Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wednesday Evening, August 28, 2013

I did not swim this evening but a good group got in and enjoyed nice conditions.  John Siegel, Susan, Mark, Mary Ann and Stephen (I think that I have the last two names correct) swam. Distances ranged from a half to a whole triangle.  The water was about 60 degrees and still very clear.  The wind was falling during the swim so conditions improved with distance.  A pod of 4 or 5 dolphins passed down the length of the buoy line as the swimmers were getting out.

I won't be swimming Sunday.  Watch the Google group to see who is showing up.


No plot 'cause I didn't swim but I have sorted out my issues with access to my Finis account so there will be plots again in the future. It was something to do with cookies that their web guy sorted out for me.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sunday, August 25, 2013

We had the best little swim ever!

It was Rob, Niel. Duke and John.  It was overcast, but dead calm, the water was flat, very clear and 60 degrees.  Duke, John and I had used up our legs Saturday on our bikes (separate rides) and John went and ran something like 14 miles Sunday morning or so we were looking to get stretched out with a nice easy swim. Rob was in for whatever. We went in on the west side of the pier thinking that a counterclockwise triangle was a possibility.  The water was nice and the swimming conditions were about a easy as they could be, the sun even came out when we arrived at the end of the pier.  While we were discussing our next move there were several wistful looks towards our chairs on the beach so that is what we did.  We swung wide towards the second buoy in line to avoid the fishing lines.  The water was clear enough that I could see sunlight reflecting off of the sand on the bottom when I stopped at the buoy.  We covered about 7 tenths of a mile.  Duke said that we had done one of our shortest swims on just about the best swimming day ever.  Hey, everyone was smiling when we got out of the water and that is what I call a good day at the beach.


Sorry about the wimpy plot.  Finis has not been able to figure out how to let me log in to my account. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wednesday Evening, August 21, 2013

John Segal and I swam a short mile (1471 M) from the left side of the pier down to Fossil Point and back. The water was clear, 61 degrees but much warmer close to the point, with a wind chop and current running right to left.  Coming back towards the pier was 'uphill' but OK.  As we were getting in we saw 3 or 4 large black dolphins heading west between buoys 1 and 2.  Cool! They didn't seem interested in us once we got in the water.  

No details on the plot of our route because the Finis website is in a snit and will not allow me to log in. :-/


Monday, August 19, 2013

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Two Posts Today : Our Regular Sunday Swim at Avila Beach and a Report on the Trip to Monterey to Swim With the Kelp Krawlers

First, John Hampsey sent me this post about Sunday at Avila.  John and Stuart enjoyed a swim that makes me wish that I could have somehow done both of today's swims! 

Thought I was going to swim alone today at Avila since everyone was with the Kelp Crawlers in Monterey. But a new person showed up--Stuart, late 20s, very good swimmer. He had heard about the Sunday Avila group. As Stuart and I entered the water Jerry showed up, but he swam a bit later on his own.

The water, @ 56 degrees, appeared calm but actually had rolling swells and a strong current. Stuart and I swam the buoy line to the left, running through several kelp gloms, made me think of the rest of the group in Monterey! We then decided to continue on to Fossil Rock, stopping just short of the rock. Stuart looked down and about 15 feet below us in the water was a large black round object, an errant flying saucer or old mooring? ... We turned to swim back and Stuart asked if I saw the dolphins. I saw two in the distance by the shore. But he said—no, the ones right next to you. And Yowzer! There they were, four dolphins about 6 feet from me. It was sublime. They were probably checking us out, but we swam on, not wanting to give them too much to mediate upon. There was also a motor boat cruising nearby; I cursed them with hand signals for being inside the buoy line.

Strong current against us going back. We reached the pier and kept on going, underneath and a couple more buoys toward the creek. Then back to the pier and in... Entire swim was about a mile; in the water about 45 minutes with some lollygagging and chatting. As we walked up the beach we were welcomed by Dave VM sitting in his chair, waiting for us like a sea god on sabbatical. He had kept his eye on us and seen everything.

--John Hampsey, Sunday, August 18th 

Road Trip to Monterey to Swim With the Kelp Krawlers

Making the trip were Niel, Duke, Byron, Brad, Rob and Rick, who were swimming, Allison who would be paddling a borrowed kayak and tending herd on us, and Kris, Sharley and Rhonda.  Victor Plata dropped in to join us.  He was on the US Olympic tri team in 1994 in Athens and is now living with his wife and young son in Monterey.  I met Victor while he was attending Cal Poly when we kept finding ourselves sharing a lane at the SLO Swim Center.  I had not seen him in a couple of years so it was great to catch up with him and have some fun together.  I'll always be envious of the wonderfully smooth stroke he has.  I got to see it again briefly each time he blew past me.
The Kelp Krawlers swim at Lover's Point Park every Sunday, plus mid-week during the summer, and put together some groups of 20 to 30 swimmers that do several different routes. The conditions looked great; it was overcast but clearing, calm, no surf, a water temperature in the upper 50's and high tide.  The height of the tide has a lot of impact on the swimming here because at high tide the kelp covers the smallest area and has more open channels to swim through.  The one mile swim starts on the beach at Lover's Point and is an out and back route through a broad kelp bed and then across an open stretch of water to a NOAA data collection buoy. The 1.5 mile route begins on the other side of the point, hooks through the kelp and out to a yacht club marker.  From there the the swim continues roughly parallel to the shore, past Lover's Point to the NOAA buoy that is the turn around point for the one mile swim, and then back along the 1 mile course to the beach.  The consensus was that having driven all of the way up here we should get the most for our efforts and do the 1.5 mile swim.  We had a great time. The water in the cove at the start was cold but became more comfortable once we got off shore.  I felt like I was swimming in the open ocean.  The water was very clear by Avila Beach standards and seemed very deep because I could see white and purple jelly fish below me down in the water column.  After seeing the first few I got apprehensive because I remembered Rob's story of having swam here and having a solid carpet of jelly fish only 6 feet below him, seemingly just out of reach.  Today is saw on only every few minutes.  The other great experience was feeling the big long period swells passing under me, gently lifting me up and down without interfering with my swimming.  I've previously only experience this when I was well offshore.  Navigation was tough, first because neither of the buoys have much of a silhouette above the water so they are hard to find and second, that nice big swell meant that most of the times I looked up to navigate I saw only the back of a swell.  I had one more individual issue, my goggles were leaking and I was having to stop and clear them so I was quickly off of the back of the group and didn't have anyone to follow.  I did see Rob on and off and Allison's kayak was close by part of the time but between the swell and not having any landmarks along the shore I never could tell where I was along the route.  The last leg to the beach was into the swell and the chop was bigger, again more of an open ocean experience then the wind chop we have at Avila Beach, but the beach was easy to see and Allison parked her herself and her red kayak at the entrance to the channel through the kelp which was a great help.
We covered 1.52 miles and spent 53 minutes (including time for photos) in the water.
We had lunch together and then went our separate ways for the rest of the day.

Thanks to Kris for taking the pictures!  In order to see the details you will need to double click on some to enlarge them.  

The beach at Lover's Point
Getting in

Heading for the channel through the kelp

Arriving at the yacht club buoy

Arriving at the NOAA buoy

Allison making the entrance to the channel through the kelp. 
There are some swimmers in the kelp.
Sharley and  Rhonda. Where are they?
Who's got the car keys?

Sun's out for the finish

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wednesday Evening, August 14, 2013

This evening it was about as nice as it gets at Avila Beach.  It was sunny, warm, almost still with just a slight breeze from the east and an ocean temperature of 62 degrees.   We had a nice group too; Niel, Rob, Marie, Mark, John and Susan swam accompanied by Allison in her little white boat.   The County's water quality sample from Monday was very good so did a triangle starting on the west (creek) side of the pier.  The water was pretty clear and the swimming conditions were wonderful.  We had a broad range of speeds amongst this evening's swimmers which combined with the nice conditions encouraged a lot of idle floating and visiting at the turning points.  Niel, Rob and Chris did the entire triangle.  Susan, Marie and John came in along the length of the pier.  The triangle route was 1616 meters.  We were in the water for 42 minutes.
The first bait ball I have seen this summer formed out beyond the end of the pier as we were finishing up.  It looks like the sharky season is arriving.

The image of this evening's swim was taken from my Finis Hydro Tracker and imported into Google Earth.  It gives the plot a 3-D look but the swim data is no longer part of the image. Looks cooler but at a cost.  Isn't that the way it always is?

A large number (7 -10) of our regular Sunday swimmers are going up to Monterey this Sunday to swim at Lover's Point with the Kelp Krawlers.  I'm not sure who is going to be at Avila but check the Central Coast Open Water Google Group to see who will be at Avila.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunday, August 11. 2013

We had great conditions and 15 swimmers today.  The waster was 58 degrees and there was a light wind and a slight chop.  Lots of fishermen on the pier but I saw only 1 or 2 pelicans and no seals.   Swimming today were Sylvia, Yvonne, Duke, Tom, Niel, Katy, Sam, John, Mary Ann, Stephen, Lee, Rick, Byron, Susan and Gerry.   Most of us did the route in the plot covering just over a mile.  The rest of the group stayed on the buoy line.  We kept to the east side of the pier because the water quality on the west side has been poor all week.  You can check out the weekly water quality testing results from the County's sample that is taken on Monday at and the Thursday sample from the Surfrider Blue Water Task Force at .  Sharley, Rhonda and Dave and Lisa Van Mouwerik joined us after the swim. Sunday was Dave and Lisa's first day back from Sweden where Dave completed his 20 mile swim of Lake Siljan.  ( ).

Next Sunday Rob has organized a field trip for us to swim with the Kelp Krawlers in Monterey. Their Sunday swim begins at 11:15 at Lover's Point.  You can check out their Facebook page at
It looks like we will have a nice turnout.  We'll get something posted on the Central Coast Open Water Swim group.  Here is what I know, which is most certainly not complete; probably going are Niel and Kris, Byron and Sharley, Rick and Rhonda, Brad, Rob and Allison, Duke, Dave and Lisa, Penny, Judy and ...?   Rick and Rhonda and Byron and Sharley are riding together. Niel and Kris and Rob and Allison are talking about going together and Duke has room in his car.
Next weekend is when the Monterey Historic car races are held so leave some additional time for extra traffic in town.  If you are interested in rare, exotic and expensive cars but don't care to pay to attend any of the official shows, on Sunday you can walk the streets of downtown Carmel and amazing vehicles both on the streets and parked at the curb.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wednesday Evening, August 7, 2013

Avila Beach was sunny and breezy with small to medium chop coming out of the SW.  The water temperature was 59.  A few fishermen on the pier but no signs of bait fish in the water. Niel, Mark, John Siegel and Marie swam and Marie's friend Amanda was in the kayak. Between the four swimmers we had three routes; Niel and Mark did the triangle counterclockwise, Marie swam out and back around the pier and John did the first half of the triangle with Niel and Mark, came in along the pier with Marie and then swam along the buoy line to meet up with Niel and Mark who were coming the opposite direction.  The three of us came back towards the pier and in.  We stayed away from the buoys that were closest to the pier in order to avoid fishing lines.  We covered just under a mile in 38 minutes.
We had a surprise appearance by Allison Bayne waiting for us on the beach when we got out. She had temporarily escaped from retail purgatory to soak up some good vibes at the beach.   
Hope to see her back again soon.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sunday, August 4. 2013

We had a huge crowd of swimmers today; Rick, Duke, Sylvia, Yvonne, Rob, Katelyn, Casey, Amy, Sam, Katy, Byron, John and a friend who's name I messed, Gerry, Niel and Brad.  That's 16 people in the water with Rhonda and Sharley running, Kris walking and Jenny hanging on the beach.  The overcast looked pretty think but the wind would come up and it would clear before we got out of the water.  The water temperature was 56.5.  There was a yacht race under way in the bay and while Byron, our resident sailor, assured us that swimmers do have the right of way over boats, today was a day to stick close to the beach.   The route was down the buoy line towards Fossil Point, then back to the mouth of the creek on the other side of the pier and then returning to our starting point.  The sun came out and a SW wind picked up around the time we regrouped at Fossil Point and we found ourselves working into a surprisingly difficult chop on the way back that was stronger once we crossed over to the windward side of the pier.  I kept looking for whitecaps but couldn't see any to account for the way I was swallowing water. Just one more mystery about the ocean.  Everybody was not going to do the entire route and with this many swimmers I didn't keep track of where who dropped off, but everyone did end up back on the beach.  In any case, the complete swim was about 1.3 miles and 47 minutes in the water.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Wednesday Evening, July 31, 2013

60 degree water this evening, sunny and a stiff breeze out of the WSW so there was a 12" chop that was just breaking over.  Getting in the water were Rob, Niel, John Siegel, Mark, Marie and Andy. Andy drove up from Orcutt (did I get that right) to try out swimming at Avila Beach.  While this was her first time with us she has a number of open water events, including several Alcatraz escapes, in her resume.  Our route was determined by two concerns.  In the map the wind and chop was coming from the lower left to the upper right and the County's Monday water quality sample from the West (left in the map) side of the pier was not good, so we avoided that side of the pier and did something different swimming an out and back course that stayed on the east side of the pier and gave us some variation with the direction of the wind and chop.  I had some technical difficulties with my GPS (a combination of fat fingers and brain fade) and only have a trace for the second half of the swim, so you should double the numbers on the plot to 1691 M and 41 minutes.  Marie stayed on the buoy line.  John and Mark headed in from the end of the pier, leaving Rob and I to double back along our route.  The leg towards the end of the pier was into the wind and chop and was a good bit of work, but I liked it.  I wasn't swallowing much water and enjoyed having to push.  Swimming back with the current and waves was actually less fun. There was something about the way the following seas were lifting, pushing and twisting me that made it more difficult to get into a rhythm.  Maybe I was just in the mood to be banging my head against a wall.

Thanks to Rob for translating and posting the articles about Dave's swim. He has posted a post swim report on