Sunday, June 24, 2018

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Tom's Figure Eight Swim

Tom came up with a good one today. I do not think that in all of the years that I have been swimming here that I have done this exact route before.  He wanted to swim a figure 8. It was a few strokes less than 1.5 miles and offered a lot of places for people to drop off.
The route was out to the first buoy, east to the last buoy, to the end of the Avila Pier, in along the pier to the first buoy,under the pier and west along the buoy line to the last buoy at the creek mouth, then back to the end of the pier and in along the pier to our starting point. 

Swimming today were Niel, Ivana, Hillary, Rob Dumouchel!, visiting from Eureka, Heidi, Tom, Duke, Karen, Maria. Rob's friend Keili and Maria's brother Paul (here from New Zealand for a month) watched out stuff. Ivana had to swim short to make an appointment and Rob had not been in the water in some while so they stayed along the buoy line.
I got a water temperature reading of 56 degrees, out first above 55 this season. There were some spots that were definitly 56 and some others that were more like 54. It was solid overcast, we never had any sun, and calm with flat clear water and small surf. There was a push starting to build out of the SW that hadn't gotten too strong while we were swimming. 

Hillary and Karen at the first buoy

Maria and Heidi at the same spot
Tom at the last buoy to the east

Heidi, Maria and I, scouting the route to the end of the pier

Tom like to try underwater photos
 so this time he had me swim under him.

Hillary, Heidi and Karen behind her before heading to the Avila Pier.

Duke and Tom

Hillary, Heidi and Maria

We met up with Rob and that is Duke, back at the first buoy after we 
had come in along the pier for the first time. 

Photo documentation of Duke rounding the last buoy at the creek. 
There was some discussion between Duke and Tom about 
who may have short cut the course.

With no sun we did not stay on the beach as long as usual.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sunday, June 17th, 2018

June Gloom and Weird, But Fun, Water

Te Central Coast is known for June Gloom, the typical morning low clouds or fog that can burn off before 9 if you are  inland or hang around all day if you are near a west facing beach. Avila Beach was in full gloomy mode this Sunday morning; gray skies and cool temperatures with no wind and mostly knee high surf with an occasional 2+ footer.  I measured 56 degrees in the shallows off of the pier. With an incoming tide everything inside the break was mostly creek water so I was expecting around 54 degrees once we got outside the surf. Swimming today were Niel, Heidi, Tom, Jim, Jonny, John, Stephanie and Eric. Stephanie swam with us for the first time last week and and Eric's first time with us. Eric is an experienced ocean swimmer who is getting back into it after a long break.
The swim today started out by going directly out to the end of the pier, followed by a clockwise lap of the triangle route with a final return leg in along the pier. I had 1.39 miles on my watch when I stood up at the end. 

Eric, Tom and Jim at the end of the Avila Pier

We had strange water conditions, there was a strong current out of the SW (like last Thursday) and a surface that looked and swam like a one foot wind chop, except that there was no wind. I do not know what combination of things could be responsible for this, it seems beyond anything that a combined group of waves could form......maybe volcanoes in Hawaii, the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, a water spout nearby, Godzilla...? 

Heidi and Stephanie

We all had a really nice swim with different conditions on each leg with a nice easy finish coming in in the lee of the pier. 


Thursday, June 14th, 2018

Duke's was looking for someone to pal up with for extra swims at Avila while his usual pool was closed.I was interested in a little hookey so we met at the beach on Thursday morning and got in a long mile. It seemed to be flat, grey and windless but the sun came out and we had a strong chop and current out of the SW to give the route some personality.  We had a nice swim that was an excellent way to break up a work day. 


Sunday, June 10, 2018

Sunday, June 10th, 2018

Duke's Swim

Duke is looking for some extra distance and wanted to do this route which is about a mile and a half.  It was sunny with an offshore breeze that had some legs to it. The water was very clear, showing a tropical  pale green in places. I read 53 degrees in the shallows off of the pier. Swimming today were Duke, Heidi, John, Jonny, Maria, Niel, Heidi, Amy, Tom, Jim and Stephanie joined us from the South Bay LA area via Morro Bay. The plan was to swim down the buoys to the creek mouth and over to our usual spot at the Cal Poly Pier. From here the long swim would go to the end of the Cal Poly Pier, back to the end of the Avila Pier and in to the beach. The shorter version would go directly to the end of the Avila Pier and in to the beach. Jim, Tom, Duke Heidi and Niel did the longer route. I had 1.64 miles on my watch when I stood up in shallows.  I think that Garmin's estimated calorie count is low because wind and chop were coming right off of the beach so the leg from the end of the Cal Poly Pier to the Avila Pier was a push diagonally into the chop and current. We all had a lot of course corrections on this leg.

Heidi, Maria behind her, John, Amy, Jim Jonny and Duke at the first buoy.

Tom, Duke and Jim at the first stop at the Cal Poly Pier

Niel with Heidi coming up.

We reirley have water that is thei transparent

Jim and Tom at the end of the Cal Poly Pier. 

The same spot. Heidi and Duke. We are 920 M offshore.

It was nice and warm on the beach and the hot sand quickly warmed up several pairs of well chilled feet. 


Sunday, June 3, 2018

Sunday, June 3rd, 2018

I was out of town for today's swim but Tom sent me this description:

Here’s some fotos courtesy of Leslie from our swim around the rock today…             

First off, no matter what others say, it was not 57 degrees.  It was more like 55-56.  June gloom for most of the swim, partially burning off towards the end.  We had a couple kayakers courtesy of Jonny – they stayed at the front and back of the group until we got to the rock, then the lead kayaker decided he’d let Jim & I return on our own, so we did.  Water was kinda choppy, with the swell pushing us sideways a bit

On to the pictures…

1.       The group
2.       Everyone heading out
3.       Tom wondering back after the swim
4.       Jim & Tom warming up – Jim swam bareback in prep for his 10k in Santa Barbara

Ok, that’s the news from this week’s Avila swim…

See you soon.


And From John Hampsey -

Sunday, June 3, 2018
Today we made a serendipitous swim to Avila Rock. About three quarters of a mile off-shore, Avila Rock mesmerizes us 12 months of the year. But we had not journeyed to it in over two years. Swimming today were Maria, Heidi, Duke, Jonny, Amy, Jim, Tom, and myself. We would not have been able to make our jaunty swim to the Rock if we had not had the minimum safety requirement of two paddlers, which Jonny artfully arranged. Thus, somewhat miraculously, Sean and Monica were suddenly there as our trusty kayak-consorts. 
Beneath a semi-foggy and mystical sky, we headed south along the buoy line. At the fourth buoy we turned south-west and began our half mile dash to the ever illusive Avila Rock. The water was a kind 56 degrees, shockingly clear, and mostly smooth. At several points during the outward leg of our swim, metaphysical doubt set in—no matter how hard we stroked, the Rock seemed to get no closer. Nevertheless, we made our way... the only hazard being a nearly invisible kelp-bed. Some veered to the left of it; others found a narrow passage through the giant algae. 
Upon finally reaching the Rock and circling to the western side, the greenish-blue water was truly open-sea like—roiling and churning. And surprising all of us, was an orange buoy we had not seen before, about 30 yards NW of the rock. Some thought it to be a newly implanted turning point for an imminent boating race. Others thought it to be a warning buoy for boats to stay clear of the Rock with its extensive jagged western edge looming just a few feet below the ocean’s surface. Between the buoy and the Rock, a few of us nudged up against a two-foot wide, milk-white, melancholy jellyfish that meant us no harm.  
The return swim seemed, as it often does, to unfold more quickly, even with the water having significantly more chop. By the time everyone was back on the beach nearly an hour and a half had elapsed; our swim distance being about 1.6 miles. After showering and settling in with our coffee, the fog finally retreated and we enjoyed a sun-bright moment of comradery...  staring out toward Avila Rock that once again seemed sublime and ever-distant. We knew, even after swimming all the way there, we had barely glimpsed its secret. 
--John Hampsey

I will leave it up to you readers to guess which post was written by the Cal Poly English professor.