Thursday, December 30, 2021

Thursday, December 30th, 2021

 Avila Beach was sunny and 45° at 8 o'clock. There was a light offshore breeze that wound up developing some legs as the morning progressed. The water temperature was 54°. I took a chance on the water quality so soon after a rain and hedged my betts by staying away from the mouth of SLO Creek at the west end of the beach.  I got in about 8:15.

The plot tells the story. Heading to the CP Pier the water wasn't flat but I had an pretty easy time of it.  Once I turned around I was swimming at about 45° to a head high chop. The chop was slapping my head and catching my hands and just messing with me. Things got tougher halfway to the Avila Pier and then laid down after I rounded the pier and got closer to shore.

A nice welcome back to the ocean.

I didn't see Tom but he said that he was running late and would be swimming.

No rain is predicted for the next week so I'll be back at 8 on Saturday and 11 on Sunday.

Saturday is New Year's Day so we should bring snacks for afterwards.


Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Tuesday, December 28th, 2021

At 7:30 I measured an air temperature of 40° and a water temperature of 54.5°. The County didn't take any water samples on Monday because it rained. When it rains they suspend water testing and declares that it is dirty for the next 72 hours. The clock starts over if it rains again. The water looked clean enough but you can't go by visual clues so I decided to sit out.  Tom was going to swim at 9:30. Duke is beached with a tweaked neck.

There will be more rain from tonight through Wednesday so I'll decide about Thursday morning based on how much it rains between now and then.


Friday, December 24, 2021

Thursday, December 23rd, 2021

 A Thursday swim report from Leslie;

I had a great swim on the sidewalk of Avila today!!!  It’s wild here 

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Tuesday, December 21st, 2021

I swam at 8 this morning and Tom got in at 9.  The air temperature at 7:30 was 36° and I measured a water temperature of 54°. The surf was 2 to 3 foot with occasional 4+ foot sets. 
The wind was offshore and had pushed up a chop that was heading south. The dominant swells were coming from the SW.  The technical term for these surface conditions  would be 'messy'. I swam out and parallel to the beach until I was opposite the reef buoy, hooked out and around it and went directly to the end of the Cal Poly Pier, reversed course and followed my bubbles back the way I had come. 
Tom swam to the end of the CP Pier, in to the second crossbeam and then stopped texting.   
A couple of shots taken at the end of the Cal Poly Pier.  

I won't swim again until next Tuesday. I anointed Jodi as Beachmaster while I'm away. 
I will be raining the rest of this week so the bacteria count may be up. The County will post the results of their samples from Monday on Wednesday. You can see the results for AB 8 (the beach to the right of the pier) and AB 10 (the mouth of San Luis Obispo Creek) at

With most of my volunteers out of town this week the Blue Water Task Force is not scheduled to collect samples on Thursday. Our weekly water sampling results are at

Have a great holiday and travel safely.



Sunday, December 19, 2021

Sunday, December 19th, 2021

 Jodi's Birthday Swim

Monday is Jodi's birthday so she surprised us with a present of helium balloons for the swim. They were all set up to be hooked to the leash on our wetsuits. This was great!
It was sunny, calm and 50° with nice clean 54.5° water. Jodi's plan for our swim was to swim out to the end of the Avila Pier, then to the former location of the last buoy on the left side, out to the end of Fossil Point, back to the end of the Avila Pier and in to the beach. 
We made quite a site getting in.

Jodi, Leslie, Duke and Niel
Pat is out of the frame to the left.

Duke, Jodi, Leslie and Pat at the phantom 'last buoy'.

After not much breakfast and a morning bike rider Duke bonked on the leg from Fossil Point to the Avila Pier. I caught him up and we swam together in to the beach. After getting dry, changed and having something to eat he felt much better.

Tom, Heidi and Maria swam earlier in the morning. 

Duke and I will swim Tuesday morning at 8, then my next Avila swim will be the following Tuesday the 28th. Saturday, New Year's Day there will be some kind of a special swim, probably with a pot luck afterwards.


Saturday, December 18, 2021

Saturday, December 18th, 2021

 We were dodging bugs this morning. SLO Creek tested really high for bacteria on Thursday so we are staying away from the mouth of the creek and the west side of the Avila Pier, hoping that some distance and dilution equals safety. It was clear and cold at Avila Beach this morning, 34° at 7:30. There was an offshore wind and a swell from the SE. The waves were 3+ foot. Jodi, Leslie, Jacki, Theresa, Stephanie and Niel swam at 8 and Tom at 9. Jacki swam parallel to the beach just beyond the waves and had her best swim yet. The group swam down to Fossil Point, to the end of the Avila Pier, back to about where the last buoy is in the summer and back to the pier.  The water temperature was 54.5°. Jodi said that with the water being 20° warmer than the air, swimming would be great.  We did have a great swim but the cold air made the water feel like the low 50's to me. My new wetsuit is great, I was dry and comfortable but my face and feet were cold and didn't warm up unit I was home in my civies.  

Theresa, Niel Leslie and Jodi


On our way from the end of Avial Pier to the last buoy Stephanie spotted a large pod of dolphins swimming in the opposite direction about 40M away. I was able to get one photo but the dolphin was in the glare and is hard to see.

I'll be back for more at 11 tomorrow. Duke, Theresa and Jodi will be there.


This from Leslie:

HI, thanks for a great swim today!!  The dolphins had more dolphins out there to play with

Can you please add this to the blog if you dont mind?

I am signed up for Maui Channel Swim 2022 currently as an available swimmer for any team looking to complete theirs.  It would be really fun if anyone wanted to join me or possibly a team of our own? please oh please oh please... We only need 6 swimmers, first leg is 30 minutes then it goes in 10 minute segments until 9 miles is done.  

At this point IDK if they'll be able to have it but I emailed the race director and they're hopeful.

So if anyone can stand the thought of a trip to Maui in September of 2022....Id love any and all dolphins with me.


I took a team of Dolphins to Maui for this race in 2008. Thanks to an excellent boat captain we finished third in the most senior flight. Organization and good navigation are critical to a successful crossing.  The swim is great fun, 9.3 miles in the open ocean in warm water, and attracts teams from the west coast, Australia and New Zealand.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Thursday, December 16th, 2021

 Swim Text From Tom:

It was a wild rowdy Swim! There were a good-sized swell/chop/windblown Waves knocking me around pretty good. The swim out to the end of The A(vila) P(ier) was nuts! All in all it was a good swim. Glad I did it. It was hearty, and a little bit foolish.😀🏊🌊.

If today's bacteria numbers are not crazy/dangerious I will swim on Saturday at 8.


Sunday, December 12, 2021

Sunday, December 12th, 2021

 Avila Beach in the 'winter' could be the best time to be here with beautiful sunny weather, mild temperatures and no crowds.  

At 10 AM the air temperature was 50°. It was sunny with a light breeze. The water was pretty flat which would change with the weather as the predicted rainstorm began making its arrival known. I measure a 55° water temperature but it felt a good degree plus colder.
Niel, Tom, Jodi, Jacki, David, Leslie and Pat swam. tom got in at 9:30 and did his own swim. Jacki is getting more comfortable in the water. She swam out past the surf line and swam parallel to the beach util she was ready to get out. The group swam out along the Avila Pier to about where the swim buoys were and decided to do yesterdays course in the opposite direction. 
Yesterday there was an offshore wind and chop that was bigger the farther you were from the shore. Today there was no wind but high clouds were moving in with the front of the storm and multiple swells out of the SW were building up and making the swimming chalgening. The first leg to the end of the Cal Poly Pier was into the a chop/swell that became more powerful the farther out we swam. It got me wondering how pushy it was going to get by the time I reached the end of the CP Pier. The leg along the CP Pier had the push behind us but it was messy swimming. The leg back to the end of the Avila Pier was across the waves and chop and it took some experimenting with the timing of my stroke and breathing to find a happy place where I could relax and swim. Thanks to Jodi for suggesting this swim. We all got beat up and had fun. 

Niel in front with Pat, David, Leslie and Jodi at the end of the CP Pier.

With heavy rain predicted from Sunday night through Tuesday morning, getting in the water Tuesday morning for our usual swim is a bad idea. The first heavy rains push all manner of filth that has built up over the last 8 months off of the roofs, streets, ground and storm sewers into the creeks and the water near the mouth of SLO Creek in Avila Beach will probably be high in bacteria. Maybe Thursday, but there is currently a chance of rain Wednesday into Thursday morning so we'll have to see. Right now next weekend looks pretty good.


Saturday, December 11, 2021

Saturday, December 11th, 2021

This morning Niel, Stephanie, Jodi and Leslie got in at 8 and Tom got in at 9. Today was the debut of the Avila Dolphin Swim Caps! 

We have never had Avila Dolphins swim caps so I had the original 1990's artwork from the sweatshirts updated and TheSwim Outlet had these made by TYR. They look wonderful and their service was great.   

Leslie, Jodi and Stephanie not feeling the cold because 
they are looking good in their new Dolphin gear.

The water was 55° and nice and clear. Wednesday nights storm had flushed the lingering red tide out of San Luis Bay. It was sunny and clear but the air temp was 34° at 7:45 when we were getting ready. My feet got cold before I got in and didn't warm up until I was at home and in the shower. 
We swam a new route, for me; to the end of the Avila Pier, to the second crossbars, to the end of the CP Pier and directly back to the beach at the Yacht Club. There was offshore chop seaward of the end of the Avila Pier which I didn't notice until we headed in towards the beach. The first half of the last leg was work but the chop laid down when we came even with the ocean end of the Avila Pier making the last 500M easier swimming.  
Jodi and I were breaking in new wetsuits today and we picked a good day to be comfortable in the water.  Jodi has a fleece lined Aspire that she is very happy with. I have a new version of the same Patagonia R3 that I have been wearing for several years. The old one has about 150 swims in it and it is tired and leaky. The new one lets in very little water and will be my best friend this winter.   

Stephanie, Niel, Jodi and Leslie at the end of the Cal Poly Pier. 

I'll swim tomorrow at 11and hope to have company. I think Duke is out of town.


Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Tuesday, December 7th, 2021


Hey, it is 7:30 AM and the sunrise over Avila Beach is almost the color of the water!
Yes, the red tide is still parked in Avila. Today the place to swim was the area between the Avila and Cal Poly Piers. Unfortunately, you need to swim everywhere to figure out where the cleanest spot is. 
My Blue Water Task Force crew reported that Pismo and Shell Beach had some red tide but nothing like we are having in Avila. The beaches that are more open to the ocean seem to be better flushed. I'm hoping that Thursday's storm will stir up San Luis Bay and move this crud outta here.
The air was 51° and the water 57° with small surf, no wind and nice swimming conditions except for the color and taste of the water. Duke and I decided to do my two triangles route and were prepared to change routes or to bail if the water conditions got too yucky. With no sunshine it was really hard to tell from shore if the water was clean or not.  

We swam out along the Avila Pier and met up at the end, agreed that the water was not good but not bad enough to make us cancel, so we swam the triangle on the east side of the pier.
The water was nice and clean for just the east half of the swim along the beach. The rest of the time it was not good. The triangle on the west side was much cleaner with only the water near the pier being dirty but even then cleaner than the east side. 

Duke and Niel at the end of the Avila Pier.

After we got out we saw Tom doing backstroke on the east side of the pier. I don't know where the rest of his swim was. 

Duke will swim at 8 on Thursday. Leslie, David and I will be there about 8:30. I'm coming even if it is raining.



Sunday, December 5, 2021

Sunday, December 5th, 2021

At 10:30 it was 70° degrees at Avila Beach. The water was 57° and kind'a red, but not as thick as yesterday. The was a steady offshore breeze and two foot surf. On the beach were Chad, Brittany and son Avery, Duke, Niel, David (Alex was riding her bike to Avila from Los Osos and would join us after the swim), Jodi, and Stephanie. 

Tom was out there somewhere doing his own thing. Maria and Heidi had been in earlier. 

We decided to swim out and left parallel to the beach until we were off of Fossil Point and were prepared to change routes if the red crud became objectionable. The wind and chop was a bit of a push on the way to the point. We decided to swim to the end of the Avila Pier which was across the chop. The chop was just the right size to make things interesting but not annoying. The last leg in along the pier was directly into the chop and was a good place to push the finish. 

Swimming were Duke, Brittany (bareback), Niel, David, Jodi and Stephanie.

Duke and Brittany

Stephanie, Brittany, Duke and Niel

Brittany, Duke, Jodi, David and Niel at Fossil Point.

Duke and I will swim on Tuesday morning at 8. I'm ready for the water to clear up.


Saturday, December 4, 2021

Saturday, December 4th, 2021

 Avila was grey, cool and cloudy but there was no fog so visibility was unimpeded. The air temperature was 51° and the water was 57°. The surf was 2 foot with an occasional 3 footer.

We were getting in a hour before the high King Tide this morning.  The extra high tides had pulled a lot of water out of the SLO Creek Estuary, where the water is really polluted with bird and fish poop, so the water between the Cal Poly and Avila Piers was yucky brown and stinky. 

Swimming today were Niel, Leslie, Jacky and her son Elijah.
Jacky joined us for the first time last Sunday and is swimming short but having a lot of fun. Jacky talked Elijah into joining her today. He swam in college but has been inactive for a while and had never been in the ocean, but he was game to try. 

Leslie and I hung with Jacky and Elijah and swam back and forth parallel to the beach until they were ready to get out. The we went to the end of the Avila Pier and started for the Cal Poly Pier but the water quality made us turn towards where the last buoy is. That was still bad so we bailed and headed for the beach. If we had known we would have stayed on the east side of the Avila Pier.

Elijah, Jacky, Leslie and Niel 

We saw Tom out here doing what we had done, heading for the CP Pier, bailing and turning towards the beach and then reversing course and coming back to the east side of the pier.

Duke and I will swim at 11 tomorrow and probably stay on the east side of the Avila Pier.


Thursday, December 2, 2021

Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

It was 47° and foggy/dense overcast at Avila this morning. David, Leslie and I got in at about 8:30. The fog was pretty dense out on the highway but the visibility was good at the beach, so we did a lap of the  Cal Poly Pier. The water temp. felt like 54° and the water was really dirty neat the Cal Poly and Avila Piers. It looked like red tide but it is the wrong time of the year..... 

I saw Tom's car but not Tom. He must have been swimming too fast to be seen.

Leslie, Tom and Niel at the end of the CP Pier.

I'll be back at 8 on Saturday, getting in almost at the peak of the 7+ foot king tide, so there will be a lot of extra water to swim in..