Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Avila Beach was beautiful today, warm, sunny, only a slight wind and a 59 degree water temperature.  There was a pod of 4 or 5 dolphins that were hanging out inside the buoy line. The didn't seem to be feeding or in a ny hurry to be somewhere else and were there for over an hour.  There were quite a few fishermen on the pier but if there were fish to be caught the seals and birds were not in on it yet because the skies and water were empty.  Sylvia, Niel, Rick, Jon Harmse and John Hampsey swam.  Sylvia went down to Fossil Point and back.  The four boys meandered around, down the buoy line on the west side, over towards the Poly Pier to a moored boat, back to the end of the Avila Pier and finished to the beach with a wide swing around the fishing lines.  The swimming conditions were very nice.
I'll be back the Wednesday evening.

The Finis website was not playing well with graphics this afternoon so I had to pluck the route image from another part of the site.   :-(

Fourth of July Pirates Cove Swim -

There should be a 3 mile swim to PIrates Cove and back on Friday morning.  We will leave the beach at 8 AM, fog permitting.  This swim is still a bit shaky because at this time I do not have a confirmed count of the number of swimmers and the number of support paddlers.  A sufficient number of support paddlers is essential for both safety (don't want to get run down by a jet ski) and to plot a course around the extensive kelp beds between Fossil Point and Pirate's Cove. 
I hope to have a better count Thursday morning.  If you are planning on participating in the swim as either a swimmer or paddler please post a response to our open water swimming Google Group at ;!forum/centralcoastopenwater  or e-mail me at


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Wednesday Evening, June 25, 2014

I worked late on Wednesday and did not swim.  This report is from John Hampsey.

Wed. June 25, 2014

When Amy and I arrived at 530pm there was no one else there. But as we entered the water around 545 Kim and Bridget were exiting from their swim. They had gone in early because of evening engagements. The water was fairly calm with slow rolling swells and very warm; we figured at least 63 or 64 degrees! Conditions were spectacular—no fog, very warm air (warmer than in SLO), bright sun, and an uncrowded relaxed beach. Amy and I swam the buoy line south and continued just short of fossil point. We had sited a bird on the water and decided to swim to the bird, but the undisciplined animal kept moving! The return north was a startling challenge because we were going directly into the glaring bright sun and could not site anything. So we swam by instinct which resulted in Amy heading out to sea and me heading towards shore. After a few hollers, though, we met up at the pier, went under it, and continued north three more buoys toward the creek. We then took a 4 minute Zen break to do some floating on the water; the conditions were nearly visionary, and the water dream-like. After we snapped back into the world of three dimensions, we headed back to the pier, under it, and on in to shore. Total distance-- 1.3 miles. Not sure how long we were in the water, but probably about 45 minutes.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday, June 22, 2014

At 10:30 Avila Beach was foggy and gray with a chance of sun later.  The water was flat, glassy and a nice solid 60 degrees.  Yvonne and Sylvia were getting in as I was arriving . They did a couple of laps of the east half of the buoy line.  Amy, John Hampsey and Niel swam the triangle route clockwise.  Duke and Angela (!) swam along the buoy line. Duke's son Bryce was with him and he swam (no wetsuit) out to the buoy line and back.  The three of them had ridden from AG to Santa Barbara on Saturday and had way more of an adventure than they had planned on. The got home OK with no injuries.  The sun came out and the wind picked up as our group was rounding the end of the pier.  By the time we were out Avila Beach was a windy, hole in the surrounding fog.

I let my gps on my dresser so there is no plot today.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Wednesday Evening, June 18, 2014

I couldn't swim this evening so this swim report is kindly provided by Amy Hewes.

Bridget, Kim and Amy went out on the right side of the pier -- there was a strong leeward (I think) chop, so we wanted to swim with it on the way back. Kinda a bumpy ride going out. Swam to the last buoy, then back under the pier to the last buoy on the south/east side. The water was very warm, maybe 59, and even warmer in the last 200 yards coming in. Beautiful light. Very compatible group! We stopped regularly to check in with each other. Bridget is pretty new to ocean swims, so while we considered going to the end of the pier, the chop dissuaded us. But we were perfectly satisfied with the route and swim. I notice a difference in going at the end of the day as opposed to our Sunday morning swims -- I'm looser, maybe, and the warmer water made it feel relaxed. Very pleasant!! 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sometimes It Is All About The Conditions

Avila Beach was grey and cool with what was either high fog or low overcast.  There was no sign of the gusty winds that had been in San Luis Obispo when I left for the beach.  The water was 59 degrees, flat with knee high surf.  It was warming up so there was a chance that the fog would break up and we would have some sun to swim in.  Looking to get in were Sylvia, Niel, Duke, Ali, John Hanse, Rick and Amy.  I'd seen Mark on my way down the hill from my car. Mark swim with us on Wednesday evenings and was going to rent a SUP and keep us company. 
Since it was nice and flat and Mark would be along to shepherd us, Duke, John, Rick and I decided to swim out and around Avila Rock, which would be a 1.5 mile swim.  Amy and Ali were going to swim down to Fossil Point and back and Sylvia was going to get in at her own speed.  Amy and Ali got started first. The four guys swam out to the first buoy, turned left and swam to the end of the line. From there we turned towards the rock.  It was not long before it started getting sunny and bumpy. It was starting to feel pretty choppy when Mark, who was standing up on the SIP, called a halt. The wind had picked up quickly and between the building chop and the wind he was not very happy trying to stand up on the SIP.  Avila Rock is more exposed to wind and waves than where we were so we agreed to forget our trip to the rock and to swim to the end of the Avila Pier.  Duke said that this was about the roughest chop that he had swum in.  I would agree with that.  I had the experience of rolling to my left to breathe (towards the chop) and have a large perfectly timed wave flip me over onto my back. We got to the pier and headed in.  Bailing on the rock was the right thing to do. Was swam 1.2 miles that felt like a lot farther.  Thanks Mark for coming along and keeping us safe.



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wednesday Evening, June 11, 2014

Kim, Mark and I swam the buoy line. The wind was still up and out of the SW, but not as strong as last Sunday so the currant and chop were not as severe. The water temperature was a nice surprise at 60 degrees.  It felt great.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sunday, June 8. 2014

Duke's 2 Mile Swim

Duke showed up with the idea of going 2 miles today. It had something to do with his blowing off his Master's workout earlier in the week and wanting to make up for it today.  Well, that is as good a reason as any.  All he had to do was convince Rick, John Hanse and myself to go along.  The water temperature was 57 with a steady wind with wind waves and chop out of the SW.  We figured out a route that was about 2 miles and headed out.  Returning from Fossil Point along the buoy line was a job that got tougher when we came through to the other side of the pier.  I did see John Hampsey at the second buoy. He had arrived late and swam on his own down to Fossil Point and back to the Avila Pier.  I was getting water over my head and swallowing some occasionally.  The leg to the Poly Pier was directly into the wind, current and chop so it was the hardest work but easier because the conditions were the least difficult to deal with.  We were all a bit worn when we got to the Poly Pier but thinking how the swim back would be was what got me through all of the work it took to get there.  Swimming back with the current was fun and fast.  We all had a great time.

Sylvia Glenn Kicks Butt at Sharkfest Swim -
Sylvia Glenn did the Sharkfest 1.5 Mile Swim yesterday. She competed in the Women's No-Wetsuit group and finished first, and, at 76, the only person in her age group. Her next oldest competitor was 58.  Way to show them Sylvia!


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wednesday Evening, June 4, 2014

Avila was beautiful this afternoon and it was especially nice for me being back at the beach, now fully recovered from a dose-e-do with a G.I. virus.  I was sorry to have missed seeing Rob and Allison here on Sunday but we did enjoy a long lunch today.  It was sunny and comfortably warm with a steady easterly breeze.  There was a small swell out of the SW combined with a steady current and small wind chop running parallel to the beach from east to west.  Yvonne, Niel and Kim swam. Sylvia was getting over a bug and sat out. She is swimming Alcatraz this Saturday.  We all swam down the buoy line into the chop, turned around and cruised back.  Yvonne, without a wetsuit, did three buoys while Kim and I did all four.  I had not measured the water temperature but I would estimate it at 55 - 56.  After my forced rest swimming felt really good.  I expect that I will be back to my regular distance this Sunday. 


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sunday, June 1st 2014

On this sunny and sparkling Sunday, there was a larger than usual gathering since our day was in honor of Rob and Allison, who are leaving next week for Humboldt. Joining us for the swim was Dave VM, our long distance marvel, and Mark on his paddle board, and Chad, and Duke and Amy and Sylvia and Rob and myself. And, as a special maritime bonus, Alison in her white kayak. Unfortunately, our Dolphin coordinator, Niel, could not make it because of illness.

By collective proclamation, the water was deemed a chilly 55 degrees; there was moderate to strong chop and low rolling swells. Because of a boating event, we chose to keep clear of the pier and headed south along the buoy line, continuing all the way to Fossil Point. Dave, Rob, Duke and Chad actually touched the rock and briefly meditated beneath the ancient igneous cliff. We then returned along the buoy line, some eventually cutting diagonal toward the beach and others continuing to the pier and then in to shore.

More folks were waiting on the beach to salute Rob and Allison—(Rhonda, Mike, Cassie, Dale)  We all enjoyed a wonderful eclectic potluck feast—quinoa and croissants and donuts and sushi and potato salad and muffins and some nearly visionary blackberries and strawberries supplied by Chad. And we toasted Rob, our demigod warrior of the sea, and Allison, our vigilant virtuoso of the kayak. Though they will be living in Humboldt for the next couple years, in their minds eye they will be with us, inside that special dimension that is Avila.

--John Hampsey
June 1, 2014