Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Tuesday, August 31st, 2021

I enjoyed lovely swimming conditions this morning. An air temperature of 61°, a water temperature of 63° (possibly a high water temp for 2021), no wind, no sun, no red tide and a flat and glassy ocean. 

I go in a bit before 8 and did two triangles with extra in and outs along the pier for a two mile/1 hour swim. 
Tom was wading in as I stood up in the surf so we got to talk briefly about the conditions and his travels to Dallas over the weekend to coach for a master water polo tournament. I think that he had been able to get his cap on over his new Stetson. 
Duke was MIA, riding his bike rather than do the good work in the ocean.  

I'll be back Thursday morning getting in between 8:30 and 9.


Sunday, August 29, 2021

Sunday, August 29th, 2021

 Today was the nicest day we have had at Avila Beach is some time. It was in the mid 70's. There was no sign of the red tide (at least where we swam), the water was clear, 62.5° and at 11 and just starting to get blown out.

Niel, Duke, Leslie and Kiki made up today's group. This was Kiki's first swim with us. She has been doing Jr. Guards and wants to be a lifeguard next year. She seemed to have enjoyed herself today. 

There were a lot of pelicans chasing baitfish in different locations and quite a few fishermen both on the pier and in kayaks. Maybe they are all after the same thing. 

We wound up doing four different swims; Kiki hung with us until we got to the buoy at the creek mouth and then headed directly in to the beach in order to make a surf date in Cayucos. Duke was in recovery mode after the Santa Barbara Aquabike yesterday and turned around at the creek buoy and headed back along the buoys, Leslie nad I swam over to the second crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier and back to our starting point where I came in and Leslie did the another lap to the east half of the buoy line. Having warm and clean water was wonderful. 

Kiki, Duke and Leslie at the end of the buoy line at the mouth of San Luis Creek. 

Niel and Leslie at the Cal Poly Pier.

My schedule for the coming week is 8 on Tuesday, 9 on Thursday and Saturday and 11 on Sunday.  

Happy Birthday to Big Steve Snyder! 
Steve, if you hadn't been so persistent in badgering me to take a break from the pool and to come swim at Avila Beach I would have missed out on so many wonderful people and great swimming! 
Next Sunday is Father's Day and Labor Day Weekend so we will be having a Avila Dolphin Potluck Post-Swim Carb Loading Event. Come and swim at 11 and bring something to share.



Saturday, August 28, 2021

Saturday, August 28th, 2021

Almost Normal -

There was a last minute change of plans so I swam at 8 instead of 9 this morning. Leslie was also there at 8, we parked three spaces apart along Front Street and didn't see each other until we got out. The fog must have been thick.......  Leslie swam with Stephanie. There were two other swimmers out along the buoy line that could have been Maria and Heidi. 
There was low overcast and clouds down to the water but the visibility was good at about a half mile.  The air temperature was 57° and the water was 62°, flat and glassy. There was no wind.

The water quality looked OK so I decided to swim over to the Poly Pier.  Near the Poly Pier there was some red tide but nothing like there was earlier in the week so I stuck to my plan. 

At the end of the Cal Poly Pier with a shadow of the Avila Pier in the background,
if you know where to look for it.  

There were a lot of fishermen on the Avila Pier and several people fishing from kayaks on the east side of the pier. I didn't see the kayaks until I swam over a line that was floating more than 50M from the kayak.I just pulled my arm out of the line and kept going.

Duke should be cleaning up at the Aquabike event at the Santa Barbara Tri this morning so I expect he will join Leslie, Jodi and I tomorrow at 11.


Thursday, August 26, 2021

Thursday, August 27th, 2021

 I Get A Break  

I arrived at Avila Beach a little before 9. I was swimming solo. Duke was going to swim at Lopez Lake today and Tom is in Dallis coaching a masters team at the Water Polo Nationals. It was still grey but the clouds were thinning. The air temperature was 59° and the water was 61.5°. The waves were small with just a slight chop on the water. Very nice swimming conditions! In the flat light it was hard to be sure but the water looked pretty clean from the pier. I decided to stay close in and do two triangles. I don't know why. There was no knowing where the red tide might be but somehow staying closer seemed like a better idea. I swam out, turned left and hoped to swim for an hour without stopping or having to rethink my plan. The water looked a little cloudy but not red and I wasn't sure if it tasted funny. The water on the west side of the pier was about 1° warmer. The sun came out at my turnaround point and I wasn't seeing any yuch in the water, just the usual summer cloudiness. What a nice change from getting chased around by the Red Crud.

I'll be back at 9 on Saturday and 11 on Sunday. Duke is racing on Saturday so I may be solo until next Tuesday.


Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Tuesday, August 24th, 2021

 Chased Out By The Crud

It was a fine morning for a swim at Avila Beach except that the red tide was everywhere. The air temperature was 61°, the water was 62.5° and it was flat with just a bit of wind chop.  Looking down from the pier the water looked red brown. I don't think that it shows in this photo but everywhere that there is a ripple on the water I could see red. Duke and I looked for a minute and decided to not get in. Tom did swim at 9 and said that it 'wasn't as bad as last week'.

There was also a 10,000 gallon sewage release into San Luis Creek late Monday and no testing had been done since then at the creek mouth or the beach.    

I'll be back Thursday morning at 9 to see how the water looks and decide about getting in.


Sunday, August 22, 2021

Sunday, August 22nd, 2021

 Chased Out of the Water By the Red Tide

Things looked OK from shore. Tom had swum earlier in the day and texted that he found that the red tide was bad at the end of the Cal Poly Pier but OK everywhere else. We planned a route that didn't include the end of the CP Pier and set out ready to rethink our plan if the conditions went down the toilet.
Today we had Duke, Niel, Leslie, Jodi and John swimming. This was John's first time with us. He lives in Cambria and swims bareback in San Simeon Cove.  It was sunny, about 75° and the water was 60 - 61°. The wind had come up and put a 6" to 12" chop on the water out of the SW. The surf was the same as yesterday with small waves with widely spaced sets of 4+ footers.
We decided to swim to the end of  the east buoy line, go to the end of the Avila Pier, on to the third crossbars on the CP Pier, in to the second crossbars and then back to the west end of the buoy line, to the pier and turn in.
It was choppy but the water was fine until about 300M after we left the end of the Avila Pier were we ran into thickening red yuch. We angled to the second crossbars and found even worse conditions. At about this point my Garmin apparently reacted to the water conditions and started tracking all over the ocean. It was either head back the way we came or directly to the beach. We headed to the beach. Half way in along the length of the Avila Pier the water cleared up. My read if that the wind and chop had pushed the red tide in from the end of the CP Pier. 
I could have done some laps back and forth along the buoys but was frustrated enough to just call it quits and go sit on the beach. 
By the time we were cleaned up and back at our chairs the red tide was at the end of the Avila Pier and angeled over to the last buoy on the east side. 

Duke, Niel and Jodi at the last buoy on the east side.

The only picture that I got of John's first swim at Avila was of the back of his head, looking back along the buoy line towards the pier. 

Duke and I will be back at 8AM on Tuesday morning to chase some clean water.


Saturday, August 21, 2021

Saturday, August 21st, 2021

 Avoiding the Yuch, A.K.A. Red Tide

Avila was drippy and spitty this morning. Niel, Jodi, Stephanie and Leslie were going to swim at 8 and wanted to pick a route that would avoid the red tide that was so thick earlier in the week. With the overcast making everything look so flat and colorless it was hard to tell from shore what the water was like. The waves did look a little dirty so we decided to swim out to the buoy line and if the water was tolerable, turn left and head to the end of the buoys. The water was kind'a dirty but not nearly as bad as Wednesday and Thursday. The water tasted wrong, alternately too salty of just funny to me, but without good sunlight it is hard to tell how thick the blooming dinoflagellates were. (Blooming is used here as a homonym ;-)). At the last buoy we decided to swim to the last buoy on the other side of the pier and this turned out to be the right call. The water was much cleaner on the west side of the Avila Pier. We grouped up at the mouth of the creek and were joined by two women from the Half Moon Bay who were swimming bareback and having a nice time. They headed east along the buoys and we went to the second crossbars on the C.P. Pier, then to the end of the Avila Pier, back to the mouth of the creek and back along the buoys and in at the pier. A 4'+ set came in just as we were swimming into the break to add some fun to the finish.             

The air was in the high 50's, the water was 59°. 

Stephanie, Leslie and Jodi at the buoy at the mouth of San Luis Creek. 

Duke and I will swim Sunday at 11. Anyong who would like to swim in the sun is welcome to join us.

Thanks to Leslie for the yummy brownies!


Thursday, August 19, 2021

Thursday, August 19th, 2021


There were severe red tide conditions in Avila Beach this morning. The red tide was really bad in Pismo Beach a week ago but it has apparently moved to Avila Beach. We have some nice warm water, at about 61° and great swimming conditions but the water is foul.
I got in because the surf was up to 4 feet with maybe and occasional 5 footer so I wasn't sure if the dirty look to the water was from the waves or something else. Everything else looked typical so I got in. At the end of the Avila Pier the water turned really nasty. Not knowing how extensive the red tide was I headed for the end of the Cal Poly Pier and kept wondering if I should keep on, turn back and swim through what I had come through or change direction completely. About halfway to the C.P. Pier things cleaned up to just objectional so I kept on. It was colder and cleaner on the west side of the CP Pier and nothing like it had been on the rest of my route back.      

I fat fingered my watch at the start and didn't get a plot so today we have a Google Maps screenshot.

I spoke with Duke, he had gotten in after I did and done his U-Burner with red tide garnish. He was not happy. Tom Lorish had headed out along the route that I had taken and swam into the same crud. 
I'll be back Saturday at 9 but if it is as dirty as it was today I will get in only if I have a scout ship to keep me out of the red yuch. 


Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Tuesday, August 17th, 2021

There was more fog this morning than there was on Sunday so Jodi lucked out on the conditions for her Three Martini Swim. The damp air was 57° and the water was 62°! I think that is the warmest we have seen since last fall. It felt nice.  I wandered about for an hour enjoying the conditions. Duke and Nick had to go to work. 
I met a woman who was getting in as I was getting out. It was her first time at Avila. We talked routes and distances but I didn't get her name. 
I spoke to Tom as he was wading in. He texted that he had a seal named Larry follow him from the end of the Avila Pier to the end of the Cal Poly Pier and part way around.  Larry was alone (no friends in grey suits) and sounds really friendly but Tom swam so slowly that Larry didn't ask him for his phone number.

The view from the pier.

I'll be back Thursday morning, in at about 9.


Sunday, August 15, 2021

Sunday, August 15th, 2021

 Jodi's 10K Three Martini Swim

(Well, it turned out to be 11K, but that is part of the story).

Jodi became the seventh person, and the first woman, to complete a Three Martini Swim.  She also did the longest route ever completed at 11,042M or 6.86 miles. The Avila Pier is the 'stem' of the martini glass and the 'glass' is the triangle made by the ends of the Avila and Cal Poly Piers and the Avila Rock off of Fossil Point. Out and back along the stem and three times around the glass is 10K+. This is not a distance contest, the variations come from the swimming conditions and how the swimmer's or the kayaker's navigation works out. 
The conditions today were great. The water temperature was 58° to 60°, the air temperature at the 7:35 start was 62°, it was overcast and there was no wind. The wind did come up about 10 o'clock so there was some chop on the last lap.
The Avila Pier and the Cal Poly Pier in the background.

The Avila Pier and the Avila Rock, a pimple on the horizon to 
the right of the person walking on the beach.  

Paddlers and support crew.

Jodi got in at 7:35 and stood up in the surf at 11:30.

Leslie swimming out to join Jodi for the second lap.

Duke going in to accompany Jodi on the third and last lap.

Jodi and Duke bringing it home.

Standing! Are we in Pismo Beach now?

Niel, Jodi and Duke in their Three Martini hats.

Congratulations! A major accomplishment.

Leslie had to leave before Jodi got out so she let this not on my windshield.


Saturday, August 14, 2021

Saturday, August 14th, 2021

I saw a lot of swimmers this morning. Leslie was gettin out as I was walking to the pier to get the water temperature. She said that the conditions were nice and the water temp felt comfortable.  Tom was on his way out along the Avila Pier. I thought that I might see him near the Cal Poly Pier but our paths didn't cross. Tom had brought chocolate cookies to share today. Thank You Tom!

I spoke to Jodi and Stephanie from the pier and got this picture of them heading in after finishing a 'getting the kinks out before tomorrow's swim' swim. Jodi sounds totally stoked and ready. Her toes go in the water at 7:30 tomorrow morning and come out 10K later between 10:30 and 11.
Come on down support her swim!

Today's conditions were great for a long swim. Avila was overcast with no wind. The air temperature was 62° and the water 60° and clear. There was no sign of the horrible red tide that has been punishing Pismo Beach recently. There was a swell out of the SW that had not built up to much yet. The largest waves were 4 footers.  

I wanted to do a longer, slower and relaxing swim so I did the buoy line and CP Pier route that works out to about 5K.

My first time at the end of the Cal Poly Pier. 
At this point the overcast was burning off so the rest of my swim was in the sun.  

Most of us are supporting Jodi's swim tomorrow so I do not expect many swimmers at 11.

Duke, you owe Jodi $25.


Thursday, August 12, 2021

Thursday, August 12th, 2021

 A beautiful morning at Avila Beach today. There was no fog and no wind, just some patches of high thin clouds. The ocean was flat and glassy and 59°. The air was 64°. I arrived at 8:30 and saw Duke and Nick out beyond the end of the Avila Pier on the Burner U route.  I spoke with Tom as he was heading for the water. I didn't see him again. He must have gone long because his car was still there when I was leaving. I spoke with NIck and Duke as they were getting out. Duke was going to work and Nick was going to do the rest of a mini-tri.  

I didn't feel like going over to the Poly Pier so I did my two triangles.  The wind was coming up as I was walking to the showers. 

I'm planning a long swim on Saturday, toes in at about 9 and I'll spend Sunday morning watching Jodi do her Three Martini Swim.

Product Report: I do not like feeling cold. I have been wearing an Xterra tri suit when the water temp was above about 57° and a Patagonia R3 in colder temps. I just replaced an Xterra Vortex with the less expensive Volt and I like the Volt better. The Vortex features thicker material in the arms, chest and legs and I found the suit warmer but much more difficult to put on and take off. It was hard to zip up my myself and the 5mm material in the front of the legs made it difficult to pull the legs off. The Volt is easier to sip up and almost falls off on its own and is warm enough at summer temperatures. I have had 5 Xterra wetsuits and I have found that an Xterra suit is done in 18 to 24 months, whether I've worn it much or not. The material just ages out and falls apart. They are great for training and affordable.  


Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Tuesday, August 10th, 2021

 Niel, Duke and Nick enjoyed just about perfect swimming conditions this morning. Avila was overcast and windless with decent visibility. The water was flat and glassy. The air and water temperatures were 58°. Duke did his 'U-Burner' 1000 yd. sprint. Nick and Niel did a triangle, then Nick went out and around the Avila Pier and Niel doubled back along his route. I had a lovely hour in the water.

I have a meeting 7:15 ZOOM meeting on Thursday morning and will be at Avila at 9 to swim.


Monday, August 9, 2021

Sunday, August 8th, 2021

Photo of the sunrise on Sunday morning over the Avila Pier by Leslie T after she swam.

Photos of both sides of the buoy line and the beach from the pier while I was taking the water temperature. 

My. Lindsay says that the current weather pattern that is holding the fog in along the beaches will last until the Thursday or Friday.  I hope he is right because Jodi is planning on doing her Three Martini Swim on Sunday the 15th and less fog would be nice. She is planning on having her toes in the water at 7:30. This is Jodi with Niel and Duke on Sunday. Jodi and her paddler had done about 3 miles earlier in the morning, including one lap of the Martini course, and she is feeling good about her 10K swim. For this photo Duke and I are wearing our Three Martini Swim hats and the t-shirts from Tom Lorish about my blog.  

As far as swimming today, at 11AM the air temperature was 74° and the water was 59°. The wind was coming up and it was getting choppy. The wind had not opened up the fog enough so Duke, Pat and Niel swam the buoy line. Duke and Pat did one and one half laps and Niel did two. 


Niel. Pat and Duke at the last buoy on the west side.

Duke and I will swim Tuesday morning at 8.


Saturday, August 7, 2021

Saturday, August 7th, 2021

 Tom's Route With Fog

I was planning on swimming Tom's usual route today but at 9 o'clock found Avila Beach to be a very small hole in a bank of fog. Tom's route is out to the end of the Avila Pier with possibly some buoy line thrown in, from the end of the Avila Pier to the end of the CP Pier, in along the CP Pier to the second crossbars and back out to the end of the pier, then back to the end of the Avila Pier and in, again adding some buoy line if desired. Without the buoy line this route is 4000 M. With the buoy line on the in and back it is closer to 5000 M. There was blue sky above but horizontal visibility was limited. While taking the water temperature I could see an anchored boat near the end of the Cal Poly Pier but I couldn't see the end of the pier itself. The air temperature was 59° and the water temperature was up to 58°. The sea was nice and flat.

I met Jodi and Phea, her friend who is accompanying her on her training swims on a SUP and got a swim report from her. She and Leslie had swum earlier. They thought that the water was colder but Jodi did fine. She is planning on swimming a single Martini lap tomorrow and thinks she is ready for her 10K. I hope that the fog clears early for her tomorrow.

The fog had not cleared when I got in so I swam to the end of the Avila Pier to see what kind of plan I could come up with.  I couldn't see anything of the Cal Poly Pier, so I thought about alternate routes. I've swum between all points and in all directions between these two piers and have a good sense of where I am so I lined myself up with where the end of the CP Pier would be, checked the direction of the swell and the position of the sun over my left shoulder and started out. I kept fading right as this would have me run into the CP Pier by default instead of the Port San Luis Pier which would be another 1200M.  When the pier came into view I was lined up with the third crossbars so I turned left and swam to the end of the pier. After my in and out along the pier the conditions had not improved so I lined myself up with the swell at my back and the sun on my right shoulder and headed for the Avila Pier. I kept the swell on my butt and faded to the left and when I saw the end of the Avila Pier I just needed a kink to the right to hit the end of the pier. My shoulders were feeling really good today. I would not have attempted this swim in these conditions if I didn't feel like I had plenty of reserve to do a longer swim than I had planned.   
The poor visibility made this a risky swim and it should not to be attempted by anyone who is not very familiar with the territory and the water conditions. That and that I also have many years experience navigating in open water made me feel comfortable doing this swim. However, even thought I was confident that I would not get lost, I was still putting myself out in open water in poor visibility. An encounter with a boat in today's conditions would have been extremely serious. 

Duke and I will be getting in at 11 tomorrow and look forward to a swim report from Jodi.



Thursday, August 5, 2021

Thursday, August 5th, 2021


Today's water temperature was a surprise. There had not been any wind or other weather that would push the water temperature down 4° in two days. Maybe all of that cold water from the massive melt in Greenland....no, that is in the north Atlantic. 

Regardless, the swimming conditions were wonderful. The surf was larger at 3+ feet but it was flat and glassy under gray skies with an air temperature of 60° and no wind.

There were a lot of people in the water this morning. From the Avila Pier I saw two women doing laps along the west/right hand buoy line and Duke and Nick coming in towards the shore on the left side after swimming Dukes 1000 yd. sprint route. Duke got out and Nick doubled back for more. David Cheney and I got in before 9 and swam from the end of the Avila Pier to the end of the C.P. Pier. Tom caught up with us there. We all swam back in along the pier to the second crossbars. From there Tom swam back to the end of the CP Pier, to the end of the Avila Pier and in. David swam to the end of the Avila Pier, to the last buoy on the left/east side and back along the buoys to the Avila Pier and in. I swam to the right/west buoy line and in. 

Tom, David and Niel at the end of the Cal Poly Pier

I'll be back on Saturday morning at 9. The water is supposed to be warming back up then.