Sunday, October 24, 2021

Sunday, October 24th, 2021

"It's A Mess Out There" - Peter Kelley

The Walrus himself opined that today's water conditions were nothing that you would ever find in a pool. I thought that it was a mixture of adventitious and challenging but not pesky. 
At 10:30 the air temperature was 61°. There was very little wind. The pier had been closed in anticipation of the large surf that was to come with this evening's storm so I didn't get a water temperature but it swam like 56 or 57 degrees. There were also patches of red tide, which is weird for this time of the year, so just more strangeness. As for the messiness; the surf was much smaller than Thursday or Saturday but still had a good push. There were at least three different swells coming in from the SE, all with different sizes and periods, so the surface beyond the surfline was A MESS. With no wind the water had a almost glassy surface but there was no discernable pattern to the motion making it a good day to be able to breath on either, or both, sides and to be able to stutter step your stroke.  
We had a great group today. I was first to arrive. Duke did a ride by to let me know he was not going to swim, which I figured out because he was all kitted up in bike gear and sitting on his Colango, and was going to try and get in a ride before the weather arrived. David and Alex arrived. Alex had quit renting and bought a wetsuit and had a goal of swimming a few buoys today. Which she did, setting a personal record. Tiki arrived followed by Theresa, who is back in town for a few days. Spoiler Alert - She has accepted a job in SLO and is getting out of LA! 
I liked the idea of the two triangles in order to 'enjoy' the biggest number of conditions. 
The orange plot is my stroke count which is pretty steady except for at the start waiting for the group to form up, but my pace (blue) is all over the place because of the variations in the surface conditions. It was all a challenge but the leg from the 4th buoy on the west (left in the plot) to the end of the Avila Pier was directly into the waves and was a piece of work. Kind'a reminded me of running up a steep trail that was full of roots and rocks. Every stroke was different and no pace would fit.    

While I was getting ready the Harbor Patrol did a drive by inside the buoy line. 

Tiki at the first buoy.

Theresa at the same spot. 

Theresa, Tiki and Niel at the 4th buoy on the left. We are up on the swell here.

And a second later they are above me and the buoy is gone.
I figure that is 3 to 4 feet of vertical movement. 

David at the 4th buoy on the west.

8 AM swim report from Heidi:
Maria and I went for a swim at 8 this morning.  A beautiful overcast morning, conditions were good except for gross red tide.  We were surprised at this, resulted in a short swim today.  Icky taste, smell and irritated sinuses

I have work obligations Tuesday morning so the next time I'll be back is Thursday at 8:30.


Saturday, October 23, 2021

Saturday, October 23rd, 2021

A beautiful morning is Avila Beach. At 8 o'clock the air was still and 47°, the water temp was up to 57° and the surf was big enough for the largest waves to shake the pier.

This committed Boogie Boarder was one of the three people in the water willing to go for one second of glory on an Avila wave before getting a spell in the spin cycle. 

I got out through the break cleanly. There was only one point where I wondered if I was going to get past the surf line without getting washing machined.  It didn't happen and once out I caught my breath and headed down the buoy line. 57° felt much more comfortable than the 55° we have had for the last weeks. There were several different swells happening and I felt them all when I swam past the buoy at the at the reef.  They were not breaking but it was almost like a carnival ride. At Avila the swell was out of the SW so the leg to the CP Pier was uphill, then pushy and lumpy the rest of the way.

There is a storm predicted for late Sunday. Currently a 30% chance of rain at 11 o'clock. The surf will lay down so the swimming could be good.   

I'm going to be there at 11AM to see if I can beat the storm and get in a swim. 


Thursday, October 21, 2021

Thursday, October 21st, 2021

 Surf's Up

A large NW swell was making large waves on the west facing beaches this morning. In Avila Beach the surf was 3 foot with an occasional 4 to 5 footer. I didn't get a water temp but it felt like 55°. It was sunny and still with an air temperature of 56°. This all added up to a glassy but very lumpy surface. Duke and I met up a little after 8, he would do his sprint starting on the right side of the pier and I would do an out and back triangle starting on the left side. I'd go out and back instead of two circles to avoid swimming through the piers' pilings in this swell.  I was fortunate and timed my entry just right, swimming through the face of a couple of big ones, so if anyone had been watching I looked like I knew what I was doing.

Niel and Duke
On the way to the Avila Pier I thought I heard a seal barking, which turned out to be Duke trying to get my attention. We were only about 30 feet apart on out separate routes.

Tom was also out there this morning. I saw his car parked in its usual place and he later texted me that we passed new each other near the end of the Avila Pier but he couldn't get my attention. 
I'll be back Saturday morning at 8. Air and sea conditions should be similar to today's. On Sunday we should do OK getting in a 11.  The intense storm and southern swell on predicted for Sunday should arrive Sunday evening.


Tuesday, October 19, 2021

I was by myself and was colder in the water, probably because I got a bit chilled before getting in. Duke texted me that he would swim with Rick and Rhonda at Lopez lake today and Tom was a no show. The air temperature at Avila at 7:45 was 39°, there was an offshore breeze, colder than at home so I was a bit underdressed and got cold when I was out on the pier taking the water temp, which was 54.5°.  There were some 3 to 4 foot sets but there were large enough breaks in between them that getting out was easy. The water was really messy with a combination of swells from the SW and the offshore wind chop that were going in almost opposite directions making an interesting surface to swim in.  

I did my two triangles which gave me seven different exposures to the surface conditions (the conditions coming out on the east and west sides of the pier were different).  Some were easier than others but it was always messing with me.  

Looking from the end of the Avila to the Cal Poly Pier.  
The same view but with a wake from a jet ski in the left corner. Two guys who looked like lifeguards or harbor patrol and were all kitted out in matching wetsuits, helmets and cameras came bombing past me just as I stopped next to the pilings at the end of the pier. They waved but were acting like they had not expected anyone else to be in or on the water.

I'll swim Thursday morning at 8:30.

Sadly, this morning's Tribune reported that Ruddell's Smokehouse in Cayucos will be closing at the end of December. This is a huge loss to those who have come to Ruddell's for two decades for the their smoked meats. Two smoked albacore tacos on the beach is one of the best meals anywhere on the Central Coast. The building is to be demolished and the business and their food truck are for sale. 


Sunday, October 17, 2021

Sunday, October 17th, 2021

 Lots Of Weather

The weather was changing all day today. When I arrived at Avila Beach at 10:20 it was sunny and about 62° but felt cooler. There were some unusual clouds and a sense of unbalance but it was comfortable on the beach. Today's group was Duke, David, Niel and Marnie, a guest swimmer from Whidbey Island. Marnie was in town for a wedding and decided that she had to skip some of the to do and get in a swim. She goes bareback and her group swims year round in Puget Sound.  Sounds like a tough crowd.  

We decided to start out along the buoy line and to then head over to the CP Pier. This would allow Marnie to drop off in time get back to the festivities and for the rest of us to choose our distances.   

Niel, Marnie, David and Duke at the 4th buoy on the east side of the Avila Pier. 

Marnie got off at the 4th buoy near the creek mouth, David, Niel and Duke swam over to the second crossbars on the CP Pier. Niel and Duke turned back. David headed to the end of the Avila Pier and over to the east end of the buoys before returning to the start. 

When we crossed to the west side of the Avila Pier the wind came up out of the south like a squall and we were suddenly in big chop. The southern horizon was a solid wall of clouds and it looked like things could get stormy. By the time we were back at our chairs the wind and clouds were gone and it was very pleasant on the beach. 

Duke and I will be back at 8AM on Tuesday.


Saturday, October 16, 2021

Saturday, October 16th, 2021

 A nice fall Saturday morning at Avila Beach today. It was clear, calm and sunny with an air temperature of 43° and a water temperature of 54.5°. For surf there was an occasional 3 foot wave.   

These two unidentified swimmers were coming in when I was on the pier.

Toady's crew was Jodi, Niel and Stephanie. It was high tide and a nice day for going around the Avila Rock so that is what we did. We swam to the rock from the 4th buoy, swung around and came back via the end of the Avila Pier. Other than a nice swell out towards the rock it was flat. Jodi and Stephanie got surprised by the surge and almost had a close encounter with the rock.

Niel with Stephanie behind and Jodi at Avila Rock.  
The rock is the dark mass just above Jodi's head, outlined by the white cliffs. 

When we were at the showers someone was swimming west along the buoys but he/she was wearing a full wetsuit so it wasn't Tom.        

Jodi said that Tiki saw a small Thresher shark near her during Wednesday evenings swim. They are not aggressive and are great on the BBQ.    

Sunday's swim will be at 11.


Thursday, October 14, 2021

Thursday, October 14th, 2021

Duke and Niel got in at 8:30 and Tom at 9.Duke said that at 4:30 this morning Avila was fogged in so the fog must have blown out when the wind came up with the sunrise. The offshore breeze laid down early so Tom scored some flatter water. The air temperature was 45° but it was cloudless and sunny and felt warmer. 

Duke did his U-Burner, I did my Tuesday route in the opposite direction and Tom swam out and back along the CP Pier. 

I was hoping that John Lindsey's weather forecast was wrong.  Yesterday he had predicted an ocean water temperature of 51 to 53 degrees and I was not ready for the bottom of the fifties. The Diablo Canyon buoy ( ) was recording numbers in that range but the water temperature in San Luis Obispo Bay was holding up and I got a reading of 55° from the pier.    

I took this photo while I was out on the pier taking the water temperature. I'm facing east and that is the first buoy in the glare. The ripples on the water show the wind is offshore from the northeast, which is unusual. In Avila the Santa Lucia (offshore) winds are typically from the north.  

I did Tuesday's route in the opposite direction. The wind was still out of the NE when I swam from the end of the C.P. Pier to the reef buoy so it was a rhythmic experience, with me working to find a rhythm for my stroke that worked with the timing of the chop. 

This is Tom getting out, doing Botticelli's Venus Rising From the Sea 
but with more clothes.

Duke heard from Jodi so she swam Wednesday evening. I don't know if she had company.

I'll be back at 8 on Saturday and at 11 on Sunday.


Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Tuesday, October 12th, 2021

This is what Avila Beach looked like at 7:30 this morning. Clear and a bit breezy, you can see the ripples on the water. No big surf, just an occasional 3 to 4 footer. It was colder with a 43° air temperature and 55° water.   
There were two otters, looked like an adult and a pup, 
in the surfline enjoying the crab and clam buffet.  

Duke would do a 'Recovery U-Burner', meaning a sprint distance without the sprint part, and I would head out the buoys to the left, circle around the reef and head over to the CP Pier, then come back to the buoy line on the right side and back to the Avila Pier. .

I fatfingered my watch and didn't get it started so there is no plot of my swim.

When I was on my way to the end of the CP Pier I stopped off of the Avila Pier to see if I could spot Duke. He would be further inside and heading the other direction.   

And I found him way inside. The orange dot is Duke's cap 

At the end of the Cal Poly Pier. 

At the second crossbars where I turned back towards the buoy 
line on the west side of the Avila Pier.
I swam in along the buoys back to my starting place and in. This loop is 2 miles.

I saw Tom backstroking east along the left side of the buoy line.

The Wild Women will swim at 5PM on Wednesday. Meet up at the guard tower on the left of the pier. 

Duke and I will swim Thursday morning at 8:30.


Sunday, October 10, 2021

Sunday, October 10th, 2021

Sunday was a beautiful fall day at Avila Beach. At 10:30 it was sunny, not too hot at 73° with just a light wind, 1/3 of the summer crowds and a great day to swim.  The water temperature was 57°, just like it is in the fall.
We had two groups of three today; Group 1 was Niel, Leslie and David who went faster and longer and Group 2 was Tiki, Lzo and Brenda who went shorter. Tiki is going bareback, Lzo is her friend, an exchange student from Italy has not done much open water swimming and Brenda has swum with us before but not for a while, but it is time for her to get ready for the Morro Bay Tri. 
Duke was a No Show. He said that he would do a long bike ride instead. Did anyone see him out towards Cayucos? 

There was enough wind offshore to make things choppy beyond the end of the Avila Pier but we didn't see muck of it.  

G1 went east along the buoys to #4, to the end of the Avila Pier and to the 4th buoy at the creek mouth. Leslie was cold and headed in. David and I went to the second crossbars, back to the end of the Avila Pier and in for an hours swim.
G2 was planning on doing a triangle along the same route at the first 3/4 of the G1 swim.

The Lorish swim report was texted in. Tom and Sue swam around the rock again today. Tom says that there were about 10 dolphins out by the rock and two along the buoy line.   

Duke and I will swim at 8 on Tuesday.


Saturday, October 9, 2021

Saturday, October 9th, 2021

Saturday was a nice sunny and breezy morning in Avila Beach. The wind was offshore and the water was pretty flat. The air temperature was 53°. I measured a water temperature of 56° but everyone thought that it felt colder. 
Niel and Leslie got in at 8 and at the buoy line headed west to 4th buoy. Jodi is grounded due to a broken toe.

When we arrived Leslie saw Tiki catching up. 

So now we were three. Tiki was bareback and has given up her fins. Tough girl!

Tiki and Niel

and then Stephanie caught us up.

and we had a flyover by prehistoric birds. 
To me pelicans do look like something left over from way before.

We swam over to the second crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier, doubled back along our route to the Avila Pier, under the pier and to the last buoy on the east side. From there it was to the end of the Avila Pier and to the 4th buoy on the west for the 3rd time, back along the buoys and in.

We will swim tomorrow at 11.


Thursday, October 7, 2021

Thursday, October 7th, 2021


The predicted cold front was rolling through the Central Coast right on time this AM. A 9 Avila was low clouds, gray, feeling stormy with a wind out of the ESE to SE, andi a nice chop on the 59° water. The surf had not come up. The air temperature was 55°- 60°.   

No tourists about this morning.  

I got a photo of Sue and Tom getting in when I was on the pier.  

I swam a 'circle'; the west buoys, to the second crossbars on the CP Pier, out along the pier, back over to the buoy on the reef and a hook left to pick up the 4th buoy on the east side and in along the line and out. 

 From the third crossbars looking to the end of the CP Pier.
This is not a B&W photo.  There were almost no colors this morning.
 Tom said that he saw me near here as he and Sue were heading in along the pier as I was heading out, but I missed them in the chop.

It was a rough water swim everywhere today but the leg out along the CP Pier was the toughest. The current, wind and chop were on my left shoulder and it got rougher the farther i got out along the pier. I was not swallowing any water but I was seriously swimming uphill. Tom agreed. 
The sun came out for a bit  as I was passing the end of the Avila Pier.  That and made a long stint swimming across the chop more cheery.

By the time I was at the showers the clouds were clearing and the wind was going down. Looks good for Saturday at 8.


Wednesday evening swim report by Leslie:
Tiki, Leslie and Jodi.

We went in, super low tide, calm flat water, had a fast lap around the pier in honor of Dukes U Burner and went 4th creek buoy and back under the pier to first and in, the water under the pier was breathtakingly cold, but otherwise wasn't too bad.  See you Saturday!  Jodi and I are in sync in this pic, we all thought it looked kind of cool

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Tuesday, October 5th, 2021

It was pretty simple this morning. Duke swam his sprint course. I went retro and swam two laps of the buoy line. Tom got in at 9 as I was walking out and swam off to commune with the spirits of the water.

It was sunny and 54°. The water temperature was 58°. The surf was 2 to 3 foot and there was no sign of the Huntington Beach oil spill having made it 200 miles north to mess up our beaches. The wind woke up at 8:30 and was starting to chop up the surface as I got out.

The Wild Women will swim at 5 on Wednesday evening. They meet up at the lifeguard tower on the left of the pier.   

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


Sunday, October 3, 2021

Sunday, October 3rd, 2021


At 10:30 this morning Avila Beach was a sunny hole in a ring of fog and clouds. It was 65° with a coolish breeze that was full of moisture that made me reach for my sweatshirt. The water temperature was 58°.  The surf was mostly 2 foot and the afternoons wind chop was just beginning to build. 
Niel, Jodi, Leslie, Duke, Tiki, David, Alex and Adam were ready to swim. Nobody wanted to pick a route so I suggested that we get in the water, swim to the first buoy and figure it out from there.
Duke, Jodi, Leslie (behind) and Tiki at the first buoy.
Everyone is smiling and Tiki is being a good sport because the way 
her cap is on makes her look like an Ewok.
Jodi stepped up and under her direction we swam to the left to the last buoy, out and around the reef buoy, to the end of the Avila Pier, to the end of the Cal Poly Pier, along the pier to the third crossbars, back to the end of the Avila Pier and in to shore. There was a steady current and chop out of the SW to work against on the leg to the CP Pier and it pushed us all to the left on the way back to the Avila Pier. 

Leslie, Niel, Jodi, Duke and David at the end of the Avila Pier. This was the flattest water we would see during the entire swim. The water clarity was best here. Over at the CP Pier the water was more green and opaque.

Late breaking news provided by T. Lorish, Cub Reporter:
The first group in today was Paula Dooley and the SLO Masters, followed by Maria and Heidi, then Tom followed by a group of 4 fast guys who nobody identified. That makes the Dolphins the fifth group in the water Sunday morning. 
Duke and I will be back at 8 on Tuesday.


Saturday, October 2, 2021

Saturday, October 2nd, 2021

It was sunny at our house in San Luis Obispo when I left for the beach but within a few miles I ran into thick fog on Tank Farm Road. Avila Beach was a grey closet. Except for the start of the pier there was nothing to see.      

From the Avila Pier looking East.

The visibility on the west side of the pier was better and by the time we got in there was sun over at the base of the Cap Poly Pier, so

Niel, Leslie and Jodi got in on the west side of the pier and swam buoy to buoy to the 4th buoy where we found a boat anchored. They were going to be officiating a Pale Kai outrigger race, the start of which was delayed by the fog. We could see the second cross beams on the CP Pier so we swam over there, out to the end of the pier and back the way we had come. On the return we could not see the Avila Pier or beach from the second cross bars but if we kept the sun on our right shoulders we would hit either the beach or the pier so we waved to the otters in the kelp and started off. At about half of the was back we could see the same boat still waiting for the race to start so swam to it and then back along the buoy line. 
The air temperature had been 48° when we got in and the water was 57.5°. It felt warmer than that to me. 

Niel, Jodi and Leslie near the 4th buoy before heading over to the CP Pier.

Tom Lorish was out there today. I think I saw the blue arms (farmer john and blue long sleeve rash guard) backstroking along the buoy line. 

Rob had come down to the beach so he and I had a chance to do some catching up.  He is in escrow on a house and things seem to be going well for him in Homer, AK.

Duke, Niel, Jodi et al in the water at 11 tomorrow.