Thursday, June 30, 2022

Thursday, June 30th, 2022


I arrived at Avila at 8:30 this morning. There was fog and overcast skies but decent visibility  for swimming. The air temperature was 58° and the water 60°. The wind was starting to come up which would chase out the fog and put up some chop on the water.
I spoke to Jon Harmes (lifeguard) about the sharky signs and learned that a 5 foot white shark had been sighted over at the Cal Poly Pier late Tuesday so the signs would be up for another day and a half.
I saw Tom Lorish as he was getting in. Later we passed each other going opposite directions along the east buoy line.  
I had planned on doing a circle and kept with that plan. The water picked up more character as I approached the Cal Poly Pier but wasn't bad. 

I was more careful about how I put on my new Orca wetsuit this morning and didn't have the problems I had Tuesday. I had to make only one minor adjustment to the collar once I was in the water. It looks like a keeper. Only time will tell if my concerns about this wetsuits durability are a issue. The incredibly soft and stretchy material that makes this suit so comfortable may not be durable as I'd like in a $500 wetsuit. We'll see.

I'm going to swim early on Saturday, at 7, and have time afterwards to get to the SLO Farmers Market and load up on peaches, apricots and strawberries for the coming week. 


Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Tuesday, June 28th, 2022

 At 7AM the June Gloom had gone to full fog mode with limited visibility. There didn't seem to be much chance of clearing so I decided to swim to the east end of the buoy line and see what the view was like from there.  If I could see the end of the pier I'd head for there and do some triangles. If the end of the pier wasn't visible, I could do laps along the buoy line.   

The air temperature was 55° and the water was 61° and with no sun it would swim more like 59°.

Between the end of the pier and the last buoy at the mouth of the creek.

Yes, that is a new wetsuit. I'm a cold temp wimp and after 100 swims my Patagonia R3 has gotten leaky and is now not much warmer than my Xterra tri suit and neither is as comfortable as I'd like, so that is an Orca RS1 Thermal Openwater.
After one swim my impression is: I like the day-glow graphics. They should be very visible. This suit is not (yet, keep reading) as warm as the R3 so I may need another R3 for sub 55 water. The suit is very lightweight, extremely comfortable and great to swim in but I had trouble with the collar. It has an inner collar to help seal the neck area (like the R3) but every time I raised my head to take a sighting my shoulders were flooded with cold water. Perhaps I had gotten something wrong putting it on because that can't be right. We'll see on Thursday. I also bought Orca's 1.4mm long sleeve 't-shirt' to extend the temperature range of the suit  You can wear the t-shirt by itself or inside the wetsuit in cold conditions. Once I understand what is going on with the collar I'll try out the t-shirt and make sure it is comfortable. If the collar doesn't leak and the t-shirt adds enough warmth to my arms this suit could work into the lower 50's.

I'll be getting in at 9 on Thursday.


Sunday, June 26, 2022

Sunday, June 26th, 2022

When I arrived at Avila Beach at 10:15 the overcast/fog was just starting to clear, there was plenty of parking and there weren't many people on the beach. There wasn't any wind and it was a cool feeling 58° with a water temperature of 60°  

I saw Tom swimming when I was on the pier getting the water temp and caught up with him as he was getting out of the water.  
Pat, David and I swam back and forth between the Avila and CP Piers looking for 3 to 4000K.

The wind got up while we were swimming and while it never looked too rough there was a lot of push out of the SSW. 

David, Pat and Niel

Having it sunny and with 60° water made it very comfortable and easy to relax.

By the time I left at 1:15 the beach was as crowded as I have ever seen it complemented by a busload of Poly students. The lot was full and parked cars had streets down to one lane in places. 
I'll swim on Tuesday morning at 7.


Saturday, June 25, 2022

Saturday, July 25th, 2022

 At 8AM Avila was gray from the near horizon to up over your head. It was calm and 55° with  small surf and a water temperature of 59°.  

Niel and Tiki were joined by Don Margolis, a member of the South End Rowing Club who was in town for a wedding and looking for a chance to get in the water.  Don swims bareback.
We decided to do triangles so people could easily do the distance they wanted. Don got our after one lap, he might of stayed in longer if we could have provided hot showers and a hot tub like they do at their clubhouse at the Aquatic Park in San Francisco. Tiki did one and a half laps, coming in from the end of the Avila Pier and I completed the second lap.      


I shot a short video of us at the end of the buoy line. In the opening still shot that is me in the front, Don on the left and Tiki on the right.

I spoke with Tom at the end of the Avila Pier. He is back from a international Masters water polo tournament in Spain where his team won the bronze medal.
Awesome and Studly!

I'll be back tomorrow for more of that 59° water. Swimming at 11.


Thursday, June 23, 2022

Thursday, June 23rd, 2022


There was full June gloom in Avila Beach this morning; grey cloud/fog, no sun, no wind, flat water with a 57° air temp and a 57° water temp.  I got in just after 7.
I did a out and back lap down the west buoys, over to the CP Pier, out ot the end and back the way I had come.  The water temperature was very even except for the east side of the Avila Pier where it was several degrees colder. 
A bit too much of a wide angle view from near the kelp beds on my way back to the Avila Pier.
The wind did not come up and it was really flat out there. 

I spoke to Tiki while I was at the showers.  She is working with Jr. Guards and was on her way to get them started.

I'll swim at 8 on Saturday morning. Don, a S.F. Dolphin swimmer, will be joining us for a swim before attending a wedding later. Glad we can get him all stretched out and relaxed before the event.


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Tuesday, June 21st, 2022


At 7AM Avila Beach was 56°, calm and felt like it was going to get warm. The water was 57°, and flat with nice swimming conditions. The waves were small and the water's surface was almost flat.     

A couple of triangles around the buoys and the end of the pier got me my 2 miles and one hour.   

The swimming has been really nice at 7, just that much more ahead of the wind. 
John Lindsey had a nice article in the Tribune this morning about how windy it has been this spring. He checked the records at Diablo and there have been more wind gusts over 40 MPH this spring than at any time since record keeping began at the power plant in 1976. That fits with my experience, especially how bad my hay fever has been this year.

I'll be back Thursday at 7 for another go.


Saturday, June 18, 2022

Saturday, June 18th, 2022


It had been almost a week since I had been in the water so I was looking forward to getting in this morning.  It was 58° at Avila at 8:30 and the water was back down to 55°, so I guess that the recent cool weather was responsible for the water dropping back to the mid-fifties. Bummer...
I ping ponged between the two piers. It was pretty flat when I got in but the wind came up around 9:30 and was guesting really well when I got out.

I've got family from out of town coming by tomorrow so I won't swim until Tuesday at 7.


Sunday, June 12, 2022

Sunday, June 12th, 2022

 1 + 1 = 0

That's how things started out for me today. I was going to bring both of my wetsuits and decide if it was nice enough to wear my tri suit. When I was 1/2 mile from turning off 101 at San Luis Bay Drive I realized that I had zero wetsuits in the car, so planning on bringing two wetsuits equaled zero. I returned home and got my tri suit and got to the beach in enough time.
Hillary and David were there so we'd have a nice group. The air temperature was 62° and thanks to a warm couple of days the water temperature was up to 61.5°. There was enough fog to make the end of the pier hazy so we decided to not go over to the Cal Poly Pier, which we couldn't see from Avila, and to do two big circles around the buoys and the end of the Avila Pier. We swam out and started clockwise. When we reached the fourth buoy near the creek on the west side a SE wind was starting to pick up and blow off the fog. When we reached #4 on the opposite end it had gotten sunny and really bumpy. On the second swim to the end of the Avila Pier it was tough to find a rhythm that would work with the combination of chop and swell. When we grouped up at the end of the pier Hillary spotted a mylar balloon being blown along the chop towards the beach. We decided to chase it down but it was moving as fast as the wind and we wouldn't have caught it if El Speedy David had not been with us. Feeling virtuous powered us back to the end of the pier.  The cross chop swim to the #4 buoy was not as difficult but more messy than swimming into the chop on the way to the pier.  
I was definitly ready to sit down and have lunch when we got out.  

Hillary, David and Niel at #4 buoy on the east for the first time

Plastic ocean trash collected.

I'll not be swimming on Tuesday but probably Thursday.  I'll know for sure about Thursday on Wednesday. 


Saturday, June 11, 2022

Saturday, June 11th, 2022

This was the only sunshine and blue sky I saw at Avila this morning. At 8 o'clock there was a bank of clouds/fog offshore with clouds and sunshine at Avila Beach. As the day warmed up the fog moved onshore. By 10:30 Avila was like the inside of a grey sock. 

The air temperature was 55° and the water 59°. Hello summer. There was a combo swell out of the SW with enough lift to it to make it real ocean swimming.  The sharky signs were up. A guard told me that a 5 to 6 foot white shark was seen near the end of the Cal Poly Pier on Thursday and that today was the last day for the warning. 

I wasn't feeling too adventurous this morning so a couple of big triangles were on the menu.

I was by myself. Tiki graduated from SLO High yesterday and her appearance was not expected.

Unfortunately, Jodi needs an MRI on her shoulder to determine why it is so painful.  Keep her in you thoughts.

I'll swim tomorrow at 11.


Thursday, June 9, 2022

Thursday, June 9th, 2022


This morning began with a beautiful day in Avila Beach. It was sunny and 54° and I could feel that it was going to warm up nicely. There was a light wind, the water was 59° and glassy with areas of ripples from the breeze.
I was looking for something different this morning. I don't know if I have swum this route before. I didn't check but it seemed likely to be longer than my usual swim but I figured that once I got back to the end of the CP Pier it would be all downhill from there so why not?     
The distance was 154M short of 3 miles. The swimming was really nice today with warm water  and a slight swell out of the SW, just enough to make the conditions different on each leg. You can't even see the swell in my photos but the leg from the end of the Avila Pier to the CP Pier had some pushback to it. About half way along some tight spots in my back finally let go so I felt better and swam stronger to the finish!  

I will be back to swim on Saturday at 8.


I recently emailed Theresa to see how she was doing and got this response:

Hi Neil,

Good to hear from you, I miss you all too! Im doing okay, life got pretty crazy for a few months and unfortunately I had to put swimming on the back burner for a bit. I’ve actually never been beached for this long in my life, but am hoping to jump back in soon!

 I currently just headed up to the Pacific Northwest to work on a project for the month (missing the central coast summer weather and the waves though haha). Puget sound is pretty cold, but some people here swim without wetsuits, so hoping to give that a try if I get some time off. Hope to get back to Avila for a swim soon!


Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

I swam a simple hour by myself this morning. There had been a lot of dense fog in the Los Osos Valley but it was clear and sunny at Avila Beach. At 7 it was 52° and the water was 55°. The water was 59° midday on Sunday but lately the water seems to be yo-yoing 3 to 4 degrees between Sunday and Tuesday morning as if it too is trying to decide if it is spring or summer.

There was no wind and the water was glassy and a bit lumpy because of groups of swells with a really short period.

I did not see Tom's car at 8:45 so he must not have been swimming. He is leaving Thursday for a old guys water polo tournament in Spain.

I'll swim Thursday morning at 7.


Sunday, June 5, 2022

Sunday, June 5th, 2022

 At 10:30 it was still pretty quiet at Avila, the crowds don't show up until between noon and one. It was 75° and breezy but not blowing yet. 

Conditions looked really nice when I was taking the water temperature from the pier, which was 59°!

David and I got in at 11. We planned on starting left and doing a couple of triangles or more if that felt too short. The wind had come up and was blowing out of the SE. It was hard enough to make a pushy chop for us to swim into. 
Pat caught up with us when we arrived at the end of the Avila Pier. There was some miscommunication and Pat kept going when we arrived at the Avila Pier while David and I doubled back on our course. Between the last buoy on the west side and the end of the Avila Pier the wind moved into the NW, really started to blow and put a serious chop on the water. pat was swimming very uphill to us at the end of the pier so we got going and picked him up on our way to the reef buoy. It was fun swimming 'downhill' to the reef buoy but not the same kind of fun as swimming back to the Avila Pier. 

Here was to be my first Dolphins showing the conditions at the last buoy on the left of the pier, but due to technical difficulties I have not figured out why will let me upload this video but it will not 'be available', so the best I can do is a snip from the video.  😒 

I'll be back Tuesday morning at 7, well before the wind and the crowds show up.


Saturday, June 4, 2022

A Half Full Yo-Yo
At 7:30 Avila wa looking nice, 56°, sunny, no wind yet, the ocean still pretty glassy and 55°. There were some nice long period swells and the surf was two foot.
I asked Tom to come up with a name for our new course that is made up of legs back and forth between a buoy and the end of the Avila Pier, now to be called the Yo-Yo Swim, with east and west legs of 4 buoys and a Full Yo-Yo hitting all 8 buoys. Tiki and I have done halfs. No one has done a full Yo-Yo yet. The full route would be about 7500 to 8000M. 

Tiki, Jodi and Niel got in at 8 AM. Jodi had proposed a Half Full Yo-Yo by swimming out to the end of the Avila Pier, then back and forth to the second and fourth buoys on each side of the pier and not swimming along the buoy line.


Niel, Tiki and Jodi

With fins

I didn't see Tom Ibut I expect that he was out there.

I'm swimming tomorrow at 11.



Thursday, June 2, 2022

Thursday, June 2ed, 2022

Tom and I had another round of nice morning swims this morning. I got in at 7 and Tom at 9. The water was still 56° but with the high thin clouds and weak sun it swam a bit colder. The air temperature was 52°. There was a pushy, small swell or chop out of the SE.  

I did the western half of a swim Tiki and I did on 5/23; out to the end of the pier, back to the first buoy, along the buoy line to the second buoy then out and back to the end of the pier again, repeat for buoys #3 & 4. Either I was drunk swimming or Garmin had a lot more trouble tracking my swim on the west side of the pier than it did on the east side.
I thought the west side would be shorter but the two routes were actually close. I did an extra length of the pier today to 'make up' for the shorter route and came out longer.

Doing both sides would be about 8000M. That could be a official Dolphin Route if Tom thinks up a good name for it.

Tom came through and this will be the Yo-Yo Route. The route is made up of Yo-Yo East and Yo -Yo West with the Full Yo-Yo being 8000M.
Whoever completes the first full Yo-Yo will receive a commemorative t-shirt. 

I'll be back Saturday at 7 unless Jodi and Tiki want to do or 8.