Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Changing Conditions - 

Late Sunday there was going to be a major change to the wonderful warm summer like weather we had been enjoying. High winds, 10 to 13' surf and a hard freeze were expected in San Luis Obispo with the changes starting Sunday evening. Things were starting to change at Avila Beach at 10:30 with clouds coming in and a messy chop that was pushed by a SE breeze. The water was very clean and 53 or 54 degrees. The breeze and the lack of sun would make it feel colder.  Swimming today were Niel, Sue, Heidi, Kurtis and John. We decided to do the triangle route counter clockwise. John and Heidi planned on going short. John was making his comeback from the flu and Heidi was worried about getting cold.  
I found (!) a bunch of interesting information about the swim below 
the pace and strokes information so I've included it

Sue at the stop at the creek mouth, having a wonderful time with no wetsuit.
The leg to the creek mouth is parallel to the beach
and was  bumpy and changeling but not bad. 

Niel, at the same spot. 

Heidi and Niel at the creek mouth

Kurtis, who has no regrets about wearing a 
Farmer John wetsuit at these temperatures.

Sorry, a very blurry photo of John Hampsey. 

Kurtis, Heid and John at the end of the Avila Pier. The wind had strengthened and shifted into the SW so this leg wa across a building chop. Things were starting to get interesting.

John and Heidi swam in to the beach along the pier. Sue swam towards Fossil Point while Niel and Kurtis swam to where the last buoy on the east side would be. They got a push that included occasional body surfing on this leg. Sue had gone farther east than Niel and Kurtis because she is a much faster swimmer and without a wetsuit doesn't want to idle in the water while we catch up. We regrouped and swam the last leg back to the pier parallel to the beach. This leg was just a steady push into the chop and current.

For those of you not familiar with the 'buoys' I refer to, in the summer there are a line of 8 buoys parallel to the beach, four on each side of the pier, that define a no boating zone. We use them as navigation aids and goals for some of our swims. The harbor district takes the buoys out in the winter to protect them from storm damage so when we swim those routes in the winter we swim to phantom buoy locations.

Swim Tomorrow?
No one who was at the beach today will be swimming tomorrow. 

Sue sent me a message that Sydney and Sam were doing great at the Junior Olympics. Sam is in Clovis and Sydney at UC Santa Cruz. 


Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sunday, February 11. 2018

We enjoyed a most excellent swimming day at Avila Beach. 
It was pleasantly warm, sunny and calm. The water was clear and 54 degrees with knee high surf. We enjoyed last Sunday's route so much that we decided to do it again today: out to the end of the Avila Pier, over to the Cal Poly Pier and back to the starting point for a mile plus swim that provides two 600+ M legs where a swimmer can stretch out. 

 We are at the end of the Avila Pier where we found that there was a bit of a chop running out of the SW. Tom, yellow cap in the middle, is providing directions to our destination point along the Cal Poly Pier. From the left that is Sue, Evan, Karen, Kurtis, Tom, Heidi and Jonny.  

I caught up with Sue, Tom and Evan at the Cal Poly Pier. 
They pushed on to the Avila Pier while I waited for the rest of the group.

After we got out and were at the showers a fog bank quickly rolled into Avila Bay all of the way to the surfline, reducing visibility to a quarter mile, then 30 minutes later it just as quickly withdrew to a point about a mile offshore. I've never seen that happen before.


Sunday, February 4, 2018

Sunday. February 4. 2018

Sunday was an absolutely beautiful day at Avila Beach no matter what you wanted to do. It was sunny, calm and warm but still cooler than in town. The water temperature at the pier was 55 degrees and the water clarity was close to the best that I have ever seen here; I could pick out individual shells on the botten in 10' to 15' of water. The surface was flat with 2 to 3' waves.
Today's route was 1.3 miles; out to the end of the Avila Pier, over to the Cal Poly Pier and back to our starting point.  Swimming today were Niel, Heidi, Amy, Tom, Sara, Chris and Jonny.  Today was Chris's first swim with us. Chris and his wife are relocating to San Luis Obispo from the Seattle area.

The back of Chris's head, Tom and Heidi at the end of the Avila Pier.

The 55 degree water temperature was questionable, 
so Tom had us vote for above, at or below 53.5 degrees. 

Tom's vote. Note: he is the only one wearing a Farmer John today.

Heidi, Chris and Jonny at the Cal Poly Pier.
Tom was off the front in order to keep warm.
Amy and Sara took a shorter route back to the beach.

If you are interested in the water quality at SLO County beaches take a look at 
I'm the program coordinator for the local Surfrider Chapter's Blue Water Task Force program. My volunteers go out every Thursday morning and collect water samples from creeks and beaches that are tested for the presence of Enterococcus bacteria. Enterococcus is the EPA's lead indicator for the presence of human waste. Our results are posted about midday Friday at the web address I provided above.


Monday, January 29, 2018

Sunday. January 28, 2018

I was out of town so today's post is by John Hampsey and Duke.

Avila blog   January 28, 2018
We had a solid swim group today for January, perhaps because of the unusually warm air and dazzling sun. The beach had the crowds of a June day and the air temperature was 80 degrees!
Swimming on this Sunday were Karen, Phil, Curtis, Amy, Sam, Sidney, Jonny, Heidi, Duke, and myself. The tides were extreme, as noted by the rock-strewn high water mark. And as we entered the sea at just after low tide we walked for quite a distance across a magically-extended sandbar. There were 1-2 foot waves and the water was clean and clear. The big surprise was the water temp of 50 degrees. This was the coldest water we have experienced in almost a year.

 Everyone swam east heading for the reef buoy, which made sighting easy but which also meant several swimmers had to wrestle with Proteus the ancient sea-god who was napping amidst the tangle of spiraling kelp. At that point, because of the unusually cold water, Amy and Sam decided to head back and the rest of us continued swimming east to Fossil Point. From there we divided into two groups—one headed to the end of the pier and the other swam to the middle of the pier. The wind had picked up a bit and there was some strong chop in the water during the latter part of our swim. Total swim distance was 1.1 to 1.2 miles. Unlike last Sunday, everyone warmed up quickly back on the beach and enjoyed the exceptional moment of heat, bright sun, and gorgeous cerulean-blue sky.

 --John Hampsey

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The large swell that was hitting the west facing beaches managed to push up some 4'+ waves at south facing Avila but the lulls between the largest waves was sufficient to allow us an easy in and out.  The water quality in the San Luis Obispo Creek is clearing up but the creek estuary is still loaded with bacteria, so we continued to stay away from the west side of the pier and the mouth of the creek. 

We swam down to Fossil Point and back for a distance of 1.1 miles. The water temperature was 54 degrees. There was a gusty wind that would die completely and fast moving high clouds which which would click off the sun and quickly turn things from comfortable to cold. Today's group consisted of Duke, Niel, Heidi, Kurtis, Karen, Jonny and John.  The swimming conditions were very nice; flat smooth, clean water with enough swell moving through to make it feel like the ocean. 
I forgot to recharge the camera battery last week so there are only a few photos today.

Duke, Niel and Karen (sorry) at Fossil Point.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Conditions today were very much like last Sunday, except better. Like last week, runoff from rain earlier in the week had the bacteria count at the mouth of San Luis Obispo Creek at 7 times the safe level for contact so we stayed well ayay on the east side of the pier. The better part was that there was more sun and it was warmer. The water temperature was 55 degrees with occasional 3 to 4 foot waves that went down while we swam.  We swam out to the end of the Avila Pier, to Fossil Point and back parallel to the beach for a swim that was 1.22 miles. 

We had nine swimmers today; Niel, Heidi, Kurtis, Karen, Sara, with husband Ben who stayed with Mckinsey (5) while we swam, Tom, Jim, Phil and Jonny. Kurtis was back to swim with us after a two year beak. I think that we will be seeing more of him again. Outside the surfline the water was smooth and glassy with really nice swimming conditions.

Tom, Jim and Karen at the end of the pier. 

Phil at the Avila Pier

Phil and Karen at Fossil Point

Jonny, Kurtis, Heidi and Karen at Fossil Point. 
There was a bit of a swell near the point.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sunday, January 7th, 2018

We had beautiful swimming conditions today except for the fog. The visibility kept changing, promising to clear and then closing back in.  The best plan was to swim parallel to the beach in case the fog closed in or we were separated. The water temperature was 57 degrees with small waves and no wind. 
In the water were Niel, Heidi, Duke, Karen, Sydney, Sam, Jim, Jonny, Tom, Phil and John.  We started out thinking that we were going to do a lap of the beach along the nonexistent buoy line, but this was reconsidered on the first leg. After Wednesday's rain the creek was very dirty, (, with readings that were three to 140 times the state standard for safe contact, so we decided to stay of the east side of the pier away from the creek.  A swim parallel to the beach down to Fossil Point and back was a nice mile. The water was very clean except for near the point where there was some mild red tide, which is very unusual for this time of the year. 

I think that that is John who is trying to boot up his x-ray 
vision in order to see through the fog to Fossil Point.

Duke explaining to Sydney and Sam how it makes him feel when they blow past him,
 with Tom in the background backstroking to the beach.


Sunday, December 31, 2017

Sunday, December 31, 2017

For the last swim of 2017 we had a wintery day at Avila Beach. It was cool with thin high overcase which took all of the warmth out of the sun and made the water look metallic and opaque. This, combined with a light breeze out of the SE, an empty beach and a water temperature of 53 to 55 degrees made a very end of the year experience. Niel, Maria, Tom, Leslie, Duke and Heidi swam today. We did a simple triangle route that came out to be just short of a mile. 

Leslie, Tom, Maria, Duke and Heidi

Heidi, Tom, Duke, Leslie and Maria at the end of the first leg

Selfie by Niel

Duke, Leslie, Niel, Heidi and Maria waving goodbye to 2017.
Leslie, Duke, Niel, Maria and Heidi welcoming in 2018

Selfie by Tom

I've been using Rain-X to keep the water droplets from clinging to the camera's lense and messing up the photos but it is only working for part of the swim, as demonstrated by the difference between the first three and last three photos. Does anyone have a suggestion with something that will work better?

We'll be swimming next Sunday, 1/7/2018


Monday, December 25, 2017

Sunday, December 24th, 2017

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The sky was slated with thin grey clouds and the air temp was 60 degrees with a slight breeze. The beach was deserted and the water was glassy smooth with small rippling waves. There were two swimmers today—John Hampsey, and Amy’s brother Bo. The water by the shore was 53 degrees, but farther out the temp dropped to 52, as measured by our reptilian thermometer. The first part of our swim took us to the end of the pier, and from there northward to the actual mouth of the creek. A single seal saluted us there. Other than that, the sea seemed lifeless. From the creek we headed south, under the pier to the end of the imaginary buoy line just before fossil point. The water was astonishingly clear, even at 20 feet deep we could see the sandy ocean floor. During our last leg back to the pier, we were hailed by the harbor patrol boat; the captain wanted to know where the rest of our group was. After informing him that Bo and I were the entire group, he wished us a good holiday and sped away in his rubber vessel. Back on the beach it took us a while to warm up since the sun would not break thru the clouds. But Amy greeted us with hot chocolate and all would be well. For Bo and me, it was an invigorating and sublime swim. Distance—1 mile.

 --John Hampsey
John and Bo

John's hi-tec plot of their swim

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Sunday, December 17, 2017

We had 12 swimmers today; Heidi, Hillary, Niel, Sydney, Sam, Karen, Sarah, Duke, Emily, Sarah, (were there two Sarahs or did I miss a name?) Jonny and John.

The water was 55 degrees, a little wind ruffled but very clear with great swimming conditions. 
In spite of the plot we did a simple triangle today.

We looked like an Easter Egg Hunt when we formed up at the start.

Sydney, Sam and Duke.

At the end of the first leg.

At the end of the Avila Pier.

There will be a swim on the 24th. Several people will be out of town so the group may be thin. Maria is hoping to swim as are Sydney and Sam.


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Thomas fire near Ventura is 120 miles south of San Luis Obispo. The wind has been out of the NE which was blowing the smoke from the fire offshore. The wind moved into the SE Saturday night and Sunday morning San Luis Obispo County woke to a red and smoke filled sky. 
Sydney, Sam and Niel swam today. The water temperature was 53 degrees but felt colder. The waves looked pretty clean but there were patches of red tide on the east side of the pier. The buoys have been removed for the winter so we have to estimate our location along the ' buoy line'.   The plan was to get in on the west side of the pier, do a counterclockwise triangle and get in about a mile.  
Sydney and Sam getting in

The girls have not been swimming at Avila in a while nor when it was this cold and Sam was having trouble keeping her face in the water. 
At the east end of our route.
Sydney, Niel and Sam, all red faced from the cold water.
When we returned to the pier Sam cam in while Niel and Sydney went back under the pier and a ways down the beach in order to make a mile swim.
Sam coming in

Sydney and Niel

Sue, Sydney and Sam were responsible for all of the dry foot photos. Thanks, they are great!