Sunday, October 27, 2019

Sunday, October 27, 2019

A Bit of Winter's Breath Today

Sunday morning was gray with low clouds and much cooler temperatures than earlier in the week. The water at Avila was 56 degrees, flat and windless with no sign of the offshore winds that made last Sunday's swim so special.

On the beach were Niel, Leslie, Augustine, Jonny, Evan, Jonny's brother who was visiting from Nova Scotia, John, Sue and Theresa. This would be Evan's first ocean swim. 
We planned two or three routes and wound up with four. 
Group B, John, Jonny and Evan, swam out to the end of the Avila Pier, west and around two moored boats, to the last buoy at the creek mouth and back to the pier for a distance of about 3/4's of a mile. Group A, everyone else, swam to the last buoy at the creek mouth and over to the second set of crossbars on the CalPoly Pier. I got there last. Leslie had waited and told me that the rest of the group had headed to the ocean end of the Cal Poly Pier and that she was cold and would return directly to the Avila Pier and get out. With the lack of sun the water was feeling more like the lower mid to low 50's. I couldn't see the group ahead of me along the length of the pier so I just headed to the end. Nobody was there so I swam to the end of the Avila Pier but hadn't caught up with the front group yet. They had gone on to the last buoy on the east side of the pier and back along the buoy line to our starting point and in, for a distance of 1.7 miles. About now the sun was coming out and I felt warmer so I decided to do some extra distance. I swam to the last buoy on the west side at the creek mouth and then the length of the buoys to the east end, back to the first buoy and got out. My watch said 2.4 miles and 1 hr. 25 min. when I got out but I forgot to stop the plot so there is some extra time and distance in map. 

Augustine, Sue (bareback, as always) and Theresa at the start at the first buoy.
I missed including Leslie.

Theresa, Augustine and Sue at the last buoy at the mouth of the creek. 
The CalPoly Pier is in the background. 

Niel at the end of the CalPoly Pier. 
The water stayed flat and clean during my swim. 

Leslie had gotten out and was headed to the hot tub at Kennedy but got 
these shots of the clouds and the sun peaking out.  

This was the last Sunday with the lifeguards and the swim line buoys, so we will be in full winter mode beginning in November. 

Thanks to all of the guards and staff that work the summer season and help us stay safe in the water.


Sunday, October 20, 2019

Sunday, October 20, 2019

A Strong Offshore Wind and Cold Water Give Us A Beating - 

It was a beautiful California fall day in Avila Beach; 80 degrees, sunny, no crowds and a strong, gusty offshore wind. An offshore wind pushes the water temperature down, I measured 55 degrees off of the pier and Heidi's watch tracked 55 to 52 degrees along the buoy line. Duke, Niel, Stephanie and Teresa wanted to do about 1.5 miles and decided to swim over to the Cal Poly Pier and evaluate the conditions once there. Amy, Heidi and Mackenzie swam the buoy line. John and Jonny did the left half the buoy line, went to the end of the Avila Pier, around a boat that was anchored on the west side of the pier and back to their starting point. For everyone this was the coldest swim since last spring.

Teresa and Stephanie getting in with Duke already at the surf line.

Stephanie, Teresa and Duke at the last buoy at the mouth of SLO Creek.
The water felt significently colder than the last few Sundays.week

Duke, Teresa and Stephanie at the Cal Poly Pier.
I thought that we agreed to swim to the next (3rd) set of cross bars 
and from there head back to the Avila Pier, but, 
when I got to the 3rd cross bars everyone was continuing straight 
on so we wound up at the end of the Cal Poly Pier.

About 400 meters from the end of the pier the chop began to increase and at the end of the  pier it was 1 foot plus and pushing hard offshore, from 30 degrees left of our heading to the end of the Avila Pier. The swim to the end of the Avila Pier was a tough 725 meters, pushing hard all of the way against the current and chop. The chop would break over my head so I was constantly thinking about which way and when to breath in order to swallow less water.

All four of us were smiling when we were back on the beach, which was a combination of relief at being about to stop swimming and joy at completing a tough swim.
After changing it was nice and warm up near the sea wall so all of us relaxed with coffees and snacks until it was time to go be responsible adults.


Sunday, October 13, 2019

Sunday, October 14, 2019

 Fall is a great time to be in Avila Beach and today was a good example of why. It was clear, calm, sunny, comfortably warm with great swimming conditions. The air temperature was in the upper 70's, the water was 57 degrees with 1 foot surf and just a hint of a breeze.  

Checking out the water quality while taking the water temperature. 
It wasn't as clear as last week but looked pretty good but a bit green. You can see the thermometer hanging below my shampoo bottle float.

We had a large group today of 16 to 18 people with several new swimmers;  I did get the names of Niel, Ben (visiting from Seattle) Tom, Duke, Maria, Jonny, John, Stephanie, Tim, Teresa, Brenda, Peter, AnneMarie and Dana. There were too many swimmers with the similar colors of caps so I gave up keeping everyone sorted out in the water. There were at least two separate routes. 
Group A did what Tom called the Figure 8, which was a combination of some familiar routes combined into what turned out to be a 1.5+ mile swim; out to the end of the pier, to the 4th buoy on the east side, back to the pier along the buoy line, under the pier and to the end of the pier for the second time, to the 4th buoy on the west side at the mouth of the creek and finishing up by swimming along the buoy line to the pier and in. The water was exceptionally clear in places with a fog of red tide junk below us near the end of the pier.
I think that Group B swam to the end of the pier west towards the Cal Poly Pier, around an anchored boat and back to their starting point. 

Group 1 getting in. 

Grouping up for the first time at the end of the Avila Pioer. 

Group 1 forming up at the 4th buoy on the east end of the line. 

This is Maria, a new swimmer and Teresa at the end of the swim at the first buoy. 
Maria gets special mention for being the only swimmer today to go bareback but also 4 Gold Stars to have shown up to swim today after having completed the City to the Sea half marathon this morning in a time of about 2 hours. 


Monday, October 7, 2019

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

We had a beautiful fall day at Avila Beach and wonderful swimming conditions. It was comfortably warm and calm but not too hot with a flat and glassy ocean. The water was exceptionally clear for the Central Coast with visibility of 20'. The water temperature was 57 degrees.
We had two groups swimming today: Tom, Leslie and Niel went over to the Cal Poly Pier for a distance of 1.3 miles while Heidi, Amy, John, Jonny, Brenda and JoAnne swam the buoy line/end of the pier triangle for a mile+. 

Niel, Tom and Leslie's route

Niel taking notes before the swim.
Beautiful clouds

Leslie and Tom at the end of the Avila Pier
Niel and Leslie at the end of the Avila Pier with 
the Cal Poly Pier in the background

The water was unusually clear which allowed some fun photos.

Tom and Leslie at the Cal Poly Pier before we headed back.

Around noon after we were back on the beach the wind picked up and messed up the water so we got the good conditions that day.


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019

It was a leisurely gathering at the beach before our swim, and folks seemed to like it that way. On this crisp, sunny, gorgeous day--swimming were Jonny, Duke, Pete, Anne Marie, Dana (who joined us for the first time), Brenda, Stephanie, and myself. Also with us on his kayak—Sean Greene, which was a treat! We entered the ocean around 11:10am; the water was choppy and tempestuous under the influence of a stiff north/east wind. Anne Marie swam to the second buoy, Pete did his Pete swim, and the rest of us headed south along the buoy line. The water temp near the shore was 58, but farther out it was 56 degrees. The red tide was history, and blue tide was in! The sea was clean with good visibility, but there were heavy clots of kelp in places that had been kicked up by two weeks of ocean upwelling. After pausing at the 4th buoy, we headed to the end of Avila Pier, directly into the wind and wild chop, which made for an adventurous and challenging swim. It felt like we were surfing with our faces. At one point, so much kelp engulfed Duke that he had to walk on top of it to free himself! After a Buddha float at the end of the pier, we sailed back to the beach where a warm sun and quieter wind greeted us. Folks generally dispersed except for Jonny and me. Aspiring demi-gods... we lounged with our coffee.

--John Hampsey