Thursday, January 28, 2021

Thursday, January 28, 2021

 Even More Stormy Than Tuesday and Now Probably Toxic.

I'm not swimming today and I'm not sure about this weekend. 

It is really rough this morning but the big worry for swimming is that the water is full of silt from San Luis Obispo Creek. My past experience with these conditions have me expecting that the level of enterococcus bacteria in the creek will be extremely high. 
Enterococcus bacteria is the EPA's lead indicator for the presence of human waste. What the concentration of bacteria is at any point in the bay at a given time depends on the direction and force of the tide, the amount and direction of the push from the wind and waves and the force and volume of the outflow from the creek. So you can't know without collect a sample. In this image the water appears to be brown from silt out past the end of the Cal Poly Pier which means the whole area where we usually swim should be avoided until the water clears up.

I coordinate the local Surfrider Foundation chapter's Blue Water Task Force program. Every Thursday 10 volunteers collect 16 water samples from county creeks and beaches. The samples are tested for enterococcus bacteria at our lab in the Central Coast Aquarium in Avila Beach. Results from today's samples will be posted here;  between 10 and noon tomorrow. The state's standard for safe water contact is 104 organisms per 100ml.  I'm expecting numbers from SLO Creek to be many times that amount. 

If you feel the need to get in the water avoid sites that are near creek outfalls.



Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Not Swimming In This

 Go to and check out the conditions at Avila Beach.

The live feed is at

That looks like 3 foot breaking wind chop out at the end of the Cal Poly Pier. 

Conditions are predicted to be the same tomorrow so I will be swimming another day.


Sunday, January 24, 2021

Sunday, January 24, 2021

 COLD - 

We had a cold start to a cold swim today. Everyone was feeling it afterwards. My feet didn't warm up until after I was home and in the shower. 

It was clear and cold at Avila Beach at 7:30. I had 34 degrees, Duke said 36, so I guess it was 35. There was a gutsy offshore wind that wasn't helping. The surf was 3 foot and the water had half head high (when swimming) wind chop. 

We had a nice group for a Sunday: Duke, Niel, Jodi, Sue and Theresa.  We were to head down to Fossil Point, over to the Cal Poly Pier and back.  

Oupps, got my watch started early. 

Jodi, out of the frame to the left, Sue, yes she always swims bareback,
Duke, Theresa and Niel. 

At Fossil Point.
Niel, Duke's nose and Jodi.

Afterwards there was no hanging about, everyone hurried off to someplace warm. 

Theresa and Sue are going to swim tomorrow morning at 8AM. I'll swim at 8 on Tuesday.



Saturday, January 23, 2021

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Saturday morning had low rain clouds with a shower starting at 8 that lasted for 20 minutes. There was a offshore breeze blowing the tops off of the waves and 2 to 3 foot surf. The air and water temperatures were 50 degrees.  Niel, Sue and Theresa were going to swim. 

Theresa picked a route that was a square with a tail, or maybe a flag on a pole. The route turned out to be 3360M and gave us a shot at every kind of surface condition Avila had today.   

There was an offshore, North, wind chop and current, a swell and push out of the SW and a lot of movement in the water. 

Niel, Theresa and Sue at the end of the Avila Pier for the first time.
This is from the end of the Cal Poly Pier looking towards Pismo Beach.
Between the end of the Avila Pier and the creek mouth felt pretty flat but the chop was sneaking into my mouth no matter which side I breathed on.  The leg from the creek mouth to the second crossbars had nothing special about it.  Swimming out along the Cal Poly Pier was work, into a swell and noticeable current. That had me thinking that the last leg back to the Avila Pier would be easier. Nope, it was into the wind chop making this the hardest leg. I was feeling like I was going uphill both ways.

I saw Leslie getting ready to get in for a short swim as I was walking up the beach.

Duke and I will swim Sunday morning at 7:30. Sue and Theresa will probably join us.


Thursday, January 21, 2021

Thursday, January 21, 2012

Avila was looking mighty nice this morning. It was sunny, in the 40's, the offshore wind was dieing, and the ocean was almost flat. The surf was 2 to 3 feet.  The water was 51 degrees but Theresa and I both felt that it was colder. 

Theresa and I decided to swim to the end of the Avila Pier, to the end of the Cal Poly Pier, along the pier to the second crossbars and back to our starting place. We swam 2700 M.

Theresa and Niel at the end of the Cal Poly Pier

and at the second set of crossbars

I'll swim Saturday morning at 8 and Sunday at 7:30 with Duke. Theresa and Grace may join us.


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Tuesday, January 19th, 2021

Duke sent this along from his swim this morning. He said that high winds made for a rough swim.  

I'm planning on swimming on Thursday morning at about 9.

Not sure yet if I'll be at Avila or Olde Port Beach.


Thursday, January 14, 2021

Theresa and I swam at Olde Port Beach at 9. I went short because I had a Dr's appointment later in the morning.  More on that below.  It was very clear, breezy and warm. The air temperature was 71 and the water 51. The surf was small, 2 to 3 foot, but surprisingly powerful with chest high foamy stuff sending me back towards the beach. There was a head high wind chop out of the SE.

I swam over to the third crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier and back.
Theresa continued on to do a lap out to the end of the pier and back.   

Theresa and Niel at the buoy line.

Theresa and Niel at the third crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier.

At my Dr's appoint I learned that the heart monitor that he wanted me to wear for a week was not waterproof so I'm beached until the 21st. It will be riding, running and just showers for a week. Sounds like a low tech gadget to me, but it is not raining so riding is a nice option. 

If anyone wants to send me a swim report or photos I'll post them.



Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

This morning's swim began with two nice surprises. There was thick fog from San Luis Obispo to about a half mile from the beach, then from Avila over to the port was sitting in a hole in the fog.  The second surprise was Duke showing up to do a short swim before his ride this morning, so it was Duke, Theresa and myself at Olde Port Beach. The air temperature was 38 degrees and the water temperature has been stuck at around 51 degrees since November 10th. The week previous to that was the last time I measured a water temperature above 52 degrees. The surf had laid down so we would have an easy walk out into the water. 

We have not done much swimming at Olde Port Beach so we are trying out routes. We have agreed to avoid swimming over towards the port because of the increased risk of boat traffic.Today's route would be over to the first crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier and out to the end of the pier and back.  Duke was in for going to the pier and heading back so he got about 1600M in. Going to the end of the pier doubled that. 

Duke and theresa wading in

Duke, Theresa and Niel at the first crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier.
We don't swim to this spot from the other side because the line from the beach will take you into the kelp and rocks on that side. 

Niel and Theresa at the End of the Cal Poly Pier

Theresa and I will be swimming at Olde Port Beach on Thursday at 9.  
Drop ins are welcome.  :-)


Sunday, January 10, 2021

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Avila Beach had 3 foot plus waves, beautiful clear skies and an offshore breeze. Outside the surf line the water was messy with several swells from different direction with the wind chop on top. Niel, Theresa and Duke got in at 7:30. The air temperature was 37, the water was 51 and nice and clean.  The smaller waves today were a nice break. The swell was predicted to start building this afternoon and we will have large surf next week. 

Theresa, Niel and Duke is one space to the right.
Even our cars do social distancing.

Once out past the surf we went under the Avila Pier and over to the second crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier. We then did a out and back lap around the pier and retraced out route back to the beach in Avila.    

Duke and 

Theresa ready to head over to the Cal Poly Pier.

Niel, Theresa and Duke at the second crossbars.

Duke at the end of the Cal Poly Pier
This one was for Duke's daughter in Seattle who was going snowshoeing this morning and wanted to see what silly stuff her dad was up to.

Niel and Duke with Theresa (just out of the frame to the right)
at the end of the Cal Poly Pier.

Theresa and I are going to swim at Olde Port Beach at 8 on Tuesday.


Saturday, January 9, 2021

Saturday, January 9, 2021

This morning in Avila Beach it was sunny, 51 degrees and there was a strengthening offshore wind. The surf at Avila Beach was overhead plus so I decided to drive over and check out the conditions at Olde Port Beach.  It looked nice with 2 to 3 foot waves. Even with the hills behind this beach the wind was getting in and there already was a chop on the water.  

I swam to the buoy near the boat launching ramp, to the second crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier and back to where I got in for about 1.5 miles.

The leg towards the Cal Poly Pier became steadily rougher as the chop and current built up. It was coming over my left shoulder and pushing me to the right. Near the Cal Poly Pier the shore gets rocky and there were waves rebounding off of the rocks and adding to the toss.   

At the Cal Poly Pier. Behind me is a wave coming off of the rocks towards me.

This swim was fun and different. There are several 1.5 to 2 mile routes from this beach so I'll probably be back.

I'll swim tomorrow at 7:30 with Duke. We'll meet at Avila but may wind up here.



Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Tuesday mornings conditions at Avila Beach were much like Saturday and Sunday's, just with slightly smaller surf. This mornings largest waves were 6 feet plus in well spaced out sets of three. In between the largest sets the waves were 4 foot +/-. It was sunny, 51 degrees in the air and the water with an offshore breeze starting up.  Out past the surf line the water was still a mess of several swells of different heights and directions. This was fun as I had a different set of conditions to work with in each direction of each leg of my route, which made for a great swim. I hadn't expected anyone else to be there and got in at 7:45. 

I'll be back on Thursday morning, swimming at 8 o'clock.


Sunday, January 3, 2021

Sunday, January 3, 2021

 Duke and I were to swim at 7:30. I arrived and started getting changed at 7:20 and Duke drove up a few minutes later. He walked over to say Hi and talk about our route. Conditions were much like yesterday with the big waves in the sets running 6 to 8 feet, maybe a bit larger than Saturday. Well, 15 minutes later we were still standing there half changed talking about everything but swimming. We were just not feeling it so we packed up and went home.

I will be back on Tuesday morning at 8.


Saturday, January 2, 2021

January 2, 2021 - MOVEMENT

For the first swim of 2021 we had water with lots of movement. The largest waves were 6 to 8 feet but if you waited long enough there would be a lull when getting out was easier. Outside there was a mix of swells that were of different sizes and periods and directions making physical but fun swimming conditions. There was no chop so you didn't swallow any water, it was just a very messy surface.  The air temperature was 44 at 9AM and the water temperature was 52.

I actually was thinking of bailing on swimming by myself when Duke showed up. He was going to ride this morning but had a flat, which is time consuming to fix with tubeless tires, so he caught me in time and we both had someone to swim with. Duke suggested we swim down to off of Fossil Point and then to the end of the pier and see what looks good from there.   

Duke and Niel out past the surf zone. 
Getting out through the waves was not too rough but timing your start was critical. 

Niel and just a piece of Duke (sorry) off of Fossil Point. The water was really messy down here; this area is more exposed to swells that are wrapping around the breakwater at Port San Luis so it is always rougher and there were waves reflecting back off of the point meeting the incoming swells.

Duke and I at the end of the Avila Pier. We had had enough fun at this point and came in.
We were very lucky on our timing and were able to swim directly to shore without having to duck under any waves.

I saw Theresa, Elliot and Grace when I was at the showers. They had had trouble getting out through the waves and had bailed on swimming at Avila.

I'll meet Duke tomorrow morning at 7:30 for an early swim. We'll decide to swim based on the conditions. Company is welcome.