Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wednesday Evening, March 30, 2011

Back In The Water Again - I think that it has been over two weeks since Avila Beach has been swimable. The rain has stopped and the water has cleared up so Rob and I got in Wednesday evening. There was an offshore breeze, the air temperature was in the upper 70's and the water was 55.5. The 'surf' was maybe 2' high, but the wind was holding up the faces nicely and they looked green and transparent. The wind had put a small chop on the water but since it was blowing right off of the shore the chop would stay small. Rob suggested that we do the Classic Triangle, which was fine with me. I got out to the buoy line first while Rob finished getting acclimated. I was looking around while I was waiting and noticed that the floating dock that was used to stage jet ski tours has been removed. Once Rob joined me we headed down to the left to the second and last buoy. There are still are only two of the original 4 buoys on this side of the pier; numbers 2 and 3. The first one is gone and the 4th is now anchored on a small rock pile about 100M seaward from its' original position in the line. Nobody knows if it was blown there or moved intentionally. Our leg to the end of the pier was downwind so we got a nice push. At the end of the pier we both had to slide past a fishing line that the wind and current was carrying far off the end of the pier. Because of the chop I could get glimpses of only the first buoy on this side of the pier, so we sited on the headland at the end of the bridge and headed for where the last buoy of the line should be. This leg was almost directly into the wind and chop so we got to make up for the wind aided swim on the previous leg. Once we go close it became apparent that the first buoy by the pier was the only one left of the line of four. We continued on to where we thought the last buoy should of been and turned towards the pier. We swam under the pier (something else we have not done in some time due to the large surf) and came in. Rob's GPS said we had covered 1.8K in 35 minutes.
Rob and I stayed for dinner and at 7:30 came out to a great sunset. You can see his photos at

Rob will be out of town this weekend but I will be at Avila on Sunday.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

On Friday the water off of Shell and Avila Beaches was dark brown with silty run off. The previous water quality advisory had been renewed on the 23rd so neither Rob or I planned on swimming today. This coming week is predicted to be dry and warm so if the water clears up sufficiently we will swim Wednesday evening at 5:30.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The first day of spring came in with heavy rain, high winds and conditions generally unfavorable to swimming in the ocean. The heavy rain in the last 24 hours means that the creek will be flowing heavily carrying a lot of silt into the bay at our swimming spot. The last water quality samples were taken before the recent storm. With heavy rains water at Avila is often contaminated with bacteria, so I'm staying out today. If the water clears up, Rob and I will be swimming Wednesday evening at 5:30.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday Evening, March 16, 2011

We had a real ocean swim for our first evening swim of the season. It was about 70 degrees and calm when I got to Avila. The waves were at least as large as they were last Sunday but the water conditions outside the surf line were excellent for swimming. I got a water temperature of 53.5, still cold but a welcome 2 degrees warmer than Sunday. With the very low tide and the big waves the water was stirred up and visibility was poor. While I was on the pier the largest swells were making it do the hula and had me thinking about strategies for getting out through the surf. Swimmers were Rob, Natalie and Niel. We decided to work out a swim plan once we got out to the buoy line, as nobody was sure how much energy it would take to get out. I got lucky and made my break at the right time. Rob and Natalie were enough farther in that they got pushed back. I waited for them at the buoy line, riding up and down 4 to 5 feet as the big waves came through. Once we formed up we agreed to do the triangle clockwise and to omit the ending swim under the pier. A offshore breeze has come up but didn't bother us on the first leg. On the way to the pier things were getting a little bouncy. The third leg from the end of the pier towards the mouth of the creek was a real adventure. the wind had pushed up a funny small chop, more like a super sized ripple, and combined with the other action in the water it felt like I was getting pushed in four directions at once. We came back along the buoy line to the pier, stopping short of the first buoy as we didn't want to risk getting too close to the pilings in these conditions. We got a lucky break and came in just as a nice gap in the big swells came along. We were in the water for 32 minutes and covered 1.8K according to Rob's GPS. I'll be back for our usual Sunday swim at 11 and again next Wednesday at 5:30. Check Rob's blog or the Swim Avila Facebook page, he may be slipping in some additional swims.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday, March 13. 2011

The water was cold today! The reading from the the usual spot on the pier was 51.5. Our unscientific conclusion was that the tsunami tides from Friday had stirred things up and had brought a lot of cold deep ocean water to the surface. Whatever the reason nobody was talking about going long today. Other than the temperature the water was pretty clean and flat, the tide was very low and there were some large sets of waves. The biggest waves had 6'+ faces and were in sets of 7 to 10, so getting out was going to be a matter of timing your dash between the sets. On the beach today we had Rob, Niel, Sylvia, Chad and Pete. Our getting out to the buoy line was a bit of a scattered endeavor. Pete got the jump on the rest of us by catching the first nice break in the big sets while the rest of use were admiring the view or trying to imaging what it was going to be like to get your face in the water since you already couldn't feel your feet. There rest of us did get going and we met up out past the buoy line, because I didn't stop swimming out until I thought that I was well beyond the breakers. With the very low tide there was still a lot of lift from the waves even out the end of the pier. We swam down the buoy line to the left to the phantom last buoy and turned to the end of the Avila Pier. There was somewhat of a plan to go from the end of the pier to the end of buoy line at the creek but as we approached the end of the pier water temperature took what we agreed was a 2 degree dive. At this point with the water temperature in the high 40's everyone liked the idea of heading in directly along the length of the Avila Pier. Pete got the prize for the biggest moment on the swim in when the three of us got to see a 6'+ wave pick him up and hang him on the crest of the lip for an instant before letting him slide down the back of the wave. I bet the view from up there made him forget about the water temperature. Sylvia had stayed along the buoy line and with no wetsuit, decided that 15 minutes in the water was enough.

We will be back next Sunday and hopefully the water temperature will have normalized. A increase of a few degrees would be welcome.

Wednesday Nights Swims Begin 3/16!
With the change to DST Rob and I are ready to start swimming on Wednesday evenings. We are going to swim this coming Wednesday at 5:30. That is in the water at 5:30. The start time will move to 6P once the days lengthen.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

2 of us met up for a swim today at 2pm. There were some good sized waves rolling through today, but unless you'd been watching the news yesterday you would have never known we had a tsunami warning up and down the coast just 24 hours earlier!

We did a Poly pier swim in some fairly cold water with some really active chop. Near the shore I measured 53.5, but further out and especially on the right side of the pier you could feel the temperature drop pretty substantially. As we swam to the Poly pier things really built up in the chop department, this was some of the roughest water I've seen in Avila in a few months. We wrapped up our swim with a little bodysurfing since the waves were big and then ran off to get on with the rest of our days.

See everybody tomorrow morning for our 11am swim, don't forget to set your clocks forward an hour!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday, March,6. 2011

It was just Sylvia and I today. Rob was in Pasadena at the CalTech pentathlon and the dreary gray overcast wasn't encouraging. In spite of the gray clouds the surface viability was great allowing clear views of Point Sal, which is 18 miles to the south. The CDF/Pismo Beach Lifeguards were doing some training on the west side of the pier. The water was very clear, and looking much nicer than last Sunday. The water temperature was 55.5. There was a small chop but the wind was dieing as we got ready and it was almost flat as we got in. It was also starting to spit fine rain. Sylvia had not been in in a few weeks so we planned a shortish swim. We went out to the buoy line and turned left, swam to the big rock at the end of the sea wall and came back to the pier. I'm a faster swimmer than Sylvia so I got in some extra distance by turning back when I got to the rock and once I met up with Sylvia I swam with her back to the rock. We did the same thing on the return to the pier. We were in for a half hour. Our chairs were wet and it was still spitting after we dried off so nobody was interested in hanging on the beach.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

The Saturday swim was excellent... we had 3 swimmers out, 2 swimming with us for the first time! The weather was great, the water was calm, and with all the sunshine you hardly noticed that it was only about 52 degrees. Natalie, Jen and myself started together and swam out to the end of the buoy line on the left side of the pier. Jen opted out of swimming over the top of the pier and swam it back in. Natalie and I did the rest of the triangle... or at least what's left of it since the creek buoy is still M.I.A.

I hope everybody has fun with the Sunday swim, I'll be off racing some 50's down in Pasadena for the day.

Rob D.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Anybody Interested in a 10am Saturday Swim?

Myself and one other swimmer are planning on getting in the water tomorrow at 10 if anyone wants to join us. We'll meet up in the regular spot and then make up a plan from there. Any questions let me know -

Rob D.