Sunday, July 31, 2022

Sunday, July 31st, 2022

 If You Weren't There Today You Should Come Soon -  

We may not have a better swimming day this summer. I hope that I'm wrong but today it was 75° to 80° at Avila Beach, the water was 62° with 1 to 2 foot surf and great visibility.  I do not know where our usual brown red summer murk with 2 foot visibility is but this is nice.  There was a 1+ foot short (4 seconds) period swell out of the SW and no wind. Add in some fun clouds to look at and too keep it from getting too hot and conditions were just about perfect.  
Hillary was back from meetings in Germany and floating in Swiss rivers so she joined me. She said that it was incredibly hot in Europe with little A/C outside of commercial buildings.
We started out to do a couple of big triangles but the first time at the end of the Avila Pier we decided to swim over to the Cal Poly Pier, out to the end of the pier and back to the Avila Pier.   
The short period swell swam more like wind chop and put up a lot of resistance when swimming any direction between south and west. 

Out at the end of the Cal Poly Pier with Avila Beach in the background. 

Sorry, I forgot Tom, again. Tom swam early and probably went over to the CPP.

I'll swim on Tuesday morning at 7AM.


Saturday, July 30, 2022

Saturday, July 30th, 2022

Tom and I both did Tom's Yo-Yo today. I got in at about a quarter to 8 and Tom at 9:15. I saw him slamming along near the third buoy on the left (east) side of the pier when I was getting in my car. He looked like he was having one of those days when it feels good to go hard. 
I also spoke to Jim, on the right side of the buoy line. His family has a vacation home here, he was or still is a member of the Dolphin Club in San Francisco and is getting back into ocean swimming. I hope to see more of him.
The air temperature was 56° and happily the water temp was up to 15.5°C/60°F.  It was calm, flat and glassy and the water had cleared up nicely.
Tom's Yo-Yo is swum by starting at the and of the Avila Pier and swimming to and back from the third and forth buoys on each side of the pier. 
Maybe Tom will figure out how to add Walking The Dog or Around The World to this route. 
Done with my swim and ready to head in along the pier.

I'll swim tomorrow at 11.


Thursday, July 28, 2022

Thursday, July 28th, 2022

I got out of my early meeting, came to the beach and got in at about 8:30. The same conditions,  58°, calm, flat, small surf and gray but the water was down to 13°C / 55.4°F.  Grumpy, but I must remember those January days when I was dreaming of the water warming up to 55°.
I swam out and back to each buoy on the east side, which was a longer distance than I'd remembered.   
Getting in later and on this route I saw Tom three times.

I'm going to swim at 8 on Saturday and at 11 on Sunday.



Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Tuesday, July 26th, 2022

I had a beautiful early morning swim. It was gray and felt cool but the air was 58°, the water 14°C/57°F and the surf 2 to 3 foot. There was no wind yet. 

I did a loop out to and along the Poly Pier and back to the east end of the buoy line.       

It was about as glassy as it gets this morning. 

Tom swam at 9.

Avila Dolphins Labor Day Reunion Swim -  

       On Monday, September 5th, Labor Day, a 11 o'clock swim and pot luck lunch afterward. Come see some familiar faces.

I've a early meeting on Thursday so I'll swim at 9 that day, then at 7 on Saturday  and 11 on Sunday.


Sunday, July 24, 2022

Sunday, July 24th, 2022

I arrived about 10:15 and there was Tom wading out after swimming over to the Cal Poly Pier. 
He said the water felt colder than yesterday but the swimming was smooth and beautiful.
I measured 13.5°C/56°F  during my swim. 
The air temperature was 59° and there was no wind.  Yet.  

Swimming today were Niel, Justin and Homer. Justin swam with us for his first time a few weeks ago. Hi is training for the Alcatraz biathlon.  This was Homer's first swim at Avila. He has done some swimming in Carpentaria but is living here now and has signed up for the the Alcatraz Swim later this summer.   
We started out swimming back and forth along the buoy line to get Homer alcamated and comfortable. After a lap and a half, about 1.2 miles, together, Homer swam two more buoys to make his 1.5 miles while Justin and I swam to the end of the Avila Pier, over to the CC Pier and back to and along the buoys to our starting point.     
Justin, Niel and Homer at the #4 buoy on the east side of the pier.
You can see that at this point that the wind had come up and it was clearing, so we got some nice sun but things got bumpy. The wind chop began breaking so the loop Justin and I did got physical.  
 I'll swim at 7 AM on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and at 11 next Sunday. 


Report from John Hampsey on his swim at 4.

Sunday July 24th, The 4pm Report:
--per usual-- Group B met at 4pm at the lifeguard stand. However, Amy and Thom and Jonny could not make it, so I swam alone. Ocean scene very precarious-- there were two swirling bait balls--one by the end of the pier, and one off Fossil Point; water was choppy and 57 degrees, and very clean. Lifeguards said a bit sea lion had come ashore earlier in the day and been taken away by marine rescue. They recommended strongly that I stay between the surf-line and the buoy line. So I went in the sea by the pier, stayed close to shore, and swam to Fossil Point and back, stopping periodically to check on the moving spectacle of the bait balls. Had a partial vision, but it was ineffable.
best wishes to all--
--John Hampsey

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Saturday, July 23rd, 2022

I got in at about 6:45. It was 53°and gray with some brightness in the east but no shadows. The water was 15°C/59°F. There were small mixed swells out of the west to south. 
I felt like doing something simple and did a Long Triangle clockwise and then counterclockwise.  Pushing the ends of the triangles out past the ends of the buoy lines a bit makes the Long Route more like 4K instead of 2 miles.   

At the end of the Avila Pier 3/4's of the way into my swim and that thin spot in the clouds past Fossil Point would be the most sun I'd see.

Jodi had done a morning run at the Johnson Ranch and stopped by for a visit. It was good to get caught up. She is still working on completing the rehab of her shoulder with no fixed date for being back in the water.  Duke has a pre-op appointment at UCLA next week for the surgery on his back.    
Spoke with Tom before he got in.

I'll swim tomorrow at 11.
I hope that it is sunny!


Thursday, July 21, 2022

Thursday, July 21st, 2021


At 7AM Avila was as gray as a July morning at the beach. The air temperature was 55° and I measured a water temp of about 58°. Previously, when I went out on the pier to measure the water temperature I used a 300mm thermometer with one degree gradations. The distance along the scale between 50F and 60F degrees is about an inch. Now that the pier is closed I'm measuring the water temp while swimming. I clip my 6" thermometer to my belt along with the camera and take a reading out in the water at some point. It has two degree gradations and the distance between 10C (50F) and 15C (59F) is about a three eighths of an inch. To read it clearly I could use some swim goggles with a magnifier, so I could say today was 'just below 15'. 
Tom's toes said 60°.  

It was clam and flat, the surf was 2 to 4+ foot. The south swell we had earlier in the week must be tapering off because the biggest waves didn't have any power in them.  There was no foam, red tide or funny taste today so the sea took away what it had brought earlier in the week. The creek mouth had tested high for bacteria on Monday and the warm ocean water has caused the kelp to start breaking up (Wednesday the beach was buried in kelp) so either of those may have contributed to the poor water conditions.

Jeff Reid - If you are following the blog please post an email reply so I'll have your address and we can plan a Three Martini swim during your next visit.

I'll be back Saturday morning at 7 and Sunday at 11.



Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Tuesday, July 19th, 2022


After two days of driving and one day of crawling under my in-laws house and some other fun stuff I was ready to get in the water and stretch out my back.
But first the Port San Luis Harbor District has begun the long delayed renovation project for the Avila Pier. The project is expected to require up to two years and I will not be able to get a pre swim water temperature until I can get back on the pier, so my water temps will be taken during the swim with a small thermometer. 

Hey Peter, with that fence up how are you and the other members going to get to the yacht club? 

The air temperature was 55°, sunny and the water felt like it varied from the low 60's to the high 50's. The wind was out of the south and there was an occasional 5' set but the surf was mostly 2 - 3 foot.    

Looking back along the Cal Poly Pier with one of the 5' swells filling up the horizon.  

And the CPP with the Avila Pier in the background.

Beyond the surfline the water was flat and glassy and I had my nice swim, except the water quality was bad in some places. There were areas of red tide, mostly on the west side of the CPP and big patches of foam on the water. These were well beyond the surfline, one was near the CPP. The bubbles were dense and thick, as if there was detergent in the water, and it tasted metallic.  😝

I hope it is cleaned up on Thursday when I'll swim at 7.


Thursday, July 14, 2022

Thursday, July 14th, 2022

The 'Y'

Tom and I bagged a new route this morning that I'm calling The Y.  The route is to the end of the Avila Pier, over to and around Avila Rock, back to the Avila Pier, then over to the end of the Cal Poly Pier, back to the Avila Pier and in. Not quite 4,800M but we'll call it a 3 mile swim.  You could find another 300M and make this a 5K swim. 
Tom started about 15 minutes after I did and finished before me. He caught me at the Avila Rock and then we passed each other near the end of the CPP, he on his way back and me on my way out.
It was overcast and spitting at 9 but the visibility was good.  The air temperature was 60° and the water was 59.5°.  The waves were a bit larger than on Tuesday and the wind was just starting to come up.  It felt pretty flat on the way to the Avila Rock, was getting bumpy on the way back to Avila and was quite pushy towards my left shoulder but not choppy going over to the CPP. I had to correct my course three times. The swim back to Avila was nice and 'downhill'.    
Niel, Tom and the Avila Rock

The Avila Rock without us. 

I had to document getting to the end of the Cal Poly Pier. 

I'll be traveling this weekend and won't be swimming on Saturday or Sunday. I'll be back in the water Tuesday morning.


Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Tuesday, July 12th, 2022

On Tuesday morning at 7AM there was a lot of flatness in Avila, flat still air, flat water and flat light because of the overcast, with and air temperature of 58° and a water temperature of 59.5° made was a nice opportunity to swim out to the Avila Rock.   
At one point on my way to the rock a lot of pelicans found what I was doing to be very interesting but I wasn't stirring up any food for them so they didn't keep with me for very long. 
After my swim on the way to my car I did see them on a bait ball out where they had been checking me out. 

At the rock with pelicans and the hills above Port San Luis in the background. 
I used my buoy (thank you Rhonda for the donation) for additional visibility on this swim as I wouldn't expect a fisherman to be keeping an eye out for a swimmer out here.  

Swinging around the north end of the rock.

I think Tom did the same swim at 9 today.

I'll be back on Thursday to swim at 9 with Tom.

I'll be out of town this weekend and won't be swimming on Saturday or Sunday.


Sunday, July 10, 2022

Sunday. July10th, 2020


Conditions were variable today. At 10:20 I took this photo from the pier of Tom getting out of his suit after his swim. 
And this is Justin, Niel and Jeff in the water less than an hour later.

Swimming conditions were ideal today. In the fog the air temperature was 59°. The water was 60° on the west (lee) side of the pier and 61° on the windward (east) side. I was just curious.
At 11 it was pretty flat but the wind started coming up as we were swimming and it was getting bumpy when we were getting out.
This was Justin's first ocean swim, in a brand new wetsuit. He had a great time and will be back on Sunday's. He is planning on doing the Escape from Alcatraz Tri. He knows Pat since they both serve at Vandenburg.

We got a nice heads up from the guard about a yacht race that was just beginning so we stayed close in.

It was a nice surprise to see Peter Kelley at the showers. He has been pool swimming for quite a while and today was his first time back in the ocean. 

This coming week I'll swim at 7 on Tuesday, 9 on Thursday and again at 7 on Saturday, if no one else is going to show up.
And always at 11 on Sunday.


Saturday, July 9, 2022

Saturday, July 9th, 2022

 On Saturday morning the swimming conditions at Avila Beach were great. The air was 57°, the water 59° and still very clear and it was flat and windless. It was foggy but at least at 7 AM the visibility was plenty good for a trip over to the end of the Cal Poly Pier. 

When I got to the end of the CP Pier and looked for the Avila Pier the fog had closed in and it was just a dark smudge along the water line. I headed that way and in 400M or so I could see the pier well enough to make a slight correction and head for the end.  

This was taken at the reef buoy, (its just at the edge of my cap). Things were pretty closed in but I found the end of the buoy line easily enough and finished up.

Tom got in a bit after 9 and swam around the Avila Rock, so the fog must have been lifting by then or he'd be in Pismo by now. 

We'll swim at 11 tomorrow.


Thursday, July 7, 2022

Thursday, July 7th, 2022

Calm, flat and glassy and the water was exceptionally clear. It doesn't get much smoother than this morning's swimming conditions.
The air and water temperatures were 58°, but Tom thought the water felt like 60°. It was gray with hints of clearing and almost unlimited visibility. 

This is looking east from the Cal Poly Pier towards Avila Beach and the pier.  

I did one big triangle, first heading all of the way east until I was off of the pointy part of Fossil Point, came back to the end of the Avila Pier, over to the second crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier and back to and along the west half of the buoy line to my starting place. 

At the pointy part of Fossil Point. 
There is a lot of kelp our here this year.

At the CP Pier.

I'll be back for more on Saturday morning at 7.


Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Tuesday, July 5th, 2022


Post holiday normalcy was returning to Avila Beach this morning. I had not seen Mr. Egret since last week but things were mellow enough this morning for the crab and clam breakfast buffet to be open.  It was warmer than it has been, still and glassy with a 62° air temp and the water at 58°. I thought that it swam more like 55° - 56°.  Tom says 57° so his toes are better calibrated than mine. 

My back or hips had felt out of whack so I decided to do a therapy swim, up and down the buoy line, staying relaxed and working on my form. I felt great when I got out.
I did a road test of my Orca neoprene t-shirt under my leaky Patagonia 3.5/4.5 surf suit. It certainly made things warmer and didn't chafe but a total of 5mm in the sleeves made rotating my shoulders an unwelcome amount of work. I'll have to save that combination for the next time the water hits the sub 50's.

I'll swim Thursday at 7.


Sunday, July 3, 2022

 Conditions at Avila Beach at 10:15 were still mellow and very nice with at 63° air temperature and a 60° water temperature. Finding a parking spot was still easy and the beach wasn't crowded. It would be very different by 2PM.  
There wasn't much wind on the beach and the water was still flat.

Earlier Tom Swam solo and texted that he had a very cool  encounter with about 5 dolphins near the end of the Avila Pier. 
The water looked very green when I was looking towards the sun. So far this summer the water has been pretty clear with no sign yet of red tide.   

Jeff Reed joined us today after a 3 year absence. He and his family live in New Zealand and have family in Paso so pre-COVID they would come every summer and Jeff would drop in with us. It was a nice surprise to see him today.  He'll be with us again next Sunday. Also swimming today were Pat and David.  I suggested that we swim from the end of the Avila Pier over to the end of the Cal Poly Pier, in to the second crossbars and back the way we came. It would be a nice distance and giv eus exposure to several different conditions. 
When we turned the corner of the Avila Pier and headed towards the CP Pier it was immediately apparent that the conditions were going to be different than I had expected. There was a vigorous head high chop and following swell out of the SW that we were going to be swimming across on our way to the Poly Pier. The down and back along the pier was also rough but unexpectedly easier on the leg back to the end of the pier. Back to the Avila Pier it was bumpy but following so I had to watch my breathing but didn't need to work as hard.     

Pat, David, Jeff and Niel at the Second Crossbars.

I'm planning on swimming Tuesday and Thursday at 7.


Saturday, July 2, 2022

I got in the water at 7 this morning, planning on doing my swim and then getting to the SLO Farmers Market in time. It is stone fruit season and I lost control in the face of all that great stuff and came home with white and yellow peaches, apricots, Santa Rosa plums and strawberries.
Before that, conditions at Avila were calm and flat with heavy low overcast and no horizon. The air temperature was 57° and the water was down to 56°. My swim was nice and easy with no chop or wind but the drop in the water temperature was very noticeable. My hands and feet stayed cold for the entire swim.  

Tom swam closer to 9AM so I was there too early to see him.   

Last weekend Don Margolis, a guest swimmer from the South End Rowing Club in San Francisco, needed a cap so I gave him an Avila Dolphins cap to wear. He returned the favor and sent me a very cool cap from his club.  Note the 'Since 1873' between the oars. I wonder if the Avila Dolphins will make it to 150 years.

Gear Report - When I recently purchased a Orca wetsuit I also got their '1.3mm long sleeved neoprene t-shirt'. It is intended to be worn either by itself or under a wetsuit for additional warmth.  I had planned to wear it with the wetsuit this morning to see how much warmth it added and if it chaffed. The colder water made it today a good day to try it out. My experience was entirely positive. I could feel the additional thickness but with only a small reduction in flexibility. It added a lot of warmth to my arms and chest and made this suit feel close in warmth to my 3.5/4.5 Patagonia wetsuit, but much more flexible. It didn't get chaffed and it didn't pull up when I put on the wetsuit over it.

I'll swim at 11 tomorrow.