Sunday, February 28, 2021

Sunday, February 28th, 2021

 We had a nice group today for a shorter Sunday swim. Duke, Theresa, Leslie, Niel, Jodi and Stephanie were at the beach to get in at 8AM. It was sunny, 48 degrees with the offshore breeze just starting to put a ruffle on the water. Occasionally the surf made it to 3'. 

Duke and Leslie would do a shorter swim. Instead of going over to the Cal Poly Pier they went from the end of the Avila Pier to the creek mouth and back to the start. 

Leslie, Theresa and Duke
Stephanie and Jodi thought the water felt colder than yesterday. I thought that it felt a bit warmer. I measured the same water temperature of 9.5°C/49°F.
Perception is so much of how it feels. 

At the end of the Avila Pier.
Theresa is out of the frame to the left, Jodi, Niel and Leslie
Duke, Leslie and Niel
Stephanie and Niel

The combination of flatter water than yesterday and a one hour swim made today an much easier day. I was running out of gas at the end of yesterday's swim. I'll need to bring some nutrition along the next time we do 90 minutes at these temperatures. 

I'll be be back on Tuesday at 8 and Thursday at 8:30.


Saturday, February 27, 2021

Saturday, February 27th, 2021

 Cold, Bumpy and Ironman Distance

Today's swim was a personal record for me. I have never gone today's distance in water that was this cold. Throw in some bumpy and choppy conditions and we all felt we had done something today.
It was sunny, 50 degrees and calm at Avila Beach at 8AM. It was gusty in San Luis Obispo when I left for the beach so there would be wind later. Jodi, Stephanie and Niel swam a route that Jodi picked. From the end of the Avila Pier we would swim to a spot off of Fossil Point, back to the Avila Pier then over and back to the end of the Cal Poly Pier. I figured this would be about 2 miles. That would be enough because there was no reason to assume that the water had warmed up since Thursday.  I measured a ocean temperature of 9.5°C/49°F at the end of the Avila Pier. 

We had ocean swells on the way to and from Fossil Point. The area towards the point and further east is more exposed to ocean swells. I was thinking that we would have it easier towards the Cal Poly Pier because it is more sheltered from the ocean, but an offshore wind had come up and there was a head high chop pushing off of the beach over there. 
Niel, Jodi and Stephanie at the end of the Avila Pier.

We banged our way over to the CP Pier and back and were ready to head in. I had 3,883M/2.4 miles in 1:26 in 49 degree water. That is the longest swim that I have done with the water in the 40's.

We will swim tomorrow morning at 8.


Thursday, February 25, 2021

Thursday, February 25th, 2021

I arrived at Avila a bit late this morning. I didn't see any familiar cars or anyone in the water so I swam a few triangles by myself. There were gusty offshore winds, sunny skys, a nice warmish air temperature of 60 and a water temperature of 9.5°C/49°F. The variation in the wind chop was just enough to make each leg different but not enough to be much of a problem.

I swam for an hour and covered 3057M. A year ago I would not have thought that I could stay in at these temperatures for an hour or more but swimming at Avila four times a week in these persistent low temperatures has made the conditions more familiar and apparently more tolerable. At 51 -52 degrees my feet would never acclimate to the water but my face and hands were OK. At 48 - 49 my hands are also feeling the cold. I had trouble getting my fingers to work well enough to get my wetsuit off today.  

The third time at the end of the Avila Pier.

I'll swim Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 7:30.


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021

It was nice and sunny at Avila Beach today with no wind and a flat sea. The waves made it up to 3 feet occasionally and were so mushy that wading out was easy.  the air temperature was 44 and rising quickly and the water was 'up' to 9.5°C/49°F.  Theresa, Stephanie and Niel decided to swim out to the end of the pier before deciding where to swim. Sort of a full body toe test.  

Niel, Theresa, doing the cold water chicken dance, and Stephanie,
not yet feeling the love. 

At the end of the Avila Pier we decided to swim over to the third crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier, back to the second crossbars and in. 

Here we are at the end of the Cal Poly Pier. At the third crossbar we decided that going to the end of the pier was about the same distance and would be more fun.

With the water in the high 40's the first few 100 meters is an extra special experience, which makes it even more impressive that yesterday Theresa and Grace did about a mile bareback!
Theresa said that it was extra cold and that it took her almost all day to warm up. Sure, but for me just imagining what the first few 100 meters would be like is unmanageable and I'm not even tempted to consider it.

Leslie was getting in when we were getting out. 

I'll be back on Thursday morning at 8:30 to 8:45.


Sunday, February 21, 2021

Sunday, February 21st, 2021

 Deeper Into the 40's

Today's group was Theresa, Jodi, Stephanie and Niel. When we grouped up for the first time everyone agreed that it was colder than yesterday. Yesterday's gusty offshore winds had has their effect and I measured 9.0°C/48.2°F. Other than that the swimming conditions were great. The water was glassy with just a bit of roll and nice and clean. The waves were a bit larger than yesterday at 3' but still easy to walk out through. We decided to do a triangular route that could be 2 miles long but would not take us too far offshore if anyone got too cold. Everyone was digging extra gear out of their bags to deal with the cold. I put a second cap under my neoprene one, Jodi added gloves and Stephanie borrowed my spare pair of big goggles which cover up more of your face and prevent the dreaded ice cream headache.  

Niel, Stephanie and Jodi did 1-1/2 triangles while Theresa went off of the front and completed a full 2 laps for two plus miles. 

My first and only picture of Stephanie, Theresa and Niel with Jodi behind my head at the mouth of the creek. It was not a day to mess about doing anything but keeping moving.
I plan on swimming Tuesday at 8 and thursday at 8:45.


Saturday, February 20, 2021

Saturday, February 20, 2021

 In The 40's

Today makes one week that the water temperature has been 9.5°C/49°F. In my experience water temperatures at Avila Beach in the 40's are rare, so we are in record territory. The only upside is that we have been swimming in water that was 50 - 51 degrees for a couple of months so 49 is not the shock it would have been if we were having a more typical winter with water temperatures in the mid 50's. But it is noticeably colder and my feet and hand are feeling it. 
It was sunny, clear and 50 degrees at Avila with strong offshore winds. The wind was gusting to 20 MPH at my house in San Luis Obispo and it felt somewhat weaker at the beach. There was a good wind chop and 2+ foot surf for an easy walk out. 
Stephanie, Jodi, Leslie and Niel swam at 8AM. We went out to the end of the Avila Pier, to the end of the Cal Poly Pier, in along the pier to its second crossbars and back to Avila Beach.

Jodi, Stephanie and Niel getting in. Leslie got in after we did and swam about the same course as we did in the opposite direction.  
Jodi and Stephanie had new wetsuits and were hoping to be more comfortable that they had been earlier in the week.  They both were happy with their new suits.

Jodi, Stephanie and Niel at the end of the Cal Poly Pier.
The wind chop was breaking out here.

Leslie. We met along the length of the Cal Poly Pier.

This otter was keeping an eye on us on the leg back to the Avila Pier.

Stephanie, Jodi, Duke and Niel will swim tomorrow morning at 7:30.


Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Tuesday, February 16th, 2021

Avila Beach was just beautiful this morning. It was clear, sunny, calm and a very warm feeling 48 degrees. The predicted large surf was not in evidence at 8AM so Niel, Duke and Theresa planned on getting in here instead of over at Olde Port Beach where the surf is smaller.  

I was feeling like a casual route which was fine with Theresa and Duke. My plan was to do two triangles, one clockwise and one counterclockwise for a 2 mile swim.  Duke was feeling a bit punched out after some hard riding and would probably do less than the full route.  

Duke, Theresa and Niel getting in. 
The water didn't feel any warmer than it had on Sunday.

Duke, somewhere behind me, Niel and Theresa near the mouth of San Luis Obispo Creek.
The swimming conditions were wonderful; nice and flat and calm, except I measures a water temperature of 49 degrees.

Duke went in at the end of the first triangle. The wind had started to come up so the second triangle was bumpy and pushy.

All three of us plan on swimming Thursday morning at 8:45.


Sunday, February 14, 2021

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

It was COLD today.

At 8 this morning Avila Beach was sunny and pleasant with an offshore wind just starting up. The air temperature was 56 degrees, the surf was 3 foot +/- and had a nice break near the pier. The water looks nice and clean. 
Duke, Jodi, Theresa, Grace and Niel were ready to swim. Duke suggested that we swim over to the second crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier, do an out and back lap around the pier and return to Avila the way we came.  

Theresa, Grace, Duke and Jodi getting wet.
The water felt like it was 51 degrees. 

Duke (off to the left), Theresa, Grace, Jodi and Niel at the
second crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier for the first time.  

On the way to the C.P. Pier the water temperature dropped. I kept wondering if it was just me, but when I caught up to the group everyone said that it was extra cold. I got a temperature reading at the C.P. Pier of 9.5°C = 49°F, so it wasn't just me. And then there were colder spots on the way to the end of the pier, so that would have been 48°+/-. 

My record low water temperature reading at Avila Beach was a 47° many years ago. The low 50's is the usual bottom.    

We didn't spend much time hanging about talking but kept moving. The wind had strengthened making the inshore swim along the C.P. Pier a bit of extra work.

We spoke to Leslie at the showers. She had swum by herself down towards Fossil Point and was really cold. She sent this nice picture of the break at Avila.

Theresa and Leslie will swim tomorrow morning but I'm not sure at what time. 

I'll swim Tuesday morning at 8 and Thursday at 8:30 to 9, depending on how my morning goes.



Saturday, February 13, 2021

Saturday, February 13th, 2021

There was some thin to thick high clouds, a strengthening breeze and 2 to 3 foot surf in Avila Beach at 9AM. Niel, Tom, David, Stephanie and Theresa were going to swim. The air temperature was 54 degrees and the water was 51 degrees and clear. A start along the beach to the end of the seawall would start us off. Then to the end of the Avila Pier, over to and along the Cal Poly Pier nad back to our starting point for 3,318 M.  

Theresa, Tom with David behind him and Stephanie wading in. 

Tom, Theresa and Stephanie at the end of the Avila Pier.

By the time we got out the clouds had thickened and the wind had picked up so it was chilly getting changed and warmed up.  David and Theresa both have those fleece changing ponchos and they looked like a nice idea today. 

I be back tomorrow morning at 8 to go again.


Thursday, February 11, 2021

Thursday, February 11, 2021

It was about 52 degrees, sunny and feeling surprisingly warm at Avila at 9 AM. There was no breeze, 2 to 3 foot surf breaking right on the shore, nice clear water and a little swell out of the SE. The water temperature was 52 degrees. Theresa arrived at 9 and Grace was expected at any moment so I went ahead and got started and would let the faster swimmers catch up. We did meet up at my second pass at the end of the Avila Pier and swam together to the mouth of San Luis Obispo Creek. I was done so from the creek mouth I headed back to the start and they headed towards the Cal Poly Pier. I didn't see Duke. 

I was prepared to change course if I encountered an funny tasting water near the mouth of the creek but there was no metallic taste to the water today. 

Theresa, a peek of Grace behind the edge of my 
goggles and myself at the end of the Avila Pier.

I'll swim Saturday AND Sunday morning at 8. Duke is giving us an extra half hour to sleep in because of Valentine's Day.  I didn't ask for details. 

Stephanie Pop will be joining me on Saturday and I expect Duke and Theresa will be there on Sunday. 


Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Tuesday, February 9th, 2021

It was very wintery at Avila this morning with a solid thick grey ceiling of clouds and a light wind. Rain wasn't expected but it felt like could rain. The water looked clean and the surf was 2'+. The water temperature was 51 degrees. I felt comfortable in the water but the lack of sun and the breeze chilled me after I got out.  

I was by myself and decided to swim of an hour on a route that would avoid the creek mouth. Since our big storm, when I been near the mouth of the creek the water has had a metallic taste. I have no idea what would be causing this but I'm staying clear. 

I got my timme in and I'll be back Thursday morning at 9 for more.


Sunday, February 7, 2021

Sunday, February 7th, 2021

At 7:30 on Sunday morning in Avila Beach it was 38 degrees, sunny with a mild offshore wind. The surf was 2 foot and the water temperature was down a degree to 50. Getting in this morning were Duke, Jodi, Niel and Tom. Tom usually swims at Olde Port Beach.  We all felt that one degree drop in water temperature.   

We were looking for a mile and a half or so and worked out this route.

Niel. Tom, Jodi and Duke getting their first chill.

Jodi and Niel at the end of the Avila Pier.

San Luis Obispo Creek carried extremely high concentrations of bacteria during last weeks heavy rains and is still testing a several times the state's level for safe contact. The Blue Water Task Force water quality data is at
The water near the mouth of the creek has had a funny, sort of metallic taste. I don't know what that is but I'm avoiding that area.

I'll swim Tuesday morning at 8 and Thursday morning at 9.



Saturday, February 6, 2021

Saturday, February 6th, 2021

 Saturday was a rerun of Thursday with clear skies, 55 degrees, but you could tell it would warm up nicely, a light offshore wind, 51 degree water and no waves worth mentioning.

Jodi and Niel got in at 8 with sort of a plan for a swim and wound up going long for 4,266 M.

Niel and Jodi wading in.

Jodi and Niel at the end of the Cal Poly Pier.
We swam to the second crossbars along the west side for a change. 
There was a sea gull dining on a small octopus at the end of the pier.

We spoke with Leslie as we were getting out. She had gotten in after us and swam over to the Cal Poly Pier, but we didn't see her in the water.
I think we have Jodi, Niel, Duke, Theresa, maybe Jon and anyone else who wants to jump in tomorrow morning at 7:30.


Thursday, February 4, 2021

Thursday, February 4, 2021

At 8:30 Avila Beach was about as nice as it gets; sunny with a mild offshore breeze, about 54 degrees but felt warmer, knee high surf and clean water. We would have a bit of wind chop when swimming towards shore but otherwise the water was flat.  The water temperature was 51 degrees.


Theresa, Niel and Duke decided to swim to the end of the Avila Pier, over to the end of the Cal Poly Pier, in along the pier to the second crossbars, back to the end of the Avila Pier and in. This route was 2,880 M.

Niel, Theresa and Duke wading in. 

Theresa, Duke and Niel at the end of the Avila Pier for the first time.

A bit of Duke and Niel with Theresa out of the frame at the end of the Cal Poly Pier.
The end of the CP Pier is 875 M offshore and it feels more like being out in the ocean than other spots we commonly swim to. 

I'll swim Saturday morning at 8 and Sunday morning at 7:30. Duke and Theresa will be there on Sunday. Duke is going to see if he can persuade Jon Harmse to join us. 


Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Tuesday, February 2, 2021 - Back In The Water


Duke and Niel got in at 8 AM. Avila was clear with a bit of wind, an air temperature of 38 degrees, 3' mushy surf and a long swell on the water that would keep swimming interesting.
The water temperature was 51 degrees. Since last weeks heavy rains the silt from SLO Creek that had filled the bay had cleared from the water but no test results were available to know for sure what the post-storm bacteria count was, so, we plotted a course that stayed well away from the mouth of San Luis Obispo Creek.    

We were to swim down the beach to the lone buoy that marks some rocks near where the last buoy is in the summer. We'd go from there to the end of the Avila Pier, over ot the third crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier, back to the Avila Pier and in.  

Niel and Duke at the buoy at the rocks. 
The buoy seems to have been carried away by the large surf during the recent storms. 

Duke and Niel at the Cal Poly Pier

Duke and I will swim Thursday morning at 8:45.