Monday, October 29, 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

We swam at Lopez Lake on Sunday . There had been a raw sewage spill into Avila Creek in San Luis Obispo on Friday and the Health Dept. had advised that there be no contact with either the water or wet sand  between the pier and the mouth of the creek.  Not knowing how the bugs would know to stay on that side of the pier we decided to do a swim at Lopez Lake instead.  We met a Mallard Cove at 10:30.  It was hot but there was no wind.  Allison and Kris were there with their kayaks to keep us safe.  Swimming were Niel, Rob, Jason, Ruta and Ed.  The top surface of the water was in the high 60's but it was 6 inches down it was in the low 60's or high 50's.  We swam out to the mouth of the cove, turned right and swam to the far end of the next cove which is a nice swimming beach.  Hey, fresh water tastes better!  We retraced our route back to the mouth of Mallard Cove . Ruta and Ed headed in with Niel, Rob and Jason intending to swim into the next cove to the south before heading back.  Our plan was modified when a group of jet skies that launched and started playing off of the point the we had intended to swim around.  We were in a no wake zone but it was just more traffic than we wanted to get involved with so we headed back to the beach.  We covered a little over a mile in 40 minutes having spent a lot of time in the water
conferencing about  the route.
Lopez would be an even greater place to swim on a weekday so we will be looking for an opportunity to come back.  Rob is planning a swim here on Black Friday with distances up to 6k so watch his blog and the Central Coast Open Water email group for more information.  

You can see all of Rob's photos from this swim at


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wednesday Evening, October, 24, 2012

I got down to the beach but did not swim.  The water looked OK, which doesn't tell you if it is full of bad bugs, was 58 degrees and looked very swimable.  Rob was sitting out tonight so I was on my own.  I wasn't too worried about sharks, was a bit concerned about the water quality, but it had been a full day and I just didn't have the energy to get in and swim without someone else to push me a bit. 
I have a call in to Adan Hill's office to see if I can reach someone who can explain why the County tests the water at the beaches on Monday's, and if the testing could be done on Thursday instead so results would be available on Friday afternoon.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Today started out all overcast, gray and wintery but became sunny and beautiful.  There was no sun when we got in the water.  Allison and Beth were with us again today (thank you!), they had gone out at 9, paddling over to the port, and swung back to the Avila Pier at 11 to pick us up.   and early and headed out to the end of the pier.  There had been a pod of dolphins playing along the surf line before I arrived and they were still around during our swim.  While I was taking the temperature the only other life in the water was one otter, one seal and a half a dozen pelicans casually looking for a meal.  The water temperature was 59 and the water looked cleaner than it had the past week.  Never the less, we weren't sure abut the water quality down near the creek and decided to stay on the east side of the pier.  We will have to wait until Tuesday afternoon when Monday's water quality test results are posted to know if this was necessary or just cautious.  Sylvia and Yvonne, with Allison in the kayak did two laps of the east side of the buoy line.  Niel, Rob, Beth, Loren, Brad, John, Amy and Dale swam out of the end of the pier and from there swam to the cave on Fossil Point that is in line with the buoy line.  From there we came back parallel to the beach, picked up the buoys and continued to our starting point at the pier.  It had been calm when we got in but the wind and swell picked up during the leg from the end of the Avila Pier to the point and the swim from the point back to the pier was across a quartering chop and building swell.  We covered a little over a mile in 40 minutes. 


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Wednesday Evening, October 17, 2012

It was summer just before Halloween and Avila Beach, I really love living here.
At 5:30 the air temperature was in the 80's, the water temperature was 60 degrees and there were still quite a few people on the beach and in the water.  It had been still but an offshore breeze was picking up, blowing left to right along the beach and making some small chop.  We were late getting started again.  Rob and Beth were doing a toe test when I arrived.  Ryan and Liz were getting their wetsuits on so I got ready and we waded in planning to swim down the buoys towards the point while Beth was going to play in the surf.  Working into the chop and current on the  swim down buoy line got me warmed up real fast.  When we regrouped at the last buoy the sun was starting to slip behind the hills.  It was beautiful floating in the water at the buoy but the gas went out of our desire to swim and shifted to playing so we returned along the buoys the way we had come, came in and did some boogie boarding in the fading light. Rob got some great photos of me in the water with his GoPro camera and I got decent one of the end of the day with my phone.

I want to add a follow up to Sunday's blog;  I had written about the foul water quality that we experienced on our Sunday swim and my disappointment that the County Health Department's sea water quality monitoring prototcals do not do an adequate job of protecting weekend ocean users. On Tuesday the County posted advisories for unhealthful conditions for almost all of the San Luis Obispo County beaches based on samples taken on Monday.  Avila also failed Tuesdays retest.  No retest was posted on Wednesday. We stayed away from the creek mouth on Wednesday evening but there were a lot of families in the water on that side.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Avila Beach was sunny and warm with not a hint of fall anywhere, except maybe in the 57 degree water temperature.  There was no wind or swell with 2 to 3 foot surf.  We did two swims today.  We all started out by swimming straight out to the end of the Avila Pier. At this point Sylvia, Yvonne,Bonnie and Dale headed for the last buoy at the creek while Niel, Rob and Duke, with Allison in her kayak, headed for the Poly Pier.  We have not been over to the Poly Pier in a while and it was nice to visit again.  The leg from the end of the Avila Pier over to the 1/3 point on the Poly Pier is about 1/2 of a mile so it is an opportunity to stretch out and focus on your stroke.  From the Poly Pier we swam back to the buoy at the creek and along the line of buoys to the Avila Pier, under the pier and in to the beach.  When we approached the buoy at the creek we swam into a horrible patch of water that tasted and smelled foul.  I wnated out of this right now but there was nothing to do but keep swimming towards the pier. This must be water flowing out of the creek that had been stagnant in the tidal zone for some time before making it out to the ocean.  The Health Department's test on Monday didn't flag anything but I sure would not want kids or anyone splashing around in kind of water.  We covered about 1-1/4 miles in 40 minutes.
Rob and Allison went back out to play in the surf and Rob brought in a nice crab that was amongst some kelp.

After enjoying this little guy for a few minutes Rob set him back on a pier piling.

Mid 80's to low 90's and offshore breezes are predicted for this week in San Luis Obispo so Wednesday nights swim should have beautiful conditions.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wednesday Evening, October 10, 2012

Rob and I had a great swim; the water was 60 degrees, calm, flat and clean.  The waves were knee high with an occasional 3 footer.  We planned to go out along the pier, over to the Poly Pier and back along the buoy line on the creek side.  Our start was delayed while we waited for a guy in a powered skiff to finish messing around near the end of the pier, neither of us wanting to become involved with seemingly random  movement by a power boat.  When we reached the end of the Avila Pier the sun was getting close to dropping behind the hills so we changed our route and headed to the last buoy at the creek and finished a half triangle.  
Last year we continued to swim on Wednesday evening through October, and will this year, the only limit being the amount of remaining daylight.

There is going to be a long swim option this Sunday's, for those who are interested in putting in some additional distance and are comfortable with being farther offshore.

Alan Freeman will be joining us on Sunday the 21st.  Alan has lived in Hawaii for many years but when he lived here he coached Masters and swam with the us.  He has a successful Catalina Channel crossing and a swim down the length of the Na Pali coast in Kaua'i among his open water adventures.  Alan wants to organize a Maui Channel Relay for 2013 so check your frequent flyer miles.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fall was no where to be seen at Avila Beach on Sunday.  It was warm, clear and there was very little wind.  The water was 59 degrees,, green and had some occasional set of 3 to 4 foot waves.  The water had been retested on Wednesday and was safe to swim in.  We had a nice group of swimmers; Duke, Niel, Rob, Amy, Sylvia, Yvonne, Loren, Rob #2, Brad, Chad, John and Dale, and three paddlers; Brittany, Allison and Beth!  There was a regatta forming up off of the end of the Avila Pier so we decided on a route that would give the boats a chance to start their race while we were close to shore.  We swam out and formed up at the first buoy on the left side of the pier, and then swam under the pier and down to the last buoy in the line near the mouth of the creek.  With so little wind and no current the swimming conditions were great.  By the time that the group had reformed at the last buoy the boats in the regatta were down off of Port San Luis, so we were free to swim to the end of the Avila Pier and do a complete triangle.  We had a wide range of swimming abilities and speeds in this group so having the three kayaks with us was great.  Allison was able to hang back with the slower swimmers while Beth and Brittany took the front and back of the main body.  Besides the safety of having an escort the kayaks help other boat traffic realize that we are in the water and provide guidance to those swimmers who are still honing their open water navigation skills.  We swam to the last buoy on the east side of the pier and back along the line to our starting point covering about 1.15 miles.   With such a large group we spent a lot of time forming up and chatting at the turning points so this swim was more of a series of sprints over 44 minutes. For pictures from the swim check out our facebook page.

Don't miss Dave VanMouwerik slide show this coming Saturday about his successful Catalina Channel crossing;

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

There were three good reasons not to swim at Avila this evening:
A concert scheduled for 5 PM would have the the access road jammed.
The presidential debates were on at 6.
The county closed the beach after Monday's testing showed excessive levels of enterococcus (poo by another name) at both sides of the pier and in Shell Beach.  Wednesday's test results were not available by Wednesday evening.  No sewage spills had been reported.  (Does this sound like the OCSD to anyone?)
So we would not have been swimming anyway.
The water was 62 degrees over at the Harford Pier so Sunday should nice.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sunday, September 30, 2012

I was off in the southland attending a wedding and reminding myself why I live on the Central Coast.  John covered my but by writing up the following swim report;

Niel-- we missed you this past Sunday Sept 30th! There were 8 or 9 of us there--Sylvia, Brad, Bonnie, Britta, Lauren, Dale, Jeff, Robin and myself,  But gorgeous light, like you imagine the Mediterranean sometimes--bright fog drifting in and out, half there and then gone and drifting back, light fog, but enough fog to keep us from going out to the end of the pier, we also had no kayaks to accompany us. We entered the water around 11:10 and guessed it to be about 59 degrees, and swam to first buoy, there were huge rolling waves breaking onto the shore that made it great fun heading seaward, the largest I've seen at Avila in some time, and good sized rising swells farther out. We headed south to the last buoy, then waited to gather, then headed back towards the pier. Some were finished at that point and headed in, the rest of us were a bit concerned about going under the pier with the swells, but it ended up being no problem. We swam north to the last buoy before the creek, then we turned back, went back under the pier, and Brad and the Camarillo guy headed in, and Lauren and I decided to do a sprint to the next buoy, then we finally headed in. It was a gorgeous exit with the Sun fully out by then and the huge swells carrying us toward shore, and then the waves breaking over us as we exited. A wonderful exhilarating swim overall!
--John Hampsey