Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday, August 29. 2010

There was no fog at Avila Beach today. At 10:15 it was sunny t-shirt weather and there was no wind. There were several individual and a couple of groups of seals on both sides of the pier. There was a very large group of 100's of birds roosting on the water about 3/4 of a mile directly off shore from the beach. They were not feeding and were moving steadily to the west. A pod of approximately 6 large dark grey dolphins swam by from east to west about even with the end of the pier. I think that dolphins are always a good sign because of their reported agressive behavior towards sharks. In keeping with its recent habit of providing warm water on Wednesday evenings and cold water on Sunday mornings, the ocean temperature was back down to 54 degrees from Wednesday's 62. We had nine swimmers today; Sylvia, Niel, Joe, Rick, Chad, Allison, Duke, Pete and Yvonne. Sylvia, Joe, Allison and Yvonne decided to swim a shorter route along the buoy line. The rest of us selected a long buoy line route, starting by going down to Fossil Point, all of the way back to the last buoy at the creek, and back along the way we came, under the pier a second time and in. Rick was the only one of the swimmers on the long route who had on a farmer john instead of a full suit. He elected to cut his swim short as the wind was kicking up and his arms must of been freezing. A strong wind had come up quickly and when we emerged from under the pier onto the creek side of the buoy line we were greeted by a head high chop and current pushing towards us. When we regrouped at the last buoy at the creek the flags on the boats in the bay were standing straight out and the chop was starting to develop white caps. On the way back to the pier the chop was now breaking over my head and I was getting regular mouth fulls of water. Buy the time we were on the beach the whitecaps were in all of the way to the surf line.
Rob and I will be back on Wednesday evening expecting another dose of warm(er) water.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wednesday Evening, August 25, 2010

Avila Beach was performing at it's best Wednesday evening. The Central Coast's typical summer marine layer had reestablished itself during the day and all of the west facing beaches were fogged in. But Avila Beach is one of our few beaches that faces south, so at 4:30 it was bright and sunny, sitting in a big hole in the fog that was wrapped all the way from the hills behind Port San Luis, out and around all of the way to Shell Beach. There was a light breeze out of the West, enough to put a ripple on the water and set up a right to left current along the beach. The water temperature was 62, continuing our summer of yo-yoing temperatures. the water was 53 degrees last Sunday and 61 on Wednesday of last week. In truth, compared to the beaches south of Pt. Conception where summer water temperatures will edge into the 70's, the water here is always cold, but 62 has a lot less cold in it than 53. I saw no seals, there were no fishermen on the pier and I saw only a dozen pelicans, who were disorganized and only occasionally diving on a fish. It was Rob, Pete and I tonight. We decided to do a long buoy line swim; out at the pier and left, continuing past the last buoy all of the way to Fossil Point. Then reversing all of the way back along the buoy line, under the pier to the last buoy at the creek, then back along the buoys, under the pier a second time and in to the beach. Our total time, with stops to regroup and enjoy the view, was 48 minutes.. The distance was 1.25 miles. When we were picking up our towels and getting ready to head to the showers we noticed a huge bait ball about 3/4 of a mile straight off of the beach with 100's of birds diving on bait fish. I'm glad this was after we got out, because I prefer to not be in the water when everything else in the vicinity is either eating or being eaten.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday, August 22,2010

A simple description of Avila Beach this morning was fog, lots of dense fog. The sun was shining just a couple of blocks inland but the fog was laying on the surface of the water and up on the beach. there was no wind so the water was flat and smooth. In keeping with the totally unpredictable temperature swings this summer the water was a bracing 53. This was after a 61 on the previous Wednesday evening. Waiting on the beach for the visibility to improve were Tim, Samantha and Pepper from SLO Tri and Niel, Sylvia, Gary Cushing, Gerry Gross, Pete and Chad. I could occasionally see parts of the buoy line from the sand but the fog was coming and going so we decided to wait and see if conditions would improve. At 11:40 the fog was consistently lifting and we could see the end of the pier so we got in. We did a rout that would give us good visual references if the fog came back in. Most of us swam straight out to the end of the pier, around and to the last buoy at the creek. We grouped up there and came back along the buoy line, under the pier and in to the beach. Gerry and Sylvia, forgoing wetsuits, picked their own routes along the buoy line. Other than the temperature the swimming conditions were beautiful and everybody was happy with the swim. By the time we had showered and gotten back to to our chairs the sun was out and the fog was gone.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wednesday Evening, August 28, 2010

It was lovely at Avila yesterday evening but kind'a crowded. The weather and the water was warm so there were still a lot of people both on the beach and in the water at 5 PM. There were also a lot of seals in the water. As individuals and in groups of up to a dozen, there were seals on both sides of the pier. They seemed to be frolicking rather than feeding. Last year I would of called this number of seals a 'high normal', but since there have seen so few seals this year this is the most that I have seen at one time. There were a few pelicans about who would occasionally take an individual dive at a fish. The water was fairly clear and 61 degrees. There was a steady breeze from left to right and a small chop on the water, but no whitecaps. Swimmers were Niel, Pete, Ryan, Lynne and Rob. We swam the buoy line/pier triangle counterclockwise. We had to wait a bit after we regrouped where the 4th buoy used to be while a commercial fishing boat came in along the pier and took a slow turn around to the right before motoring off. We had plenty of seals heads popping up to check us out whenever we stopped. The wind had died by the time we got to the end of the Avila Pier so we had smooth condition for the last half of the course. There were two real cold spots that woke me up out of my warm water comfort but they were not too large. We were in the water about 40 minutes.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday, August 15, 2010

It was another morning of gray sky but no fog at Avila Beach this Sunday. There was a little wind that was coming and going and not very many people on the beach yet. The water temperature was 57 and the water was very clear and green. Other than the few fishermen who were just showing up on the pier I saw no seals, pelicans or any signs of other carnivores looking for a meal. While we were getting suited up I saw an otter, or a very small seal in the surf line but it didn't stay around long enough for a firm identification. Swimming today were Joe, Niel, Pete and Chad. Joining us today was Kelley, who is from Clovis and came over for her first swim in the ocean. Dale did a run-by to say Hi! She is not swimming or riding until her left elbow heals from a minor bike accident. WE went in on the right side of the pier and out to the buoy line. We swam to the last buoy at the creek and regrouped. Kelley was doing fine with the temperature, her new wetsuit and the slight chop and was proving to be a fast swimmer too. We swam from the buoy to the second set of crossbars on the Poly Pier and retraced our route back to the buoy line, along it to and under the Avila Pier and in to the beach. The distance was probably just over a mile and I had a total of 40 minutes in the water.

Rob and Sylvia were in Long Beach at the Naples Island swim this weekend.

I forgot to mention that Pete recently completed the Vineman Triathlon, which was his first attempt at a full ironman race.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wednesday Evening, August 11, 2010

At 5 PM it was sunny and warm at Avila with a light breeze. There were still lots of people on the beach and in the water, which is always a good sign. There were about a dozen pelicans in the area one of which would dive occasionally, but in no concentrated fashion. I saw no seals from the pier when I was taking the water temperature, which was a nice even 60. It was looking like a very nice evening for a swim. When I got back to our stuff on the beach Rob was introduced me to Cliff. Rob had met Cliff this summer at the Masters open water meet near Fort Collins, CO. Cliff was on the west coast with his family, having joined two other Colorado swimmers in a successful triple Catalina Channel crossing on Friday the 6th! That was three swimmers; two men and one woman, one boat, and all three of them completed the swim! While we were asking Cliff to explain where he did his open water training in Colorado (lakes), Lynn and Pete showed up, so we got ready and got in the water. Rob suggested a route I have not done before; out on the left of the pier to the buoy line. left to the last buoy (this is what used to be the third buoy, as the first and fourth buoys are now missing), to the end of the Avila Pier, to the 'crossbars' that are about a third of the way out along the Cal Poly Pier, to the last buoy at the creek and then along the buoys to the pier and in. I recon that this was about 1.75 miles and we were in for 55 minutes. We picked up one seal at the end of the Avila Pier, several more at the Poly Pier and a cormorant that continued diving for fish within reach of Lynn and myself. I had a great swim, good enough to skip the pool this morning and sleep in.


For those of you that haven't seen it yet, Dave swam the Santa Barbara Channel last weekend going from Anacapa to Oxnard! Here's a slideshow of his crossing

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday, August 8,2010

There was a very thick marine layer hanging over the central coast this morning. Avila was very gray, cool and still. The water was flat and glassy but the water temperature had slid down to 55.5 from a nice 60 on the previous Wednesday evening. The predator report indicates some changes besides the water temperature. There were over a dozen fishermen on the pier this morning and they were all out at the end of the pier. There were also 4 or 5 groups of seals also out at the end of the pier. Whatever was going on, apparently that was the place to be. We elected to avoid the end of the pier and swim the buoy line. Swimming today were Niel, Rob, Duke (who was the overall winner of the Bull Canyon Tri yesterday!) Silvia, Susan, Pete and joining us for the first time; Joe. We have now lost the last buoy on the left hand side of the pier. Don't know what happened, it is just not there now. This leaves us with two buoys making the line on the left side with and the stray buoy that has been out on the reef since spring. I do not know what this means for the definition of the 'no boats/swimming' area. Anyway, we took the opportunity to do a swim along the line of the buoys and extending it along the length of the beach almost all of the way to Fossil Point and back. This was probably about a mile.
Rob and I will be here on Wednesday evening. Rob and Sylvia are doing Naples Is. in Long Beach next weekend. I'll be at Avila.

Yesterday Dave Van Mouwerik successfully completed the 12.4 mile channel crossing from Anacapa Is. to the mainland. I don't have any details but congratulations to Dave! That's huge.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wednesday Evening, August 4, 2010

Wednesday was just another beautiful summer evening at Avila. While it is hot and probably humid anywhere east of Bakersfield, at 5 PM in Avila it was sunny and t-shirt and shorts comfortable, with just a bank of fog on the surface of the water way out there. There was some small chop on the water but the wind was dying and the surface was laying down. The water temperature was 60. The water has gotten more cloudy lately, but it is not yet close to being the brown plankton laden soup of summers past. The predator report consisted of 8 fishermen on the pier and two pelicans that were occasionally diving on a snack. Just before we got in a small pod of dolphins cruised down the buoy line on the left of the pier, we saw one seal head while swimming and after dinner Kris and I watched an otter play in the surf straight off of the steps where we gather. Swimmers were Niel, Lynne, Joel and Rob. We went out parallel to the pier on the left side, around the end, to the last buoy at the creek and retraced our route back to the beach. The water had completely flattened out and at 60 degrees felt wonderfully relaxing. I felt stronger the longer I swam and put in a push along the length of the pier coming back in. We were in for 40 minutes.

Everyone should keep thoughts of flat and warm seas in their mind this weekend for Dave Van Mouwerk, who will attempt the 12 mile swim from Anacapa Island to the mainland.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sunday August 1,2010

Our cold summer weather continues. It was very gray at Avila his morning with thick clouds all the way of the horizon. Visibility was fine but there was no warmth. The water temperature was 57.5, a little wind with a lot more south in it than is usual, (more typical of when we are expecting rain) but no real chop and an occasional 3+ft. wave. The water was dirty, possibly because to the southern wind. No fishermen on the pier, virtually no birds or any sign of sea life. Niel, Sylvia, Brittany and Chad swam. Rick and Rhonda enjoyed lunch on the beach. We swam the buoy line. Brittany dropped off at half way. The water was oddly warmer on the creek side of the pier. This was not a major swim but afterwards I felt good, Sylvia was smiling and I think it helped Chad cure his jet-lag.

I'll be here on Wednesday evening.