Sunday, March 28, 2021

Sunday, March 28th, 2021

 Playing Marco Polo In The Fog

Avila Beach was nice and sunny hole in the fog this morning with an air temperature of 39° and a water temperature of 50°. The surf was knee high and the surface was glassy but rippled. There was patchy fog which at 8AM was holding well offshore so all of the local features on the water were well clearly visible. Niel, Tom I., Stephanie, Jodi and Duke were ready to swim. I wanted to do about 3000M on a route that was a little different so I proposed that we swim to the second crossbars on the Poly Pier, then to the end of the Avila Pier, from there to the end of the Poly Pier and back to the end of the Avila Pier and in. 

The water gods had other plans for us.  

Stephanie is out of the frame to the left, then Tom, Jodi, Duke (in front of a piling) and Niel at the second crossbars of the Cal Poly Pier. For the first time.
We swam from the Poly Pier to the end of the Avila Pier as planned, but at that point the fog had moved in and only the middle of the Poly Pier was to be seen. Duke headed in as he had planned and the group decided to swim over to the third crossbars on the Poly Pier and to decide on a route from there.
From the end of the Poly Pier we couldn't see anything of the Avila Pier so we swam back along the length of the pier to the second crossbars.    

At the second crossbars for the second time in the fog. 
I missed Stephanie again off to the left of the frame, then Jodi, Tom and Niel.
From this point we were well within the end of the Avila Pier so we took a bearing on the fog and headed for the base of the Avila Pier. We stuck together and swimming directly to the base of the pier.  We swam 3900M.

I'll not be swimming this coming Tuesday or Thursday. I'm a possibility for Saturday and definitly will be back at the beach next Sunday. 


Saturday, March 27, 2021

Saturday, March 27th, 2021

 We had a nice sunny morning with a light offshore breeze, an 8 AM air temperature of 39° and a water temperature of 49°.  Leslie was there to lend support and take photos. She has seen an orthopod and her elbow in cracked, not broken, so she can use it as long as she behaves herself.

Nice bruising

Niel and Jodi we there to swim. We decided to go over to the C.P. Pier, swim in along the pier, back to the Avila Pier and then maybe do something more. 

Jodi and Niel at the end of the C.P. Pier.

Jodi, in front, and Niel coming back to the Avila Pier. 
Photos from the pier by Leslie.  

Jodi and Niel at the Avila Pier. 
We swam to the end of the Avila Pier and then did a triangle to make it almost 4000M.
There was a disagreement afterwards about whose idea it was to do the additional 800M triangle from the end of the Avila Pier.    

Leslie got these of an otter at the Avila Pier. 

Tom and Stephanie were getting in just as we got out. 

Niel, Duke, Jodi, Stephanie and ? will swim tomorrow morning at 8.


Thursday, March 25, 2021

Thursday, March 25, 2021

 Avila looked like it might serve up a nice glassy day for Duke and Niel. There were broken low clouds and no wind. The water was very clear and (I can't believe I'm writing this) up to 50 °. The air temperature was 53°.

Duke had to be at work sooner than I did so we planned on swimming my two triangles and that he would drop off when he needed to.   

Niel and Duke at the end of the Avila Pier.
The wind was coming up and it was showing on the water. 
Duke did th elap on the east side of the pier and I continued on to the west side.

Coming around the end of the Avila Pier was a surprise. The chop had come up quickly and the leg from the end of the pier to the creek mouth would require some technique in order to avoid swallowing much water. 

Leslie was on the beach and got some nice shots of me coming in.

Leslie fell a couple of days ago and broke her elbow. She has had x-rays but is waiting (!?!?) to get in with an ortho. She seems to be doing fine but would probably appreciate a text of phone call.  

I'll swim Saturday and Sunday at 8.


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

 Niel and Duke enjoyed flat water, for a while, small surf and sunny skies this morning. The air temperature was 43° and the water was 49°.  We got in at 8 and managed to wade out past where the small surf was breaking before we started swimming. That was a very mellow start to a nice swim.   

Our route would take us to the end of the Avila Pier, over to the second crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier, along the pier to its end and from there swim the 1000M back to the beach on the west side of the Avila Pier.  

Duke and Niel at the second crossbars.
It has not been this glassy in a while.

Duke and Niel at the end of the Cal Poly Pier.

The wind has picked up and though it doesn't show in the photo, the leg back to the beach had us pushing into a current and small chop. I was having one of those weird days where my body was swimming strong but my head was not into it. I had to keep doing things to keep myself from focusing on how long the swim back to the beach seemed.  

After getting out we felt like we had put a great start to the day.

Duke, Theresa and I will swim at 8:30 on Thursday.


Sunday, March 21, 2021

Sunday, march 21st, 2021

There was a nice group today for a cold and bumpy swim. The wind was up and blowing offshore before 8 so conditions were going to get bumpier as the morning progressed. At 8 the air temperature was 40° and the water was 49°. The water being warmer than the air was not much of a joy. The surf was down since yesterday and getting in would be pretty easy. Swimming this morning were Stephanie, Jodi, Theresa, Leslie, Tom Israel (yesterday's Tom was Tom Lorish) and Niel. Some swimmers were concerned about getting cold and needing to get out so we planned on doing two triangles because that route stayed close to the beach. 

Stephanie, Tom, Theresa, Leslie and Jodi at the eastern end of the beach at the big rock.

Nobody felt like waiting for the slower swimmers at this temperature so we got split up. Jodi and I did the two triangles. 

I'll swim Tuesday at 8 and Thursday at 8:45.


Saturday, March 20, 2021

Saturday, March 20th, 2021

Tom's Welcome Back In The Water Swim
It is the first day of spring, the lifeguard stations are back in their summer spots on the beach, the buoy that marks the reef on the left side of the beach has been replaced (it was carried away in an early winter storm) and the lifeguards have begun their training.  

At 10 o'clock it was sunny and 55° with a gusty offshore wind. There was wind chop on the water and 6 foot sets of waves. The water temperature was an almost tropical feeling 50° after 48° on Tuesday and 47° on Thursday.

Duke and I were here at 10 to welcome Tom Lorish back into the ocean. Tom has been swimming with us for many years but for the past five months has only been able to swim in the pool, so today was to be his reincarnation as a ocean swimmer.

We decided to not go too long so our course was out to the end of the pier, parallel to the beach until we were off of Fossil Point and then back to our starting point.  

Duke and Tom getting in.
Getting out through the sets was some work. I got pushed back once when I thought that the set was going down after three big waves and I started to push out  only to find that there were four even larger waves in the set. Tom totally committed at that point and I saw his legs disappear as he punched through the curling lip of a 6 foot breaker. That is great fun as long as you don't get a ride over the falls.   
Tom, Duke and Niel out at the end of the Avila Pier. You can't tell in this photo but the wind chop was breaking. It didn't look rough from shore but looking back there was a lot of whitecaps on the water.
Our swim down to the point was a lot of work with the chop on my left shoulder at 90° to our direction, pushing the whole time and trying to not swallow much water. From the point in towards the beach we were heading more directly into the chop so it was harder but less complicated swimming. Once we got near the beach the chop laid down and the last few hundred meters was nice. 

I'll swim tomorrow morning at 8.


Thursday, March 18, 2021

Thursday, March 18th, 2021

 I Learn To Not Bet Against The Ocean Gods

I been telling myself, and others, that the 48° and 49° water temperatures we have been having will be as cold as it will get, so we only have warmer water to look forward to. After all, 47° is as cold as I have ever known the water to be at Avila Beach.
I got my comeuppance this morning when I checked my thermometer and found 47.5°. Maybe it was the lack of sun but the water swam colder too. 
There was patchy clouds, a bit of sun, a mild offshore wind, and an air temperature of 45°. The surf was flat.  
An older gentleman was getting in as I was getting ready. He looked a bit like Peter Kelley but bigger. He swam bareback and seemed to know what he was about. He went out, turned left. I never crossed paths with him in the water.     

I swam the same route as I did on Tuesday. When it is rough or cold the two triangles give me six or eight, shorter legs that add up to about 2 miles.

Saturdays swim will be at 10 and will be Duke and I welcoming Tom Lorish back into the water at Avila Beach. Join us if you can.
Sunday's swim will be at 8. 


Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Tuesday, March 16th, 2021

 After A 10 Day Break, It's Cold Again

After 10 days of water temperatures back into the low 50's I began thinking that we were done with the high 40's, but this morning my thermometer read exactly 48 degrees. It was clear with an air temperature of 35° with a slight offshore breeze. There were 3' sets and the ocean's surface was rippled but not bumpy. 

I decided to do a couple of triangles for a short two miles and an hour in the water.

I'll be back Thursday morning at about 8:30 - 8:45.

NOTE - Tom Lorish, Duke and I are going to swim at 10 AM on Saturday. Duke and I are welcoming Tom back into the water after his missing out on the fun for several months. Everyone is welcome to join us.


Sunday, March 14, 2021

Sunday, March 14th, 2021


Looking west from the Avila Pier towards the Cal Poly and Harford Piers
and Port San Luis with the sunrise behind me.  

Sunday was almost a copy of Saturday except the swimming conditions were even better. 
The air temperature was 50 degrees, the water 51.5, no wind, no surf and a flat and glassy ocean. Visibility was even better than yesterday. In 20 feet of water I could easily see detail on the bottom. A rare experience on the Central Coast.   
Jodi and Niel got in at 8. I wasn't feeling too adventurist so a triangle on the east side and over and back to the second crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier would be good for me.   

Leslie caught up with us at the end of the Avila Pier.
Leslie, Jodi and Niel

Leslie , Jodi and Niel at the second crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier.
From here Leslie and Jodi swam to the end of the pier and back to the Avila Pier.  I went directly to the Avila Pier.

No problems with the Garmin GPS today. 
I'll be back Tuesday morning at 8 unless we get too much rain Sunday and Monday nights.

We had a small group today which worked out well for Jodi and Leslie because I brought brownies and there were only two other swimmers to share them with.


Saturday, March 13, 2021

Saturday, March 13th, 2021


Looking from the Avila Pier east towards Fossil Point and Shell Beach beyond. 

It was really nice at Avila Beach at 8 this morning. It was calm, cloudy and 55 degrees. The water was 51.5 and super clear. The 'surf' was just above flat.  Swimming conditions looked great.

Leslie, Niel and Jodi started by swimming out to the end of the Avila Pier and then over and back to the end of the Cal Poly Pier.  Leslie has been having trouble getting cold so she went in. Jodi and Niel decided to swim to Fossil Point then back to the  Avila Per and then see if more distance felt good. I'd been thinking about going doing a long swim but didn't have a real plan for today. 

Leslie, Jodi and Niel at the end of the Avila Pier. 

When Jodi and I grouped up at the Avila Pier I found that my Garmin GPS watch was keeping time but had not recorded any distance since Fossil Point.  BUMMER! I asked Jodi if she wanted to do another 1000M and she was all in, so we swam a triangle starting by going back out to the end of the Avila Pier, in towards the beach on the east side to a point opposite the big rock where the last swim buoy is in the summer and back parallel to the beach to the Avila Pier and in. The leg from Fossil Point to the pier is 900M and the triangle is 1200M so we did a solid 5000M over 2 hours.

I do not like being cold so I wear a Patagonia R3 (3.5/4.5) surf suit when the water temp is below 55 degrees. It is more restrictive than a tri suit but I was spent but not cold when I got out. There is no way that I could have stayed in for 2 hours in a tri suit.

We are swimming tomorrow morning at 8 but with the time change it will feel like 7.


Thursday, March 11, 2021

Thursday, March 11th, 2021

 The predicted big surf was not to be seen at Avila Beach this morning. We had 3 footers, not much wind, rain clouds moving through and some nice swell in the water from the SE. The water was exceptionally clear and I measured an air temperature of 47 and a water temperature of 52.  Theresa, Grace and Niel were going to swim. Because of the rain the day before I was planning on staying on the east side of the Avila Pier, away from the mouth of San Luis Obispo Creek. I was going to swim triangular laps to get my distance. Grace and Theresa did the first triangle with me and then headed over to the Cal Poly Pier.     

The clear water doesn't show up well in the photo. People are allowed out onto the pier now so I'm back to taking the water temperature from there. That odd object at the end of the line is an old shampoo bottle that I use for a float for the thermometer.   

 Theresa, Grace and Niel were going to swim. Because of the rain the day before I was planning on staying on the east side of the Avila Pier, away from the mouth of San Luis Obispo Creek. I was going to swim triangular laps to get my distance. Grace and Theresa did the first triangle with me and then headed over to the Cal Poly Pier.     
By 1 o'clock tomorrow the Blue Water Task Force website will have numbers from Thursday mornings samples posted and I'll see how justified my caution was.

I took several shots of us at the end of the Avila Pier 
but I only managed to get Theresa in the frame.

The weekend looks nice. I'll swim at 8 on Saturday and Sunday. If the conditions on Sunday are as flat and warm as todays I've got a 4000M route planned. 


Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

Duke's 2000

This morning at Avila Beach everything indicated that a storm was on the way; the cloud cover was increasing, there was a bit of wind out of the SE, the surf was 3 to 6+ foot and being pushed by an incoming tide, but beyond the break the ocean was rippled but glassy. If someone was to wait long enough for it there were nice flat periods between the sets so I decided to get in. The air temperature was 43 and the water was 50 degrees.
Just in time Duke and his daughter Nikki pulled up next to me, so I was going to have someone to swim with.
Duke said that his legs were shot after riding sprints the day before so he was looking to do about 2000M. I had planned on doing a triangle on each side of the pier which would be a bit longer but he was OK with that. Nikki left on a 30 to 45 minute walk and would meet us when we got out.
There was some pounding involved in getting out through the surf, I could feel the extra push from the coming storm even in the white water. Duke and I both were pushed over by some foam that turned out to be quite solid.

We met up at the end of the Avila Pier and congratulated ourselves on a big start to our swim. I wanted to head to where the last buoy is in the summer so agreed on our landmarks and set off. Down near the phantom buoy I looked for Duke and found him a ways out to sea, so I caught up and now that we were out even with the end of the Avila PIer instead of in at the 'buoy line' I suggested an alternate route. We could swim to the end of the Avila Pier and perhaps on to the end of the Cal Poly Pier. The is seemed shorter (really?) to just swim directly to the end of the Cal Poly Pier so we set off on that course.      

Duke and Niel before heading to the end of the Cal Poly Pier.
It was nice and smooth here.
I hadn't been swimming long when the thought bubbled up that this leg would be about 1200M without the usual stop at the end of the Avila Pier.  Then we ran into some 'conditions'. The storm was pushing a swell and one foot chop from the SW and as we swam west we were steadily more exposed and the surface got rougher. When we were halfway between the two piers it was rough and every time I looked to spot my course a correction to the left was necessary.  I'd lost track of Duke in the messy surface and was happy to see him when I arrived at the Cal Poly Pier. He wasn't very happy with me for suggesting this route, and we had another 1000M to do to reach the beach.

So Duke's 2,000 went a bit long at 3,325M and rough to boot. We were both happy to be done.  

Thanks, Duke, for being there. I would not have had that adventure swim if you had not been there today.

I'm planning on swimming thursday morning at 8:45, after my 7AM Zoom meeting, but getting in will be dependent on the surf and a guess about the water quality after a rainy Wednesday. I could switch to Olde Port Beach. I'll text if Avila looks unhealthy. 



Sunday, March 7, 2021

Sunday, March 7th, 2021

 This morning Avila Beach had solid gray overcast, no wind, smaller surf than yesterday a air temperature of 55 and a water temp of 50.   

Swimming today were Leslie, Theresa, Stephanie, Jodi, Duke and Niel

Our route was to get in on the west side of the pier, swim over to the second crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier, along the west side of the pier to the end, to the end of the Avila Pier, down to the end of the beach on the east side of the pier and back to the pier. This was 3100M. 

Stephanie, Jodi, Duke, Theresa and Leslie at the end of the Avila Pier.

From here Duke went in. The rest swam towards the big rock at the end of the beach except for Jodi who wanted to go the extra distance to Fossil Point. 

I'll swim Tuesday morning at 8, rain or shine.