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.


Monday, April 23, 2018

Sunday, April 22, 2018

We had a beautiful day for a swim. Avila was warm and sunny with no wind. The surf was small and the water was 52 degrees. Today's crew consisted of NIel, Heidi, Tom, Matti, Chris, Karen, Irana, Amy, John, Jonny, Lee and Maria. 
The route was to swim east down the buoy line, to the end of the Avila Pier, over and around an anchored sailboat, back to the end of the pier and in along the pier.  There were at least three variations by the individual groups.  I pretty much did the planned swim and covered 1.2 miles.

Sadly, my Richo WG-20 waterproof camera that has served faithfully for many years has succumbed to its continual immersion in salt water, so there won't be any photos for the blog until I have sourced a replacement.


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sunday, April 15, 2018

We had springlike conditions today at Avila Beach. It was gray with clearing overcast, cool, no wind, 2' to 3' waves with clear and cold water. The water temperature was 50 to 52 degrees and the swimming conditions were excellent.  Swimming were regulars Niel, Jonny, Karen and Duke who were joined by Tom and Sue whe we haven't seen in a while and we were joined by Matti and Ivana. Matti is a strong swimmer but this was her first swim with us and Ivana's first ocean swim ever. The buoys are in. All eight have been replaced with new ones that are easier to see.
The plan was to swim the buoy line but immediately broke up into 3.5 different swims; Niel, Jonny and Karen did the swim in the plot. Duke and Ivana went down a few buoys and back but spent a half hour in the water getting used to this ocean thing.  Tom, Matti and Sue (the fastest swimmers) also followed the route in the plot but at the end of the pier Tom and Matti went to the last buoy at the creek and back to the start while Sue (with no wetsuit) swam over to the Cal Poly Pier and back to the start on her own. The extra time in the water was not an issue for her. Sue lives in London and drops in with us when she is here visiting her son. She swims in the Long Water in Hyde Park year round and admittedly stops getting in when the water drops below 7°C, which is 44.6°F. She thought today's conditions were 'lovely'.

Qualifications for the lifeguards were underway.

That is Matti and Karen at the first buoy with Jonny, 
Tom, Duke, Ivana and Sue in the background

Jonny, Karen, Duke, Ivana and Matti at the first buoy.


Karen back at the start

Jonny back at the start


Sunday, April 8, 2018

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Today's conditions were offshore breezes, a very low tide at 12:10 2 to 4' surf and clean and cold water. I measured 54 degrees in the knee deep water from where I can stand on the pier. Out past the surf line it felt like 52ish.
In the water today were Niel, John, Jonny, Amy, Heidi and Haley. Haley is a college swimmer who joined us today for her first ocean immersion prior to a Alcatraz swim with five friends.  She was smiling when we got out.
We swam out, turned east and swam parallel to the beach to the end of the sea wall. Swam to the end of the pier and over a reef we don't usually notice. The tide was low enough that we found ourselves in the kelp and almost grounding on the rocks. The reef is visible in the route map, it's the dark spot near the start of the leg towards the end of the pier. From the end of the pier we swam back around an anchored sailboat (in the top photo), around the boat and to the beach for a nice mile plus.
Amy, grouping up at the start

along with Heidi, 


Haley and


Haley, Heidi and John at the end of the Avila Pier.

Duke rode by and we spoke for a bit. He took a tumble and cracked a rib so he is not swimming for a while.  Dude, be safe with those peddlers and keep  shiny side up, rubber side down.

John, Amy and Heidi will be out of town next weekend. Jonny and I will be swimming with anyone else who cares to join us.


Sunday, April 1, 2018

Sunday April First, 2018

Avila Beach was trying to clear off the overcast when we were getting in the water. The water temperature was 52 to 54, flat, with no wind and 2+ foot surf. 
Duke, Sue (mom of) Sam & Sydney, Karen, Heidi, Maria, Amy, John and Jonny 
and Niel behind the camera
 Everyone swam out, under the pier and down to the mouth of the creek. John, Jonny, Sydney and Amy swam to the end of the Avila Pier, to where the last buoy would be on the east side of the pier and back parallel to the beach.  Niel, Duke, Karen, Heidi and Maria swam over to the Cal Poly Pier and back. Both groups covered a little over a mile. 

John, Jonny, Duke, Sydney, Karen, Amy, Maria and Heidi 
at the mouth of the creek. 

Maria, Karen, Heidi (and Niel) listening to Duke about his getting smoked by Sydney.
Duke you may have been a waterpolo star, but your mustache is white and she is 16.
You are going to have to get used to this.

When the other group was at the end of the Avila Pier John thought that he felt something swim across his feet. He yelled to the ocean that he was not an hors d'oeuvre!
Jonny was inspired to composed the following limerick:

An english professor named John,
Went for an ocean swim a mile long,
He said "I may have some nerve,
But I'm not an hors d'oeuvre", 
And then in one bite he was .........


Sunday, March 25, 2018

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Today's post is by Amy

We swam a kilometer today instead of a mile in honor of the Halifaxan contingent: Jonny, his dad Gerard, who accompanied the swimmers on surfboard, and brother Evan, who stalwartly guarded our stuff on the beach.

The rest of the motley crew of swimmers included Amy and John. We entered at low tide; the water temp was 49 to 50 degrees, tops. Jonny, John and Gerard all got tossed by a series of waves going in, which gave Amy a rare advantage in getting ahead of the pack. That first leg to the end of the pier was chilly, but we motored briskly. We swung toward the point, going wide of the reef buoy, and returned to a point high on the pier, at least midway or higher between the imaginary buoy line and the end.

The wind and swells between the pier and reef buoy (plus the temperature) made a challenging passage, as did the swim to the beach against a strong tide current. But we had the sun and clear water to cheer us. After we could feel our feet again on the beach, we agreed it was an altogether wonderful day.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sunday, March 18, 2018

A drive by by this parasailer made it feel like summer. 

Niel, Heidi, Karen, Amy and Jonny swam today. Jonny's friend Shawn accompanied us in his kayak. Avila weas sunny and calm. The water temperature was 52 degrees, with small surf and no wind at the start of the swim. This was the first weekend that the lifeguards were on duty. The buoys are not in yet but I did get to say hello to Jon Harmse.
The route was out to the end of the Avila Pier, to the mouth of San Luis Obispo Creek, parallel to the beach to the approximate location of the most easterly buoy, back to the end of the pier and in. I clocked 1.61 miles with a wet to dry time of 58 minutes. We got split up getting everyone in the water. Amy, Karen and I stuck together and it was cold enough that we didn't wait for Jonny and Amy. 

Heidi and Karen at the end of the pier the first time. 

The same spot, just a selfie with Heidi and Karen in the background
 Amy has not been swimming in the ocean lately so she got out when she came under the pier. I'm not sure what Jonny did at that point.
Karen when we came under the pier. 

Heidi at the same spot.

Karen, Heidi and I swam to the approximate location of the most easterly buoy. Heidi returned along our route parallel to the beach. Karen and I swam to the end of the Avila Pier and came in along the pier. On the way to the pier it had clouded over and I began feeling colder. The wind had come up out of the SW so there was some chop to push into on this leg before ducking behind the pier so we had flat water for the last leg.

We are predicted to receive 4 to 6 inches of rain Tuesday through Thursday, so water quality conditions on the coming Sunday are iffy at this point. 
I will be out of town Thursday through Sunday, so I not only won't be swimming Sunday but I will not be able to collect water samples from the creek on Thursday, so anybody who is thinking about swimming on Sunday will have to fall back on licking a finger and sniffing the air to determine what the bug count is.
Heidi and Karen will also not be swimming this coming Sunday. 

Kris saw Sylvia Glenn at the Health Fair yesterday. She had a bad time with her asthma during the fires and then was down for a month with the flu. She is doing much better and we hope to see her back at the beach soon so we can celebrate a late 80th birthday with her in the ocean.