a first ocean swim.
At the creek buoy Niel, Jim and Maria chose to swim over to the Cal Poly Pier and back, adding .6 mile to their swim while the rest of the group returned along the buoy line to complete a 12 mile swim. 

I think that the white cap is Courtney, don't know who is in green,
Ben and daughter in the kayak.

Dena, Sara, Heidi, Karen and a white and pink cap.

Courtney and Duke at the end of the Avila Pier. 

Jonny, Heidi, Ben  and someone in a yellow cap.

Courtney waiving to HIllary to prove that she made it to the swim.
Hillary had lined her up with a weekend of epic riding and swimming. 

Jim and Maria at the Cal Poly Pier.

With the leg over to the pier we covered 1.61 miles.

There will be a swim Wednesday evening, in the water at 5:30. That is just about enough time to do a mile in before the sun drops behind the hills. There will not be many more evening swims, just whatever we can manage before the time changes on November 5th.


Friday, October 6, 2017

Wednesday Evening, October 4th, 2017

I got to the beach late as Hillary was halfway out to the buoy line. I decided not to rush and just enjoy hanging on the beach. The water temperature was 56 and seems to be dropping fast as the daytime air temperatures are falling. There was no wind or chop but a strong right to left current parallel to the beach. When Hillary stopped swimming she began traveling towards Pismo Beach at a good clip. She did three laps of the left side of the buoy line and got out at 6, just as the sun was dropping behind the hills.


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The first day of October was a real nice one at Avila Beach. It was warm with just a light variable wind, which made it almost too warm on the sand.  The surf was small and the water temperature was 58 degrees.  There have been bioluminescent red tides in Pismo Beach and in Santa Barbara but we had clean and clear water. 

Tom picked today's route: out to the end of the Avila Pier, over to the Cal Poly Pier, back to the west end of the buoy line and along the line to our starting point.

We had 15 people in the water today; Niel, Sylvia, Amy, Sidney, Sam, Kyley, Karen, Duke, Tom, Hillary, Jonny, Pete Kelley, John, Maria, Pete and Shawn Green was on his kayak. 

Hillary, Sydney, Karen, Kyley and Sam at the first buoy.

Sydney, two swimmers catching up, Hillary, Karen 
and Shawn at the end of the Avila Pier

Tom, Duke, Sydney and Hillary at the Cal Poly Pier

This was a very nice swim in great conditions.

Dolphins Kick Butt at the Tiki Swim in San Diego-

Sydney and Sam, part of the Avila Dolphin Ocean Swimming Development Program ;-),  did great at the recent Tiki Swim. 
Sydney (15) finished second in her heat and cut 7 minutes of last years time. 
Sam (13) finished 8th competing against 14 and 15 year olds and cut 8 minutes off of last years time.
Way to go and just wait until next year!

An Avila Dolphins Gear Review - The TYR Pinnie Vest

Hillary was the first to wear one at our swims. You can see hers if you look at the picture of her at the end of the Avila Pier. They they are a stretchy mesh vest that dramatically increase your visibility in the water, way beyond what can be achieved with a brightly colored cap. At Avila Beach, outside of the buoy line, we share the water with all manner of boats and personal watercraft so being easy to see in the water is a concern. They ever make it easier for other swimmers follow me in the water.  These are stretchy and fit easily over a wetsuit and don't interfere with your stroke or have any noticeable drag. They come in two sizes. GH Sports in San Luis Obispo carries them and the can also be found on line.

Wednesday Evening Swim - 
Wednesday the 4th, in the water at 5:30.


Monday, September 25, 2017

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Route map from Heidi

Today's swim report is by Amy.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The group—Amy, John, Jonny, Karen, Heidi, Hilary, Sue, and Sarah, plus kayak support from Ben and Mackenzie—were met with balmy conditions, clear water (a nice change from the red tide of last week), and a less frenetic and not over-populated beach scene. It was rather glorious on, in, and by the water.

Water temp definitely foretold fall: 56 degrees (John said we could round down to 55.) But the sun glinting off a very slight northwest current made it seem warmer, except for that initial shock of entry and after a mile or so in the water.

We swam to the first buoy, under the pier to the last buoy on the north, out to the Cal Poly Pier crossbar, back to the top of Avila Pier. Karen, Sue, and Hilary comprised the “fast” pack. While some swam directly into shore from the top of the Avila Pier, others added meters with a visit to the sailboat anchored beyond the second and third buoys on the south side. Heidi clocked this swim at 1.3 miles.

We hope to see Niel and other regulars return next week, after conquering godknowswhat Herculean athletic feats.

Oh, and a squadron of sea lions shadowed us between the piers—Ben and Mackenzie counted 13! 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wednesday Evening, September 20, 2017

Swim report by Craig Bowman:

Heidi and I were the only swimmers tonight.

No water pix but here's a selfie after we finished and got dressed.

45 minutes from the stairs till we walked on to the sand. No GPS but, 4 buoys, around the pier and 4 buoys,
through pier, around the 1st buoy and in.

58° water.

Craig Bowman

7:58 PM (13 minutes ago)
to me
Forgot to add that for last third of the swim Heidi had a flippered friend as an escort.
The rather large seal kind of spiraled side to side under her, popping up to look at us a few times.
Its dark shadow under her was a bit freaky though.

Rather calm otherwise with a great ominous fog bank rolling in with the sun still shining.

You missed a good one.

And from Heidi:

Swimming today at 5:00 pm were Craig and Heidi.  It was sunny and 75 F and almost no breeze.  
This was surprising, as it was very windy in SLO.  The port reported a water temperature of 58.5 F.  
There was plenty of wildlife today; whale spouts and several dolphins in the distance and sea lions 
playing near the pier.

Conditions were smooth and glassy throughout our swim.  Craig braved the chilly water with only 
trunks, goggles and rash guard - no cap!  We swam the usual clockwise triangle.  During the last leg, 
a very large sea lion repeatedly swam under and next to Heidi and then escorted both swimmers all 
the way to shore.

Looking forward to this Sunday's swim.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday, September 17, 2017


I can hear Fall's footsteps. Costco has Holloween stuff and Trader Joe's is starting to fill with all things pumpkin, and there was a hint of fall at Avila Beach today.  It was sunny but comfortably cool and the water temperature, at 59.5, was below 60 degrees for the first time since July 9th. Last summer we had very few 60+ days so this summer's warm water has been a treat, with one day at 66 degrees which is warm indeed for the ocean north of Point Conception.  59 degree water is still pretty comfy for the Central Coast but today was a reminder that we will be back to water temperatures in the mid-50's around the holidays.

In the water today were Sylvia, Niel, Paula, our only skin suit today, Karen, Duke, Amy, Hilary, Heidi, Tom, Maria, Pete, Jonny, John, Pete Kelley and Gerry Gross. Jonny's friend Shawn joined us in his kayak.
There was almost no wind, the water was pretty flat but with patches of red tide.
We had some dolphins along the buoy line before we got in. 
Today's swim was the triangle clockwise with a Cal Poly Pier option.  Niel, Hilary, Heidi, Karen, Pete and Maria did the additional 1/2 mile over to the CP Pier and back.
There were a lot of seals with us over at the Cal Poly Pier. 

Hilary and Karen at the Cal Poly Pier

Heidi and Shawn. It is nice to have a paddler along. 

Karen, Hilary, Pete and Maria. 
Ready to start back from the Cal Poly Pier.

A number of people have asked me how long the Avila Dolphins have been swimming at Avila Beach. Steve Snyder was the group's beachmaster and record keeper when he talked me into breaking from the pool and showing up at the beach. He provided me with this tally of the first swimmers beginning in 1991.  
There are a lot of familiar names here, most of which we have not seen in some time, but Paula Donnelly and Pete Kelley swam with us today.
Sylvia tell sme that there were other informal ocean swimming groups prior to 1991, but that no records were kept. 

We will swim Wednesday evening at 5. 


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Wednesday Evening, September 13, 2017

Heidi, Hillary, Maria and Niel swam a very bumpy and fun mile.
The water was 64 degrees but rough. There was a steady wind out of the SW, one foot chop, wind swells and a strong current.  
We got in at 5:30. Maria and Heidi at the start. The water felt warmer than 64 to me.

Maria, Hillary and Heidi at the creek mouth

We swam just over a mile with different conditions on each leg. A lot of work for a short swim but fun and a open water experience.


Monday, September 11, 2017

Sunday, September 10, 2017

We had a great day for a swim. Nobody felt particularly inspired so we did the triangle clockwise. The weather was cool with broken overcast and humid with a wind and swell out of the SE. The water temperature was 63 degrees. We did have a pod of large porpoises near the beach the entire time that we were swimming. 
Today's swimmers were Sylvia, Niel, Steve (who is attempting a crossing of the Anacapa Channel this weekend), Heidi, Amy, Tom, DUke, Sydney, Sam, Kyley, John and a special hello from Allan Freeman, former Dolphin, who was in town visiting.

Kyley, John and Heidi

Steve, Sydney, Sam, Duke and Kyley

AT the last buoy near Fossil Point, everyone is 
watching the porpoise near the beach.

We'll swim at 5:30 this Wednesday evening


Friday, September 8, 2017

Wednesday Evening, September 7th, 2017

Wednesday's swim report is by Heidi

Swimming tonight were Hillary, Maria and Heidi.  It was sunny and air temp around 72 F. There were swells from the south and a strong current and steady breeze out of the west, creating some chop.  The Port reported a water temp of 62 F but it felt a little warmer.  We decided to go head on against the current first, so entered the water on the west side of the pier, swam to the first then to the fourth buoy.  From there we swam to an anchored boat.  It was a bumpy and fun ride on this side of the pier.  

Then we had a nice smooth push to the end of the pier and to the fourth buoy on the east side.  Back to the pier along the buoy line and we finished our one mile swim as daylight was fading.

Cheer on Maria and Hillary as they tackle the Santa Cruz triathlon this weekend.  They won’t swim with us Sunday but the three of us gals plan to swim again next Wednesday, toes in the water at 5:30 instead of 6, due to the shortening days.

Local open water swimming legend Dave Van Mouwerik successfully swam Lake Tahoe the 'short' way on 8/28. His report follows: 

Just a heads  up  that  the  swim  went  well.
A couple hours in  darkness, then sunrise,  then  about four more hours.
Had a great crew that performed  well:
Tom Linthicum  the boat pilot
Cathy Harrington the observer
Gill  Hulse who observed the observer
Mark  Holmes  the kayaker
Uneventful swim,  no  winds,  flat water,  69 degree water temp
5 hrs 51 minutes; 10.5 miles
The Viking swim  is  a natural  route,  from  Cave Rock Landing  to  Vikingsholm-in-Emerald-Bay
1. pre-sunrise, kayak with  glowsticks,
2. Dave and Mark angling  towards Emerald Bay
Dave Van Mouwerik

What a great spot to swim.

Dave also has a successful south shore to north shore crossing, a distance of over 20 miles.


Monday, September 4, 2017

Monday, September 4, 2017

Labor Day Swim -

Avila Beach was a very different place than it was yesterday. Tropical moisture had moved in overnight with rain showers and thunderstorms. At 10 AM Avila Beach was overcast, humid and much cooler than Sunday. The water temperature had dropped 5 degrees to 61 F and there was a quarter of the number of people on the beach. 
Today's swimmers were Maria, Niel, Heidi, Craig, Sarah, Jonny and Pete. Craig was the only one who went without a wetsuit. We decided to do the triangle with a option to go over to the Cal Poly Pier. At the buoy at the creek Jonny and Craig headed back along the buoys while Niel, Heidi, Maria and Sarah swam over to the Cal Poly Pier. Pete had gotten in after we started and caught us up on our way back. 
Jonny, Sarah, Craig and Heidi at the start

Jonny, Sarah and Heidi.
The clouds were kind'a spooky looking. 
We could see rain over near Pismo but no thunder or lighting. 

Heidi and Craig

Sarah, Maria and Heidi back at our starting place. 

We will swim Wednesday evening. In the water at 6.


Sunday, September 3, 2017

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Sunday was hot, sunny and very crowded with superb swimming conditions. I measured a water temperature of 66 degrees F / 18.889 C. The highest water temperature at Avila that that I know of was 67 degrees so this was very warm. The ocean was clean and flat with an occasional 2 to 3' wave and no wind. 

We had 17 swimmers today.  John, Karen, Bob, Barbara, Emerson, Duke and Chad went with wetsuits while Niel, Steve, Paula, Heidi, Amy, Jonny, Maria, Saga, his friend and Peter went bareback.
I didn't spend much time taking pictures. I took only a group photo that turned out all green and this one of me at the start to document that I was in the water without a wetsuit. The water felt great and so much more tactile than with the wetsuit, but I didn't feel that I could linger with other swimmers because I didn't know if I would get cold.
There will be a Labor Day swim tomorrow, in the water at 10 with a pot luck afterwards. 


Wednesday Evening, August 30, 2017

John, Niel, Heidi and Hilary swam in water that was flat, clean and 65.5 F / 18.611 C. There was a bist ball out past the end of the pier on the east side so we started on the west. When we grouped up at the end of the pier the birds had cleared off so we completed our swim on the east side. 

Hilary, John and Heidi


Hilary, John and Heidi

We'll swim at 11 as usual on Sunday and at 10 on Monday with a pot luck brunch to follow.