Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June 30th, 2010

We were four swimmers deep tonight... Rob, Pete, Eric and David. We did the triangle starting with the right hand side of the pier. The water was fairly calm and WARM! No official reading but my human thermometer says high 50's, maybe even 60! Hopefully that sticks around for the weekend.

The plan is to come back out on Sunday at the regular time and have a pot luck lunch after the swim.

See you there!

Rob D.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Today, in addition to the regular Sunday swim, a small group had planned to go long and do what we call the Martini swim. The Martini route starts by following the Avila Pier out along its length to the end. From there, straight to the end of the Cal Poly Pier, then to the rock off of Fossil Point and then back to the end of the Avila Pier and in along the pier to the beach (see, the route is shaped like a martini glass, and this swim can be done in either direction). However, the fog was unusually thick Sunday morning. At 10 it was hanging on the surface of the water thick enough to make it hard to see the end of the Cal Poly pier and impossible to see the rock off of Fossil Point. If it did not improve the poor visibility would be a problem for the 2.4 mile swim that was planned for today, as the longest leg of the route would be the .93 mile stretch from the end of the Poly pier to the Fossil Point rock. Getting lost in the fog 3/4 of a mile off shore could result in a lot more swimming than planned. Things got more complicated when I checked the water temperature and got at reading of 53.5, so we could add cold water to the chance of getting lost in the fog. The water temperature seems to be swinging between extremes this summer, since we have already experienced both 50 and 60 degrees since spring. Well, ocean swimming is about adaptability, so we modified the route, the weather cooperated and we had a great swim. At 11 we had seven swimmers ready. The fog had lifted and was thinning, so the visibility was OK but due to the colder than expected water temperature we modified the route to provide bail out points should a swimmer get cold. The entire group would swim the right side of the buoy line to the last buoy at the creek. From there the regular 1 mile +/- swim would continue to the end of the Avila Pier and then back to the buoy line. Those going long would swim to the end of the Poly Pier, back to the end of the Avila Pier, (giving both a bail out route back to the beach for anyone getting cold and a much closer mark to swim to if the fog thickened) and from there to the rock, back to the pier and in. Sylvia and Dale were going to hang out on the beach. Susan, Gary Cushing, Eric, and Rick Marina were going to do about a mile. Duke, Rob and Rob's friend Matt from S. Cal. would go long. I was providing kayak support for the long swim. With the fog there was no wind so other than being cold, the water was flat and perfect for swimming. When we returned to the Avila Pier Matt decided to go in while Rob and Duke continued on out to the rock and back. Twice a harbor seal came by to see what we were doing. It was 12:30 when I dropped Duke and Rob off at the buoy line so they had been in the water for about 90 minutes adn had definitly earned a Att'a Boy! and a nice lunch.

If conditions are favorable I'm interested in doing this swim in the fall. Watch this post or check with me at the beach if you are interested.

Next Sunday is the Fourth of July. We will have a pot luck lunch after the swim.
See you then.


*More pictures available here on Facebook and over on Rob's website

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wednesday Evening, June 23, 2010

Flat and Warm - There were still quite a few people on the beach, and even some in the water at 4:45, which is always a good sign. The lifeguards are now on duty until 6PM. There was no surf or swell and just enough breeze to ruffle the surface last night. The water temperature was 58.5. We had seven swimmers out to enjoy a very beautiful evening. Niel. Pete, Rob, Ryan and Eric were joined by Vince and Dave. Vince lives in Santa Barbara, is in his early 70's and seems to of spent most of his life swimming in pools and the ocean. He had seen the SwimAvila website and decided to drive up and join us. Dave caught up with us once we were in the water. I did not get a chance to speak with him but I believe that he is a local triathlete. Hopefully we will see more of both of them at future swims. We swam the triangle route clockwise. At the end of the pier Ryan and Dave elected to come in along the pier while the rest of the group continued on to the buoy at the creek, then back along the buoy line, through the pier and in.
I picked up a green cap and goggles that had been left at the top of the stairs. Dave was the only green cap, so if anyone knows Dave have him call me at 805.704.1817.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday, July 20, 20210

It was beautiful at Avila when I got there this morning; sunny, calm and flat. However before I was done taking the temperature (54) a bit of a breeze out of the West had started up. At 11 it had strengthened to the point of setting up a head high chop with occasional whitecaps that extended inside the buoy line, so it was going to be a real ocean swimming day. Swimming today were Niel, Sylvia, Patrick, Dale, Duke, Chad, Brittany, Matt Farmer (!), and Peter. We went out on the left side of the pier, through the pier and down to the last buoy. This was by far the roughest day that Brittany had been out in so she went short and returned to the beach. Matt (no wetsuit) decided to return back along the buoy line and go in. The rest of us went to the end of the Avila Pier and on to the last buoy on the left, and back along the buoy line to the pier and in. The first leg towards the creek which was directly into the chop was the roughest. Those head high waves are big enough to break over your head making them easy to inhale, but not large enough to lift you so you can breath. The downwind leg from the end of the pier to the last buoy on the left was fun and fast, with opportunities to surf the bigger waves. The last leg back to our starting point was on the leeward side of the pier and was not as rough as the first leg on the windward side because the pier itself deflects some of the wind and the chop gets flattened out when it passes through the pilings. Everyone was smiling once we were back on the beach getting warmed up in the sun, having enjoyed the challenge of a swim with real ocean 'conditions'.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Wednesday Evening, June 16, 2010

It was sunny at Avila with an unusual left to right breeze. The wind was stead enough to have pushed up a small chop. The water was 57. I have only seen seals and shore birds occasionally and there were none in sight tonight. We had eight swimmers; Duke, Rob, Pete, Dana, Dave, Ryan, Joel and Niel. Joel is a member of SLO Tri Club and this was his first swim with us. We went out to the buoy line and left to the last buoy. It was strange swimming into a chop in this direction but it was just big enough to be interesting and not challenging. The water felt much warmer to me compared to recent swims and I was very comfortable. From the last buoy we swam to the end of the Avila Pier. At that point Niel, Rob and Ryan came in parallel to the pier and the rest of the group angled over to the last buoy on the right side of the pier, near the mouth of the creek and from there back along the buoys to the pier and in. The longer swim was about 1.3 miles.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday, June13th, 2010

The conditions at Avila Beach were a bit of a surprise today. It was warm and sunny in San Luis Obispo so I threw a sweatshirt in with my swim stuff as an afterthought. When I got to the beach I was greeted with FOG and a very cool breeze blowing onshore out of the fog bank. I was actually sunny over the beach but there was a wall of fog from the end of the Cal Poly pier to Fossil Point that was just hanging there. The breeze that I mentioned had built up a medium chop that had not yet formed any white caps. The water temperature was 55 with small surf. We had nine swimmers today; Sylvia, Dale, Brittany, Chad, Duke, Dave, Dana, Dale and Marni. My shoulder seems to like resting so I was sitting this one out. Everybody headed down the buoy line to the left and came back and through the pier. Sylvia and Brittany came in and the rest of the group continued on to the last buoy at the creek. At that point Marni, Chad and Dale returned back along the buoy line and Dana, Dave, Duke and Eric headed over to the Cal Poly pier. From there they swam to the end of the Avila pier and came in to the beach along the pier for a total time of about 50 minutes.

Sylvia and Dale were at the Alcatraz swim last Sunday (the day after Rob's Around Alcatraz swim) and were shut out by fog. Bummer! They were on the boats and out at the rock when the race was called because the fog was not lifting and they were moving out of the time window for the tides. Sylvia said that while they were waiting on the boat at the start point that she could not see Alcatraz from the boat. The start of Rob's race the day before was delayed because of fog and the late start cause the swimmers to experience some difficult and potentially dangerous conditions. Canceling the race was a tough but correct call by the organizers because getting into the water outside of the tide window could result in a swimmer getting a tour of the Golden Gate or having an encounter with a container ship. The organizers held a consolation race in and around the Aquatic Park in which both Sylvia and Dale placed first in their age groups.

I'll (and probably Rob) be there on Wednesday.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wednesday Evening, June 9th, 2010

The temperature was dropping and the fog was rolling in when I left San Luis Obispo for Avila. I got a nice surprise when I pulled up on Front Street. It was sunny and warm with no sign of fog. There was still a good breeze from left to right and a small chop on the water. The waves were only knee high. At 5 there were still a lot of people on the beach and in the water, which is always a good sign. The water temperature measured 57. We are starting to see more fishermen on the pier but there is still not a consistent presence of seals, pelicans or other shore birds that would indicate a lot of bait fish in the water. We had eight swimmers; Dana, Rob, Patrick, Niel, Dave, Lynn, Dani and Steve. Rob and Dave, being radical fundamentalist swimmers, went without the benefit of neoprene. We headed out to the buoy line, turned left and swam to the last buoy. The water felt colder than 57 to me. On the next leg we swam straight into the chop to the end of the Avila Pier. This is part of what I really like about swimming in the ocean. Besides the beautiful scenery and being out in the open, I really enjoy how different the conditions will be. Learning how to work with and around the variations in temperature, current, chop and wind and to have to navigate as well, makes every trip into the water a new experience. From the end of the pier we split into two groups of four, half came in along the pier and the other half continued to the last buoy at the creek. They then came in along the buoy line back to the pier and in. Rob is traveling once again, this time to Maryland, for a 4 mile race in Chesapeake Bay. The rest of us should be at Avila on Sunday.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

It was a day for big hats at Avila Beach today. The wind was offshore and it was very warm on the sand and just about everyone was looking for more shade. It was almost windless, clear and sunny with a water temperature of 56. Today's swimmers were Niel, Duke, Pete, a welcome appearance by Dave Van Mouwerik, Rick Marina and Nancy and Eric. Nancy and Eric are going to swim Alcatraz in September and this is the first time they have been out with us. Nancy and I went short, I'm nursing a sore shoulder and she is getting used to swimming in such a big pool with no lane lines. The rest of the group went out and under the pier and to a new large buoy that is part of the way to the Poly pier. From there they swam to the end of the Avila pier and in, except for Pete who put in some additional distance along the left side of the buoy line. Kris and Angela joined us on the beach.
Sylvia and Dale did the Alcatraz swim today and a lot of our other swimmers were at the Morro Bay Triathlon. Rob Dumouchel did the Around Alcatraz (3.25 Mile) swim for this first time Saturday and is at the 1 - 3 Mile Open Water Championships in Livermore today. At Alcatraz Rob placed 1st (!) in the no wetsuit division and 6th overall. Check out his posting and a bunch of great pictures from his swim at www://

I'll be there Wednesday, sore shoulder or not.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wednesday Evening, June 2nd, 2010

It was an absolutely beautiful summer evening at Avila Beach. The air was much warmer than it was in San Luis Obispo with a light but gusty breeze. The water had shot up to 60 degrees (!) with some small surf. We had 9 swimmers; Steve, Niel, Pete, John, Ryan, Rob, Lynn, Bob and, sorry, but I missed someone. The group did about 1.5 miles, along the buoy line and out around the pier. Bob and I got out got out early (I'm nursing a sore shoulder). Rob saw a dolphin off of the end of the pier. They are always a welcome site and I think that that is the first one of this season. I'll be swimming Sunday but a lot of people with be doing the Morro Bay Triathlon and Rob is doing the Around Alcatraz Swim on Saturday.