Sunday, May 31, 2020

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Flatter and Farther - 

Tom, Niel and Dave swam today at 9:30. Yesterday's storm had moved on leaving flatter water conditions. The surface was slightly textured with no wind, chop or swell. There were some 4+'  waves that would show up occasionally. The water temperature was the same as yesterday, probably 55 to 57. Today's route was a variation of yesterdays with some extra distance thrown in at the end; from the first buoy on the west side of the Avila Pier to the 3rd crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier, to the end of the Avila Pier, to the 2nd crossbars, to the 4th buoy at the creek mouth and along the buoy line, under the pier to the east end of the buoys and back to our starting place for 3,807M. Tom was  off the front and I think that he went from the last buoy on the east to the end of the Avila Pier and in along the4 pier. That would have been an additional 350M for 4,157M.   

At the start. Tom at the first buoy on the east side of the Avila Pier.  

 David at the same spot.

I was fussing with my goggles for the first half of the swim and didn't get more photos. 


Saturday, May 30, 2020

Saturday, May 30, 2020 - A Vertical Swim

A cold front moved through the Central Coast today and created storm conditions at Avila Beach and on the water. The air temperature was 65 - 70 and the water temp was up to 55 - 57, but still varied several degrees, especially around the Avila Pier. There were stormy looking clouds and a strong, steady wind out of the SW. There was a good chop on the water but no whitecaps yet and an occasional 2 foot swell that would roll through and double up on the chop.  

We swam a version of the Ping Pong route, looking for 3200M;
Down the buoy line to the creek mouth, to the third (more seward) crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier, to the end of the Avila Pier, from there to the second crossbars on the CP Pier, back to the buoy at the creek mouth and along the buoys to our starting point. 
We didn't quite make 3200M but with the wind, current and chop factored in I think we get credit for 3200+

Tom at the start. We were going to the right.

Tom at the last buoy at the creek. 

Tom at the third crossbars point to the end of the Avila Pier, about 650M away.

Me at the third crossbars.

And at the second crossbars.

The leg from the creek to the third crossbars was straight into the wind, chop and current, so it was all about tempo. Find the right rhythm and just do the work.
The next three legs; Poly Pier to the Avila Pier, back to the Poly Pier and to the buoy at the creek mouth, were all variations of swimming across a chop and wind. Tom thought the leg from the Avila Pier to the second cross beams was the roughest. I think that they were all hard, just different. The wind was building so my return along the buoy line to the start was in messy conditions.
This was a great swim. I like keeping up on my rough water skills.

When I got to the showers it was spitting rain, blowing umbrellas down the beach and people were heading for their cars.

Beautiful weather is predicted for next week.


Thursday, May 28, 2020

Thursday, May 28, 2020

There was clearing fog and a building SW breeze this morning. I was on my own since Tom had work stuff to do that he could not dodge. The pleasant surprise was that the change in the wind the water temperature had popped up. We will not have any thermometer readings until the pier is opened and I can get out over some deep water but the lack of an initial  shock and becoming comfortable by the time I was out to the first buoy puts my estimate at 55 to 57 degrees. The water is still clear but the wind that was blowing away the fog was putting some chop and current on the surface of the water. I got in at 9 and swam for an hour. 
I ran into Phil Costino at the showers.  

I had an odd Garmin malfunction this morning.
I'm guessing that it lost its GPS sync since it kept time but recorded only 40 M of distance.
I swam out to the first buoy, left to the 4th buoy, to the end of the Avila Pier. over to the 3rd crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier, in along the CP Pier to the second crossbars, over past the kelp to the 4th buoy at the creek mouth and east along the buoys to my starting place.  

At the end of the Avila Pier.

With the longer distances in colder temperatures I'm following Hillary's lead have begun hauling along a bottle of sports drink for energy and hydration. So I now have three things hanging from my belt: car key, camera and the tow line.

At the third crossbars

Looking back to the Avila Pier and the fog.
At the second crossbars.

And at the 4th buoy at the creek mouth. 
The mouth of San Luis Obispo Creek is under the bridge in the background.

Product Review - Ozark Trail 64 oz. Insulated Stainless Bottle
Several years ago my wife gave me a 64 oz. Hydro Flask to use to take hot water from home to the beach for a hot rinse after a swim. It worked great. I had been using a 1 gal. Arizona Iced Tea bottle, which was free and worked OK, but the plastic bottle didn't keep the water very warm. The Hydro Flask was less bulky and seemed to keep the water as hot as when it came out of the tap, at least until Saturday on this past Memorial Day Weekend when I left the Hydro Flask at the showers at the beach. It was long gone when I realized it was missing.  Bummer!
Looking for a replacement on line I found that the Hydro Flask is a $55 item. An even bigger bummer! I browsed around and found this one on the WalMart website. It was $15 and didn't come in cute colors, just stainless steel or white. I gave it a try and today was my new bottle's first trial. It worked great. It is about 2 to  2 1/2 hours from when the bottle is filled until I am at the showers and the water was as hot as I could want. I'm not sure that the Ozark Trail is made as well as the Hydro Flask, it has a separate piece that forms the bottom of the bottle so there is a additional seam there, so if it is dropped and dented it may leak it's vacuum and no longer insulate, but it comes with a cap with a handle, which I had to buy separately for the Hydro Flask.  My evaluation is that it will work just as well, not be a major loss if I lose it and I have $40 left over for coffee and brownies after I swim.


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Tuesday, May 26, 2019

The Big Triangle

Avila Beach was flat, calm and beautiful this morning. Some 3' waves but no current, fog or swell and nice clear water.
A lot of variation in water temperature today. on the east side of the pier I'd say 53-54 until we got out towards the point and then it was 55+. That temperature was pretty even until I came back under the pier from the west and met a 3 degree drop right at the pilings.     

Tom wanted to go to the end of the buoy line on the left and on to a spot between Fossil Point and Avila Rock, then to the end of the Avila Pier, to the last buoy at the creek and back along the buoy line. That would be about 1.5 miles. I opted to swim over to the second cross beams on the Cal Poly Pier and then over to and back along the buoys on the west side to our starting point in the east side of the pier.  I had 3,149M when I stood up. 

Tom making like an otter off of Fossil Point.

Me at the second set of cross beams on the Cal Poly Pier.

We didn't see Hillary but she got in not long after us. Don't know her route but she did make it over to the CP Pier.  She found a lost beach toy way off shore. See her GoPro video. 

I was nervous that I was about to find something I didn't want to find. Alas, I towed it to shore and disposed of it properly. My flotilla was amazing.


Sunday, May 24, 2020

Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Fog Route-
I arrived at Avila Beach a little after 9. The air temp was about 60 with fog and low clouds. There was no wind and the water looked very clear. The water temperature was about the same as yesterday but with the overcast and lack of sun it would feel one or two degrees colder. Since the pier is closed I have to wade out with the thermometer to get a good water temperature. I went out after our swim and got a 54 in the surf line.   
The Tom and I planned to get in at 9:30.  Hillary and David were already in the water. Tom and I crossed paths with them along the east side of the buoy line but I don't know what their route was. Tom and I did a good visibility route, sticking to the buoy line and close to the pier, both for navigation and safety. We could always see the next buoy and 3/4's of the way through the swim the sun started coming out and visibility improved. One of the scariest things for me would be to be out in the water with poor visibility like this morning and hearing a boat somewhere close.    

Avila at 9:30

Tom and I swam 2635M

Tom and Niel at the 4th buoy on the east side.
It was cold enough that after this photo op we just kept swimming.

Brittany and Augustine go in at 11.

This coming week Tom and I will be getting in at 9:30 on Tuesday and Thursday and will adjust our get in time for Saturday depending on the probable presence of lack of crowds.

Yesterday and today it was possible to be safe on the beach and to sit out while maintaining good distancing, but the Front Street boardwalk was jammed with people who were behaving like it was the summer of 2019, NOBODY wearing a mask or paying attention to maintaining safe distances. The route from my car to and from the beach was a constant recalculation of which path was safe, which often took me out into the street. 
If the crowds continue like today's I will continue to come earlier that was customary, maybe even getting in as early as 7, in order to stay safe on dry land.


Saturday, May 23, 2020

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Memorial Day Weekend Break-in

Niel, Tom and Hillary swam Saturday morning, getting in the water at 9:30. The holiday weekend crowd was already showing up. I proposed swimming the buoy line to the left to the 4th buoy, to the end of the Avlia Pier, to the third set of crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier and to double back to our starting point. I was looking to do 3200M. The water was smooth, clear and cold, I'd estimate 53 degrees and the overcast wasn't helping any. Once we got to the end of the Avila Pier, Tom Of The Sleeveless Wetsuit, went off the front because of the cold. He got out when he returned to the first buoy. That was going to be less than 3200 for me so I convinced Hillary to join me and go under the pier to the last buoy at the creek and back for 3,780M. 
Tom getting in

Hillary getting in.
She tows a yellow Avila Dolphins party boat with her GoPro 
and an orange bladder with water to keep hydrated. 

This guy was having a snack at the first buoy. 
I popped my head up when I stopped at the buoy and he was 20' away.
This was taken with no zoom and he was not the least bit concerned. 
I wonder it it was the same otter that I saw near the Avila Rock a week ago.

Tom and Hillary at the 4th buoy

Hillary over at the Cal Poly Pier. 

Hillary and Niel at the last buoy at the mouth of San Luis Creek.
We were just starting to get some sun at 10:45.

I'll be getting in at 9:30 instead of the usual 11 tomorrow in order to beat the holiday crowds. 


Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Commiting to the Big Pool-

I've accepted that my community pool isn't coming back any time soon and when it does it will probably be short course, every other lane, waiting to get in and no locker rooms. Poohie! So I've committed to swimming at Avila four days a week.  It is much more time consuming but I already feel so much better. Tom and I are thinking alike and can make a morning time work so there are two to four of us in the water. My challenge is to see if I can get back to my pool distance of 3200 to 4000M in the ocean.

It was very nice in Avila Beach this morning; patchy clouds, no wind, a big southerly swell making some 4 to 5' waves. The water has been as clear as it gets on the Central Coast. I met up with Tom and Leslie. Tom wanted to do the route that I had done Sunday for 3920M. That plan got a little shaky as we waded in and found the water temperature to be a couple of clicks colder than it was on Sunday, so we planned to drop off the full plan if it was too cold.   
Tom and I did the full Monte, somehow getting 3765M instead of the 3920M for the same route on Sunday. It was quite choppy Sunday so maybe my GPS included the vertical distance? ;-) Leslie got cold and dropped off halfway around the second lap. 

Tom and Leslie at the end of the Avila Pier for the first time.


Sunday, May 17, 2020

Sunday, May 17, 2020

The weather was overcast and cooling with a hint of wind. The water looked nice and clean with small waves and fairly flat. Tom was getting out as I arrived. He estimated the water temperature as 54 ish. The conditions on Front Street and the beach were pre-pandemic; crowded with lots of groups of people and no one wearing any protection. While there was zero conception of maintaining safe distances by the crowd on Front Street, it was easy to make something work on the beach. 
This was the beach at 10:30:

Niel, Teresa and David showed up to swim at 11. I had planned a long route for today that I could do on my own if necessary. David and Teresa liked the idea of 2 to 2.5 miles so that is what we did.  
Out to the end of the Avila Pier, two clockwise triangles and back in along the pier. 
This route could have been a bit boring except for the wind and current that showed up to make the swim entertaining.

Teresa and David at the end of the Avila Pier for the first time. 

Teresa and David the the last buoy on the east side of the pier,
3/4 of the way into the first lap. From here to the end of the Avila Pier we has a strong SW current and chop to make things interesting.
Teresa was starting to get cold and went off of the front. David hung with me.

David at the end of the Avila Pier for the third time. 

Niel at the same spot.

I had 3020M on my watch when I stood up (after going over the falls on a wave), good in my book for 2.5 miles with consideration for the extra work required for the last 1.25 miles. The chop was never really troublesome, but make this swim an uphill slog for most of the way.  

The beach at 1, looking like a regular summer's day.

Tom and I are talking about swimming extra early this coming Saturday and Sunday to beat the holiday crowds.


Thursday, May 14, 2020

Avila Rock Swim - Thursday, May 14, 2020

Teresa, Niel and Tom slipped into the water this morning at 9:30 and swam a lap around Avila Rock off of Fossil Point.  We had been talking about doing this swim for a while and were waiting for the water temperature to come up to where a 1.75 to 2 mile swim would be comfortable. I was comfortable the entire time so I'd say the water temperature today was 55 to 57 degrees. A wind was starting to pick up but we were early enough to be out of the water before it became a problem. Other than that little chop the water was flat with 2 to 3 foot surf and a 2 to 3 foot swell. The water was nice and clean and the swimming was wonderful.     

We began by swimming along the east side of the buoy line. We met up at the 4th buoy to make sure everyone was happy with the conditions for the route we had planned before heading offshore. 

Teresa and Tom at the 4th buoy. They are both much faster than I am so this would be the last time I spoke to them until after we were done. 

There was enough swell that I needed to stop a few times to plot 
my way through the kelp beds on the north side of the rock. 
This guy was busy having breakfast and didn't pay me any mind.  

A selfie at the rock. The rock is far enough offshore to have more boat traffic then the more common spots on our routes and I expected us to be split up, so I towed my rescue can for both the extra visibility and just in case someone wanted to take a break. 

This turned out to be a perfect day for this swim.

And another bonus, Tom is tasked with distributing Leslie's surplus baked goods, so today's treat was carrot cake muffins.  Yummy!


Sunday, May 10, 2020

Sunday, May 10, 2020

It was all about the perceived conditions today. It was overcast, cool and almost spitting in Avila Beach this morning. The water feels colder when there is no sun and Tom and I were thinking and feeling that the water was about 50 degrees and swam accordingly, about 1750M. Dave and Teresa were of a different mindset and swam swan more like 2400M. After I got out I waded back in with my thermometer and got a reading of 53 degrees in the surfline. That left me wondering if Tom and I would have gone farther if we had known it was 53 before we got in?
Brittany swam while Chad and family held down a spot of beach. Paula was there with three friends. I saw them head west along the buy line. 

Tom and I did a triangle clockwise.

Tom's assessment of the water temperature.
Tom wears a farmer john and I wear a full suit and we both thought the water temperature was about the same. Tom was ready to get out and I could have stayed in longer.  

The vote was 2/0 for 50 degrees.I probably was close to that in the cold spots. 

Tom had some great treats from Leslie to hand out after the swim.
They felt well earned today. 


Thursday, May 7, 2020

Thursday, May 7, 2020

I have not been posting the week day swims that people have been doing, people have been swimming on different days and at at their own times so it has been too complicated to put together in a blog, but, today was special.

Tom, Leslie and I swam this morning. I got away from a virtual meeting later than planned  and got in the water 15 minutes behind Leslie and Tom.

Leslie did half a triangle and Tom estimated that he did 2800M. I did a triangle for 1725M. I was going to do about 2400 but today the water temperature was the lowest that it has been this spring. Tom and I both estimated at water temp at 50 - 51 degrees. The pier is closed so I cannot get out over the water with my thermometer so I'm going by how intense the feeling of cold was and how long it lasted after I got in. Today was the coldest day so far this year. Earlier in the week Heidi and Leslie said that the water just as cold. Blame it on the consistant offshore winds. This happens every spring.  

This is the only photo because I didn't want to stop. 
Beautiful swimming conditions except for the water temperature.
I am very grateful that I picked up a new Patagonia R3 wetsuit a month ago (on sale!) 
This is my fourth one and the new wetsuit warmth and lack of leaks is very welcome this time of the year.
And Patagonia recycles the old ones.


Sunday, May 3, 2020

Sunday, May 3, 2020

We had a wonderful swim today and gret news about updated rules for the beach.

New rules are in place that allow chairs, towles, tents, sunbathing and all of the usual beach activities so long as proper personal distancing requirements are observed. So, we can once again meet up before the swim at our spot, leave out stuff on the beach and hang out afterward, abet with some occasional shouting required.  This is way cool!

Conditions today were beautiful; it was clear and sunny with an air temperature in the low 70's. The water was clean with a temperature in the low 50's. There was a mild offshore breeze at 10:30 which built to a strong whitecap producing gale by noon.

Swimming today were Niel, Tom, Teresa and Brittanie. Chad, Brittanie and the family are now back on the central coast living near Orcutt.

I wanted to do about 1.5 miles and at 2,540M it worked out pretty close. The legs from the last buoy to the end of the pier and over to the Cal Poly Pier were across the wind and chop and were pretty bumpy. I could feel the chop build up during the leg along the Cal Poly Pier between the third and second crossbars. The chop was mostly behind us on the way back to the Avila Pier so the last leg was easier.

Teresa and Tom at the 4th buoy. 
Brittanie swam her own route along the buoy line. 

Teresa and Tom at the Cal Poly Pier.

I'm looking forward to being back in my chair on the beach next Sunday!