Monday, December 31, 2018

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Brilliant sunny early winter morning at Avila... uncrowded beach, easy parking, and the vibe was solid. We were six—Tom, Heidi, Maria, Amy, Jonny, and myself. Tom went in at 11 sharp; the other intrepid five dawdled in a few minutes later.

The plan was to swim to the left down the imaginary buoy line, though Tom and others claim they can still see the buoys even after they have been removed.

Four to five foot waves were coming in sets and we waited for a moment of calmness to swim out into seawater that was definitely colder than the previous Sunday. Heidi’s aqua-watch read 52 degrees, 11 Celsius for those from the far north. The water was clean and clear and we swam to where we imagined the fourth buoy used to be, which was different for me and Heidi and Maria. Once we were confident the water was not too cold for a longer swim, we headed out to the end of Avila Pier. Approaching the pier Jonny, who had run 8 miles prior to our swim, broke out into full-on giddiness, and attempted a manic butterfly stroke. Perhaps a Canadian thing, sans a leg kick. Amy showed him how to perform the butterfly correctly, California style.

Then we headed to the white mooring buoy about a hundred yards north of the pier, circled it, and back to the beach. Swim length—1.1 miles. We all got a bit cold and claw-handed during the last leg of the swim. But the sun and our new-found, somewhat suspicious, technique of pouring hot water inside the back neck of our wetsuits, as well as hot chocolates furnished by Maria, had us all warmed up, copasetic, and gathered around the bench above the stairs. And the craic was good.

--John Hampsey         Sunday Dec 30, 2018      Avila Beach 

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Sunday, December 23, 2018

There was not much sun at Avila Beach today with high clouds keeping it cool and somewhat dim on the beach. The water temperature in the surf line was 55 degrees and
53 to 54 beyond the surf. The tide was past full, the waves were laying down, there was a small chop but no wind.  There would be over 8 feet of tidal change today and you could feel the suck as the waves ran out. 
We had visits by Byron Briley, Sharley Simpson and Rob Dumouchel. 
Niel, Tom and Phil swam our to the end of the pier, towards the point and back along the beach. John, Maria, Bo, Maria, Sydney and Sam did a long lap around the pier. Brian and Peter did their own swims.
The water was clear and the swimming was very nice but the lack of sun cut the post swim socializing short.


Sunday, December 16, 2018

Sunday, December 16, 2018

We had beautiful weather and nice swimming conditions today.  The air temperature was 60ish, I measured 55 degrees in the surf line but the water swam like 53. Thin high clouds and rain predicted that night. There was a one foot wind chop out of the SW and the water was clean. 
Sylvia Glenn rejoined us today  which was a great pleasure. She has not been able to swim with us for more than a year. She didn't get in the water but maybe next week. The rest of the group was Niel, Peter, Maria, Heidi, John, Jonny, Brian, Tom and Amy. Peter and Brian did their own individual swims. The rest of us went out to the end of the Avila Pier, then pounded our way through the chop to the Cal Poly Pier and had a surprisingly tough swim back even though the chop was now coming from behind resulting in a well earned mile and a quarter.


Sunday, December 9, 2018

Sunday, December 9th, 2018

Tom's Birthday Swim

Yes, a 'T' for Tom. 

We have seen the last of our lingering summer water temperatures and had beautiful winter conditions today; thin clouds, 65 to 70 degrees on the beach, nice clean 55 degree water, small waves, no wind and flat conditions.

Niel and Tom swam the 'T'
John, Johnny and Amy swam a parallelogram of a little over a mile.
Peter did his usual individual swim.
Jeannine, Brandon and Emily started late, I'm not sure what they did.


Sunday, November 25, 2018

Sunday November 25, 2018

Summer Conditions at the Wrong Time of the Year

Beautiful clear skies, an air temperature in the 70's, a water temperature of 60 degrees and great swimming conditions. This is not a normal description of Avila Beach in late November but it was what we enjoyed today. 
We had the first rain of the season Wednesday night into Thursday so the water in San Luis Obispo Creek was full of bacteria.
You can see the numbers for the amount of enterococcus bacteria (the EPA's indicator for human waste) at  The CA state standard beyond which peopel should avoiding contact with the water is 104 organisms/100ml, so samples that clock in at 6 to 10 thousand mean you need to stay clear of the creek.
Considering the tide and lack of wind we decided that swimming on the east side of the Avila Pier would be reasonable. 
In the water today were Niel, Duke, Emily, Heidi, Peter, Theresa, John, Jonny and Maria. The wind picked up out of the SE and made the swim from the point to the end of the Avila Pier a good bit of work. With the water so comfortable we spent a lot of time waiting to pull the group back together before starting on the next leg, just hanging in the water talking. Just like August.
We had a nice pot luck snack after the swim of desert leftovers from Thanksgiving.


Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Trouble With Tribbles and a Fortune Cookie Swim

The Trouble With Tribbles is one of the most famous episodes from the original Star Trek.  The Enterprise is inundated with featureless but harry and harmless creatures.

Related image

Well today there was one on the beach right there where we put our chairs. This one was kind'a quiet, it didn't move or even squeak when Duke set down his chair near it. Eventually Sue became concerned and moved it to near the trash can. It must have woken up because it was gone later.
I've come across some strange and unexpected things on the beach but never a Tribble.

It was sunny at Avila Beach today with thin high clouds, about 70 degrees with 60 degree water. There was no wind, the ocean was flat and the water was nice and clean. Not as clear as last Sunday but very good for Avila Beach. The water temperature is about 4 to 5 degrees warmer than this time last year, for which I have no explanation. 

There is no course map today because I forgot to charge my Garmin 310 GPS watch. 
Tom's Fortune Cookie Route is sort of a folded triangle: swim out along the Avila Pier to the end of the pier, then to the western end of the buoy line at the mouth of the SLO Creek, east along the entire buoy line to its eastern end on the other side of the pier, back to the end of the Avila Pier and in along the pier. Total distance is 1.25 miles.
Swimming today were Peter, Niel, Amy, Duke, Sydney, Sam, Tom, Maria, Sue (back from England for a time), Johnny, Brian (chased out of Southern California by the smoke and debris) and Jeannine. Soon after the start the group unraveled into four or more swims. Everyone had a great time and enjoyed these very unseasonable conditions. 

The rain predicted for this week should taper off on Thanksgiving Day so we should be good for the Leftovers Swim on next Sunday where we will swim long and have desert. 


Sunday, November 11, 2018

Sunday, November 11,2018

A Really Beautiful Day At Avila Beach

It was sunny and calm with an air temperature in the upper 60's, no clouds except for some haziness from the fires in Malibu. The water temperature was 58.5 with amazing clarity,  I could see the anchor chain on a buoy all of the way to the bottom. The beach was almost empty. The life guards are gone for the season but the swim zone buoys have not been removed yet so we still have them for course layout, so we swam the triangle counterclockwise today.

Duke, Niel, Sydney, Sam, Emily and Heidi getting in.

On the west side and off the end of the Avila Pier we swam over large schools of bait fish that were well below the surface. It was great fun. We rarely have water that is this clear so I don't know if they are usually there but out of sight.

As you can see from the recent swim maps my stopgap Garmin 310XT produces really messy plots. I'm looking forward to Christmas when Santa delivers another 910XT to replace the one that the ocean ate a few weeks ago. 

The repair or replacement of my Ricoh MG-30W waterproof camera will take a while longer, hopefully by the end of the year. 

HEY, how about a Leftovers Swim on Sunday, November 25th? Buy that pie you'd really like to have on Thanksgiving with the assurance the you can bring it to the beach on Sunday, do a long swim, and share the leftovers with friends?


Sunday, November 4, 2018

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Tom’s Avila Swim Report:

Deep blue skies, sunny, with wispy clouds scattered about; a beautiful day at Avila. 

Swimming today was Sydney, Sam, Tom, and Larry the harbor seal.  The water was clear and cool, about 54 degrees.  The lifeguards are gone, the buoys remain.  Tom and the sisters swam the buoy line; Larry did his own thing.

and this from Sue:

At first only Tom, Sydney and Sam came to swim- they stayed together, followed the buoy line and swam about a mile, according to Tom. The girls said the water was super clear and on the warm side
A bit later Annemarie showed up and went out by herself, then Eric and the two girls (Cal Poly) went out together
A beautiful 78 degree day in Avila!!!
We missed everyone today
 Hope you had a great weekend!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Sunday, October 28th, 2018

It was foggy and calm when I arrived at the beach. The water temperature was 58 degrees. The water was flat. The buoys were pretty much visible from the back of the beach so a buoy to buoy swim along the line was possible. Today's group was Niel, Heidi, Tom, Teresia, Jon, Jonny and Maria. This was Teresa's first swim with us and we have not seen Jonny in a couple of months. 

When we arrived at the east end of the buoy line it had cleared sufficiently to see the end of the Avila Pier so we swam there planning to either go to the last buoy at the west end of the line or if the fog came back in to come in along the pier. Sunny skys held so we completed the triangle.
This is the last Sunday that we will have lifeguards and buoys, the guards are done for the season and the buoys are taken out in the winter to protect them from damage from storm surf. 
John, Jonny, Maria, Heidi and maybe some others will be doing the Morro Bay Tri next Sunday and I'll be out of town so I'm not sure how many people will show up on the 4th.


Sunday, October 21, 2018

Sunday, October 21, 2018

We had superb fall conditions today; it was sunny except for some fog that rolled in and out, calm, friendly waves and 60 degree water. Looking back in my notes to one year ago I have a water temperature of 55 degrees in mid-October. We still have some red tide junk hanging around in the depths in some places but it was not heavy on the surface.
We had 10 swimmers today: Niel, Duke, Anne, Savanna, Heidi, Sydney, Tom, Emily, Geneane and Eric.

We swam the buoys towards Fossil Point and then back along the buoys, under the pier, and to the last buoy at the mouth of the San Luis Obispo Creek. From there over to the CAl Poly Pier and back to our starting point and in to the beach.

I lost my Garmin 910XT so I have been using a 310XT for the swim plots. Compared to the 910XT the 310XT produces a much more ragged plot and somewhat optimistic estimates of our distance. I have located a factory reconditioned 910XT so I'd like to do this same swim with the 910 and see if if estimates a different distance. 

I've no photos this week. Last Sunday my 5 month old Ricoh WG-30W underwater camera flooded. (Yes, I've been on a run of bad equipments luck).  The camera is now in the hands of the Ricoh warranty people and I'll soon know if this is a warranty repair. 


Sunday, October 14, 2018

Sunday, October 14, 2018

We had a nice group and good conditions and had a great swim today.  Avila was sunny with a light wind and a surprisingly warm water temperature of 60.5 degrees. We had seven swimmers today; Niel, Amy, Karen, Maria, John, Jaenene and Emily. We decided to swim down the beach to Fossil Point and then to the end of the Avila Pier and in to the beach  which would be about a mile and a quarter.

The water was clean and clear except for a reddish cast in the deep water in some spots. There was a current and chop out of the SW which made the leg from the point to the end of the Avila Pier a nice challenge.
John, Amy, Jeneane, Emily (in front of the buoy), Maria and Karen
at the first buoy. 

I'll have no more photo for a while because my newish (May 1, 2018) Ricoh WG-30 leaked today and is done for. Fortunately it has a one year warranty.


Sunday, October 7, 2018

Sunday, October 7th, 2018

Today's Blog post is by Tom

Tom's Blog Report:  A tale of two swims...  a beautiful day at Avila -
crisp, clear, and blue.  High tide, and a nice little swell kicking up a bit
of wave.  This was a swim with two starts - the first group was Tom & Sue,
followed by group 2 made up of Duke, Heidi, Amy, John, Emily, & Karen. 

Group 1 swam out to buoy #1 and headed west doing the buoy line.  By the
time group 1 was back at buoy #1 on the eastside, group #2 was also there,
and the both groups swam the buoy line east.  At buoy #4 on the eastside,
group #1 along with Emily, returned to buoy #1 and then headed out to the
end of Avila Pier.  Group #2 departed buoy #4 going straight to the end of
Avila Pier.  Both groups again met up at the end of the pier.  At this
point, Tom went in, Sue and Emily joined Group #2 to buoy #4 on the
westside, before returning along the buoy line. 

Water: Nice, guessing 59-60.

Red Funk: Yes, some.  Mainly eastside around buoy #4, and end of pier. 

All in all, a good day for a swim. 

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sunday, September 30th, 2018

The end of September gave us a nice sunny day for our swim. It was comfortably warm and  sunny with a light breeze. I measured a water temperature from the pier of 58 degrees in the surf.  The water had cleaned up a lot from the red tide muck of last Sunday. The water was clear and a nice green. 

Swimming today were Niel, Karen, Tom, Heidi, Emily (her first swim with us), John and Brenda.  
I suggested that we swim out to the end of the Avila Pier, over to the end of the Cal Poly Pier, in along the CPP to our usual spot at the second set of crossbars and from there back to our starting point. I didn't have my cheat sheet of swim distances with me so I guessed this route would be under 1.5 miles. Oupps, well 1.75 is close.

Tom, Emily, John and Brenda getting in. 
I think John was doing a little lobster fishing.

Emily and Tom at the end of the Cal Poly Pier. 
The leg between the two piers turned out to be an unexpected
challenge pushing into a chop and current.  

Niel and Emily at the end of the Cal Poly Pier

Art by Tom.

Heading off along the Cal Poly Pier to our waypoint at the second crossbars.
We had the chop and current on our rear or left quarter for the rest of the swim.
Some dolphins did a drive by of Heidi near the end of the pier. 

Tom and Emily are in there between the water drops on the lense.

Brenda, Karen and Heidi at our waypoint.
It was much flatter closer to shore and on the lee side of the pier.

John, Brenda and Karen

There were 6 - 8 Otters in the kelp bed we passed on the last leg to the Avila Pier. 

This was a great swim, starting off harder and more changeling than expected but finishing up with a 'downhill' swim. 


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Sunday, September 22, 2018

It was cold today with thick gray overcast, a 55 degree air temperature and 57 degree water.
There was no wind and the water was flat, so except for the red tide the swimming conditions were great. ;-(  The water looked fairly clean but had a taste like licking a car tire, a rubbery/chemical smell/taste.  The lifeguard told us that yesterday the red tide was really bad so I guess we were lucky that it cleared up for us today.
Swimming today were Niel, Amy, Karen, Erc, Tom, Phil, Maria and John.

Thanks to Maria for sharing her plot of the swim after my
Garmin 310XT had a seizure and wouldn't download any data.

We swam a modified clockwise triangle which had a jog around an anchored sailboat. I had 1.72 km

That is Karen, Phil and Eric leaving the first buoy and in the background 
is the sailboat that we would swim past on the second leg. 

The group on the first leg heading down the buoy line 

Phil, Tom, Maria and Eric at the end of the first leg.

The sun began to peek out while we were swimming. It came out enough to warm us up after the swim and then slid back behind the clouds.


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Tom's Three Buoys then Three Boats Swim

Tom's idea for today was to swim east along the buoy line for 3 buoys, then to the end of the Avila Pier and to then do a counterclockwise circle around three boats that were anchored on the west side of the pier, come back to the end of the Avila Pier and go in.
It sounded like fun so Niel, Heidi, Craig, Tom, Brenda and Eric headed out. Peter started with us but did his own swim. 
The water was 59 degrees and very clear but full of loose kelp, pretty flat, with a current out of the SW. The route was 1.52 miles and a great swim.
If you look really close you might be able to see the boats in the plot

At the start, Craig in his new wetsuit, ready for the holidays.
Tom at the third buoy
Niel at the same spot in nice clear water.

Tom, Craig and Heidi at the third buoy

Brenda at the third buoy

At the end of the Avila Pier, Tom is providing directions.
Our first boat is to the right of his head, the second to the left and the 
third (the closest to us) must be out of sight behind his head.
Underwater shots by Tom. Posing by Niel 

A blurry shot of Tom, Eric and Craig at the second boat. 

Heidi at the second boat.


Sunday, September 9, 2018

Sunday, September 9th, 2018

Swim report from Tom.  September 9, 2018

A beautiful September day at Avila - clear and sunny, mid-seventies; a taste
of fall in the air.  Swimming today was Duke, Heidi, Amy, Karen, Brenda,
Maria, & Tom.  Once in the water, we hit the first buoy and went west to
crossbar #2 of the Poly Pier (with a brief stop at the 4th buoy to group
discuss the route).  At crossbar #2, the group dispersed, with some
returning the way they came, and some going long to the end of the Poly
Pier.  All in all, it was a beautiful day for swimming.  

Water temp: Whatever it felt like to you.  Me?  I'd call it about 59 - 60.

Quote of the day:  "I'm going to make Avila great again."  ~ Duke

No one was quite sure what Duke meant, but it was a concern.  The good folks
of Avila Beach might want to keep an eye on this.  Perhaps, even get an
independent investigator in place.  Just a thought.

Thanks Tom.


Wednesday swims?

Brenda McAlice

1:29 PM (20 minutes ago)
Hi Niel and Duke- I'm training for the Morro Bay tri Nov 4th. If today was any indication, 
I need some serious time in the water. Can you use your communication prowess to see 
if anyone is up for a Weds swim weekly now through November? Maybe a 545 meet and 6pm in water?

Monday, September 3, 2018

Labor Day Swim, September 3rd, 2018

Niel, Craig and Heidi got in at 9:30 and swam over to the Cal Poly Pier for a 1+ mile wake up swim before the holiday crowds arrived. Conditions were overcast with flat clean water (no wind this early). We are encountering a lot of loose kelp in the water which is normal for this time of the year. Once we got our past the surf line the water temperature dropped and felt like 55 degrees +/-. I had measured a temperature of 58 degrees from the pier (in the surf) and Heidi's watch was reading 56 during the swim.  Once we got used to the water the swimming conditions were wonderful. 

Heid , Niel and Craig at the start

Craig and Heidi at the Cal Poly Pier.


Sunday, September 2, 2018

Sunday, September 2nd, 2018

A Change In The Weather -

Avila Beach was cool, gray and still with solid high clouds, no wind and clean and colder(er) water. After quite a few weeks of water temperatures in the low 60's I measured 57 degrees off of the Avila Pier. Post swim opinions were that the average water temperature was closer to 55, with the lack of sun helping to make the water feel cool. We decided to do a simple clockwise triangle with the option of changing the route for more distance if the desire reached critical mass at some point during the swim. That didn't happen and we stuck to the original plan. Swimming conditions were great except for the gray skies and the cool water. 
Swimming today were Niel, Heidi, Duke, Phil, Eric, Karen, Jeff, Amy, Tom, Dave and Don.

 Tom, Duke, Jeff, Eric, Phil, Don and Dave 
forming up at the first buoy
Eric, Dave, Jeff, Duke, Tom, and another green cap.
At the last buoy near Fossil Point. 
At this point we spotted a bloated seal carcass that was floating 
about 50 M inshore of us, so we decided to boogie 
out'a there and get to the end of the Avila Pier. 

Jeff, Eric, Don and Duke at the end of the Avila Pier.

Dave and Phil at the end of the Avila Pier discussing race strategies 
for the Santa Cruz half Ironman next weekend.

Labor Day Swim - There will be a swim tomorrow morning, in the water at 9:30 and out'a there before the crowds. Route to be determined before we get in.
So far Niel, Heidi and Craig are swimming.