Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sunday, February 19, 2017

There was no swimming at Avila Beach today.

The water quality was iffy and swimming was questionable, and then there was a sewage spill in San Luis Obispo that put thousands of gallons of raw sewage into San Luis Obispo Creek, so, definitly no swimming today.    :-(


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Sunday, February 5, 2017

This Sunday was a big change from last weekend, no more warm sun and crowds on the beach. It was overcast, about 50 degrees and felt very wintery. A new storm was coming in so we had a onshore wind, a swell out of the SE and some one foot chop. The waves were 2 - 3'+. The creek had dirtied up this past week so we stayed on the left side of the pier away from the creek mouth.  The water temperature was 52 degrees, but somehow felt better than last week, perhaps because today the air and water temperature were the same. 

Niel, Amy, Heidi, John and Johnny swam a triangle on the left side of the pier. Out along the pier I could really feel the push of the swell towards the beach. The second leg was across the chop, which was messy but fun and the last leg back to the pier we had a nice push from the swell.

Getting in.

John, Heidi and Johnny at the end of the pier. 

Amy, Heidi, John and Johnny (floating on his back) 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sunday, January 29, 2017

After almost a month storms (and very welcomer rain) of swims washed out by water loaded with debris and bacteria, we got a beautiful Sunday at Avila Beach. A lot of people must have agreed because the beach was crowded like a summer's day.  The port had been hauling off the accumulation of driftwood and trash but there were still acorns and walnuts on the beach that came down the creek and a black dusting of oil particles the large surf had tossed up from the ocean. The bottom had been recontoured so it was almost flat, I just kept walking out further until it was finally deep enough to start swimming.
Late week samples by Surfrider and the County had bacteria levels in the creek and ocean well below limits so we were OK getting in. There was a light wind that gave the water a little bit of surface action. Waves were 2 to 3 feet.
Getting in today were Niel, Heidi, Amy, John, Johnny, Sydney and Clara. The reported water temperature over at the port (about 1.3 miles to the west) was 55 degrees but as we waided in my toes told a story more like the low 50's. Heidi had her new thermometer watch so we had a reading during the swim of 51 degrees which seemed about right.  We swam out and down to the creek mouth, to the end of the pier and in for a distance of .91 miles. 

Getting in

John, Heidi and Sydney

Clara, Johnny and Amy

John, Sydney, Clara, Johnny, Heidi and Amy

John's foot, Sydney, Amy, Johnny, Heidi, Niel and Clara

Johnny, Heidi, Amy, Clara, John, Niel and Sydney
 Rain is predicted for late this coming week so swimming next Sunday is on hold until we see if the water stays clean.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Sunday, January 8, 2017

We did not swim this Sunday. The recent storms had loaded up San Luis Obispo Creek with silt and bacteria so we stayed out of the water. 

The local Surfrider Chapter's Blue Water Task Force samples the mouth of San Luis Obispo Creek on Thursday and found Enterococcus bacteria levels more than 60 times the state recommended maximum. Enterococcus is the EPA's lead indicator for the presence of human waste.

You can see all of the BWTF results at


Sunday, January 1, 2017

January 1, 2017

It looked and felt wintery at Avila Beach today. Clouds were moving in, there was a light breeze out of the SW and the air temperature was in the low 50's which would turn out to be the same as the water temperature.  Swimming today were Niel, Amy, Sydney, Sam, Heidi and John Hampsey. Rob Dumouchel and Allison Baine were in town and joined us on the beach.  We decided to swim on the left side of the pier and would start out parallel to the beach. This would be the coldest swim of the year so far and people would need an opportunity to acclimate or cut their swim short.

Rob, Sydnes, Niel, Sam, Heidi, Amy and John
 The water was quite a shock to my feet so I was guessing a water temperature of 52 or so.

John, Heidi, Amy and Sydney before we started along the beach.
Sam had found the water temperature to be just too uncomfortable. 

Sydney at the end of the first leg parallel to the beach. She was the only one wearing a shorty wetsuit and small goggles and had been swimming with her head up or doing the backstroke because she couldn't keep her face in the water.  

John at the same spot

Amy and Heidi, at the same spot.
Heidi and Sydney were getting cold and returned back along the beach while Niel, John and Amy swam to the end of the pier and came in along the pier to the beach. Amy was getting cold so I doubled back to her several times so I could both keep swimming and keep track of her. 

Sydney and Sam finished up by jumping in with the Avila Beach New Year's Day Polar Bear Swim
After everyone had left the beach the sun broke through and made some nice patterns on the water. 

We will be swimming next Sunday unless the tentatively predicted large rainstorm dumps like it might, the creeks rise and dirty up and we stay out to avoid the dirty water.


Neoprene booties and gloves review by Heidi Bezaire:

Hi Niel,

Well, the gloves and booties I wore were a flop.  While they did keep me toasty warm for the first 5-10 minutes, they they filled up with water and became heavy.  I think the material I chose is too thick (3mm neoprene) and they weighed me down, I was just sloshing around inefficiently.  Good for surfing, not for swimming.  Oh well, it was worth a try.
So, I plan to swim without them next time and, as usual, exit when I’m getting cold and deal with the frozen feet & hands afterwards.  It is much more fun to swim this way than with soggy sponges on my hands and feet. 


Sunday, December 18, 2016

Sunday, December 18, 2016

We had a beautiful winter day at Avila Beach today. The air temperature was about 55 and the water about 52 - 53. The water was clean and the waves small. There was a mild offshore wind and a small chop moving away from the beach. Swimming today were Niel, John Hampsey, Amy and Johnny.  Before we got in we watched Jon Harmse run the CalPoly tri team through a swim/run/swim workout that looked like something that he picked up from the lifeguards. 
The numbers from the creek on Thursday were around the limit and were followed by a major rain, so I guessed that the west side of the pier near the creek was probably dirty os we stayed on the east side. We swam out to the end of the pier, down to near the end of the beach and back along the beach to the pier. I'd forgotten my Garmin so without a plot I'd guess we covered 1/2 to 2/3 of a mile in 38 minutes. The water temperature estimate was a group agreement based on intensity of the brain freeze, the numbness of feet and hands throughout the swim and that John's hands were cold enough that he could not keep his fingers together. The swimming conditions were very nice except for feeling the cold working in. 

The view along the Avila Pier
Johnny and John
Amy with her new goggles

Niel, down near the end of the beach

Johnny, John and Amy

Next Sunday is Christmas Day so I do not expect anyone will be swimming.  We will be back in the water on Sunday, January 1, 2017.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Niel, Heidi and Johnny swam today. It was clear and sunny with scattered clouds, no wind, flat seas and 1-2' surf, and very clear water, just about perfect swimming conditions. I estimated the water temperature at 54 to 55 degrees. The creek had posted some pretty clean numbers so we headed down towards the creek mouth and swam the one mile triangle. The water was clear enough that I saw a school of fish swim underneath me near the end of the pier. 

Johnny near the mouth of the creek

Heidi, the same spot

Niel, same spot. It sure was flat this day.

There always used to be people at the end of the pier to say hi to, but the pier has been
closed for a year and a half and won't reopen until after it has been rebuilt, in  2 to 3 years. 

Heid and Johnny at the opposite end of the triangle

Avila looked nice from the ocean.

While we were swimming the fog came in around the point at the port and
wrapped all of the way around to Pismo Beach. 
I what to send out a big Thank You to GH Sports for their support of the Avila Dolphins. Yo have the best people and gear!


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The weather at Avila Beach was sunny, comfortably warm and breezeless.  The water was flat with a good sized swell. The five foot sets had occasional 7 to 8 footers but there were sufficient gaps between the largest waves to allow getting out. The water temperature we 54 to 55 degrees.
Swimming today were Niel, John Hampsey, Johnny, Amy, Sydney, Sam and Heidi.

There were two guy out on boogie boards who were having this kind of luck with the Avila break. They are both in this picture, a red and a blue board.

They did get some short rides.

 Amy, Sydney and  Heidi getting in. Sydney, Sam and Amy didn't get out with the first group. Niel, Johnny, Heidi and John swam to the end of the pier and over to the approximate location of the last buoy on the east side of the pier, and back to the pier. Amy had gotten out and caught up with the group. Note - during the summer there are eight buoys that mark the limits No Boats/Swimming area. The harbor district takes them out in the late fall to prevent them being damaged by the bigger winter surf. So, we were swimming to where a buoy is in the summer.
John at the end of the pier.

Johnny at the end of the pier.

Heidi at the end of the pier. Once past the surf line we had nice swimming conditions. 

Niel and Heidi at the 'buoy'.



Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Tom's Birthday Swim

The Conditions: Partially cloudy, a light wind, small waves on an outgoing tide with an occasional chest high set and a water temperature of 55 degrees. There was no sign of last weeks red tide and the water looked nice and clear.
 The Swim:  It was just Tom and I. I assumed that the creek would be dirty after the rain and medding up the water quality on that side of the pier so we stayed on the other side. We swam out, down to the buoy at the reef, back to the end of the pier and in. 

Tom at the reef buoy.

Selfie at the reef buoy. 

Tom at the end of the pier.
Things did not work out this week for Tom's birthday swim (swimming a route that spells TOM) so we'll do it next Sunday. 


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Still Big and Red

Conditions were much the same as last Sunday except that the breakers were down to 5 to 6 foot. The water was 59 degrees and dirty from the action of the waves.  Niel, Duke, Chad, Sammy, Sidney and Johnny got in the water. 
Johnny, Niel, Duke, Chad, Sidney, Sammy

We were more successful today and Sammy was the only one who couldn't get out. Sammy is also our youngest swimmer and I'm impressed that she is game to try and get through the surf when it is this rough.  Once we were beyond the surf line we found that there was still a strong red tide. Yuch!  We swam to the end of the pier hoping for clearer water but instead found it to be worse. It looked like there was a blue spot to the west so we headed towards it and did find clean water, but we couldn't' stay there all afternoon so we came on the west side of the pier through the crud.

At the end of the pier

Enjoying the patch of blue water

We covered about .8 of a mile and felt that we deserved credit for a greater distance because of the energy spent getting out and back in. ;-)

Thanks to Sue, Sammy and Sidney's mom. for the photos from the shore.