Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday, June 30, 2013

It was just about a perfect day for swimming at Avila Beach today.  The air was warm but not too hot, the water was 60 degrees, there was no wind and the water was about as flat and glassy as it gets.  A pod of dolphins did a drive by while we were getting ready but otherwise there was nothing else out there swimming or flying.  Swimming today were Duke, Niel, Linda, Brad, John, Kim, Gerry, Rick, Hank, Casey, Sylvia and Yvonne.  Rob decided to do some body surfing in the 2'+ surf.  Sylvia and Yvonne started early and went east along the buoy line.  The rest of us did the same and continued to the end of the Avila Pier.  John, Linda and Kim headed to the end of the buoy line at the mouth of the creek while the rest of us swam to the second set of cross bracing on the Cal Poly Pier.  We came back to the end of the buoy line at the creek and along the buoys to the Avila Pier and in. That was about 1.4 miles for our group in a total time of 50 minutes.  The water was great!  The temperature varied up and down a bit but it was beautiful for swimming.  

Neither Rob or I will be at this Wednesday's 5:30 swim.  We are both doing our Avial to Pirate's Cove swim on Thursday morning.

No map today.  I showed up at the beach with a GPS unit that had a flat battery.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wednesday Evening June 26, 2013

It was a totally summer evening at Avila Beach today.  It was cloudless and very warm with only a slight breeze out of the SE.  The water was pretty much flat and 62 degrees with sets of 2 to 3' waves.  Byron and I swan the buoy line plus some extra distance down towards Fossil Point.  Mark and Hank got in just after us and swam a shorter version of our route.  This was Hank's first ocean swim.  He seemed to of enjoyed himself and I think we will be joining us in the future.

The squiggle near the end of our swim is a gps anomaly.  I stopped at that spot, removed my goggles (with the Finis Hydro Tracker) so that I could pull my caps back down.  Dangeling around on my arm for a minute must have confused the software.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday, June 23, 2013

We had 10 swimmers today.  Dave, Niel, Sylvia, Yvonne, Amy, Tom, Leslie, Duke, and Sam and Katie who Duke had invited to join us.  There was high clouds and a light wind out of the SW, so it felt a bit cool.  You could see the fog on the other side of the hills behind the Harford Pier.  The water was 55 degrees with a small chop but no waves to speak of.  We swam in two groups and did three swims, no unusual for us.  The main group were did the triangle route counterclockwise but Yvonne said that she couldn't swim in that direction so she, Amy and Sylvia swam the same route in a clockwise direction.   The two groups must have passed each other but I missed it.   When we regrouped at the end of the Avila Pier Duke and Sam decided to come in along the pier while the rest of the group continued to the east end of the buoy line.  I had a very nice swim.  Afterwards Duke headed home to nurse his cold and since it wasn't too warm on the beach most everyone drifted off by 1 PM.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sunday, June 16. 2013

It was sunny and double warm at Avila Beach.  The air was in the upper 70's and the water was a balmy 59 degrees.  There was a little wind but it was coming from several directions.  Swimming today were Gerry Gross, John, Brad, Niel, Dave, Sylvia, Yvonne, Leslie and Tom.  Allison was on her kayak, Big Red and Mark was paddling his long board. Rob and Byron hung on the beach.  Dave wanted to do about 2.5 miles, a double triangle with maybe some extra thrown in.  Some of us were interested in hanging in with him while others were going to go shorter.  The first lap went well. There was a small chop but it didn't seem to have a lot of direction.  At the end of the lap John, Brad, Sylvia, Yvonne and I dropped off while Tom and  Leslie hung with Dave.  Gerry was on his own route at this point.  On the start of the second lap the three studs went all of the way to the end of the beach before turning towards the end of the Avila Pier.  This made the second lap 1.3 miles, so they covered almost 2.4 miles.  By the time everyone was out of the water the wind had dropped away and the ocean's surface smoothed out.  Rhonda and Sharlie arrived, having run to Avila. 


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Wednesday, June 12th 2013

This Wednesday was the calmest we've had in a couple months. The wind was minimal, the water was running in the high 50s, and there was still just a little bit of surf in play. Swimmers included Dave, Byron (going wetsuitless for the first time!), Mark and Dana. Marie paddled her surfboard around the pier and I played in the surf. The crew that swam was out for about 38 minutes and knocked out a little more than a mile. Byron did pretty well with his wetsuitlessness although he did have to shiver it out for a while afterwards.

For those of you that are interested, there's a Pirates Cove swim coming up on the 4th of July. More details available here:!topic/centralcoastopenwater/Zca08KGoJX4

See you in the water either Friday at Lopez or Sunday in Avila!

Rob D.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sunday, June, 9 2013

It was a different day today than yesterday;  the surf had gotten up early and the overcast lasted until past noon so yesterday was THE day for the Triple Martini Swims.  Today's water temperature was the same at 56.5.  The water was clear and critter free but there were a lot of fishermen on the pier.  Rob said that he did see a ball of bait fish during the swim yesterday so I guess that summer water conditions are arriving.  On the beach today were Niel, Duke, Byron (with his new hat!), Rob, Brad, Sylvia, Garry Gross and Yvonne.  Sharley ran to Avila from SLO and joined us.  Rick and Rhonda stopped by on their bikes.  Byron and Sylvia sat today out.  The rest of us were looking for something simple and or short.  Rob decided to stick with body surfing. The swimmers decided to do an easy half mile on the east side of the pier.  There were lots of fishing lines trailing off of the pier so we stayed farther away than usual.  The waves were large enough to give us a 3' surge to ride around on out at the buoy line.  Our swim was easy, uneventful and just what was needed.


Bonus Triple Martini update! Casey did a write up of the swim from his perspective here:

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Triple Martini Swim - June 8th 2013

What started with Casey saying he wanted to try to the Triple Martini turned into a three man siege on the waters of San Luis Bay accompanied by a pack of paddlers 7 deep and three pace swimmers. Our three Triple Martini Swimmers pushed their limits whether it be cold or distance or a mix of the two and emerged victorious on the beach with big surf behind them... as well as all those paddlers I was talking about who weren't sure how to actually get out of the ocean in intermittently head high surf!

The team started to arrive at the beach around 7:30am to get kayaks unloaded and on the beach. I brought "Yves", Allison brought "Ruby", Dave brought in "Big Red", and Niel brought both of his kayaks although I'm uncertain if they have cool names or not :) While seats were clipped in and paddles assembled the rest of the crew came out. Besides our swimmers Dave and Casey we had Allison, Niel, Jenny, Sharley, Hanna,  and myself there to kayak. Tom, Brad, Duke and Byron were all there to buddy swim at different points as well.

Somewhere closer to 8:30am I split the paddlers into teams and gave a quick rundown of what we were about to go do. Niel would be Dave's lead paddler and would be supported by Sharley and Hanna in Big Red. Allison would be Casey's lead paddler with Jenny supporting. I would be moving back and forth between the two swims and escorting paces swimmers into the martini later on. With this out of the way we moved towards the shore.

Conditions were optimal today. The water temp ranged from 56 and up to maybe 58 and possibly higher depending on how much you trust the various thermometers we had in rotation. The water was very glassy and incredibly smooth, the wind almost non-existent. What we did have was surf. More a problem for the paddlers than the swimmers. When we were getting in there were big lulls between the bigger waves which gave everyone a chance to sneak out without much trouble... phew! That was a major wildcard concern I'd had all week know that a big swell was pointed right at us from the southern hemisphere.

Both swimmers elected to swim clockwise which meant we'd hit Avila Rock first. Dave was swimming with no wetsuit and got right down to business to get his insides warmed up. He was accompanied by Byron and Tom as buddy swimmers. Casey was wetsuited but needed a little time to get comfortable. The guys got to the kelp patch around the rock at about the same time but that's where they separated. Casey tagged the kelp patch and turned for the Poly Pier. Although Dave could have done the same he elected to go all the way around the rock as opposed to just into the kelp patty. The first run through the kelp was ridiculously thick, I think it may have been faster if he would have stood up and just walked to the rock from there! I followed Dave around the Rock back out a channel in the kelp that we found (and used from there on out) and then I took off to catch up to Casey and make sure he was in a good place after lap number one.

On my way across the Martini I picked up a bonus paddler! Danilu came down to the beach with her kayak to help out after some mountain biking earlier that morning. Since Dave had more swimmers with him I dispatched her to join his team.

Somewhere between the Poly Pier and the Avila Pier I intersected Allison and Jenny. Casey was swimming between them at a good rate and was feeling pretty decent. He hit the Avila Pier somewhere under 50 minutes which is a pretty fast lap. At this point is where we picked up Duke. He was going to swim a leg with Casey and then fall back and swim the rest of a lap with Dave. I hung with Duke out to the rock... he crushed the swim by the way. He was looking stronger than I've seen him in a long time and kept right on Casey. After the turn I took Duke back a little ways to Dave's floatilla and folded him into that group which now consisted of Niel and Danilu on kayaks and Dave and Byron in the water. Tom was done after a lap and the girls in Big Red returned to the beach for a while but Byron was feeling good and wanted to keep things going.

I once again rounded the rock and then broke off to see how the other team was doing. From the beginning I was concerned about Casey on this swim because he has very low body fat and hadn't done a 10k swim before. When I caught him on the last half of lap two he was looking great and still moving at a good pace. He was adapting and overcoming like every long distance ocean swimmer needs to do.

At the pier we picked up Brad as a pace swimmer for Casey. His timing was a bit off so I paddled off to get beside him and then angled him in a way that we'd hit Casey's line. With Brad settled in to do lap 3 I turned the boat around again to catch Dave as he finished lap 2.

Dave, Byron and Duke were all swimming well. Niel was keeping a good course and Danilu was keeping the pod together. At the turn she told me that she was doneskis... she busted up some ribs in a bike race recently and wasn't sure she had another 2 mile loop in her. She gave me some feeds Byron had brought out with him to keep in my boat. Turns out that after two laps Byron decided to go for it and finish out the swim! Surprise entrant! Normally that would be frowned upon but I knew he was appropriately trained up for it with the Semana Nautica 6 miler just a month away.

I took on Byron as my swimmer so that Niel could focus on Dave. I took him to the rock, we did a feed in the kelp patch, and then we started making moves for the Cal Poly Pier. About half way there Sharley reemerged on Big Red by herself and pulled alongside me. I loaded her up with Byron's feeds and let her take over as his escort. I took that opportunity to bail out and catch Casey's last leg to the pier and back to the beach.

At this point in the swim he was hurting. We were way past anything he's done in open water and he thought he was getting a little seasick.The good news is that if he had any considerations of quitting he was out of luck because if he wanted to leave the ocean the only way to do so at this point was to finish the swim. He later said the the swim down the pier to the beach was the longest 400m of his life! Since he was definitely cold I sent Jenny ahead to the beach to get ready for his arrival with towels and whatnot. Brad went ahead too, he was getting cold and needed to get back to the beach. Casey ultimately finished at approximately 2 hours and 57 minutes, the first person to break 3 hours.

From here I only had Dave and Byron left in the water and I drifted out toward them and joined that crew for the paddle in. We were greeted by some hoots and hollers from the pier which is always fun :) We shuttled Dave and Byron down to the buoy line and then the paddlers still in the water - me, Niel, Sharley and Allison who rejoined us after Casey landed on the beach - made a turn to find an open patch of beach to land on. A guy from the Harbor Patrol came and talked to us for a minute with some guidance on where they'd like us to put our boats down. A lot of the time we get away with paddling straight into the beach near our "spot" but the surf was too big and too crowded so we were pointed down a little past the lifeguard tower instead.

Once in position the four of us floated just past the breakers trying to figure out how to get out without getting destroyed by a big wave. At this point there were dumpy head high monsters blowing through... fun if you brought your boogie board but a little unnerving if you're in a kayak! Once I thought I had it timed I went for it. I paddled as hard as I could... stopped for a second to let one break in front of me and then got back to it. I had a wave pick me up and I did a rad little power slide to my left in the wave and managed to keep it upright all the way to the beach! Niel had a good ride in as well but the girls got tumbled. Allison bailed out when it became obvious her kayak was about to do a cartwheel and I think Sharley was rolled.

Byron, Brad and Danilu came out to help the kayakers haul their boats back to our spot up on the beach. Byron was looking good for having just swam over 11k according to his Garmin, and Dave was still on the beach talking with enamored bystanders :p The guys finished at about 3 hours 23-24 minutes.

Back at the beach I noticed Casey was missing. Turns out he was getting a hot shower. The lifeguards let him borrow their hot water to get him warmed back up because he did come out of the swim pretty cold. After that and some time in the hot sun which broke out as the swim ended fixed him right up.

With Casey back in the mix we coronated the newest member of the Triple Martini Club. Dave, Casey and Byron join Duke, Niel and myself in this most exclusive and prestigious club :) From there we hung out rehashed the swims, ate some goodies, and reloaded some boats while frustrating a lot of latecomers to the beach who were convinced we were all about to give up our primo parking.

Overall I'd say the swim was a huge success... everybody had fun and nobody died! Alright! Seriously though, thank you to everyone that helped make it happen. The paddlers did a fantastic job and I know the buddy swimmers were all very appreciated... it's gets lonely out there in the water. Hopefully we have more contenders sometime in the future, but in the meantime I think we may need to plan a single martini for sometime later this summer... something for everybody to think about...

We will be back in action Sunday at the regular time, come out and swim the water is waiting for you!

Rob D.

Update 14JUN13: Dave and Casey have both written blog posts from their perspective on the swim, check them out!



Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Wednesday Evening, June 6, 2013

Surprise! It was calm in town but very windy at Avila Beach at 5 PM.  There was a strong, steady wind out of the WSW with whitecaps inside the buoy line and 1' wind waves.  The good news was that the wind waves were not break and the water temperature was up 2 degrees from Sunday to 56.  Niel, Mark and Brad were swimming. Marie was going to paddle her surfboard and Rob wanted to get some more time in with his new Darth Vader style kayak.  The front end looks kind'a like a stealth fighter and the rear has two catamaran style pontoons.  It is designed for fishing and is very stable but will work great for escorting a swimmer.  We were going to do the familiar triangle route, stop halfway at the end of the pier, see how much fun we were having and maybe change our plan.  The water looked pretty gnarly so we weren't sure what swimming was going to be like. There were some fishermen on the pier and the wind was taking their lines way off towards Shell Beach so we decided to start on the windward (west) side of the pier.  The conditions were messy and changeling but not over the top.  I was able to stick with my regular breathing pattern of alternating sides the entire time.  I was not into doing combat against the water. I just stayed relaxed and tried to feel everything.  It wasn't fast but I did do a good job of keeping my head down in spite of the chop and  had a nice swim.

Dave Van Mouwerik and Casey will each be attempting to complete a Triple Martini Swim this Saturday.  We plan to have swimmers in the water at 8:30 and finishing 11:40 to 12N, depended on water conditions of course.  Come on by and support them at the finish.

Does The Water Really Feel Cold?
Check out this Minute Physics clip and learn why we do not really 'feel' cold water.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday, June 2, 2013

We had a big crowd and decent conditions today.  It was overcast and calm, the water was 54 degrees.  The surf was small and there was no chop.  I saw one seal in the water, no birds or baitfish.  The only concern was that the yacht club was setting out their buoys and gear for a race.  By the time we were close to getting in there were numerous sailboats gathered around the ocean end of the Avila Pier, so, today's swim would be along the buoy line.  Swimming today were Niel, Sylvia, Duke, Brad, Leslie, Tom, John Hampsey,Dave VanMouwerik and new swimmers; John, Gerald and Riley.  They are actually all very good swimmers, John and Gerald are on the Cal Poly tri team, this is just the first time that they have come out with us.  We went out, formed up at the buoy line and headed east along the buoys. At the last buoy we continued parallel to the beach until we were close to the rocks at Fossil Point.  We doubled back to the pier, went under and to the last buoy on that side off of the mouth of San Luis Obispo Creek.  We doubled back along our path one again under the pier to our starting point.  We covered 1.23 miles in 40 minutes.  I left the beach about 1:30 and the sun still had not managed to break through.