Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Another Warm Wednesday
The water temperature was 60 degrees last night.  There was a medium breeze from the East creating a small chop and current running left to right.  There were a handful of fishermen on the pier and a few pelicans casually trying to find some dinner.  The beach was surprisingly crowded and there were still a lot of people in the water.  Joining rob and I tonight were Doug and Kurtis. Doug found us online, is from Sacramento and has a number of ocean swimming acquaintances in common with Rob.  Kurtis has been swimming with Rob and has done two Alcatraz crossings.  Everybody was comfortable with doing about a mile so we swam the triangle route clockwise.  Except for the slight chop it was beautiful in the water, comfortable and nice swimming conditions.   We swam for 36:35 and everyone had a great time.  


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday June 24th 2012

Avila Beach was in true form today; the PSL buoy was reading 57.4; and the sun was shining. We were momentarily akimbo, realizing that Daddy Warbucks and The-Keeper-Of-The-Records would not be roughing out the Swim Plan for us.  We recouped quickly, though, and crafted a Plan of our Own.  
The boys (Duke, Byron, Dave) swam the buoy line and kept right on going until they bumped into a sort of rock-surrounded alcove at Fossil Point.  There they hung out for a while, thinking what good fortune they were enjoying, to be able to undertake such an excellent outing in their backyard.  From there the boys headed to the end of Avila pier.
Meanwhile the girls (Sylvia, Yvonne, Kamber) had started a bit after us, and they swam the buoy line also, and then headed out to the end of the pier.  As we approached the end of the pier, they were just pushing off from the  pier’s end, retracing their steps back to the last buoy, then back along the buoy line.
So the boys pushed on  to the fourth  buoy in front of the creek, and then zipped along the buoy line, through  the pier, and back to the first buoy  on the east side of the pier.  Here the boys and girls met up, and swam in together.
According to Byron’s GPS unit, the boys swam 3,000 yards, and I’d guess the girls swam about 1,800+ yards.  
I should mention this: while Byron, Duke,  and Dave were talking and treading water at the base of Fossil Point, they talked about the intended swim on fourth of July.   They concluded that it would be excellent to get an 8:30 am start on the fourth, so that the group can be in and out of Avila Beach before the Independence Day celebration is in full swing.

Dave VM

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thursday Nooner

Rob and I are both going to be out of town this weekend so we decided to sneak in a swim at lunch time today.  We met at the beach a little before 12.  I had measured a water temperature of 57 degrees.  The water was nice and clear and was 'ocean' blue.  We still have a wind out of the SW so there was a small chop being pushed onto the shore by the wind.  We decided to swim out to the end of the Avila Pier, over to our usual spot on the Poly Pier, about 1/3 of the length of the pier out from the shore, from there we would swim to the west end of the buoy line at the creek and finish along the buoy line back to the Avila Pier.  The water felt very comfortable and was nice and clear.  When we rounded the end of the Avila Pier we found our route to the Poly Pier was going to be into more chop and current that we had expected so the 600M over to the Poly Pier was a bit of work.  I wasn't swallowing any water but it sure felt like the current and chop were trying to push us back to Pismo Beach.  The last two legs were more or less 'downhill' and  I got to surf a small wave a couple of times.  We covered 1.2 miles in 42 minutes. 


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday, June 20th 2012

The water keeps warming up! My laser thermometer is no where near as accurate as Niel's, but I got a range of about 58 to 61 from various readings. I believe the lower end of that. The water was brisk but pleasant. We had light winds and a fair amount of chop if you were pointed in the right directions (the end of the buoy line on the east side to the tip of the pier was the worst). Three of us got in the water to swim a triangle in the clockwise direction... and then I got out... I forgot my goggles on my chair! I ran back to get them as Dave VM and John swam to the first buoy. Once I was begoggled I angled for the end of the buoy line from the beach and met them there. We took long pauses at each turn today since there was no real pressure to keep moving since the water was so nice. We finished with a swim under the pier to the buoy we started at and then a left hand turn back to the beach and a little bonus body surfing.

I'll be off in LA getting ready to crew for a friend's Catalina swim this weekend, I hope you guys have a good Sunday swim without me!

Rob D.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday, June 17, 2012

It was gray and a bit breezy at Avila Beach this morning.  It was not cold, but the deck of low clouds was thick over the beach and did not look much like it would be clearing.  The water temperature over at the port had spiked up a few days ago so I had hopes when I took the water temperature.  The reading was just below 59 degrees, a very welcome change from the mid to low 50's we have been experiencing.  Out on the pier the wind was steady and out of the SW.  It had built up a closely spaced wind swell/chop that was pushing towards the shore.  Swimming today were Sylvia, Yvonne, Niel, Rob and Dave VanMouwreik.  Yvonne decided to go without her wet suit today which left me as the only rubber assisted swimmer getting in the water.  I don't mind being the rebel in the group and besides, I was willing to make the sacrifice and wear a wet suit in order to help the others feel good about going skins. :-).   Rob, Dave and I got started first.  We were joined at the shore by John (or Shawn, sorry) who is one of the lifeguards and was also going skins style.  We went out and headed left along the buoys to the end with the intent of doing several laps of the triangle course.  The leg from the end of the buoy line to the end of the pier was almost directly into the chop and was a lot of work.  The chop was about one foot high and close together made both breathing and navigating tough.  The next leg was across the chop and was easier but still a challenge.  We returned along the west side of the buoy line to the pier.  At this point Rob and Shawn went in.   Dave and I continued to the first buoy on the left side where I had tethered some sport drink.  We decided to reverse our direction for the second lap to see how the chop was going the opposite direction.  Parallel to the beach was the same slog.  the leg to the pier across but pushing into the chop was tough.  The third leg would be 'down wind' and Dave and I agreed that we had earned this easier leg.  We came back along the buoys to my feeding station.  Dave decided to head in.  I had planned to do three laps today (about 3.6 miles) but the 2.4 we had done felt like enough effort for a good three miles and the thought of lunch sounded too good to resist.  We were in the water for 1h 13 m.   I met up with Sylvia and Yvonne on the beach.  They had done one lap of the triangle and we had managed to never see each other!  The chop made it like swimming in a tunnel so I guess we passed each other and never realized it.  The sun managed to come out as we were drying off but disappeared an hour later.

Rob will and I should be back Wednesday evening to swim at 5:30.  We will both be out of town next weekend so Dave will be the beach master.


Saturday, June 16, 2012 Adventure Swim

Rob and I have been scouting the beach between the Dinosaur Cave Park and the Shelter Cove Inn.  The little beach at the base of the cliff has public access so we have been thinking of what kind of swims we could do from there.  There are some small beaches to the north of there and some nice coves and spots to the south towards the north end of the sand at Pismo Beach that are possible either point to point destinations or out and back turn around spots.  Rob and I decided that Saturday morning we would give it a go and plan a swim dependent on the conditions.  I got there first. and parked in the lot at the park.  I walked down the sidewalk to the cliff above the beach to see what things looked like.  Ewwwweww.  The water at the beach was a really strange color.  It was reddish brown, the color of kelp, and the color extended from the cove up along the cliffs of the the park.  Tthe water at the sand was full of what appeared to be small pieces of kelp.  Hummmm.  I walked back to my car and met up with Rob and Allison.  We decided to walk up to the beach stairs north of the park and see what things looked like there.  The water here looked better, with just a bit of the same color.  We decided to do a point to point swim, from this beach south to the beach at Shelter Cove.  We walked back to the cars, got into our stuff and walked back and climbed down the steel stairs to the beach.  (There may have been more walking done today than swimming -:) ).  We waded in, trying to avoid any rocks with our toes, swam out a ways and held the first of many conferences about the route.  The water felt comfortable and was probably in the high fifties, and once we got away from the beach it turned a deep open ocean clear blue.  We would agree on a goal, swim to it and then plan the next leg.  There was one one boat around and a group on a kayak excursion so we stayed closer together than usual, because this is not a place where people on the water would be expecting to find people in the water.  This swim was great fun.  There were sections of kelp crawling, swimming through the surge between rocks, close (in Rob;s case, once too close) encounters with submerged rocks and we were buzzed by a pod of dolphins.  According to Rob's GPS we covered 1100M in 28 minutes, but this swim was not about distance or time.  The views were wonderful and it was exciting just to be in the water around these cliffs.  There are more routes to try, including some that would be out and back, plus rocks, caves and coves to explore, including the stretch south of the beach at Shelter Cove to to the north end of the sand at Pismo Beach.  Saturday turned out to be the perfect day to swim here.  The swimming here will be best on a high tide, with a smaller swell and mild winds.  We will definitely be back for further adventures.  Anyone who is interested in coming along next time should let us know.   Rob's pictures are posted at


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wednesday, June 13th 2012

We had a pretty "warm" Wednesday this week, 56.6 according to my thermometer, but there was a wind blowing out of the west that negated a lot of that tropical wonderfulness. There was a current running right to left across the beach from the wind and a fair amount of wind chop out on the water. Before getting in I spotted a jetski in the distance carving back and forth out past the pier. Our plan was to swim the triangle starting on the right hand side of the pier but depending on the jetskier's location we left the route open to negotiation.

3 of us got in to swim, Dave and I in skins and John in a wetsuit. We were greeted in the surfline by a patrolling seal. The first leg down to the creek buoy was pretty rough and the swim to the tip of the pier wasn't too much better. When we regrouped at the pier our jetskier reappeared and was motoring in our direction. We tried to get his attention and wave him down just to get confirmation that he knew we were there and would go ahead and try not to kill us. This was pretty unsuccessful. After drifting a ways from the pier with the current we gave up and resumed our swim. I asked some people up on the pier fishing to keep an eye out and if it looked like a jetski was going to come run us all over to go ahead and yell at him for us. Dave, John and I swam in a fairly tight triangle to the next corner of the triangle with a little backstroke mixed in to look back and make sure we didn't have any uninvited motorized guests en route.

We wrapped up our swim with a leg down the buoy line head first into the current and then a right hand turn to the beach. I stayed in a few extra minutes looking for little waves to bodysurf since the water was so comfortable and I didn't want to get out just yet. All told the swim was about 1.2 miles. 

Next swim is Sunday at 11am as per usual, see you guys on the beach!

Rob D.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday, June 10th 2012

We had a good crowd out for a good swim this afternoon. The weather was decent - warm with a breeze, water was 53-54ish according to my laser thermometer, and there was a swell but things weren't too rough out in the water. Swimming today we had Duke, Byron, Dave VM, Amy, Monte, Monte's friend who's name I've unfortunately forgotten (sorry!), Sylvia, Yvonne, and Rob. From the beginning we split 2 ways. The main group started with intentions of swimming a triangle, while Yvonne and Sylvia set off on their own course.

Based on the spread of speeds and experience in the main group we made some changes to the original swim. At the far buoy we turned around and swam back to the first buoy nearest the pier and then we swam over the top of the pier. From there the group swam down the pier to the buoy line on the other side and split into 2 groups. Rob, Duke, Dave and Byron turned down the buoy line while our other 3 swimmers made their way straight in to the beach. Out at the creek buoy we came across a few glass beer bottles, I carefully tucked them in between the suits I had on and swam them back down the buoy line, under the pier and into the beach. I'm sure it looked a little odd when I came back to the beach in a pink speedo with 2 empty Coronas in hand :) The group that swam longest got in 1.5 miles, and the other half of that group swam about 1.2 miles.

We've got our regular Wednesday swim planned this week, along with that Niel and I are looking at test swimming a new spot during the week to feel it out before we do any workouts down there. We'll let you guys know how it goes and if we've found a viable bonus swim spot.

Rob D.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Patrick Kelley is a surfer and swimmer from Oakland who was going to be in town and had contacted Rob about finding someone to swim with on Saturday.  He and I exchanged e-mails and arranged to meet at the beach at 12:45 with the idea of swimming about a mile and a half.  Once again Avila surprised, or lived up to its reputation, for being a special place.  It had been windy all night and through the morning in San Luis Obispo so I was expecting blown out conditions.  Instead it was sunny, calm and very warm at Avila.  The air temperature was in the  low 80's.  The water temperature was 54.5 with a flat, glassy surface with only an occasional 3+ foot wave.  I did not see any pelicans or seals.  There was a lot of small boat traffic between the new catamaran and over towards the Poly Pier so I was thinking that a route that was mostly along the buoy line would be good.  I hadn't seen Patrick yet when I walked down to the guard tower to let them know where I expected that we would be swimming.  When I got back and started getting into my stuff I saw a swimmer going left along the buoy line and wondered if it was Patrick.  I suited up, got in, swam straight out to the buoy line and met up with the mystery swimmer on his way back to the pier.  Sure enough, Patrick had arrived while I was talking to the Life Guard and had taken off looking for me.   We got introduced and familiar with each others swimming experience and decided on a route.  Compared to the water in the Aquatic Park in San Francisco Patrick was finding our water to be very comfortable so we planned to stay in for a while.  Since he had already done the east side of the buoy line we headed west under the pier and to the last buoy at the creek.  At this point I hadn't seen any boat traffic and the conditions were so nice that I suggested that we head over to the Poly Pier.  When I caught up with Patrick at the pier he told me that I had had a seal tailing me for the last 100M.  Three or four seal heads popped up and checked us out while we were talking.  On our way back to the creek Patrick stopped and pointed out two sea otters who were on the edge of the kelp bed near the Poly Pier who were giving us the stink eye.  They clearly did not think that we belonged in what was their patch of ocean.  Patrick was excited because he while he sees plenty of seals and dolphins when he is surfing he never sees otters.  This was probably the pair that we have occasionally seen over near the Avila Pier in the last month.  From the creek buoy we swam the full length of the buoy line to the end on the east side and then back to the Avila Pier and in to the beach.  On the leg to the east end a strong offshore breeze came up and it started getting a bit bumpy.  When we got out the sand was so hot we had to run up to our stuff.  Patrick had a great time and was good about waiting for me.  For those of you who know Casey, Patrick would dust him.   By the time we had showered off there were white caps forming in the bay.  I was in for 54 minutes and Patrick more like an hour.  I swam about 1.5 miles and he 2.0.  I was still very comfortable after almost an hour in the water today, possibly because of the warm air temperature and possibly due to the massive patching job that I did on my wet suit after Wednesday's swim.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Wednesday Evening, June 6, 2012

This swim started off with a nice surprise, Avila was warmer and less blown out than I had expected.  There had been high winds all day and the air temperature had been cool so I had expected Avila to be cold and the water to be thoroughly chopped up but the air was warm and though there was a steady breeze out of the SE the chop on the water was not not bad with no whitecaps.  I measured a water temperature of 53.5 with the wind blowing the thermometer off the west side of the pier towards the creek.  This would be important later.  I saw one otter, a couple of pelicans and there were no fishermen on the pier.  Swimming this evening were Niel, Rob and Dave VanMouwreik.  Dave's presence would tip the skin swimmer tally in Rob's favor.    We decided to swim the triangle counterclockwise, getting in on the west side of the pier.  While we were getting in and getting started swimming it felt cold but not really bad, in line with my measurement.  Dave has not been swimming in the ocean much since last summer so he wanted to press on and get warmed up, so Rob and I played catch up on the way to the last buoy at the creek.  We regrouped and started off towards the end of the pier.  We were headed into the wind and chop so this leg was a bit more work.  About 2/3 of the way to the end of the pier we swam out of the wind shadow of the pier and became exposed to the full force of the chop and a 2 to 3 degree drop in the water temperature. Oh my, this was now a different swim!  Rob and I caught up with Dave off of the end of the pier and we agreed to continue with our original plan and headed towards the last buoy in the line on the east side of the pier.  I'd lost contact with my toes and was feeling the cold in my arms but I was still feeling OK in my core and my head so it was still a mental game to not get focused on the water temperature.  Once again Dave was waiting for us at the buoy.  The water temperature had not bounced back up so this swim was going to have a cold finish.  We chatted for a bit and them decided that it was time to finish off this swim so we headed west along the buoys towards the pier and them turned in to the beach after reaching the end of the line. We were in the water for 35 minutes.  Dave was real happy to have gotten in but was taking some time to warm up.  Rob, as usual, was just going to towel off and change.  After 3 hours and 45 minutes in the water on Sunday this was not a stretch for him (see  Sunday's swim at 11 is on as usual.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Rob Dumouchel Birthday Swim Extravaganza
In recognition of his progressive creep into the 30's Rob wanted to swim a crazy (his word)  long time today.  He planned to start at 9 AM and swim until 1 PMish.  The course was going to be either the Martini course which is a 2.2 mile lap around Avila Bay or the 1+ mile 'Big Triangle'  that we often swim which is made up of the complete buoy line and with legs to and from the end of the Avila Pier.  Rob had put out the call for anyone who wanted to jump in for any part of or multiple laps.  The day was a great one for swimming; sunny after a little overcast at the beginning, clear and flat(ish) 54 degree water and no wind until noon.  No seals, otters, dolphins or other critters. Rob's friend Beth was going to paddle for the entire swim. He started out at 9 on Lap 1 with Lynn Anderson and Byron for company.  Byron stayed in for Lap 2. Lap 3 was solo. On Lap 4  Niel and Ed took a turn while Kamber (who has not been in since last summer) did half of the buoy line.  Lap 5 was also solo.  For Lap 6 and on into a partial Lap 7 Duke and Dave VanMouwreik jumped in.  Rob called it a day after 3 hours 45 minutes of swimming and was smiling when he got out.   There was a post swim birthday party so I do not think that Rob's post event recovery has progressed to where he has posted the photos and distance information on his web site;   Sylvia and Yvonne swan the buoy line on their own.
Strong and offshore winds are predicted for Tuesday/Wednesday so watch the group site for any last minute changes in Wednesday evening's swim.  
I was not on the beach for Rob's entire swim so if I have made an error about who was swimming when please let me know.