Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Tuesday, August 30th, 2022


What a nice surprise, at 6:45 this morning Avila Beach was clear and calm with a nice sunrise over Fossil Point.

The air was 50° and the water varied from about 58° to 60° with lots of kelp to run into.  

This route was from the 4th buoy on the west to the 4th on the east via the end of the Avila Pier, then double back to the 4th buoy on the west. Swim to the 3rd buoy and repeat the route.

Tom sent me a text about his swim and I forgot to mention it.
He had a nice swim and also noted that there was a lot or organic matter in the water. 

I'll be back at 7 on Thursday, 7 on Saturday, 11 on Sunday and again at 11 on Labor Day for the Avila Dolphins Swim and Potluck. It is supposed to be hot at the beach through the holiday so the swimming should be grand.


Sunday, August 28, 2022

Sunday, August 28th, 2022

The Other Half

I swam the YoYo route on the east side of the Avila Pier yesterday. This morning Pat and I swam the same route on the west side of the pier. The route on the west side is about 200M shorter than that on the east.   
The conditions were much the same as yesterday with an air temperature of 56°, a water temp of 60° that felt a few degrees colder, gray skies, no wind, a flat ocean and increasing surf.    
Niel and Pat at the end of the Avila Pier.

Pat and I both felt the water was colder than the 15°C/60F my thermometer indicated so when I got home I checked the little one that I take out into the water with the big one I use when I can can check the water temp from the pier and they agreed to within a degree, so the gray skies were fooling messing with both of us.

The surf was 2 - 3 foot when we got in at 8 and had come up while we were swimming. Pat and I got surprised as we were coming in with both of us getting picked up on the crest of the same 4+ footer and almost going over the falls.

I'm going to chase the Garmin Watch Distance Mystery this week. I'll try and call,chat, text or email them to see what they have to say about this. Of the more than half a dozen Garmin watches worn by Avila swimmers none agree on the length of a days swim. Sometimes the variation is within a few percent, which given the conditions and that the watch is doing something to account for being under water and without a signal half of the time, is acceptable, but days like today are a mystery. Pat and I swam the same route, varying only by how straight our individual routes were, but at the end Pat's numerical distance in yards was several hundred less than mine was in meters. I've had the same experience between Jodi's and my distances when we swam together, she logs fewer yards then I do meters. Under Settings/System/Data Recording is an option for Smart or Every Second. I'm changing mine to Every Second to see if the plots look smoother.

I'll swim at 7 on Tuesday and Thursday. then Saturday at 7 and Sunday at 11 and Monday at 11.


Saturday, August 27, 2022

Saturday, August 27th, 2022

More great swimming conditions today; No sharky signs, an air temp. of 57°, the water is holding at 60° with gray overcast/fog, no wind and very flat seas.  I got in just before 8. 

The view at 9AM from the end of the Avial Pier.
Even with lane lines, a pool won't be much flatter than this. 
I decided to do a YoYo on the left side of the pier for 3,750M. For this version I "start" at the first buoy and swim to the end of the pier and back to the same buoy.
I'd then swam east along the buoy line to number 2 and repeat, then 3 & 4 and back along the buoys to the pier. The right side is pretty close to the same distance.  

Two Pale Kai boats were heading out when I was at the end of the Avila Pier for the last time.

For some reason I got cold today. I waited until the end of my swim to measure the water temp. because I was sure that the water would be 57°, maybe less.  I started shivering at the showers but warmed up quickly as soon as I got dressed.  This was strange for me at these temperatures.  
Pat and I and whoever wishes to join us will swim tomorrow morning at 8 instead of the usual 11.


Friday, August 26, 2022

Friday, August 26th, 2022

The Same As Usual Without Sharks - 

The sharky signs were down, the air was 56° and the water 14.5°C/58°F. It was overcast, foggy and still with flat and glassy water. There is a lot of loose kelp in the water. I did a couple of big triangles. No bait balls or big flocks of birds.  😎
Tom is in Irvine today for Water Polo Masters Nationals. 🏊

At the first buoy.

I'll sleep in an hour and swim at 8 instead of 7 tomorrow and than early on Sunday. Pat wants to go early and I think it will be just the two of us (Hillary is in Utah for a wedding) so we'll be getting in at 8 instead of 11. 


Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Wednesday, August 24th, 2022

Sharky Says Swim on Wednesday

I was at the top of the stairs and heading for the water yesterday when I saw the sharky sign was up. With no way to learn any of the details I bagged it and went home.  Tom swam and came out biteless.  

Duke and I were having coffee at Woodstone later in the morning and ran into Phil (Avila lifeguard) and learned the siting on Monday was a 10' white shark over near the Cal Poly Pier. The guards also have documented seals and sea lions with bite wounds and one with no tail.  

It is feeding time at the zoo. 
The shark signs were still up this morning but I jumped in and swam inside of the buoy line. Conditions were very fallish; 56°, very gray with a steady wind and chop out of the SE. The water temperature was still 15°C/60°F but with the wind and grey it felt colder starting out.  The wind is dying around sunrise so things are getting flatter during my swims.
I didn't hear from Tom today so maybe he's still out there..... 

The tiniest hint of a sunrise behind Pismo Beach.

I have a busy day tomorrow and Friday. I will swim either Thursday or Friday morning then Sat. at 7 and Sun. at 11 as usual.


Sunday, August 21, 2022

Sunday, August 21st, 2022

More weird weather in Avila Beach. Late in the morning there were high clouds that went all of the way down to the horizon that looked like they could be holding some rain. I looked wintery but at, 66°, if felt more tropical. The oddest part was that even at 11 AM there still wasn't any wind, leaving the ocean flat and glassy.
Swimming today were David, Hillary, Niel, Pat and Ted who lives in Las Vegas and joined us to continue his tri training while he is on the coast.  
We saw Tom at 10:30 as he was getting out, having done a version of the YoYo. 
We spoke with the lifeguard and there had not been any shark sightings in several days so we decided to go over to the CPP and back by an alternate route. The water temperature was all warmer and colder spots and was always about to change. I measured 15°C/60°F but the range felt like 58° to 61°. 

Niel, David, Pat, Ted, Ducky (who thought the water temp was 61°), 
the party boat and Hillary at the 4th buoy on the left side.
Pretty darn flat for mid day.

The crew of the party boat got some nice shots of us swimming:

Pat, David and Hillary on the way to the end of the Avila Pier

Pat, David, Hillary, Ted and DUCKY at the end of the Avila Pier.

Hillary, Pat, Niel, Ted and David at the end of the CP Pier.

At 12:30 the clouds were thinning but a cool looking wall of fog was spilling over the hills to the west into Port San Luis so the west facing beaches must have been totally socked in.
The water was was still glassy enough that there was a boat towing a wakeboarder back and forth in front of Avila Beach. That was fun to watch but the guy driving the boat was doing his eastward legs as close as he could get to the line of buoys for the No Boats/Swimming Zone, which was very rude.

I'll swim on Tuesday morning at 7 and Thursday morning at 9 +/-.


Saturday, August 20, 2022

Saturday, August 20th, 2022

Back In The Water -
It has been just 6 days since the beach closed, first for sharks and then for sharks and bacteria, but it felt like I'd been gone for a while this morning. Plus the weather conditions at Avila Beach were weird. At 7AM Avila looked like January with a storm moving in with gray clouds down the the horizon and a steady wind out of the SE that made a foot high wind chop that put a very messy surface on the water. The air temperature was 57° and the water temp was still up at 60°- 61°.
I was going to ease myself into things and just swim parallel to the shore between the buoys and the break for about 3200M. It was rough going out and became harder when I turned left and had the chop on my right shoulder.  Working my way down to the end of the buoys I was wondering how long this would remain fun. The return to the mouth of the creek was much easier and so was my second time going east. I was thinking that I was getting my swimming chops back but actually the wind was dropping and the chop flattening out. Sure enough I didn't get much of a ride on my second lap west. With the swimming getting easier I decided to do a third lap to the east and when I got back to the pier I figured why not just go on down to the creek a third time. It is funny how these things work, I wound up doing an extra 2000M without ever thinking that I was going much more than my planned 3200M.    

Looking back towards the Avila Pier and the port from near the reef buoy on my second lap. The water was already just lumpy instead of choppy. 

When I was back on Front St. I saw Tom and handed off the swimming baton to him. We will probably see each other tomorrow.

I'll be getting in at 11.


Thursday, August 18, 2022

Thursday, August 18th, 2022

Avila Beach is still sort of closed so I ran on the beach. Barricades have been erected along the high tide line and warning signs are up on the west side of the pier, but not on the east side. Yesterday afternoon there were people in the water on the east side. The County Health Dept has posted that they are doing 'further testing' but I'd like to know what the numbers are and how they determined that only the beach nearest the creek should be closed.

The Blue Water Task Force volunteers did their usual Thursday morning collection of samples at Avila Beach and at seven sites along SLO Creek from the creek mouth to the SLO City limit on S. Higuera. Those results will available by noon on Friday and will be posted at https://bwtf.surfrider.org/explore/34.  

I'll run tomorrow. Hopefully there will be clean and shark free water on Saturday. 


Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Tuesday, August 16th, 2022

Forget the Big Fish, Beware of the Bugs - 
Avila Beach Closed Due To Sewage Spill

My plan was to run at Avila today and tomorrow and see if the sharkyness was acceptable for a swim on Thursday. At about 6:30 there was dense fog at Avila and a light wind out of the SE. Visibility varied from about a surfline to a third of the way out along the pier. Not a good day to be out in the water, especially with the shark warnings still up.  
So I ran as planned. The beach was less crowded than usual with just one other runner that I usually see, a few people out with their dogs and on surf fishermen. I got home, checked the news and found this in the Tribune:

More than 10,000 gallons of water, sewage spill into San Luis Obispo creek 
The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department said a “large volume of potable water and sewage” was released in the area of Broad Street and Ramona Drive after a break in an 11-inch potable water main on Aug. 15, 2022. Courtesy of the city of San Luis Obispo More than 10,000 gallons of water and sewage spilled into a San Luis Obispo-area creek on Monday night, according to the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department. The department said a “large volume of potable water and sewage” was released in the area of Broad Street and Ramona Drive after a break in an 11-inch potable water main Monday. The damage also prompted a closure of Broad Street to Murray Avenue, the city tweeted Monday night. Crews were on site Monday night working to repair the main. Meanwhile, the potable water entered a section of exposed sewer line under construction, causing an overflow from the sewer system into Garden Creek, according to a release. The creek is a tributary of San Luis Obispo Creek. Get unlimited digital access Subscribe now for just $2 for 2 months. CLAIM OFFER The department said the specific volume of the spill has not yet been determined, but it was in excess of 10,000 gallons. The agency also advised people to avoid water contact in the area; ocean water samples will be taken at the mouth of San Luis Obispo Creek to determine further impacts of the spill, according to the release. Closure signs will also be posted at the beach area near the mouth of the creek until tests indicate water quality is not impacted.

Thank you Mr. Sharky for keeping me out of the water this morning! The beach had not yet been posted when I was there so if I had been planning on swimming I would have gotten in and swum parallel to the shore between the surf and the buoy line to dodge the fog.

Holy Hepatitis!  

Info about the closure is posted at the County's SurfSafeSLO website; https://slocounty.maps.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/0693b6f43f444995afc3f90d29b81432.

The Surfrider Blue Water Task Force will collect samples from Avila Beach to the SLO City limits as usual on Thursday morning and our results will be posted at the BWTF website midday Friday: https://bwtf.surfrider.org/explore/34.

There will be a 24 + hour lag for the posting of results for any lab because the bacterial samples must incubate for between 24 and 28 hours before the results can be read. 

I'll watch the water sampling results but I'm thinking that between the bugs and the big fish it will likely be at least Saturday before I swim.

niel  🏊   

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Sunday, August 14th, 2022

The sharky signs were still up so I walked down to Tower 1 and asked Phil what was going on.  He said that for the past few days things were popping at Avila Beach: the water is warm with lots of bait balls, seals, birds and white sharks. Sometimes two or three confirmed white sharks in a day. The guards had not closed the beach but were strongly recommending that people in water stay close to shore.  

So what's a swimmer to do?
I got in fully clothed and wrestled with this big boy until he quit and left for Hawaii.  

After that, Pat and I went for a swim. Unlike yesterday, today Avila was 61° and totally gray with a light wind and a swell out of the SE. Pat did Ironman Alaska last weekend and was in for about 2000M so that's what we did. 
Pat said the weather for the race was pretty good, rain was predicted all day but it didn't start until he was at Mile 41 on the bike. They also shortened the swim because the water temperature was only 57°.  (Insert your own editorial comment here).  

Pat and I had a nice swim. The water felt really warm, warmer than the 61° I measured. 

This is Kimi Werner and she is the real deal. She is Hawaiian and holds several world records for breath hold spearfishing. This was on a shark research trip in Mexico. 
From just holding the camera I would of had to leave my wetsuit in the water.  

Tom is in the Bay Area for a water polo tournament.

I'm a maybe for Tuesday. It's the time of the year when sitting out is sometimes the smart think to do. I'll be at Avila at 7 and see what makes sense.


Saturday, August 13, 2022

Saturday, August 13th, 2022


Sunshine was the big news this morning at Avila Beach. At 7 AM it was sunny with no fog or clouds, calm, 62° and rather fallish (gasp!) for August. Regardless, it was beautiful and the water was 15°C/59.9°F. The swell was up a bit and the swimming was lumpy but not choppy.  

The sharky sign was up. There was nothing on the lifeguards notice board about the sighting. 
I was already thinking about swimming an extended buoy line route with a few turns around the Avila Pier so that is what I did. 

I went out around the pier, back in to the buoy line and west until I was past the mouth of SLO Creek. On the way back there were a lot of pelicans and gulls flying over me so I stopped at the second buoy and took a look. The birds were diving on some bait fish about 200M further out from where I was swimming so I scrubbed another lap around the pier and went straight along to the east side and down to Fossil Point. The rocks at the point were pushing up some nice 3' to 4' (from the back) soft waves that were fun to swim across.

I didn't see Tom or Sue. Tom's schedule is slipping a bit so he is getting in later. Almost as if he was getting into fall already. 

I may not have mentioned it but all three showers are working again! We were down to two for 8 months and then one the past 6 weeks so having them all running again makes standing in line for a rinse much less likely.

I'll swim tomorrow at 11. 



Thursday, August 11, 2022

Thursday, August 11th, 2022

My morning meeting ran to 8:30 so I didn't get in until a bit after 9. The delay didn't make any difference in the conditions. It was all gray, almost no surf, pretty flat, a light wind, an air temp of 63° and a water temp of 61°
I swam to the end of the Avila Pier and out and around the Avila Rock.  

Tom and Sue got in shortly after I did and also swam around Avila Rock but their route was down the buoy line, to the rock, to the Avila Pier, back the the buoy line and in, so we never saw each other.

I'll swim at 7 on Saturday.

Be sure and save the Date; Monday September 5th, Labor Day, for a Dolphins reunion swim at 11 with potluck brunch to follow. 


Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Tuesday, August 9th, 2022

Today's stats are familiar: gray skies down to the horizon, an air temperature of 60°, no wind, small surf, the water was 60° to 61°, colder over near the Cal Poly Pier and a bit of small chop or swell from the SW between the Avila and Cal Poly Piers.   

I just did a turn around the neighborhood. Started real easy, loosened up and got into it. 
At the reef buoy.

Tom got there at 10 so I didn't see him. 

Thursday is a meeting morning so I'll be getting in about 9 o"clock, so I might meet Tom and swim around the rock with him.


Sunday, August 7, 2022

Sunday, August 7th, 2022

What a day! We had Hillary, Niel, Justin, Sue, Sue's sister and Sue's son Archie in the water. 
Sue and Justin and Hillary and Niel buddied up based on speed and did two similar swims.
It was 70°+ at 11 and rising to quite warm after the swim. It was the first time in a while that I had to wear sandals because the sand was too hot for bare feet. There were no clouds or fog and a slight wind with a small swell out of the SE.  The water was 61° and 62°west of the Cal Poly Pier. The plan was to swim left along the buoy line to the end, around the reef buoy and to the end of the CPP, in to the third crossbars and to double back for about 4,000M.Justin and Sue are much faster than Hillary and I and when we arrived at the end of the CPP we didn't see them anywhere so we decided to have a bit of an adventure and go further west over to the pleasure boat mooring area. It turns out that Sue and Justin had gone in along the CPP to the second crossbars and doubled back. The didn't find us anywhere along the pier so they swam the planned route back.    

Today saw the return of Hillary's Official Avila Beach Party Boat complete with GoPro, shark and flamingo hula dancers, swim flags and Ducky, who has a water temperature thermometer in his/her back.

Sue and her sister getting in. 
Our water was too cold for Sue's sister so she stayed close to shore. 

Justin getting in.

Sue, Archie and Hillary and her flotilla at the 4th buoy. 

From the end of the CPP Hillary and I decided to swim over to this long abandoned boat. Hillary said that years ago the Harbor District gave the boat to someone who promised to move it but that hasn't happened. 

Hillary at the stern of the Heavy Mettle. 
The boat is either aluminum or steel so I guess the pun is intended. 

Me at the same spot. An easy operator error resulted in a video instead of a photo. 

 Hillary and Sue back at out starting point.

Tom was out there earlier in the morning and had a great swim.

There were a lot of watercraft out there today; kayaks, SUP's, pleasure boats, the harbor patrol, and a personal watercraft with two Cal Fire lifeguards aboard ripping up the waves and running up on the beach in front of the east lifeguard tower. I've no idea what was so important that they brought a boat through the swim zone. 

After today I feel like resting up a bit before swimming on Tuesday morning at 7. 


Saturday, August 6, 2022

Saturday, August 8th, 2022

The swimming conditions this morning were great. The water temp was about 60°, the air was 62°, the water was flat and glassy and the sky was grey.
Jim and Adam joined me today. Jim has swum with me once before. He is getting back into the open water thing after an absence. Adam was in San Luis Obispo from New Hampshire with his son for orientation at Cal Poly and dropped by to get in the water. We swam the Cal Poly Pier loop.  

This egret was perched on the pier checking out the breakfast buffet. 

Adam and I at the end of the Cal Poly Pier. 

I'll swim tomorrow at 11.


Thursday, August 4, 2022

Thursday, August 4th, 2022

The surf was still up but was more like 4' instead of 5'. At 7:45 when I got in it looked like the clouds were breaking but it became more overcast as I was swimming until it was completely gray when I got out. There was still some swell and chop out of the SW and there were areas of red brown water. The air temperature was 62° and the water was 61°. 

A lap around the Avila Rock sounded nice so I headed out and turned left.
I went around the rock clockwise this time. 
I've had it in my head that this swim was a mile and a half but maybe 
that was from per-Garmin days.   

Me, the rock and some pelicans.

Compare the two photos and you can get a sense of the size of the swell.

Tom got in at 10:30 so we missed each other today.

I'll swim Saturday at 7 and Sunday at 11. 
You have to enjoy the warm water while it lasts.


Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022


Sunshine turns gray with the warmest water temperature so far this year. 

Today's stats were: air temp, 61°; water temp, 17°C/62.6°F; no wind; that big swell that has been talked about for days showed with 5' +/- waves in the big sets; stinky water inside the break and clear skies and a nice sunrise at 7AM but the clouds/fog moved in so by 8 is was all gray. 

I did the right side YoYo starting from the end of the pier, so I swam out to the end of the pier, did my route and swam back in along the pier.  An interesting way to do 2+ miles and not feel like I went much of anywhere.

I was bummed that I waited to take pictures of the sunrise and had it turn all gray..
Idling out at the end of the Avila Pier I estimated that the peaks and troughs of the swells were marking 5 feet on the pilings. Just like winter I could really feel the swells at the buoy line and after swimming in another 50M I waited for the gap in the sets before coming in.

I didn't see Tom but he sway a loop out, over to and back from the CPP.

I'll be getting in between 7:30 and 8 on Thursday.