Sunday, July 29, 2012
The swimming conditions were beautiful today. The water was 58 degrees and there was almost no wind, no pelicans, seals or bait fish boils. It was overcast but there was no fog. The water was exceptionally clear; I could see individual shells on the bottom in 10' of water. I am training for a 10k swim, so I arrived at the beach extra early. My plan was to get in before 9 and to hopefully swim for 3+ hours, which would be about 6 miles for me. If that went OK then I'd figure that I was ready. My plan was to swim laps, up and down the buoy line parallel to the beach. I am comfortable being in the water by myself along this beach and would only consider going farther out to the end of the pier after the lifeguards started working. I had a bottle of Hyper sport drink and 3 Gu's that I tethered to the first buoy on the left side so I could tank up on my way by. I got in a little before 9 and worked at settling in to a nice relaxed pace. The second lap was the toughest mentally, because I to distract myself from thinking about how far I had to still swim. Into the third lap I focused on being almost half way and from there it was all about being in the shorter half of the swim. The buoy line is just short of a mile so I was going on past the last buoy at both ends to make it a 1 mile or 30 minute lap. This was another game. This swim was all about doing the time, not the number of laps, but somehow I liked the idea of doing 6 laps. At 4 and a half laps Byron and Dale joined me and a short while later Allison pulled along side in her kayak. As I stopped at my feeding station before starting lap 6 Rob and Dave joined us. It was nice to have the company but also a bit weird after being totally into my own world for so long. With the company along I decided to do the triangle route for the last lap, jsut because it would be a change of scenery. On the leg out towards the end of the pier my shoulders and upper arms began talking to me. I didn't stop at the end of the pier and continued on to the buoy at the creek. I caught up with everyone there (I was the slow person in the water today), took a short break and swam back to my feeding station on the other side of the pier. I collected my bottle and empty Gu wrappers and came in. I had been swimming for 3hr 20min and probably covered 6 to 6.25 miles. I talked with Rob about finding a window in the next week or two to do the Avila Beach Three Martini Swim. This is a course that we have made up that consists of swimming out to the end of the Avila Pier, then to the end of the Poly Pier, across the bay to Avila Rock, off of Fossil Point, and then back to the end of the Avila Pier. See, the three points and the Avila Pier make a martini glass. A lap around is just about 2 miles. Add in the in and out length of the 'stem' and you have just about 10k.
Thank you Allison and everyone else for keeping me company today.
We will be swimming on Wednesday evening as usual.
Heads Up: Dave Van Mouwerik is going to attempt a Catalina channel crossing.
Dave's route will be from Catalina to the mainland. His attempt will start at about 11:30 PM on Sunday, August 5th. There will be updates available online at http://dvmswimfromcatalina.wordpress.com/. Information will also be posted to the Central Coast Open Water Google Group and Rob's website; www.robaquatics.com.
Dave, I know that you are prepared for this. Best of Luck!
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
This morning Rob put up a notice on the Central Coast Open Water gmail group (email@example.com) that there had been a sewage spill in Shell Beach and the closing of the beach in that area. The east end of Avila Beach had failed its weekly water quality test on Monday the 23rd, before the spill, but there would be no additional water quality testing at Avila Beach until next Monday. The in shore current in that area runs northwards along the shore from Shell Beach towards Avila Beach. The regular swimmers debated the safety of getting in tonight on line, but with no current water quality data available all we had to go on was a gut feeling (a bad pun, I know, but somehow appropriate) and we decided to sit out this evening.
The beach closure had been cleared by 4 PM.
The beach closure had been cleared by 4 PM.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Rob D., Allison, Susan James, Rob W., Sylvia, Yvonne and Byron were already at the beach when I arrived today. Duke and Rick arrived shortly after I came back from taking the temperature. The water was 59 degrees and clean. It was gray with heavy overcast. There was only a slight breeze and a few pelicans about, but no seals and nobody was fishing from the pier. The swimming conditions looked great. The only potential problem was that there was a yacht race shaping up and some buoys were being placed off of the end of the Avila Pier, so we planned out a swim but figured that it might get changed by boat traffic. The idea was to do the regular triangle route but to have the option of adding an additional 1/2 mile by swimming from the end of the Avila Pier over to a point 1/3 of the way along the Poly Pier before coming back to the buoy line at the creek and finishing up along the triangle route. The triangle route is about a mile, the leg over to the Poly Pier would add another half mile. Allison was going to be accompanying us in her kayak which would give us some additional support and visibility. We got started and when we grouped up at the last buoy on the left there were sailboats maneuvering around the end of the pier so we switched to Plan B; to head back along the complete length of the buoy line to the creek, swim over to the same spot on the Poly Pier and double back along our route to the start. This would still be a mile and a half. I wanted to swim long today, so when we returned to our starting point and everyone else headed in I continued to do laps along the buoy line. I had tethered a bottle and some Gu at the first buoy so I could tank up as I went by. Having Allison accompany me was great and an unexpected bonus. I was nice to have her along for both the company and so I did not have to think about what the boats were doing. The second lap went great. On the third some wind waves out of the SW made thing more interesting but not difficult. The wind did make the overcast clear off so it was nice and sunny. On the 4th lap the wind waves had turned into a chop that was accompanied by a good current that seemed to run almost parallel to the beach from west to east. This was getting to be tough, I'd run out of Gu and decided I'd done enough. I'd covered about 4 - 1/4 miles in 2 hours 21 minutes, about what I had hoped to do.
Rob and I will be back to swim at 5:30 on Wednesday.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
We had 5 swimmers (Rob, Dave VM, John S, Kurtis, and Steve) out for a decidedly non-summery Wednesday night swim. It felt more like November between the lighting and the water temperature. We didn't have Niel to get an official temp from the pier but the buoy is running 54-55 and there were patches that I wouldn't be surprised to find out were closer to 53.
We opted to do the triangle counter clockwise and started on the right side of the pier. Since people were fishing at the buoy line we aimed for the second buoy from the beach instead of the first one to avoid hooks and lines. At the tip of the pier we swung pretty wide but still ended up uncomfortably close to a line in the water that someone had way out.
As we wrapped up our slightly more than a mile long outing a few of us stayed in for a while to bodysurf a couple waves. There's a little bit of a south swell at the moment that was pumping in the occasional good sized wave for us to play on.
This was Kurtis and Steve's final tune up swim before taking on Alcatraz this weekend, good luck guys! We'll see everyone else on the beach this Sunday at 11!
More pics available here
Sunday, July 15, 2012
The swimming conditions today were just about as nice as it gets; with no wind or current the water was as flat as the ocean will get. The water was clean and 55 degrees. There were a number of people fishing from the pier and a smaller number of pelicans fishing around the bay. Swimming today were Yvonne, Sylvia, Rob, Dave, Rob from Bakersfield, Kurtis, Amy and Dale. I'm trying to figure out if my shoulder is hurt or just sore so I decided to sit this one out. Rob had brought along a swim support device to test drive. It looks like a boogie board with a fin added to the bottom and a water noodle and flag on top. The idea is that you tow it behind you with a waist belt and it functions as both a way to carry drinks or supplies and to help make you noticeable in the water. Rob fastened his GoPro camera to the noodle to see how it worked as a media platform.
Sylvia and Yvonne started first and planned to swim the buoy line. The rest of the group did the triangle route clockwise. Rob looked kind'a like a kid with a toy sail boat when he was getting in but he think that once some kinks get worked out it could be handy.
The sun came out half way through the swim and helped warm things up nicely. The next swim will be Wednesday evening at 5:30.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
In other news I've secured us a discount code for the Tinley Triathlons coming up at Lake Lopez. Enter the code: CLUB2512 to save $25 off of your registration. Fancy right? I think it works on all TriCalifornia events but I'm not totally sure.
See everybody on the beach this Sunday! And don't forget to join the Central Coast Open Water Google Group if you haven't already, that's where we've been planning new swims outside of the usual Wednesday/Sunday Avila outings.
Sunday, July 8, 2012
We had beautiful swimming conditions at Avila Beach today with 11 people in the water. The sky was gray and overcast but there was no fog and only a slight breeze. The water was nice and clean with a temperature of 57 degrees. Robert and Susan were over from the valley to swim along with Sylvia, Yvonne, Byron, Rick Marina, Casey and Niel. Joining us today for the first time were Nichole and Geoffrey. Gerry Gross came too late to catch the start of the group but did his own swim. We decided to start out easy along the buoy line to let the swimmers who were new to us get comfortable. We swam out to the first buoy on the left side of the pier, turned left and swam to the end. Everybody was doing OK so we so swam the 1/2 mile along the full length of the buoys to the creek. As we arrived at the creek buoy we met up with Sylvia and Yvonne who had started earlier than the rest of us. Sylvia, Yvonne, Nichole and Geoffrey returned along the buoy line to the pier and came in, having covered about a mile. The remaining 6 of us swam from the creek to the end of the pier, to the last buoy on the east side and back along the buoys towards the pier and in. The sun had come out as we were leaving the creek buoy which felt really nice but with the sun came a freshening breeze and a nice little chop. It was enough to make the conditions on each leg different. We covered a total 2,567 yards (1.5 miles) according to Byron's Garmin GPS, spending 49 minutes in the water.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
We had a total of eight swimmers turnout for our 4th of July swim. The original plan was to swim from Avila Beach to Pirate's Cove and back which would be a round trip of about 3 miles, but it wound up being 3 different swims along the same route. The water temperature was 55, there was almost no wind or swell. It was overcast but not foggy. Planning on going the entire route were Niel, Byron, Duke, Rob, Dave and Brad. Paddling for them were Beth and Allison. Shawn needed to be back by 10 so he would turn around earlier. Lindsay and one other life guard were with him on paddle boards. Ed wanted to go 1 - 1/2 miles +/-, so he planned to turn around near Avila Rock. Ruta was paddling for him. Rob, Dave, and Brad swam traditional style while the rest of us wore wetsuits. We had planned to shove off at 8:30 but it was 8:50 by the time we got in. We all got off together and headed for a gap in the kelp that was just inshore of the Avila Rock. We regrouped there. I believe that Shawn headed back from the rock while Ed swam a bit farther before turning around. The rest of us followed Beth on past the next small cove as she plotted a course for us that would avoid the large patches of kelp. Once we rounded the point before Pirate's Cove we turned in towards the beach. There was not much kelp there so we were able to head in to the beach unimpeded. The six of us walked up onto the sand for a couple of minutes before getting back in. Swimming out from the beach there was a small swell pushing towards us that made it hit and miss when I looked for Beth. Once we rounded the point and turned west towards Avila Rock it smoothed out. Brad was getting cold when we got back to Avila Rock so Beth put him on her kayak and took him in to the beach. We had gotten spread out by this time; Dave, Duke and Byron were ahead of Rob and I. When we got to the east end of the buoy line we came straight in to the beach to see how Beth and Brad were doing. The lifeguards were there helping getting Brad warmed up. They decided to take him down to the station to be sure that he was OK. He joined us on the beach for the post swim pot luck which featured five kinds of chocolate goodies (there are some people in this group that take their chocolate very seriously!) and plenty of real food too. We hung on the beach for quite a while while the sun gradually broke through.
I had a swimming time of 1h 41m. Pictures are online here.
Rob and Dave are going to do the Santa Barbara 6 mile this weekend. Byron and I will be at Avila on Sunday.
A special thanks to Beth as well as Allison, Lindsay and Ruta who came out and made this a safe swim.
Sunday, July 1, 2012
We had 16 swimmers today! That is probably a record. The conditions were wonderful; a light breeze from left to right, no surf higher than your knee and a water temperature of 59.
Swimming today were; Rob, Niel, Chad, Byron, Sylvia, Dale, Lynn and Cherie (who are friends of Rob's from southern California), Robert (who came over from Bakersfield to try swimming in the ocean with us), Steve (from Morro Bay,his first time swimming at Avila), Duke, Berto, Gerry Gross, Brad (former Cal Poly tri team member who swam with us once before), Shawn and L.G. who are life guards at Avila (apologies to L.G., I'm not sure that I got your name correctly) and lastly, but most importantly, Beth who was with us in her kayak making sure we could be seen and stay safe.
With a group this large and a range of experience and abilities we started by all swimming down the buoy line to the left. We regrouped at the last buoy and assessed how people were doing. We split into two groups; Rob taking the group that was either newer to open water or just didn't want to go as long as the others back along the buoy line with the intent of going under the pier and on down the line to the creek. The rest of us headed towards the end of the Avila Pier to do a classic triangle route. Both groups met up at the end of the buoy line at the creek. Shawn and L.G. swam in while the rest of us swam back under the pier to our starting point at the first buoy on the east side. Most of the group headed in while Rob, Niel and Brad decided to do another lap of the triangle route. The wind had picked up a bit but the chop was only really noticeable when we were heading east, into the wind. We completed our second circuit and came in along the west side of the pier. I had us in the water for 1h 13m, covering about 2.25 miles.
There's a ton of pictures posted from today's swim on Facebook here
Wednesday 4th of July Swim
There will be two swims on the 4th of July, a 3 miler that will start early and a regular swim getting in at 11.
The long swim will be an out and back route to Pirate's Cove. We will have kayak support. We will get in the water at 8:30 AM and expect to be back at Avila between 10:00 and 10:30. Rob and I have scouted the route and have plotted a path that will take us between the kelp. So far we have Rob, Niel, Duke, Dave and Byron going.
The 11 o'clock swim will be a usual swim, with the route and distance planned according to the interest and abilities of those who show up to swim.
Bringing food to share after the swim is encouraged. For those who do I will deduct 5 min. a mile from your swimming time in the next blog :-) .