Sunday, March 19, 2023

Sunday, March 19th, 2023

 Swimming Before the Storm -

I jumped in early this morning in order to beat the predicted rain. There were light showers at Avila, it was gray and overcast with a light wind. The air temperature was 51° and the water was 10°C/50°F.  I didn't notice the water temperature much because the water was a mess. There was a complex chop and swell out of the SSE.  After my first stroke all I was thinking about how I would get in time with such a messy surface.
There was a one foot and a three foot cop with 'mixed seas' in between. The three foot chop was in sets so I'd get these sudden rollercoaster rides. It took me 12 minutes to swim the 420M to the end of the Avila Pier, so I decided today was going to be an hour swim and let the distance be whatever it was.  

Near Fossil Point. Doesn't look too bad from this angle. 

What I'd see when I breathed.

When swimming east, parallel to the beach, the chop was on my right shoulder. Once I turned around it was on left foot so I had a easer time of it and made better time.
It was odd swimming into the shore. I kept checking for waves but there were none. The chop just continued until it broke on the beach. 

Tom swam later in the morning. 

Tom's Report - 
Pretty crazy swim this morning. 53° air temperature when I got in at 10:30. Big chop and swell. I only stayed in for 30 minutes. Brrrrr! 

If, as predicted, we get only a tenth to a quarter inch by Tuesday morning I'll swim early before the main storm arrives.  Thursday looks chancy


Thursday, March 16, 2023

Thursday, March 16th, 2023



Tom's Thursday swim report: it was clear and sunny at Avila this morning. The air temperature was about 58 when I got in at 10:15. The water was about 50 or 51 again today.  And yes, the water had some debris in it, and was definitely stirred up, but out at the end of the other Avila Pier, it was more green and less murky. I know Niel is shaking his head, saying I was swimming in tons of bacteria, but I have two theories on that… The first is, if the creeks aren't washed out by now, then we're always swimming in tons of bacteria. And the second is, there wasn't really that much rain in the past week…  but, then, I did swim the day of the tsunami, so maybe I'm not the best judge of these things.   And finally, you'll notice the lifeguard tower is back. Tis the season. 

Thanks Tom. I hope you bacteria theory holds up.  The entire creek channel and bottom has been scoured clean but after every storm the bacteria levels in San Luis Creek have gone back to the same high bacteria loads. This is a new thing for this winter and seems to indicate a bacteria source that has not been previously identified or a new one. You can keep an eye on the numbers at

I'll be traveling a lot an will probably only get in a few swims before April, when my plan is to get back in the water as much as possible.

bacteria levels 


Monday, March 13, 2023

Tuesday, March 13th, 2023

Tom's Swim Report -

Tom's between storm swim report: it was about 59° when I got in the water at 10:30. The water was glassy with a pretty decent swell coming through. The water was a little stirred up, but it wasn't dirty. I did stay on the east side out of respect for the possible bacterial residual. The big news, though, is the water is up to 50 or 51°. Amazing how much warmer at feels than when it's under 50!

Thanks Tom.


Sunday, March 12, 2023

Sunday, march 12th, 2023


In spite of the brown water and bacteria Tom and I were all set to get in this morning up to this point, when we decided to wait for the water in San Luis Creek to go back down a bit more.
Thanks to the friend of Kris's in Germany who sent this. Apparently is was all over European social media  

Tuesday doesn't look likely because of heavy rain. I'll not be swimming again until Sunday, if the water cleans up.


Thursday, March 9, 2023

Thursday, March 9th, 2023

So beautiful, so cold.

I got in a bit after 7. It was 41°, clear and sunny with no wind. The ocean had a glassy surface with some swell and the surf was only 2 feet +/-. It looked like a wonderful morning for a swim.
I had decided to get over to the end of the Cal Poly Pier today. It had been long enough since the last rain the the water off of the mouth of SLO Creek should be nice and clean. By tomorrow the rain will have put a new load of bacteria into the creek which might last for another week.
There was some shock and awe when I started swimming. I would measure a water temperature of 9°C/48.2°F at the end of the CPP, and there were some colder spots, but it was beautiful out there today.  

Tom's Swim Report

Tom's Thursday swim report: glassy, calm water, Clear blue skies and sunny.  Gorgeous day at Avila. It was 56° air temperature when I got in at 9:45. The water remains 48°.  Beautiful swimming day, although I can only handle about 50 minutes at that temperature. Nevertheless, an excellent day swimming. 

With several inches of rain predicted for Friday/Saturday I do not expect to be back in the water until Tuesday.


Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Tuesday, March 7th, 2023

I got in at 7. It was sunny, 37°, with a few small clouds and an offshore breeze that was chopping up the water's surface. The waves were 2 to 3 foot and the water was nice and clean, and COLD. I measured 49° out at the end of the Avilla Pier.  
I attempted to swim from the end of the Avila Pier to each of the swim buoys, which will not be back in the water until spring. I guessed at the locations, swam in until I was getting into the surf and got pushed around by the wind and chop.    

I felt extra cold today. I don't know why, it was just a day when I felt it more or didn't do as well keeping my mind on other things. 

I'm beginning to wonder how long the sub 50° water temperatures are going to last and if I should get some booties because my feet are freezing when I get out and is this extra cold water thing going to last until May? 

We are having a winter with unusually cold water temperatures and excessive amounts of rain and snow. I wonder if there is a connection?  

Tom's Tuesday coordinates for my Avila swim: air temperature was 55 when I got in at 9:50. As it has been for the past week and a half, the water was 48, 49 based on my toes. There was a breeze, and the water was very choppy.  The water was clean and clear. Very nice morning swim.   

I'll be back at 7 on Thursday morning. 


Sunday, March 5, 2023

Sunday, March 5th, 2023

 I didn't swim today. This is Tom's report:

Another 48° swim day. The water remains under 50°. Air temperature was 50° when I got in at 10. Initially it was complete cloud cover. By the middle of the swim, the sun had broken out in the clear blue skies were showing. The water was clear and beautiful, a pretty large rolling swell. All in all an excellent day. of swimming.

I'll swim Tuesday morning at 7.


Saturday, March 4, 2023

Saturday, March 4th, 2023

Jodi and I swam today!  I was not expecting her and was a bit late so we almost missed each other, but the timing was just right, she saw me turning towards the beach as she was leaving, so she came back. Her right shoulder is tight from surgery and she can only breath on the left, but here she was. It was two or three years ago the Jodi first showed up to swim. It was this time of the year and the water was as cold as it gets, so here she is getting back in after months on the beach with the water between 48° and 50°.    
It was gray and calm. The air temp was 48°, the water was 10°C/50°F, but felt colder, and had the same multiple swells as it had on Thursday.  

Jodi might have been having some second thoughts when we were getting in. 

We swam out to the gate on the pier and down the 'buoy line' to the big rock. 
Jodi figured that a half hour was going to be good and turned back at that point. 
I continued on to Fossil Point.

Garmin says that todays' swim was 800M shorter than Thursday's, which doesn't seem right. Today I didn't use the end of the Avila Pier as a turning point, so this route would be some shorter but 800M less in the same time?  

At Fossil Point
The Point is more exposed to the swell that the Avila Pier 
so it was a pretty lumpy swim at this end.

Getting in it felt really cold, like Thursday, (ask Jodi), so I was surprised to see 10°C on the thermometer, but at the end of today's hour my feet and arms were not as deeply cold so I'll go with 50° with a felt minus for the lack of sun and gray skies.

Tom has water polo today and is planning on swimming tomorrow. 

It looks like the big storm that has been in the news for this weekend will be mostly north of the Bay Area so I'll swim tomorrow unless it really dumps.


Thursday, March 2, 2023

Thursday, March 2nd, 2023

I thought that Tom's toes might have been off when he reported a water temperature of 48° - 49° on Tuesday but the toes were right on.  I measured 9°C/48.2°F today and was glad of it. While getting in and out thru the surf the water felt cold but about the same but buy the time I was approaching Fossil Point I was feeling the cold more than I would expect at 50°, so I'm glad it was not just me.      

I got in at 7:15. It was 39°, clear, beautiful and sunny with a gusty wind. I stayed on the east side of the pier, away from the mouth of the creek. The water was nice and clean with no sign or taste of silt in the water. The swell was up a bit and outside there were rolling SE and SW swells that made things lumpy.     

I waited until I was back at the pier to read the water temperature. That way I could avoid confirming what I was feeling until the end of the swim. My toes were noticeably colder than usual and didn't warm up until I was home and in the shower.  

It was beautiful and really bumpy off of Fossil Point.

Tom's Swim Report - 
Brrrrr! Tom's 10 AM swim report: the air temperature was 54 when I got in at 10 AM. The water was significantly calmer than on Tuesday but the temperature was 48° again. I could only manage about 40 minutes at that temperature. Clear blue skies with a slight breeze.  Hey good morning vitamin.  

I'll swim Saturday morning at 7 and if the predicted rain is as light as promised I'll swim on Sunday at 11. 


Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Tuesday, February 28th, 2023

Tom's Swim Report -

Interesting day of swimming at Avila. Their temperature was about 55 when I got in at 10 AM. The water temperature was 48 or 49°. There is a decent swell and a roll to go along with it. It made for interesting swimming.  I stayed on the east side out of respect for the possible high bacteria count.  The water was pretty normal once I got out past the gate on the Avila Pier.  From what I saw, it was less than an inch of rain from Saturday until today. There was a muddy, distinct line in the water on the east side out to about the gate. Then the water was pretty much normal beyond And out at fossil point it was totally normal.   

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Tom and I both found the idea of large waves, 50 - 51 degree water, rain and high winds to not measure up to our standards of a worthy Adventure Swim so we both stayed under the covers this morning. 
Avila looks pretty nice right now with a stormy surface but small waves. 

I'll go down there tomorrow morning to kick the tires and hope to swim.


Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

I got in at 7:10 this morning. The air temperature was 38°, the water was 10°C/50°, the waves were small and that lumpy SW swell is still with us. There were high thin clouds and it felt like the weather was changing.  The breeze was offshore and by 8 o'clock the Custom House was firing up their grill so the whole ocean smelled like bacon grease.  😝     

As usual, I'd made up a suitably interesting route last night, pondered if it would be at least 3200M and gave it a go this morning. I was only 1000M off.  It was a cold swim but it didn't feel as cold as the 49° on Sunday.  So much of that is mental. 

I spoke with Phil Costanzo when I was at the showers. He is a lifeguard and the guards are starting their training now to be in shape for when Jr. Guards starts in June.  

Tom's Swim Report - 

My Tuesday swim coordinates are: 56° air temperature when I got in at 10 o'clock, 9.5° water temperature based on my toes, face, hands and arms, excellent water clarity, solid marine layer, and a bumpy chop. A good morning swim. 

Looking at the weather report, I'm not sure about Thursday. NOAA says rain with wind gusts to 25 mph and an air temp of 51°. I'll see if that sounds like fun Thursday morning.



Sunday, February 19, 2023

Sunday, February 19th, 2023

 Avila put on a perfect early summer day for all of the President's Day tourists, and there were a lot of them. Parking, traffic and the number of people on the beach all reminded me of summer, including the long line of cars that were still heading toward Avila at 1:15 when I was leaving.

I got in at 11. The air temperature was 70°. It was sunny and clear with only a slight breeze. There was a small short period swell out of the SW that was much stronger once I was out beyond the end of the Avila Pier.  The water temperature was 10°C/50°F and with the strong sun and warmer air temperature it felt more than a degree warmer than yesterday. 
From the end of the Avila Pier I did a tour of the Cal Poly Pier and then a lap around the reef buoy. The legs over to and along the CPP were across the swell and then behind me for a nice push back to the Avila Pier and the reef buoy. 

The beach and Front Street were crowded and there was a line at the showers, just like summer.

Afterwards it felt wonderful on the beach getting warm and lazy and seeing who was going to regret trying to get their summer tan on all in one day.

I'll swim at 7 on Tuesday.

Tom's Swim Report:

I swam today. Saw you going out as I was coming in. I thought it was 50° today. Water and day were beautiful.  


Saturday, February 18, 2023

Saturday, February 18th, 2023

I got in a bit after 7 this morning. It was a beautiful morning in Avila Beach. It was 39°, calm and clear. There were a lot of people on the beach; 5 people surf fishing and two surfers, plus the dog walkers, which is a crowd for early on a February morning. I had planned on doing a big double triangle for about 4000M. I got in on the west side and got out between a fisherman and a surfer. Tom had said that on Thursday his toes were telling him that the water was below 50°.

As I was getting in the water felt about 50°- 51° but when I was swimming towards the creek mouth my arms were already starting to feel the cold. The water didn't look rough but there was a very choppy like swell that made the entire out lap a lot of work and gave me something else to try and think about. I measured the water temperature on my second pass by the end of the Avila Pier and had 9.5°C/49.1°F. I would have been disappointed if the temp was above 50° because it felt colder than it has been this winter.  

At the end of the Avila Pier.
The swimming conditions are outstanding this time of the year as 
long as you can deal with the water temperature.

Gear Report -
This is a good day to give my winter wetsuit and other gear a big thankyou.
I'm a cold water wimp.
In the summer I wear a Orca Openwater RS1 Thermal wetsuit which is warm, extremely flexible and comfortable to swim in. I add their Openwater Base Layer T-Shirt for another 1.2mm when the water temp gets close to 55° and I start feeling the cold more than I like. 
Below 55° I switch to a Patagonia R3  3.5/4.5 surf suit. It even has knee pads. I've worn out 6 of these. They fit great and lets me keep swimming into the coldest water temperatures we see at Avila Beach. I was in the water for 93 minutes this morning and though I felt the cold I didn't get cold. If I had some nutrition with me I could have stayed in longer. 
The Orca and the R3 cost about the same.
I add a Orca neoprene cap below 55°
I always wear Aqua Sphere Vista goggles which have two big advantages over pool or tir goggles: the have a big field of view which makes finding my landmarks easy and the big skirt protects my sinuses from the cold water so I do not get an ice cream headache when I get in.
These goggles come in three sizes, the Kayenne is the smallest, then the Vista and the Seal. You need to find the size that fits your face so they don't leak. 
I think GH Sports here in SLO carries all three.

I'll swim tomorrow at 11.


Thursday, February 16, 2023

Thursday, February 16th, 2023


Tom's Report -  

Gorgeous winter day at Avila this morning. The air temperature was 51° when I got there at 10:15.   Blue skies, the sun was out with a slight marine layer. The water was calm and glassy with a verry slight roll. The swell that has been in the area has pretty much dwindled down to nothing.  And my feet are telling me the water temperature was 9.8°C!  Yep. I'm calling it under 50°. Beautiful day of swimming.

Thanks Tom.