Sunday, May 9, 2021

Sunday, May 9th, 2021

Looking east from the Avila Pier along the buoy line.

We had a nice morning at Avila Beach today. At 7:30 it was sunny and still, 46° and what light fog there had been was almost burned off.  The water temperature was 53° and the water was clear and glassy. 

This ship has been mooring in the bay the last few days. I think it was here last year for work connected with laying undersea cables.

Swimming this morning were Duke, Pat, Niel and Jodi. Pat lives in Santa Maria and had connected with Duke about doing some open water swimming. This was to be his first ocean swim on this side of the Pacific. He previous experience had been swimming in the ocean around Okinawa.  We started out by going down the swim zone buoys to the east and back and then under the pier to the west end of the buoys at the creek mouth. There was no stinky water there today. We swam to the end of the Avila Pier and regrouped. Duke and Pat went in while Jodi and Niel went over to the third crossbars on the C.P. Pier, swam along the pier to the second crossbars and then back to the first buoy and in. 
The air temperature was not as warm as yesterday and the wind was not coming up as early but the conditions made for a very nice swim.

We saw Tom Lorish as he was getting in.       

Pat, Jodi and Niel at the forth buoy on the east side. 

Niel, Duke and Pat at the same spot.

I'll swim Tuesday morning at 8.



Saturday, May 8, 2021

Saturday, May 8th, 2021

This morning I had decided to go to the SLO Farmers Market at 8 and to swim at 10.  That turned out to be a good and not so good thing. At 10 AM Avila Beach was sunny, clear and warming up nicely. It was about 60° on its way into the 80°'s. Ther water was 53.5° and flat but there was a lumpy surface swell from the NW that was starting to wrap around the Port San Luis breakwater and work into where we swim. That was the good part. Not so nice was that Avila was already crowded and only about 10% of those present were wearing masks.  I found myself continually trying to decide whether to keep wearing my mask or not, always wondering what was safe. Yuch, extra stress. 

Tom Lorish got in at 9 and I got this photo of him at 9:40 when he was swimming towards the last buoy near the creek mouth. I didn't' cross paths with him in the water.  

I swam out, hung a right at the first buoy and swam two big triangles without stopping. The water was much colder under the pier by 2 or 3 degrees. The chop wasn't too noticeable on the leg from the creek mouth to the end of the Avila Pier. On the next leg from the end of the pier to the last buoy on the east (right in this image) side of the pier the chop built until it was troublesome where I turned towards the last buoy and came back towards the pier along the buoy line. The chop would lay down the closer I got to the pier.

Attempted underwater selfies.

It was really warm when I got out. It felt like the mid 80's, almost too hot to sit out in the sun. It sure felt nice while getting showered off and changed. 

I'll swim tomorrow morning at 7:30 with Duke, Jodi and whoever else shows up.

Right now I'm thinking that I be going back to getting in no later than 8, especially on weekends.


Thursday, May 6, 2021

Thursday, May 6th, 2021


It was very gray at Avila this morning with low clouds that went down to the horizon. No real fog and almost spitting, but the ocean was calm with a flat and glassy surface. The surf was 2 to 3 foot. It was 52° with 54.5° water.  I got there to swim at 9AM, Sara and Leslie were already there. We got in, went to the first buoy and turned left. This was to be Leslie's first swim since fracturing her right elbow about two months ago. She was going to try and swim a few buoys. Sara and I would swim a triangle and I would go an extra lap on my own.

Niel and Sara at the first buoy

Leslie is all smiles after having made it to the forth buoy before turning back.
Sara and I cut our swim to the last buoy near the creek mouth short when we ran into some really stinky water near the creek mouth. We angled back over to the pier where Sara went in and I decided to do another lap on the left side.

I ran into Tom Lorish at the last buoy. He was heading back in along the buoy line and I headed for the end of the Avila Pier.

When the amount of water flowing in San Luis Obispo Creek is low, like it is now, the water in the creek's estuary becomes stagnant. The bird and fish poop in the water does it's thing and when this water breaks out into the ocean it can taste and smell like sewage. Definitely something that will put a crimp in your morning and to be avoided.

I'm going the the Madonna Farmer's Market this Saturday at 8 so I'll swim at 10 and see what the midmorning crowds are like. 


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Tuesday, May 4th, 2021

The weather in Avila at 8 o'clock was clear and sunny with a swell out of the SE and occasional 3 to 4 foot surf. The air was 50° and the water 53°. I was wading in at 8 when Duke was coming down the stairs. We never connecting the the water but I did speak to Tom Lorish on my second lap down the eastern line of swim zone buoys. I swam out to the first buoy, turned right and swam two triangles made up of the buoy line and the end of the Avila Pier. I thought it would be closer to 3K but I got a bonus.      

I'll swim Thursday morning at 8:45 to 9, depending on when my 7:15AM ZOOM meeting winds up.


Sunday, May 2, 2021

Sunday, May 2nd, 2021

Sunday morning at 7:30 Duke, Niel, Jodi and Sara waded in to swim. The air temperature was 50° and the water was 53° . It was sunny, no clouds with the wind already picking up. Duke wanted to be out by 8:30 and Jodi and I were not looking for a repeat of yesterday so we planned about 2000M. 

Sara and Duke at the first Swim Zone Buoy.

Jodi at the same spot

We swam east to the last buoy, to the end of the Avila Pier, to the second crossbars on the C.P. Pier and back to the base of the Avila Pier. 
I stayed with Sara and we got out short of the base of the pier. 

At the end of the Avila Pier.
Duke, Jodi, Sara and my head.

I'll swim Tuesday at 8AM.


Saturday, May 1, 2021

Saturday,May 1st, 2021

  Warm Water, Long Distance

Jodi and I started off the month of May with a long warm(ish) swim. At 8 Avila Beach had high thin clouds so there were shadows but it wasn't warm. It was calm with an air temperature of 52° and a water temperature of 55°! I checked it twice to be sure. The last time I measured a water temperature above 52° was a 55° reading on November 11, 2020, almost five months ago.

The focus is poor but the red line is on the long mark at 55

Having begun swimming at Avila this year Jodi had never been in 55° water so she thought a long swim would be a good idea. Thinking that I'd like to do about 4K I suggested that we go down the swim buoys to the east end and back along the whole line to the mouth of the creek, over to the second crossbars on the CP Pier and out to the end of the pier.  From there we would decide how to complete our swim. I was thinking some kind of route back to the Avila Pier and in.

It had been smooth swimming until it started to get bumpy as we came out along the length of the CP Pier. At the end of the pier there was a good chop and push out of the SW.

At the end of the CP Pier Jodi suggested that we swim to Fossil Point. That would be a leg of 14 or 1500M but we would have a push from the swell so I said fine.    

Jodi and Niel at the end of the CP Pier.

At Fossil Point I vetoed the idea of going back to the end of the Avila Pier as I was starting to feel a bit done and going back to the pier that way would be too much work swimming against the chop. We came in to the buoy line and to the pier. I had us at 4600M and didn't want to get out just short of 5K so we swam out to the end of the pier and back to the beach.  
Two hours in the water and 5,316M. Neither of us were cold. 
What a difference those few degrees made.

We'll swim tomorrow at 7:30.


Thursday, April 29, 2021

Thursday, April 29th, 2021

I got in the water at 8:30 this morning. Avila was sunny and feeling like summer at 60°. There was a light breeze and swell/chop out of the SE. The water was 52° and getting a bit cloudy. I was on my own and looking for something predictable so I did my two triangles with a swing out and around the fabled 9th buoy, which is not a swim zone buoy but marks some rocks about 200M farther offshore than the last swim zone buoy on the east side. 

Tom Lorish got in at 9 and we connected near the west end of the buoy line. He got an underwater photo of me.

My next swim will be at 8AM on Saturday.


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Tuesday, April 27th, 2021

At 8 AM Avila Beach was pure springtime, sunny, clear, cloudless and calm, with an air temperature of 44° and the water at 49.5°. The water was nice and clear and the surf was 1 to 2 foot. I was by myself and was feeling the need for some kind of a push so I selected a course that would be around 3200M and swam it with just one stop for a photo. The ocean can be so nice that way, the water to yourself with no lane lines, no turns and three 600M to 700M legs between navigation points.    

I stopped at the end of the C.P. Pier for a photo.
The end of the Avila Pier is behind my left ear.

I was so focused on getting done that I swam right past Tom Lorish as I rounded the end of the Avila Pier and headed for the beach.

I'll swim at 8:45 on Thursday.


Sunday, April 25, 2021

Sunday, April 25th, 2021

At 8 o'clock this morning Avila Beach was gray, and a cool 50°. The morning offshore flow was still moving out over the ocean, carrying the bacon grease smell from the grill at the Custom House out over the sea. There was a closely spaced swell out of the SE, typical of an impending storm and 2 to 3 foot surf. The water temperature matched the air at 50°. 

I was on my own and that storm swell was interesting so I decided to do my two triangles so I could work with the swell from all directions. The water was nice and clear and everything was set for a nice swim. Once again the water on the west side of the pier was noticeably colder by a degree or so.     

When I was walking out Tom Lorish (on the right) and a surprise guest were just getting in. Laird is a P.T. at Spirit Winds that Tom and my wife see and this was to be his first open water swim. Tom reported that Laird enjoyed himself and will be back.

I'll swim Tuesday morning at 8 and Thursday morning at 8:45.


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Tuesday, April20th, 2021


I don't know if this is low clouds or high fog, but we could see to swim and the surface conditions looked great. The air temperature was 51° and the water was UP to 52° and was exceptionally clear. It looked like a great morning to swim. 
I had to go check my notes. On 11/8/20 the water temperature was 55°, which was typical for that time of the year and it would be expected to hang around 55° until spring winds would push the water temperature into the low 50's for a few weeks. Well, one week later on 11/15/20 the water was 49°, has it has not been above 52° since then, though it has dropped as low as 47°. That makes this the longest run of cold water I know of since starting to swim at Avila Beach in 1992.

Niel,. Sara and Duke were ready to swim. We decided to go down the buoy line and on to off of Fossil Point. Then to return along that route and do a lap of the swim zone buoys on the west side of the pier.  

Sara, Duke and Niel at the last buoy on the east side before heading to Fossil Point.
Sara got out when we were back at the pier while Duke and I did the lap of the western buoys.

I saw Theresa and Grace wading in when I was at the showers. 

I'm going to be out of town so I won't be swimming until this Sunday or maybe even next Tuesday. 


Sunday, April 18, 2021

Sunday, April 18th, 2021

 An Adventure Swim In The Fog

This morning Avila Beach was full of thick fog. I could barely see any of the swim zone buoys from the beach. From the pier I could see only the first buoy on the lefts side but I could see the second buoy on the right side. The air temperature was 47° and the water was 50°. The surf was 2 to 3 foot and there was a slight offshore breeze. The water had cleared up and there was no trace of that ugly red brown tint it had earlier in the week.   

This Blue Heron was using the Avila Pier to check the surf line for breakfast opportunities. I tried to glide by him on the right side of the pier but he didn't like it and made sure that I knew it when he took off.    

Up for an adventure swim today were Jodi, Duke and Niel. The plan was to swim out along the Avila Pier, around the end, back to the first swim zone buoy on the opposite side and along the buoys to the fourth one at the creek. We couldn't get lost with the peir and the buoys to follow. We'd make a further plan based on what we could see from the fourth buoy.
From the forth buoy the shore side half of the Cal Poly Pier was in bright sunshine so I proposed that we swim to the second crossbars, out and back along the pier and then back to the Avila Pier. That worked pretty well. Duke kept the pier on his left shoulder, Jodi swam out and back on the east side and I swam out on the east side and came back under the pier between the pilings.
Back at the second crossbars we could not see anything of the Avila Pier, but the sun was shining through the fog so I lined up pointing to where I thought the shore end of the Avila Pier would be and kept the sun in that position while I swam. I impressed myself by coming right up on the fourth swim zone buoy. I found Duke and Jodi half way along the buoys and we continued on in. Jodi and I felt warmer today than yesterday, which doesn't make any sense but is the way it works sometimes. 

I plan on swimming Tuesday morning at 8, then I'll be out of town until Sunday. Sunday is a maybe for me so I'll post if I'll be there.


Saturday, April 17, 2021

Saturday, April 17th, 2021

 Stephanie, Jodi, Niel, Grace and Theresa got in the water a little after 8. It was 50°, overcast and  still with flat 50° water. We decided to do two triangles and then, because the buoys are not as far apart as we have been swimming, added one more triangle to make 3200M.

Stephanie, Jodi and Niel at the last buoy on the east side.

With the overcast the water felt a degree or so colder than 50° and it took us most of the swim to get 'comfortable'. The sun came out as we were doing the last triangle and was most welcome when we were changing.   

We'll swim tomorrow morning at 7:30. 


Thursday, April 15, 2021

Thursday, April 15th, 2021

The big news at Avila Beach today was that this morning the swim buoys were put in for the summer. It means that summer is coming, that we will have some more things to assist us with our navigation and Jodi and Stephanie will finally know what the rest of us have been talking about when we say that we will 'swim to the last buoy at the creek' when it is not there.     
As I was taking the water temperature from the pier the barge was putting in the last of the eight buoys that create a No Boats Allowed zone for swimmers. 

Duke and I planned to get in at 9 today instead of our usual 8 to 8:30 start. I'm not really sure why we did that except when Duke suggested it on Tuesday it sounded like a nice chance to sleep in a bit. Sara joined us today for the first time. She has swum by herself on the weekend and was a welcome addition to the group. Being 9 o'clock Tom Lorish was getting in so he joined us.  The plan was to first do a triangle on the east side of the pier. Duke and Sara would probably get out then. I was going to do a second triangle on the west side to make about 3000M and to swim by all eight buoys.  The air was about 50° and the water 49°. There was a light breeze, small surf and hte water has dirtied up to a red brown, almost the color of a plankton bloom color but the water is too cold for that  to be happening.  

Sara, Duke and half of Tom moving beyond the toe test zone. 

At the last buoy on the east side

Duke and Tom at the same spot. Tom wears a sleeveless wetsuit was starting to feel the cold so he went on by himself. Duke Sara and I swam to the pier and to the end for a second time. Duke and Sara went in from there and I did my second triangle on the west side.
The next swim is Saturday morning. Stephanie, Jodi, Sara and I will get in at 8.  Then Sunday at 7:30.



Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Tuesday, April 13th, 2021

At 8 o'clock Avila Beach was just like it was on Sunday; overcast, grey, feeling cool and damp at 50°, a glassy ocean with 49° water and waves you could walk out through. So Duke nad I decided to do the same swim as Sunday but in the opposite direction.  


Out to the end of the Avila Pier, to the end of the Cal Poly Pier, along the pier to the second crossbars and back to and under the Avila Pier before swimming to the beach.  

Niel and Duke at the end of the Avila Pier.

A big part of swimming at these temperatures in mental. If you are thinking about being cold before you get in you will be cold. Sunday, in the same conditions, Duke and Jodi were OK and I couldn't get my mind off of the cold. Today I was OK with the water temperature and Duke, who wasn't in the best of moods before we got in, was cold.

Duke and I will swim at 9AM on Thursday. It would be nice if we had some sun but in any case we'll swim. 


Sunday, April 11, 2021

Sunday, April 11th, 2021

 Starting Sunday Off With A Cold One -

Possibly not what you were first thinking...... Avila Beach was gray with solid overcast this morning, a 45° air temperature and a 49° water temperature. The lack of sunshine would make today's swim a chilly one. 
Duke, Jodi and Niel were ready at 7:30 to get in. Stephanie came just as we were heading towards the sand so she would meet us at the end of the CP Pier. We had decided to do a zig-zag route between the Avila and Cal Poly Piers that would be a bit longer but the water temp changed our ideas about going that distance. There was no wind, surf that you could walk through and clear, glassy water.   
It is surprising how much having the sun out effects how the water feels. We all remarked that it felt cold, colder than yesterday, as we were getting in. My toes hand hands were saying 47, maybe 48 degrees. Nobody wanted to idle around in the water so we got started and met up at the second crossbars on the CP Pier.  

Jodi, Duke and Niel at the second cross bars along the Cal Poly Pier.
For the leg to the end of the CP Pier Jodi took the left (east) side, Duke swam on the right (west) side and I took the lane down the middle. 
I had a lane 620M long, with just one jog around the third set of cross bars. 

Niel, Duke, Stephanie and Jodi at the end of the Cal Poly Pier.
The end of the Avila Pier is between Duke and Stephanie.

I saw Tom Lorish getting in as I was walking back to my car after I had changed. 
Duke and I are planning on swimming Tuesday morning at 8.  I'll swim Thursday at about 8:30.

A bit of fun history. I first started swimming with the Avila Dolphins in 1992. I'd known Steve Snyder (5th from the left in the first row) for years and we regularly saw each other at the pool in San Luis Obispo. He had been swimming in the ocean for several years. He worked on me for a while and eventually got me down to the beach to try swimming in the ocean. The photo is the Avila Dolphins before getting in to swim on a Sunday morning between '92 and '95. We had two dozen people in the water that day. Duke and I are in the back row, 6th and 8th from the left.  Another 10 or 12 are still in that area but I don't see them at the beach anymore.