Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Tuesday, February 28th, 2023

Tom's Swim Report -

Interesting day of swimming at Avila. Their temperature was about 55 when I got in at 10 AM. The water temperature was 48 or 49°. There is a decent swell and a roll to go along with it. It made for interesting swimming.  I stayed on the east side out of respect for the possible high bacteria count.  The water was pretty normal once I got out past the gate on the Avila Pier.  From what I saw, it was less than an inch of rain from Saturday until today. There was a muddy, distinct line in the water on the east side out to about the gate. Then the water was pretty much normal beyond And out at fossil point it was totally normal.   

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Tom and I both found the idea of large waves, 50 - 51 degree water, rain and high winds to not measure up to our standards of a worthy Adventure Swim so we both stayed under the covers this morning. 
Avila looks pretty nice right now with a stormy surface but small waves. 

I'll go down there tomorrow morning to kick the tires and hope to swim.


Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

I got in at 7:10 this morning. The air temperature was 38°, the water was 10°C/50°, the waves were small and that lumpy SW swell is still with us. There were high thin clouds and it felt like the weather was changing.  The breeze was offshore and by 8 o'clock the Custom House was firing up their grill so the whole ocean smelled like bacon grease.  😝     

As usual, I'd made up a suitably interesting route last night, pondered if it would be at least 3200M and gave it a go this morning. I was only 1000M off.  It was a cold swim but it didn't feel as cold as the 49° on Sunday.  So much of that is mental. 

I spoke with Phil Costanzo when I was at the showers. He is a lifeguard and the guards are starting their training now to be in shape for when Jr. Guards starts in June.  

Tom's Swim Report - 

My Tuesday swim coordinates are: 56° air temperature when I got in at 10 o'clock, 9.5° water temperature based on my toes, face, hands and arms, excellent water clarity, solid marine layer, and a bumpy chop. A good morning swim. 

Looking at the weather report, I'm not sure about Thursday. NOAA says rain with wind gusts to 25 mph and an air temp of 51°. I'll see if that sounds like fun Thursday morning.



Sunday, February 19, 2023

Sunday, February 19th, 2023

 Avila put on a perfect early summer day for all of the President's Day tourists, and there were a lot of them. Parking, traffic and the number of people on the beach all reminded me of summer, including the long line of cars that were still heading toward Avila at 1:15 when I was leaving.

I got in at 11. The air temperature was 70°. It was sunny and clear with only a slight breeze. There was a small short period swell out of the SW that was much stronger once I was out beyond the end of the Avila Pier.  The water temperature was 10°C/50°F and with the strong sun and warmer air temperature it felt more than a degree warmer than yesterday. 
From the end of the Avila Pier I did a tour of the Cal Poly Pier and then a lap around the reef buoy. The legs over to and along the CPP were across the swell and then behind me for a nice push back to the Avila Pier and the reef buoy. 

The beach and Front Street were crowded and there was a line at the showers, just like summer.

Afterwards it felt wonderful on the beach getting warm and lazy and seeing who was going to regret trying to get their summer tan on all in one day.

I'll swim at 7 on Tuesday.

Tom's Swim Report:

I swam today. Saw you going out as I was coming in. I thought it was 50° today. Water and day were beautiful.  


Saturday, February 18, 2023

Saturday, February 18th, 2023

I got in a bit after 7 this morning. It was a beautiful morning in Avila Beach. It was 39°, calm and clear. There were a lot of people on the beach; 5 people surf fishing and two surfers, plus the dog walkers, which is a crowd for early on a February morning. I had planned on doing a big double triangle for about 4000M. I got in on the west side and got out between a fisherman and a surfer. Tom had said that on Thursday his toes were telling him that the water was below 50°.

As I was getting in the water felt about 50°- 51° but when I was swimming towards the creek mouth my arms were already starting to feel the cold. The water didn't look rough but there was a very choppy like swell that made the entire out lap a lot of work and gave me something else to try and think about. I measured the water temperature on my second pass by the end of the Avila Pier and had 9.5°C/49.1°F. I would have been disappointed if the temp was above 50° because it felt colder than it has been this winter.  

At the end of the Avila Pier.
The swimming conditions are outstanding this time of the year as 
long as you can deal with the water temperature.

Gear Report -
This is a good day to give my winter wetsuit and other gear a big thankyou.
I'm a cold water wimp.
In the summer I wear a Orca Openwater RS1 Thermal wetsuit which is warm, extremely flexible and comfortable to swim in. I add their Openwater Base Layer T-Shirt for another 1.2mm when the water temp gets close to 55° and I start feeling the cold more than I like. 
Below 55° I switch to a Patagonia R3  3.5/4.5 surf suit. It even has knee pads. I've worn out 6 of these. They fit great and lets me keep swimming into the coldest water temperatures we see at Avila Beach. I was in the water for 93 minutes this morning and though I felt the cold I didn't get cold. If I had some nutrition with me I could have stayed in longer. 
The Orca and the R3 cost about the same.
I add a Orca neoprene cap below 55°
I always wear Aqua Sphere Vista goggles which have two big advantages over pool or tir goggles: the have a big field of view which makes finding my landmarks easy and the big skirt protects my sinuses from the cold water so I do not get an ice cream headache when I get in.
These goggles come in three sizes, the Kayenne is the smallest, then the Vista and the Seal. You need to find the size that fits your face so they don't leak. 
I think GH Sports here in SLO carries all three.

I'll swim tomorrow at 11.


Thursday, February 16, 2023

Thursday, February 16th, 2023


Tom's Report -  

Gorgeous winter day at Avila this morning. The air temperature was 51° when I got there at 10:15.   Blue skies, the sun was out with a slight marine layer. The water was calm and glassy with a verry slight roll. The swell that has been in the area has pretty much dwindled down to nothing.  And my feet are telling me the water temperature was 9.8°C!  Yep. I'm calling it under 50°. Beautiful day of swimming.

Thanks Tom.


Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Tuesday, February 14th, 2023

I had a great swim this morning. 
There was a strong gusty wind out of the NW. At 7:10 the air temperature was 48°. The surf was as usual, 3 footers with sets of 3 - 4++ footers to know let me get lazy getting in or out. I measured a water temperature of 10.5°C/50.8°F.      
I did something different today: I got in on the west side, swam parallel to the beach to the mouth of the creek, over to the second crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier, along the pier to the third crossbars and then directly to Fossil Point. That leg is 8 or 9/10's of a mile. The wind provided a good chop that was going south while I was going east . The chop and wind got stronger when I passed the Avila Pier and started pushing be around. The squiggles in the plot are me making corrections so as to not wind up in Shell Beach .    

The photo doesn't show it but there was a 4 foot plus swell out of the south that was bouncing off of the point so I had the swell towards the beach passing under me and the rebound from the swell off of the point passing back south. It was interesting to swim in but would have been nasty for a kayak or SUP. 

Tom's Report -

That is one chilly breeze out there today. I know your thermometer said 10.5 but my toes and teeth are telling me it was under 50 today. Or that was the wind factor kicking in. Definitely a hearty day of swimming.

I'll vote for the wind as Tom chooses to swim in a Farmer John and a long sleeved rash guard and the wind on his arms must have felt like an ice bath.
Tom in his dreams.

I'll be back on Thursday morning at about 9, after a 7AM meeting. 


Sunday, February 12, 2023

Sunday, February 12th, 2023

Beautiful winter conditions today. At 11AM it was 58° and the water temperature was up slightly to 11°C/51.8°F although it did not feel warmer to me. It felt fine to Wayne Methner who dropped in to swim with me today. Wayne and his wife live in Lake Forest Park, Washington and he swims with a Masters group in Puget Sound. Wayne says that the water temperature there is about 47° now but gets up to close to 60° in the summer.  

Wayne wanted to do about a 1000M so we swam down the beach and to the end of the Avila Pier. He went in along the pier from there.  I swam the other half of the triangle and called it a good day.  

Wayne in the water at Avila Beach.

I'll swim at 7 on Tuesday and about 9 on Thursday as I have a 7 o'clock meeting that should run 90 minutes. 


Saturday, February 11, 2023

Saturday, February 11th, 2023


I had a great swim this morning. When I got in at 8 the conditions were the same as they have been all week except that there was no wind. There was a large swell but no chop. The water temperature is hanging at 10.5°C/50.8°F, (the 6 inch thermometer I take in the water with me is calibrated in centigrade) and the air temperature was 45°. NOAA has a high surf advisory posted but Avila wasn't seeing much. There were the usual 3 foot waves with 4++ foot sets of three waves mixed in. Getting in and our was just a matter of timing the sets. There was a big south swell out there which kept pushing me towards the beach but it was fun to feel the lift and drop rolling by.  
I have a lot to learn about how ocean swells work. At the end of the Cal Poly Pier the peaks and valleys of the swells had sufficient energy to find the bottom 1000M offshore and were rising and falling 4 to 5 feet on the pilings, but when the reached shore they made a 5 foot wave that didn't have much energy. Sometimes waves this size just want to grab you and toss you back on the beach but these had size but not much power. 

Today a loop down the beach, around the buoy at the reef and then out to the Cal Poly Pier seemed like a predictable 3200M swim that would not turn into 4000+M like my Tuesday and Thursday swims earlier this week.

It is cold but the water is very clean and clear and even tastes nice which makes getting out here in the winter worth while.

The showers that were predicted showed up as I was getting changed. 

Tom's Report -

It was raining on and off from Los Osos to Avila… But when I turned off onto San Luis Bay Drive, suddenly there was blue sky. The magic of microclimates.  Avila was sunny, blue skies, with scattered clouds at 10 o'clock when I arrived. The streets were wet so must've rained earlier. The air temperature was 49, and the water was 50.  There was a pretty good swell, pumping through and a bit of a chop on top of that. All in all, a wonderful day of swimming.   

Gear Report -
Tom and I and several other swimmers prefer Aqua Sphere goggles. The are a swim mask that comes in three sizes. I like them because they are very comfortable, give me a big field of view when I pop my head up to look for landmarks and the big skirt covers up my sinuses so I do not get a ice cream headache from the cold water. 
Sine the 90's they have come in a hinged plastic case that was great for keeping them from getting mushed or scratched in by bag.  I recently purchased new pair and they now come in a very nicely designed paper box with no case. I'll be hanging onto my old cases.

I'll swim tomorrow at 11. I'm expecting a couple of guests to join me.


Thursday, February 9, 2023

Thursday, February 9th, 2023

Thursday was very much like Tuesday, but with more wind.  At 7:00 it was clear with an offshore breeze and 40°. There was an occasional 3 to 4 foot wave but most of the surf was 2 to 3 foot. The water temperature was 10.5°C/50.8°F.      

I set out on a course that I thought would be a different way to do 3200M +/-, but it turned out to be 4,067M.  The wind was offshore and the chop was a bit more pushy which was confirmed by looking at Tuesday's log vs today's. Today's swim was 24M shorter but took about 6 minutes longer. I think today's route had me spending more time swimming against the chop.     
I swam to the end of the Avila Pier, to the Second Crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier, to the end of the CPP, to the end of the Avila Pier, to the Third Crossbars on the CPP and in to the beach.
You can't read it but I'm showing my STAND WITH UKRANE cap that Sue gave me.
She created these for a fundraiser 

Tom's Report - 
Beautiful day of swimming. It felt warmer to me today than Tuesday. So, 10.5 sounds about right. The water was pretty smooth, although there was a slight bump to it. all in all a good day of swimming. 

I'll be back at about 7 on Saturday morning for another go.


Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Tuesday. February 7th, 2023

 A Cold Swim But Not Quite A Record -

I thought, and it felt like, that I might do 4K in sub 50° water today but a double 4 will have to wait. The water was 10.5°C/50.8°F.  It felt like it was below 50°, but I was already feeling chilly before I got in because my wetsuit wasn't quite dry when I put it on. 
The air temperature was 36° at 7 AM and it was sunny but breezy. The wind laid down while I was swimming and according to Tom's report, picked back up later in the morning. 

Back at the Avila Pier, ready to get out. 
The water had smoothed out nicely for the second half of my swim.   

Tom's Report - 
The water felt cold to me this morning… My toes and teeth were telling me 50°.  Bump, chop and more bump - it was a rough water swim today. Clear blue skies, and a breeze…  a good morning vitamin!

I'll be back Thursday morning at 7:30.
It is about this time of the season for thoughts that the water won't get any colder this season and I can start thinking about when it might begin to warm up, but if I go there I'll be tempting the ocean gods to throw me at 48° or even a 47° day (a personal record that I'm not anxious to repeat) to keep me from making too many plans. 


Sunday, February 5, 2023

Sunday, February 5th, 2023

On the good side the surf was smaller and the water was 1/2 to 1° warmer. On the not so good side there was a strong and steady breeze out of the west that made a chop and current that made every leg of the swim a workout.
David was with me today. The air temperature at 11 was 56°F. I measured a water temperature of 11°C/51.8°F at the end of the Cal Poly Pier. Today felt warmer but the air temperature was 20° higher than yesterday morning so that was probably part of it.       

I was planning on swimming around Avila Rock today but David and I decided to do a loop over to the CPP. From Tom's report below, there was rough water everywhere today. 
Swimming parallel to the beach was choppy but compared to the legs from the reef buoy to the end of the CPP and coming in along the pier to the second crossbars added a strong current to make it a slog. 

Niel and David at the end of the Cal Poly Pier

Passing by the mouth of the creek the water became slightly cloudy and picked up a dirt like taste.  We got past that as quickly as we could. 

Tom's Report - 
Pretty good wind chop out there today! I swam around the rock again. The leg from the rock back to Avila Pier was nuts!  The wind and the current were working against me, it was all I could do to get back. Water was 50° again. I saw your chair but I didn't see you out there. Sue left you a cap she had made in support of the Ukrainians. It is her birthday gift to you.  

Thank you Sue! That's really cool. 
What does the D with the whale's tail stand for?

Clear weather is predicted for this week with a slight chance of rain next weekend so this week's swimming should be good.

I plan on getting in at 7:30 on Tuesday morning.


Saturday, February 4, 2023

Saturday, February 4th, 2023

I got in the water at 7:30.  It was 38°F with thin high clouds, the typical early morning Avila offshore breeze and in sync with the rain predicted for later today there was a south swell and the surf was up to 4' to 5'. The water was 10.5°C/50.9°F 

I planned to swim two triangles starting from the end of the pier. Getting out required swimming out to the break point and duck diving under the largest waves of the set and then swimming out over the smaller ones. The waves didn't have a lot of power so this was more a matter of timing than power. 
The west side triangle got weird because I had a new pair of goggles and the factory 'anti-fog' coating lasted for less than 30 min. before they totally fogged up and I was swimming 'in the fog'.  The distance still worked out OK. 
Coming back in was much easier. It was just a matter of waiting in the break zone for the largest waves of the set and then following them in.  
Tom's swim report:
I got in at 10:15… The water felt like 50° to me. 10°C. Air temperature was about 56 when I got in.  Pretty good swell, and a good bump on the water. Good day swimming. 

Gear Report -

Like most swimmers I've used all manner of commercial anti-fog solution, my spit and for the longest time, diluted baby shampoo. Duke was using Quick Spit AnitFog so I gave it a try and once I figured out to use it it is the best. I can put my goggles on with the rest of my gear and they don't fog up while I'm getting in the water, or while I'm swimming, or if I have to take them off and put then back on while I'm in the water. I don't follow their directions. I give one lens a squirt and spread this gently over both lenses with my finger, I let it dry and then gently buff with a microfiber cloth.
I need to reapply after each swim to keep this level of fog free.  GH Sports in SLO stocks it.  

I'll be back at 11 tomorrow, unless today's storm packs a lot more rain than is predicted.


Thursday, February 2, 2023

Thursday, February 2nd, 2023

 Tom's Swim Report -

Nice winter day at Avila today. Marine layer with some blue skies coming through in spots.  56° air temperature, with a bit of a breeze. The water was 50, 51° today. I had a lovely swim around the rock. The water was calm and glassy. 

I had a packed morning and was not able to swim.