Thursday, December 31, 2020

Thursday, December 31, 2020

 A New Year's Eve Day Swim

I got in a bit after 9 and Leslie got in about 10 minutes later when I was arriving at the end of the pier.  She managed to chase me down and we completed the two triangles route I had planned.  The air temperature was about 55 and the water was 53 degrees. That doesn't sound like a big deal but the water temperature has been between 49 and 52 degrees since November 15th. The surf was 3 foot + and there was a lot of movement in the water outside the surfline with 3 different swells moving through.

Leslie and Niel at the end of the Avila Pier

I'm going to swim Saturday morning at 8 and probably at 7:30 on sunday with Duke.


Tuesday, December 29, 2020

A Nada Tuesday

 I didn't swim today. My shoulder has been starting fell less that totally happy, so I have been thinking about doing some easy swims. I was at the beach before 8 but the surf was large enough that I would have to be willing to sprint in order to get out, so I watched the surf and talked with Sue. She is back in town for a week to do some production work and wanted to get in the water, but didn't want to swim by herself.

As far as the rest of the week goes, it is a big maybe. Sue would like to get in any day if another swimmer is available. Duke may swim Thursday morning at 7, depending on Calvin showing up. I'll swim at 8:30 to 9 on Thursday if my shoulder feels better and the in and out is easy enough. NOAA predicted that today would be the last day of large surf, but today's prediction has the surf advisory continuing through New Year's Day.  

Sorry about the lack of firm plans but it looks like wer are just going to make this up as we go along.


Sunday, December 27, 2020

Sunday, December 27th, 2020

Jodi and Niel got in at 8 o'clock. The air temperature was 53 and the water was 50.5 and still extremely clear. It was cloudy but would clear and be sunny by the time that we got out. The surf was larger than yesterday with the largest waves in the 6 to 8 foot range. The biggest sets were a long time apart so we had to deal with 4 to 6 footers getting in and out. 

We swam from the end of the Avila Pier over to the third crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier, along the pier to the end and back to the Avila Pier. 

Jodi and Niel at the third crossbars
Niel and Jodi at the end of the Cal Poly Pier.

The surface of the water doesn't look too bumpy in the photos but there were 2 to 3 foot SW swells running through putting a lot of movement into the water. We were fortunate in our timing and arrived at the surf line at a low point so getting back in was pretty straightforward. The white water had a lot of power in it so I needed to get far enough in to really get my feet under me before I could start walking out.

It should be sunny on Tuesday and the surf should be going down so I'm planning on swimming at 8.

My apologies for the goofy way today's blog looks. Google is doing some updates and things are not working correctly. Hey, you get what you pay for and Blogger is pretty good and free.


Saturday, December 26, 2020

Saturday, December 26th, 2020

Avila Beach had grey skies with low clouds but no rain. The air temperature was 54, the water was 51, the surf was up since Thursday with the largest waves in the 4 to 5 foot range. The water was incredibly clear for Avila. The waves were translucent and when swimming the water was a beautiful blue green.

I was by myself and did a couple of triangles. The western was got a bit short and I did not take a shortcut under the pier. My  time seems slow but I clock from getting in to getting out without stopping the watch when treading water or taking photos, so the today's time reflects the fooling around I need to do to time my push through the surf. Actually that was twice because I went too early the first time and got pushed back in.

At the end of the Avila Pier.

Duke is spending the weekend with his family and won't be swimming tomorrow morning so I can start later than our usual 7:30. I'll get in at 8.



Thursday, December 24, 2020

Thursday, December 24, 2020, Christmas Eve Morning

 Winter Comes To Avila Beach

This morning we had low clouds that were holding rain, no wind, a glassy ocean, 50.5 degree water and a 44 degree air temperature. The water was exceptionally clear. Duke suggested a route that would take us to near Fossil Point,to the end of the Avila Pier, over to the third cross bars on the Cal Poly Pier, along the pier to the second crossbars and back to our starting point.  I clocked just short of 3,400M.
Also getting in were Paula Dooley, Tom and some others from the Masters group at Sinsheimer Pool. They swam their own route. Leslie was in the water when Duke and I got out. It is nice to have her back.    
Niel and Duke
Nobody looks like they have cold toes yet.

Duke near Fossil Point. 
On the way to here I swam past the buoy on the reef that we swim around sometimes. 
The water was clear enough for me to see the rocks on the bottom.    

Duke and Niel at the Avila Pier

Duke at the third crossbars along the Cal Poly Pier.

Other than the cold, this was a great swim; a nice route and distance with clear and flat water.
I'll swim at 8 on Saturday and at 7:30 with Duke on Sunday.


Craig Bowman shared this link to a great story about the English interest in cold water immersion/swimming. I'll have to remember to ask Sue about this.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

This morning at 8 Avila Beach was sunny, clear and calm with 2 to 3 foot surf and very clear water. The air temperature was 54 degrees and the water was 50.5. 

Duke likes swimming along the Cal Poly Pier with it on his left side since he breathes on that side so I suggested that we could get our distance by swimming out along the pier on the west side, from the second crossbars to the end and back along the east side to the second crossbars. I've swam the length of the CP Pier many times but I don't recall ever swimming on the west side, so this would be a first for this route.   

Niel and Duke getting in.

We swam out along the more or less buoy line to the creek, over to the CP Pier, around the pier and back to the Avila Pier. A lap around the Avila Pier made my swim 2+ miles. 

Duke at the second crossbars on the far (west) side of the Cal Poly Pier

Duke and Niel at the end of the CP Pier

Niel and a peek of Duke back at the second crossbars.

Duke and I will swim at 9 on Thursday morning.


Sunday, December 20, 2020

Sunday, December 20, 2020

 We got to enjoy a nice sunrise in Avila Beach this morning.

This is getting to be a broken record. (Hey, does that metaphor still work in a digital age?) Conditions were clear and cloudless with an offshore breeze. The air temperature was 46 and the water was down a bit to 50 degrees. The water swam noticeably colder than yesterday and the wind made it lumpy and pushy. The largest waves were 4+ foot but were well spaced out.  Duke and I swam down the beach, to the end of the Avila Pier, then over to the Cal Poly Pier, from the third to the second crossbars and back to our start.  

Duke and Niel at the third crossbars on the CP Pier.

I'm planning on swimming at 8 on Tuesday and at 9 on Thursday.


Saturday, December 19, 2020

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Conditions at 8 AM were familiar: clear and sunny with a slight offshore breeze, an air temperature of 38 degrees and a water temperature of 51. The largest waves were 3+ footers. 

Jodi joined Niel and Duke.  She is new to swimming at Avila but has been a competitive swimmer, done an Ironman Tri and run ultra distances, so once she gets this ocean thing figured out she'll be killing us. And today was her birthday so what a great way to celebrate by doing something new.

We did a couple of triangles, first clockwise and then counterclockwise. When we arrived at the end of the Avila Pier for the second time Jodi headed in while Duke and I completed retracing our route.     

Jodi and Duke

Niel, Jodi and Duke

Starting out, the splash is Duke and Jodi is on the right.

Duke is off to the left then Jodi and Niel at the end of the Avila Pier.

Duke, Niel and possibly Jodi will swim a shorter route tomorrow morning at 7:30.


Thursday, December 17, 2020

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Avila was cloudy but clearing at 9AM when I got in. The rain was over, the ocean was glassy but bumpy. The waves were 2 to 3 foot but seemed powerful for their size. The water temperature was 52 degrees and the air temp was 54. The swim was cold but noticeably warmer. One solid degree of increase in the water temperature and almost 20 degrees increase in air temperature mad a difference. I did two triangles with an extra two lengths of the pier.   

I'm going to swim at 8 on Saturday and a 7:30 with Duke on Sunday.


Sunday, December 13, 2020

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Niel and Duke got in at just after 7:30. Grace was a few minutes behind us but easily caught up at the end of the 'buoy' line. Avila Beach was very gray with something between fog and low clouds. The air was 48 degrees and the ocean is still stuck at 51 degrees. The surf was 1 to 2 foot but there was some motion in the water wherever we were.

Duke had a 9 AM call with his daughter so we planned to swim 
a bit shorter but harder to get him out in time. 

The route was the east half of the buoy line, to the end of the Avila Pier, 
to the third crossbars on the CP Pier, along the pier to the second crossbars and back to the start.

Niel and Duke at the end of the buoy line with the only buoy that stays 
over the winter to mark a small reef over Duke's right shoulder. 

Grace and Niel at the third crossbars. 
The clouds had lifted, the sun was out and it was a beautiful morning.

Duke and I got out while Grace swam for an additional 15 or 20 minutes.

I'll swim on Tuesday morning at 8.


Saturday, December 12, 2020

Saturday, December 12, 2020

David and I got in at 9 and Theresa and Brittany got in about 15 minutes behind us.  It was overcast and misty but the water was glassy and pretty flat. Though the waves were small I could feel the movement under me when I was beyond the end of the Avila Pier. The air temperature was 50 and the water 51 degrees. 

Avila Beach was looking rather wintery this morning. 

David and I swam the east 'buoy' line, to the end of the Avila Pier, to the second crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier,  along the pier to the third crossbars, back to the end of the Avila Pier and retraced our route back to the start fro 3,500M and 1:16 in the water.    

Niel and David getting in.  
David was trying some neoprene webbed gloves to see if they kept his hands warmer.
He decided that they were a good idea. 

Niel and David at the end of he east buoy line.
The sun was starting to come out. 

Niel and David at the second crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier.
The third set of crossbars are about 450M farther offshore.

Duke and I are going to swim Sunday morning at 7:30.


I received this follow up email from Leslie and verbally learned that her COVID test was negative, so she might have the flu or the test results were a false negative. She and her doctor have decided that she will isolate at home until after she is free of all symptoms before she returns to work.      

Leslie Tappan

Fri, Dec 11, 10:24 AM (1 day ago)
to me
You can, just to remind everyone to stay vigilant. I was just telling Kris Im losing my mind every time I see the Tribune article about how SLO shouldn't be considered like Los Angeles restrictions next to ads for holiday party catering needs and the christmas carnival festival at the Madonna Inn.  Its making me insane.  People who dont have to treat sick people have zero idea what health care people are going through right now.  My doctor looks exhausted.  And some people simply do not care.  

Hang in there and hope to see you soon.  I appreciate the offer of help and right now Im fine.  I started to assume I would be in this situation one day soon and I have a freezer full of food.  I dont go anywhere and Im fine with that.  I am bored, so if you have any jokes or movie recommendations feel free to pass them along.  Ive gone through everything on Netflix 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Thursday, December 10, 2020

 I got in at 9 o'clock. Theresa and Grace's stuff was on the beach but I never saw them while swimming.  The surf had gone down some more and was easy to deal with. The air temperature was about 50 and the water was 51 degrees.  I found another variation of the big triangle and did it twice, once in each direction. 

I'll swim at 9 on Saturday and give myself time to first go to the the SLO Farmer's Market.



Hi Niel

I would really appreciate you posting this on the blog in its entirety

Hello there swimming friends!!! 

Im a nurse, Ive been there for you  24/7 since I was 19 years old
I am at home in isolation right now very sick with COVID,  

I would like to thank the people who have been honest and up front about their travel/family/holiday plans, and not come into out of selfish reasons of your own.
Thank you for being honest and forthcoming and RESPONSIBLE  for YOUR behaviour  

Ive been at work every single day since this started.  I am currently at home, on quarantine with an epi pen at my side every singe moment because in addition to all the symptoms everyone is familiar  with, Im having difficulty swallowing and my throat is locking up.  I would really appreciate anyone reading this to read that last sentence to themselves again and wonder what that truly feels like.   Its terrifying   Imagine you as a swimmer not finding air when you breathe and maybe you'll be there with me  It is absolutely terrifying.  Please do not join me in that moment.  I am terrified and you should be too. Believe me on this on, if you had one breath of what i experienced the first time it happened...

If we, as health care providers fall, you ALL fall
I wish you all well. 

And if you're out there swimming, please take a breath and think of me, because I am thinking of you


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

I got in at 8 o'clock. By Wednesday morning the surf had gone down enough that I didn't have too much trouble getting out. Actually, anyone watching from the beach would think it was easy if they hadn't seen me standing in the wash for about 10 minutes waiting to find the right time to commit. And then I got lucky.

The water temperature was 51 degrees, the air was 38 degrees and the swimming conditions beyond the surfline were fine. There was a lot of surge and push from the swells, even out at the end of the pier, so on the legs that were parallel to the beach I had to watch that I didn't get pushed into the surf zone. 


I got my two miles in and I will be back tomorrow morning sometime between 8 and 9.


Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Tuesday, December 8, 2020 - Closed Out

The surf was large enough that I didn't feel like getting in by myself, so I took some pictures and picked up two armloads of plastic toys, trash, a boogie board and a hand plane just from the beach in front of the Tiki Hut, went home and had a nice run.

Lots of boogie boarders and body surfers in the water getting very short rides. 

The wash was all of the way up to the wall.

I'm going to see how it is tomorrow at 8.



Sunday, December 6, 2020

Sunday morning was pretty much like Saturday except the swell had gone down and the water temperature had snuck just into the 40's at 49.5, which doesn't feel any different than 50.

Looking from the Avila Pier to the Cal Poly Pier

and looking the other way towards Fossil Point with Shell Beach in 
the background and Pismo Beach lost in the glare. 
Very nice swimming conditions at 8 that would gain some character by 9. 

Me with my feet wet.

I did three triangles today for 2+ miles and 1:15 in the water. Around the time I began my third triangle the surface had picked up a small chop form the SW with a strong current. There was no wind so maybe this was a precourser to the big swells. It was enough to require more effort and a different pace and breathing 

My Patagonia R3 surf suit is more clunky to swim in than my
tri suit but vastly warmer. Wearing the tri suit I could only stay in half as long at these temperatures. 

I saw Theresa after I got out. She had gotten in at 8:30 an done two laps of the 'buoy line'. 

I'm planning on swimming on Tuesday at 8. Big surf is predicted for Monday/Tuesday. A look at the live video of Avila Beach on will show how swimmable Avila is.