Monday, March 27, 2017

Sunday, March 26th, 2017



Today's blog is by John Hampsey

Sydney, Sam, Marie, Heidi, Amy, Jonny, and I swam today. Under a gauzy sky the weather was mild with a slight breeze and air temp about 65 degrees. Because of the recent rain, we thought it wise to stay south of the pier. There were regular sets of large waves cresting as we entered the water. After getting past the break, we headed out to the end of Avila Pier. The closer we got to the end of the pier, the choppier the water became, and there was also a strong current moving from the north-west making for a challenging and boisterous swim. We then headed south-east to the cliff. With the wind and current at our backs we seemed to be sailing along at times. After re-grouping at the cliff, we headed north along the shore, against the current, to the pier and in to the beach. Because the water was so clear, some got a prehistoric surprise as we passed by the reef buoy because of the large brown stands of kelp sprouting up in that area.

Swim time 44 minutes, distance one mile. The sun broke through for a while as we gathered on the beach afterward, so even though the water was a cold 53 degrees we all warmed up quickly. Fantastico swim for all!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sunday, March 19, 2017

This Sunday Avila Beach looked and felt more like winter but had some new indications of spring. Instead of hot and sunny with offshore winds and a 50 degree water temperature we had cloudy and cool conditions with no wind and water that was up to an estimated 55 degrees.  

It was Amy's 65th birthday so she got to choose the route. She picked the triangle counterclockwise.  I left my GPS at home so today's plot is from Duke's Strava account.

We started with six swimmers, Duke, Niel, Amy, Jonny, John and Jim and gained two, Pete and Maria at the halfway point. On the beach and who was great to see again was Sylvia Glenn. She was here to get her beach fix and will be getting back in with us when the weather warms up a bit.

Jim and Amy at the start.

Duke and Jonny 

I took a couple of pictures of the damaged pilings that contributed to the closing of the pier. 

Duke, Amy, Jonny, John and Jim at the creek mouth

Pete, Duke, Maria, Jim, John, Jonny and Amy at the end of the pier.
The water was extremely clear for Avila Beach, I could clearly see detail on the bottom at 6 to 8 feet. Nobody had numb toes and considering that the overcast sky will make it feel colder than it is, the consensus was that the water temperature was about 54 - 55.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sunday, March 12, 2017

It is suddenly spring at Avila Beach. 

There was nothing but sunny, windy and warm weather earlier in the week and it finished up with a summer day at the beach. It was warm with a very light wind. From the pier I measured a water temperature of 52 degrees in the surf line. 

The creek and the ocean water was nice and clean so we decided to swim the triangle. This was a 1.24 mile swim the way we did it today. 

Swimming today were Niel, Duke, Jim, Sydney, Sam, Jonny and John. Mark kept us company on his SUP.  We got a surprise getting in when the water temperature dropped about 2 degrees when we passed the surf line. Cold indeed!

Mark herding everyone together at the left end of the beach.
Sydney and Sam headed back along the beach from here.
Duke and Jim at the end of the pier. 

John and Jim performing a scientific experiment; are your toes colder in or out of the water?
I was just about comfortable with the temperature at this point. 
Duke and Jim at the mouth of the creek.
Jonny, Jim, John, Sydney, Sam, Dule and NIel

Every team needs a mascot and we have a warthog that Sam found on the beach..
This is the time of the year to think of doing some longer swims. Pat, Amy, myself and others are interested in swimming; out to the rock and back (1.5 miles), or maybe over to Smith Island (2.4 miles one way). For those swims we will need two and preferably three support paddlers. If anyone is interested in joining us to support a swim let me know at


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Sunday, March 5th, 2017

The creek was clean for the first time in weeks but it was raining in San Luis Obispo last night and into this morning, leaving some question about what the water quality would be today.. The sky was clearing when I arrived at Avila with patches of blue starting to appear. The water was flat with knee high waves and as the sky cleared the wind began to pick up. 
 Niel, Stephanie and Johnny took a (small) chance and got in.  

Stephanie and Johnny
I'd guess the water temperature was 52 or 53. By the time we got out and stopped along the pier the wind was kicking up and a chop was starting to build. Stephanie had not been in in some time so we chose a short course and would see how she felt.  

I'm pretty sure that Johnny and Stephanie are both in this picture,
but I can only find Johnny's white cap on the right.
 Swimming east parallel to the beach I could feel a strong push and then had water breaking over my head from behind. It was fun surfing the building chop but I was already thinking about what the swim back was going to be like. 
Johnny at our turnaround point. 

Stephanie arriving at the turnaround.
Welcome back Stephanie!

The swim back was a slog into the wind and chop. We stopped several times to group up and share tips on swimming in these conditions. I find it fun if I'm not swallowing too much water. Our swim was short but it felt like about the same effort as a flat mile so the distance was OK. Afterwards we had a cup of coffee on the beach before getting on with our Sunday afternoons.