Friday, September 25, 2020

Friday, September 25, 2020

Grace, Theresa and Leslie did a weird route because of the large surf. The surf was super high and it looked like we were swimming in rolling hills. We went to the end of the pier, to the creek buoy, and back to the first buoy. Back around the pier to the 4th buoy on Fossil Point then back to the first buoy and out and back around the pier. A three pier swim I guess. It was crazy out there today but clear and not too cold. 

I'm headed into SLO now for a tetanus shot.


Leslie says that she stepped on a piece of glass up near our chairs but she is too modest. I think that that looks like a puncture wound from a white sharks triangular tooth. I think that she fought off the big predator with her teeth and nails and doesn't want to worry the rest of us.


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Thick, low clouds but no fog made for fine swimming conditions today. The water was glassy and clear, there was no wind, nor birds or bait balls and no shark warnings. The water temperature was 58.5°F but felt like about 56 at the start and was comfortable after the first quarter mile. Niel, Hillary and Theresa decided to got out and left along the buoys, to the end of the Avila Pier and to then decide what looked interesting.  At the end of the Avila Pier we decided to go to the third set of cross bracing on the CP Pier. Once there we decided to swim to the end of that pier and from there liked the idea of swimming back along the length of the CP Pier to the second set of cross bracing and from there to the west buoy line and home.

A couple of other early morning swimmers at the west buoy line. 
You couldn't see the hills but navigation was not going to be a problem

The Cal Poly Pier.
You can just make out the three sets of cross bracing that we use as navigation points.
We never swim to the first set on the far right that is closest to 
the shore as it is rocky and kelpy over there. 

I don't recall ever swimming this exact route before. It has some nice long legs:
1,000M from the 4th buoy to the third cross bracing on the CP Pier.
Another 400M to the end of the pier.
700M back along the pier to the second set of cross bracing and 
650M from there to the Avila Pier.
I got so lost in my head thinking about my stroke that I ran into another buoy.

Niel, Theresa and Hillary's foltila at the 4th buoy.
The flotilla is a raft made from a yellow water noodle that holds her GoPro, 
two flags and a shark and flamingo hula dancers, 
an orange bladder with water and a yellow ducky bathtub toy 
that has a thermometer in its tummy.  

Theresa, Hillary's flotilla and Niel at the end of the Avila Pier. 

Hillary got these shots of Theresa under the end of the Avila Pier 

At the end of the CP Pier

Theresa and Hillary.

When we got back to the Avila Pier Hillary and Niel came in while Theresa adid a lap around the pier. 

I'll be swimming on Thursday morning at 9. 


Sunday, September 20, 2020

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Big changes from yesterday. Today we start out with dense fog, colder water and the sharky signs are up. The lifeguards don't go on duty until 11 so there is no one to ask for details about the sighting. With the fog and 57 degree water Niel, Theresa and Leslie decided to stick to the buoy line with a lap around the pier thrown in for a little extra distance.


The view of the east buoy line from the pier. 

Niel, Leslie and Theresa getting started. 

A better picture of Niel and Theresa

This was taken as we were getting out. 
The fog had lifted enough to see the entire buoy line  

The next swim is Tuesday at 9:00AM.


Saturday, September 19, 2020

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Saturday morning at Avila Beach was lovely; clear, warm and a bit breezy
The water temperature was 58°F, the visibility was very good and there were not many shorebirds to be seen     

 We had a nice group today including Alex, who was over here from Lancaster along with David, Leslie, Hillary, Niel, Theresa and Grace. We decided to swim over to the Cal Poly Pier in a roundabout way and shoot for about 2 miles.   

That is Leslie, David, Grace, Alex and Theresa getting in. 

I think that is Grace, Alex, Theresa \and Leslie at the first buoy.

Hillary was back after losing a fight with her truck and having to stay out for three weeks until the stitches were out. Working on big trucks is not for the meek.  

Here we are at the end of the Avila Pier heading for the third crossbars on the CP Pier.
A breeze out of the SW was starting to pick up and would soon change direction and mess with out swim.  

Alex, Grace, Theresa, Leslie and David at the CP Pier.
I caught everyone doing a goggle check. We swam from here to the end of the pier. 

Alex, Thereesa, Grace, David and Leslie with Hillary out of the frame to the right at the end of the CP Pier. We swam from here back to the end of the Avila Pier.
The wind had shifted to offshore and we had a nice one foot wind chop banging our heads for the 750M back to the Avila Pier.    


Theresa doing her ALIEN scene with a starfish that she plucked off of a piling.

A very nice group and swim today. I'll be back tomorrow at 9:30.


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Thursday, September 17, 2020

It was just me Swimming this morning. The AQI was 51, the sky was overcast with the possibility of some sun, the water was flat but not glassy, lots of birds but no bait balls, the water temperature was 15°C/59°F with good visibility. I swam the buoy line twice and ended with a lap around the pier. On my second lap of the buoys east of the pier I had a flock of cormorants circling me most of the time. They didn't dive or land. Maybe they were hoping that I would stir up some bait fish for them.   

At the end of the Avila Pier with pelicans.

I'll swim Saturday morning at 9:30.



Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Tuesday, September 15, 2020


Early this morning the air quality In Avila Beach was listed as Unhealthy due to smoke from the fires so I decided to take a pass on swimming. 

Air quality is predicted to begin improving this evening and to be much better for the remainder of the week.

Check out for your local numbers and health recommendations.

I'm planning/hoping to swim at 9 on Thursday.


Sunday, September 13, 2020

Sunday, September 13, 2020

We had better visibility today with a high cloud cover so we had no visibility limitations and  our choice of routes. The bait fish and the following sea birds are becoming more numerous. There were large bait balls with lots of feeding going on in several locations during and after our swim. This is not unusual for this time of the year. We may need to cancel some swims if a feeding frenzy gets to the point where getting in the water is hazardous. The water around one of these large feeding events is full of feathers, fish parts and bird poop and you do not want to swim through that water. Also, the large number of seals that are attracted to the bait fish will draw any sharks that are in the neighborhood and fancy a seal lunch.

Anyway, the water conditions were the same as yesterday, glassy, calm and a water temperature of 14°C/57°F.

Swimming today were David, Niel, Theresa and Leslie. We all did one triangle then David, Theresa and Leslie id an additional half.

The lack of fog was a welcome change. 

Theresa, Leslie and David at the first wave

Theresa, Leslie and David at the first buoy

There were lots of swim coaches along the pier.

I'll swim on Tuesday morning at 9.

I got this from Craig Bowman:

An article about the first relay team to successfully cross Lake Michigan, a 55 mile course in 50 degree water.



Saturday, September 12, 2020

Saturday, September 12, 2020

The Avila Pier is back, there is less fog and I go long.

This photo is noteworthy for two reasons, because of where it was taken from and what you can see. The Avila Pier has been closed to foot traffic since March and was reopened this week, so I could go out on the pier before the swim, get a water temperature and check out the conditions. The string on the railing is for my big lab thermometer and I can see one and a half buoys, so Theresa and I could start out along the buoy line instead of hugging the shore. 

The water was flat and glassy, still pretty clear except in spots and the temperature from the pier was 56° F. I got a reading of 14°C/57.2°F on the little thermometer that I can take with me during the swim.

Because of the fog Theresa and I decided to stick the the Tom's T route because it is safe from boat traffic (sort of today) and offers lots of options for distance.Our usual swim along this route is about 3,400M. I had been feeling pretty good after those swims so I decided to go long today. We would go out to the buoy line, turn right and swim teh buoys to the end of the line at the creek mouth, return, go out and around the pier and swim out and back along the buoy line on the opposite side. Repeat until the desired distance is achieved.

That's Theresa and I just getting started at the first buoy.
Theresa did about 3,400M. I decided to do another out and back 
around the pier and maybe out and back along the left side of the buoy line.
I guessed that this would be an additional 1,000M 

Me at my second and last stop at the last buoy on the left hand side of the pier. 
From here it was back to the first buoy and in.

Except it wasn't, quite. When I stood up and looked at my watch I had 4780M. Well shoot, just 220M short of 5,000M. I swam out to the first buoy and back in to get the 5K.

I'll be back tomorrow, getting in at 9:30, but going shorter than today.


Thursday, September 10, 2020

Thursday, September 10, 2020

 At 9AM this morning Avila had dense fog, no wind and a funny glow from the sunrise above the clouds. I couldn't see the buoys from the beach. I was the only swimmer. With the fog Tom's T route seemed the best for navigation and avoiding any stray boat traffic.  The air smelled damp and beachy with no hint of smoke. There was hardly anyone in Avila.    

The view from the beach. No buoys in sight. .

Not much better wading in. I couldn't see the first buoy from the surfline.
I decided to swim out to the first buoy and see if I could see the next buoy in the line to the east. I couldn't so I swam in to the back of the surfline and swam by watching the shore. That worked for the buoy line and out and around the pier was easy. When I arrived at the first buoy on the west side of the pier the fog had lifted enough for me to see 3 buoys so from there I just swam the buoys.
The water temperature was 14.5°C/ 58.1°F and felt a bit colder in the gloom.  

My wandering about in the fog added about 200M to the route.

I'll be back Saturday morning at 9:30.


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020 - The Ash Wednesday Swim

By Leslie & Niel

Because of the smoke and ash in the air this swim was somewhat of a baptism by fire.

Theresa and I did two triangles around the pier. The water was about 60 and relatively clear. It was nice and flat. The sun was a red beach ball above us the whole time which made us feel like water witches. Breathing didn't feel too bad. Theresa and I thought it was OK.

Thanks Leslie

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

September 8, 2020

What a difference two days made. Sunday was super hot and clear, Tuesday was overcast, foggy, windy, choppy and smokey with larger, 3'+, waves. The water was still very clear but the yucky skys made it look brown. We couldn't smell any smoke but ash was falling steadily.  The breeze was blowing from left to right, almost parallel to the beach, which is really strange for Avila Beach, and it was driving a 1'+ chop. The water temperature was 15.5°C/59.9°F but felt a degree or two colder due to the lack of sunshine. 

Teresa and I decided to do the Tom's T; back and forth along the full buoy line with a detour out and around the pier each time buy.  We swam out, under the pier and west to the last buoy at the creek. Teresa is faster than I am and we didn't stay together. It was not too bouncy on the lee side of the pier but the swim in along the pier's east side was rough and had me thinking about what the leg out the buoy line would be like. That leg was work but not bad. I avoided sighting along the buoy line because lifting my head up just got me a view of the water and a mouth full, so I navigated by tracking my progress along the beach each time I breathed on that side. Returning was fun and back along the length of the pier was messy but just as I was starting to feel spent the wind dropped and the last half mile was in glassy water.  

Teresa and I getting in. That is a big rip in Teresa's wetsuit. That is her intermediate wetsuit for when the water is too cold to go without but not cold enough to wear her good one.

Me at the last buoy on the east side.

I'll be back on Thursday at 9:00.


Sunday, September 6, 2020

Sunday, September 6th, 2020

Today Grace, Brittany and Niel enjoyed the best swimming conditions that we have had in a year. At 9AM the water was flat and glassy. The visibility was even better than yesterday, I could see shadows on the bottom at a depth of over 15 feet when I was at the 1st buoy, there were no birds were around and, the water temperature was up to 16.5°C/61.7°F.

We decided to start with a counterclockwise triangle and would add in whatever felt right. 

Grace and Brittany at the end of the Avila Pier. 

Niel, Grace and Brittany at the 1sh buoy after completing out first triangle. Niel reversed course around the east half of the triangle and came in along the pier. Grace and Brittany went under the pier and down the west side of the buoy line.  

When we were getting changed the pelicans and cormorants showed up and began diving on bait fist to the east of the end of the Avila Pier.  I'm glad that they waited until we were out of the water before going for lunch.

Product Report on the Orca Openwater CORE

Yes that is me in a screaming orange Orca wetsuit. It is the same model that Craig wore on Thursday but is NOT the Openwater SW model that Hillary has been wearing the past couple of months. They both have lots of dayglo orange and make you very visible in the water. The SW has 4mm material and a tow ring at the base of the spine and a electronic ID system. The CORE is 2mm material and the sleeves are more like a fabric than neoprene.

I don't like to be cold in the water, I may go in without a wetsuit once a year for a short swim. I swam 1.7 miles in this suit today in 62 degree water and I did not get cold. The suit is extremely light weight, it feels like a feather when compared to my EXTERRA tri suit, and is wonderful to swim in. I could feel the cold of the water through the sleeves and shoulders for the entire swim but my chest and legs felt fine.  The seams are not glued so water came into the suit as soon as I was knee deep in the wash. These are all things that a tighter, heaver wetsuit would prevent, but while I could feel the cold more than with a tri suit I did not get to the point where I was actually cold today and enjoyed a tremendous freedom of movement like I was not wearing a wetsuit.

I'll use this suit when the water temperature is 60 or above and it is sunny.  I like the freedom of movement and the visibility. As the water temperature drops I'll switch to my tri suit and then to my 3mm surf suit when the water slides below 55 degrees. At $170 list the CORE is a great open water suit in the right conditions. The SW model would have a much broader temperature range and is $399.

I'll swim Tuesday morning at 9.