Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday July 31, 2011

Avila Beach at 10:30 was gray, with solid overcast and calm with a glassy surface on the water. The water looked very clean and the waves were limited to an occasional 2+ footer. I measured a water temperature of 59 but later the swimmers consensus was that it was 57 -58. Sylvia and Yvonne went out early and swam the buoy line. There were out before the rest of us started and said that the water felt cold. I do not know if this was because of the overcast, because a lack of sunshine can really make a difference in how the water feels. The 11 o'clock group all swam the same route; the triangle counterclockwise. Swimming today were Niel, Rob, Duke, Chad, Liz, Ryan, Kimber, Amy, Margaret and Ed. By the time we were finishing the wind was showing up and starting to mess up the surface so our timing was just right. The sun came out as the wind rose so we had a warm and sunny beach to relax on after the swim.
We had several new swimmers today so please let me know if I got any names wrong.

Niel, Rob and Sylvia swam the 38th Santa Cruz Rough Water Swim on Saturday. This is a 1 mile no wetsuit swim around the Santa Cruz Pier. Sylvia tore up the field and finished first in her age group, 70 - 74 in 35.53! Rob finished in 24.05 minutes, 7th in the 30-34's and I put up a 28.11, 12th in the 60 -64's. Rob's GPS had his route at 1600M so the distance was right on. . The race organizers claimed a 58 degree water temperature, and it may have been close to that out at the end of the pier, but closer in to the shore it was more like 56.


more Santa Cruz Rough Water Pictures here!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wednesday Evening, July 27, 2011

When I got to the beach at 5 there were still a lot of people playing in the water which is always a good sign which held up when I got a water temperature of 63. There was a gusty SW breeze and a choppy surface but no whitecaps. I saw only one pelican, no other sea birds, no seals and about 3 dozen hopeful looking bi-pedal carnivores on the pier. No one was having any luck. Swimming this evening were Ryan, John, Rob and Niel. We decided to start on the right side of the pier and to go down to the last buoy at the creek. If the water was comfortable and the chop manageable we would swim over to the Poly Pier and come back to the Avila Pier. When we grouped up at the creek it was all smiles. The water felt very comfortable and the wind was going down so we heard over to the second set of cross bracing on the Poly Pier. Once there we decided not to swim out along the pier for a ways and to head directly to the end of the Avila Pier. This leg is about .4 mile and with the wind on our rear quarter it was a opportunity to settle into a nice rhythm. From the end of the Avila Pier we aimed for the middle buoy of the three on this side, staying well away from the fishing lines trailing off of the pier. We came back to the first buoy near the pier and in. We covered 2200M in a slow 47 minutes. The water was so comfortable that we found ourselves spending a lot of time at the waypoint,s just laying in the water visiting.

Rob and I are doing the Santa Cruz Roughwater Swim on Saturday. You are all welcome to join us. This is a nice 1 mile around-the-pier swim and an easy day trip from San Luis Obispo. Masters membership required. No wetsuits allowed. Beach entry is $35.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The fog and overcast was clearing at 10:30 and it looked like a great day was shaping up at Avila Beach. I got a water temperature of 60 degrees. There was very little wind but a current from the SW was keeping all of the moored boats pointing in the same direction. The water looked pretty flat but that turned out to be deceiving. There were many fishermen on the pier but I did not see anyone pulling anything in. While I was on the pier I saw no sea birds or seals. We had 9 swimmers today and did 4 different swims. Sylvia Yvonne and Ed, who was visiting from the southland, started first and swam about a mile along the buoy line. The rest of us; Rob, Niel, Kamber, Chad, Dale and Duke, started a few minutes later. I am doing the Santa Cruz Roughwater Swim next Saturday so I was committed to going without my usual wetsuit today and doing a mile along the buoy line. I was the first to start swimming, not being interested in prolonging my acclimation, and the rest of the group followed me down the buoy line to the left. I doubled back along the buoy line, almost butting heads with Chad, while the rest of the group headed to the top of the Avila Pier. I swam under the pier and down to the creek and back completed my tour of the buoys in 25 minutes. I got out just ahead of Sylvia's group. When Rob's group reached the buoy at the creek Rob and Duke decided to double back along the way then had come while Dale, Chad and Kamber continues along the buoys back to the pier. That route was about 1.25 miles while Rob and Duke did somewhere between 1.5 and 1.75 miles. Everybody agreed that the water felt colder than 60, except for a warm spot near the mouth of the creek. Rob and I also agreed that while swimming there was more chop and small waves than was apparent by the look of the water.
The beach had warmed up nicely and promoted several post swim naps on the warm sand.

Everyone is welcome to join Rob and I on Wednesday evening when we get in the water at 5:30.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday, July 17. 2011

It was a beautiful swimming day at Avila Beach today. The water was 56 degrees and clear. There was no wind and the surface of the water was about as flat as the ocean gets. There were only a few people fishing from the pier and before the swim I saw no seabirds or seals in the water. We did two swims today. Dale, Amy, Sylvia and Yvonne swam a triangular route starting left down the buoy line, continuing to the end of the Avila Pier, down to the buoy at the creek and back to the pier. Niel, Rob, Duke, Pete and Chad swam out to the end of the Avila Pier and headed over to the Poly Pier on a route that was roughly parallel to the beach. Except for one cold spot this leg was some of the smoothest ocean swimming I have had at Avila. Our route put us at the third set of cross bracing out from the shore on the Poly Pier. We swam parallel to the pier (I swam between the pilings which was cool!) back towards the shore to the second set of cross bracing which is our usual waypoint when we swim over here. From there we continued to the buoy at the creek and along the buoy line to the Avila Pier, under the pier and in to the beach. Rob had 2300M, or 1.4 miles, on his GPS and we were in the water for 55 minutes. The temperature on the beach was just about perfect for napping. Matt Farmer came by and chatted for a while. By 1:30 the wind had still not come up, the swimming conditions still looked great but it was getting hot on the beach and we were down wind from a smoker so we all packed up and got on with our respective Sunday's


**For anyone that might be interested there's a good Masters Swimming open water race coming up in Santa Cruz on the 30th. It's 1 mile around the wharf and a lot of fun, this will be my third year in a row swimming it! You can read more and get the entry information here: Keep in mind that if you aren't a member of USMS you will have to sign up in order to participate in the event! - Rob D.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday Evening, July13, 2011

It was another warm Wednesday, our fourth in a row when the water temperature was warmer on Wednesday evening than it was on the previous Sunday. This evening the water was an even 60 degrees. Not quite the 65 or 67 of previous Wednesday evenings but still warmer than the 58 we had on Sunday. There was a big change in the conditions this evening as there was a stiff wind blowing out of the SW. The chop was a short foot in height and white-capping all of the way inside of the buoy lines. The only predators in sight were about 3 dozen fishermen on the pier. They were regularly pulling in silver fish about a foot long, possibly smelt. (What do you say Al ?) There were no pelicans, other sea birds or seals to be seen. It was Ryan and I swimming this evening. Given the number of fishing lines that the wind was trailing out far to the east of the pier we decided to go out on the west (towards the port) side. I was thinking of doing a box shaped route; swimming the length of the Avila Pier and then going over to the mid-point of the Poly Pier, back towards shore along the Poly Pier to our usual meeting point at the second set of cross bracing and from there to the creek buoy, along the buoy line to the Avila Pier. When Ryan and I met up at the end of the Avila Pier we found ourselves bobbing around in some pretty rough conditions. The leg to the Poly Pier would be almost directly into the chop and if the wind freshened any amount my original route could become more of an adventure swim than we were looking for. So, we decided to head to Fossil Point and come back along the buoy line. The swim with a following wind and chop was fun, with a couple of chances to surf down the face of a small wave. The leg back to the pier was a good workout with steady water breaking over your head. I found that breathing on alternate sides worked best. I was swallowing the same amount of water no matter which side I breathed on and breathing every third stroke meant fewer opportunities to take on water. This swim was about 1.25 miles and we were in the water for 38 minutes.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Sunday, July 10, 2011

We had a big group and nice conditions at Avila on Sunday. It was sunny and clam with very little wind. The water was 58 and still looking pretty good. There were no sea birds of any kind to be seen, one seal and about a dozen fishermen on the pier. It is common for the people fishing off of the pier to attach a balloon to their line as a float. Today a group were using blue exam gloves instead of balloons so there was a whole series of blue hands waiving from the surface of the water. We started with a good sized group and picked up a couple more on the way. Starting out were Pete, Dale, Sylvia, Niel, Duke, Chad, Kimber and Bobby (from the SLO Tri Club). Just as we were getting in Jorge, who was visiting the area from Vancouver (?), at least Canada, joined us. He swims in lakes and was anxious to get in the ocean. With new people along we did the triangle route clockwise, as that route does not extend out past the end of the pier and would allow a swimmer to pick a shorter route to shore if prudent. Having fun and staying safe is always our first priority. We headed out and swung wide to the left away from the fishing lines from the pier, grouped up at the first buoy and headed down the line the the end. While we were regrouping we met a member of the Cal Poly tri team who was out for a swim on his own. He joined us for the rest of the route. We swam to the end of the pier, on to the end of the right hand buoy line at the creek, back along the buoys to the pier and in to the beach. Post swim beach conditions were perfect for a nap and the pull of the warm sand was too strong for some. Me, I went to Trader Joe's, where I ran into Dale, (are we like salmon, swimming upstream or something?), went home, got started on the ironing and watched the Tour. What a complete train wreck of a day! Crashes in wet conditions are one thing, unfortunate but an accepted risk, but having two leaders taken out bu a TV car is unbelievable.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wednesday Evening July 6,, 2011

67! That was about all anyone needed to know about Avila Beach last night. It was high tide and some very warm water had been pushed into the bay. there was a steady breeze out of the SE that was holding up a small chop and a strong current going in the same direction. The water was clean looking and there were no pelicans, fishermen or other feeding species in evidence. Rob, Niel and Ryan were swimming. We decided to do a big triangle swim; we started down the buoy line to the left and went all of the way to Fossil Point, came back to the end of the Avila Pier and then to the end of the buoy line at the creek. We finished up by coming back along the buoy line and under the pier. The water temperature was very even with some spots that were even warmer. We tended to spend a lot of time at the turning points just hanging out and enjoying ourselves. This swim was 2,350m and we are in the water for 52 minutes. The makes three Wednesday evenings in a row where we had water temperatures in the 60's, and temps back in the mid 50's on the following Sunday. Don't ask me to explain it, but I'll sure be back next Wednesday eveining.