Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sunday, June 17th, 2018

June Gloom and Weird, But Fun, Water

Te Central Coast is known for June Gloom, the typical morning low clouds or fog that can burn off before 9 if you are  inland or hang around all day if you are near a west facing beach. Avila Beach was in full gloomy mode this Sunday morning; gray skies and cool temperatures with no wind and mostly knee high surf with an occasional 2+ footer.  I measured 56 degrees in the shallows off of the pier. With an incoming tide everything inside the break was mostly creek water so I was expecting around 54 degrees once we got outside the surf. Swimming today were Niel, Heidi, Tom, Jim, Jonny, John, Stephanie and Eric. Stephanie swam with us for the first time last week and and Eric's first time with us. Eric is an experienced ocean swimmer who is getting back into it after a long break.
The swim today started out by going directly out to the end of the pier, followed by a clockwise lap of the triangle route with a final return leg in along the pier. I had 1.39 miles on my watch when I stood up at the end. 

Eric, Tom and Jim at the end of the Avila Pier

We had strange water conditions, there was a strong current out of the SW (like last Thursday) and a surface that looked and swam like a one foot wind chop, except that there was no wind. I do not know what combination of things could be responsible for this, it seems beyond anything that a combined group of waves could form......maybe volcanoes in Hawaii, the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, a water spout nearby, Godzilla...? 

Heidi and Stephanie

We all had a really nice swim with different conditions on each leg with a nice easy finish coming in in the lee of the pier. 


Thursday, June 14th, 2018

Duke's was looking for someone to pal up with for extra swims at Avila while his usual pool was closed.I was interested in a little hookey so we met at the beach on Thursday morning and got in a long mile. It seemed to be flat, grey and windless but the sun came out and we had a strong chop and current out of the SW to give the route some personality.  We had a nice swim that was an excellent way to break up a work day. 


Sunday, June 10, 2018

Sunday, June 10th, 2018

Duke's Swim

Duke is looking for some extra distance and wanted to do this route which is about a mile and a half.  It was sunny with an offshore breeze that had some legs to it. The water was very clear, showing a tropical  pale green in places. I read 53 degrees in the shallows off of the pier. Swimming today were Duke, Heidi, John, Jonny, Maria, Niel, Heidi, Amy, Tom, Jim and Stephanie joined us from the South Bay LA area via Morro Bay. The plan was to swim down the buoys to the creek mouth and over to our usual spot at the Cal Poly Pier. From here the long swim would go to the end of the Cal Poly Pier, back to the end of the Avila Pier and in to the beach. The shorter version would go directly to the end of the Avila Pier and in to the beach. Jim, Tom, Duke Heidi and Niel did the longer route. I had 1.64 miles on my watch when I stood up in shallows.  I think that Garmin's estimated calorie count is low because wind and chop were coming right off of the beach so the leg from the end of the Cal Poly Pier to the Avila Pier was a push diagonally into the chop and current. We all had a lot of course corrections on this leg.

Heidi, Maria behind her, John, Amy, Jim Jonny and Duke at the first buoy.

Tom, Duke and Jim at the first stop at the Cal Poly Pier

Niel with Heidi coming up.

We reirley have water that is thei transparent

Jim and Tom at the end of the Cal Poly Pier. 

The same spot. Heidi and Duke. We are 920 M offshore.

It was nice and warm on the beach and the hot sand quickly warmed up several pairs of well chilled feet. 


Sunday, June 3, 2018

Sunday, June 3rd, 2018

I was out of town for today's swim but Tom sent me this description:

Here’s some fotos courtesy of Leslie from our swim around the rock today…             

First off, no matter what others say, it was not 57 degrees.  It was more like 55-56.  June gloom for most of the swim, partially burning off towards the end.  We had a couple kayakers courtesy of Jonny – they stayed at the front and back of the group until we got to the rock, then the lead kayaker decided he’d let Jim & I return on our own, so we did.  Water was kinda choppy, with the swell pushing us sideways a bit

On to the pictures…

1.       The group
2.       Everyone heading out
3.       Tom wondering back after the swim
4.       Jim & Tom warming up – Jim swam bareback in prep for his 10k in Santa Barbara

Ok, that’s the news from this week’s Avila swim…

See you soon.


And From John Hampsey -

Sunday, June 3, 2018
Today we made a serendipitous swim to Avila Rock. About three quarters of a mile off-shore, Avila Rock mesmerizes us 12 months of the year. But we had not journeyed to it in over two years. Swimming today were Maria, Heidi, Duke, Jonny, Amy, Jim, Tom, and myself. We would not have been able to make our jaunty swim to the Rock if we had not had the minimum safety requirement of two paddlers, which Jonny artfully arranged. Thus, somewhat miraculously, Sean and Monica were suddenly there as our trusty kayak-consorts. 
Beneath a semi-foggy and mystical sky, we headed south along the buoy line. At the fourth buoy we turned south-west and began our half mile dash to the ever illusive Avila Rock. The water was a kind 56 degrees, shockingly clear, and mostly smooth. At several points during the outward leg of our swim, metaphysical doubt set in—no matter how hard we stroked, the Rock seemed to get no closer. Nevertheless, we made our way... the only hazard being a nearly invisible kelp-bed. Some veered to the left of it; others found a narrow passage through the giant algae. 
Upon finally reaching the Rock and circling to the western side, the greenish-blue water was truly open-sea like—roiling and churning. And surprising all of us, was an orange buoy we had not seen before, about 30 yards NW of the rock. Some thought it to be a newly implanted turning point for an imminent boating race. Others thought it to be a warning buoy for boats to stay clear of the Rock with its extensive jagged western edge looming just a few feet below the ocean’s surface. Between the buoy and the Rock, a few of us nudged up against a two-foot wide, milk-white, melancholy jellyfish that meant us no harm.  
The return swim seemed, as it often does, to unfold more quickly, even with the water having significantly more chop. By the time everyone was back on the beach nearly an hour and a half had elapsed; our swim distance being about 1.6 miles. After showering and settling in with our coffee, the fog finally retreated and we enjoyed a sun-bright moment of comradery...  staring out toward Avila Rock that once again seemed sublime and ever-distant. We knew, even after swimming all the way there, we had barely glimpsed its secret. 
--John Hampsey

I will leave it up to you readers to guess which post was written by the Cal Poly English professor. 


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Sunday, May 27th, 2018

We had beautiful conditions today; sunny skys, light wind, a small chop, very clear 55 degree water and 10 swimmers; Jim, Niel, Duke, Heidi, Karen, Tom, Leslie, Jonny, John and Maria. The big plan was to go out to the first buoy by the pier and east to Fossil Point, back to the fourth (last) buoy on the east side, diagonally to the end of the Avila Pier and from there either in to the beach for about 1.2 miles, to the last buoy on the westside of the pier at the mouth of San Luis Creek and back along the buoy line to our starting point and in for about 1.5 miles or over to the Cal Poly Pier, back to the mouth of the creek, along the buoy line to the start and in for about 2 miles. 

Grouping up at the first buoy, Jim, Maria, Jonny, Karen, Duke's arm, 
Tom, Leslie, John and either Heidi's or Maria's hand

After last weeks not so successful underwater photos Tome suggested that if Jim and I held onto the buoy's anchor chain he could get a good underwater shot. 
Photographer buoyancy seems to be just as much of a problem.  The water was sure clear for Avila Beach. 

Tom and Niel


Niel, Maria, Duke, Leslie and Heidi

Leslie, Tom, Karen, Maria, Heidi and Duke.

I won't be swimming next Sunday so Duke and Tom will orchestrate the swim and John will write the blog.


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Sunday May 20th, 2018

The wind was up early today so it was already blowing hard and steady when I arrived at the beach. I got a reading off of the pier of 54 degrees in very shallow water. There were thin high clouds and a weak sun. There had been no further shark sightings since last weekend so the caution signs were down. With the wind out of the SW I decided that a counter clockwise triangle course would be good because the first leg would be into the chop, the second across the chop, the third would have it following us and the last would start hard but the chop would diminish as we neared the pier.
Swimming today were Niel, Heidi, Jonny, John, Amy, Maria, Tom and dropping in with us form the bay area was Meredith.
We all swam out, turned right and swam to the buoy at the creek mouth. Niel, Maria, Tom and Meredith headed to the end of the pier while John, Jonny, Amy and Heidi headed back along the buoy line. We met up at the last buoy on the east side of the pier and returned to our starting place. The water was extremely clear for Avila and the chop kept me pushing the whole time.

Amy, MAria, Jomnny, Heidi and John getting in.

Niel at the end of the Avila Pier.

We attempted some underwater shots but websites don't make it easy. 
Niel and Meredith at the end of the Avila Pier

Self portrait by Tom.


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Sunday, May 13th, 2018

The Landlord Drops By -

There was news of a dozen or so sharks of unknown species off of Pismo Beach but this is a normal spring occurrence and would not have kept us out of the water. However, Duke copied me on a text that he had received from Vince, who owns the kayak and paddleboard shop at Port San Luis, to let him, and us, know that beginning on Friday he had been seeing an 8' white shark feeding on sea otters around the Avila and Cal Poly Piers and over near his shop. The Avila and CAl Poly Piers are where we swim. Sunday morning the harbor patrol reported their own similar sighting. The lifeguards were advising people who entered the water to stay close to the shore so getting in the water was totally optional today.
I chose to stay on the beach while Sara, Ben, Jonny and Tom swam in the surfline on the east side of the pier.  I did a toe test and got a water temperature of 54ish degrees under gray skies with no wind, flat conditions and clean water, so it would swim like 52 and be very nice except for the pucker factor. Sara said that if you flipped a shark on its back it would pass out, so that was her plan. I she could do that to several hundred pounds of muscle and teeth I would have gone in and stuck real close to her. Nobody else mentioned a backup plan.
I don't see nuthing out there.......



So a big thanks to Vince for thinking of us. We'll be back next week and hope that the the owner has moved on to another diner.


Sunday, May 6, 2018

Sunday. May 6th, 2018

It was a very nice day for a swim today. Avila was sunnyish with high, thin clouds but warm enough to be comfortable. There was no wind, very good visibility, a very small push/swell out of the SW, no waves to speak of and a water temperature that was up to 54 degrees, except for the cold spots. 
Swimming today were John, Jonny, Amy, Heidi, Niel, Duke, Jim and Tom. The warmer water made a 1.5 mile swim possible so we went west along the buoys to the creek, over to the Cal Poly Pier, to the end of the Avila Pier, to the last buoy on the east and back along the buoy line to the start. 

Heidi, Duke, Jonny and Amy getting in

Tom and Jim getting that last goggle adjustment right.

Duke at the last buoy at the creek mouth
 Tom asked us to all point towards Reno to see if he could 
get us to do something silly. The answer is definitly!
Heidi, Jim, Duke, Niel, Jonny and John

I caught up with the group off the front at the Cal Poly Pier,
Duke, Jim and Tom

Heidi checking the water temperature 
at the end of the Avila Pier

Me at the last buoy on the east end of the line.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

We had full spring conditions today at Avila Beach; sunny with a few fleecy clouds, a light wind at 10:30 that would steadily build to really blowing, moderate surf in 4 to 5 wave sets with long flat breaks in between and very clear and cold water. I measured a water temperature of 52 degrees in the surf line with what felt like a 2 to 3 degree drop beyond the breakers.  49 or 50 degrees is about as cold a water temperature that I have measured at Avila Beach. 

Swimming today were John, Jonny, Maria, Pete, Tom, Niel, Duke, Ivana and Heidi. Maria and Pete had been pacers in this mornings SLO 1/2 marathon and Ivana was part of a four runner relay sponsored by Jamba Juice, so she rain in a banana costume.

The plan was to swim the buoy line to the east, go to the end of the pier and then, depending on water temperature and wind, swim either to the Cal Poly Pier or to the west end of the buoy line, before returning to our starting point. At the end of the pier everyone was numb enough to choose the shorter route. I had 1.22 miles. I don't know why I have a crazy dance in the plot on the west side of the pier.

Maria brought her waterproof camera and Jonny took today's pictures

It was warm on the beach. 
Tom, Duke, Heidi and John about to get very cooled off.

Duke and John at the east end of the buoy line 
with Avila Pier in the background

John on his way to the end of the Avila Pier.
Niel and Heidi at the east end of the buoy line

Maria at the end of the pier.

Pete at the end of the Avila Pier

Pete and swimmers heading towards the west end of 
the buoy line at the mouth of SLO Creek. 

The whole group on the same heading.

The wind continued to strengthen rapidly and by the time we were dry and settled on the beach whitecaps had formed and come in to the end of the Avila Pier and within another half hour they were in to the surf line.