Thursday, March 30, 2023

Thursday, March 30th, 2023

Tom's Thursday swim report: it was 53° when I arrived at Avila this morning. Blue skies with some very cool cloud formations. There was a nice swell with 3 to 4 foot waves, and a bit of a breeze that ended up, kicking up more as I swam. The water temperature was 49, 50 and was less than pristine after the rain last night, but out beyond the break it was cleaner.  I'll be back Saturday to swim with the Cal poly women's water polo team. Should be a fun day. 


Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Tuesday, March 28th, 2023


Photo by Tom

At 8:15 it was a beautiful morning at Avila Beach between the storms. It was clear, 40° with no wind. The ocean had a flat and glassy surface and a water temperature of 9.5°C/ 49.1°F. The surf was 1 to 2 feet and the water was clear of any silt. 
Since I'm going to be out of town and not swimming until next Tuesday I decided to pay it forward a bit.  I took advantage of the clean water and swam over to and up and down along the Cal Poly Pier. 

The end of the CPP

The second crossbars where I turned around.

Tom was getting in just as I hit the beach.

By 9 o'clock a SE swell was coming up, telegraphing the coming rainstorm later in the day. It was a chilly but manageable swim. 90 minutes is close to my limit at these water temperatures.  Hopefully, sometime in April, we'll see and feel the season turn and the water will start creeping up towards 55° and the swimming will loose the special edge it has when the water temperature is around 50°.  MY Patagonia R3, 3.5/4.5 is my best friend at these temps. I do not know how Tom get buy with a farmer john and a long sleeved rash guard. 
With no wind, nice sunshine and a rising air temperature getting changed was a more relaxed experience than I've had in some time.  

Tom swim report:

Brrrr. Air temperature was 51 when I arrived at 9:30. There were scattered clouds and blue skies giving the impression of a warmer day than it felt.  My toes were telling me the water under 50°.  The ocean has settled down nicely after the storms. The water clarity was good. A day of swimming.

I'll post Tom's swims while I'm out of town.


Sunday, March 26, 2023

Sunday, March 26th, 2023

Spring at Avila Beach - 

Spring means that the lifeguards are back, its windy, the water is (still) cold and there are more people at the beach. The no boats/swim zone buoys should reappear soon.
Stephanie Popp has moved back to SLO County from Carmel and will be swimming with us again.
It was 53° when I arrived at 10:30. It was sunny and breezy with scattered thin high clouds. There was a steady chop and current out of the SW.  I measured a water temperature of 10.5°C/50.9°F at the end of the Avila Pier, but there were spots where it was 1+ degree colder. See Tom's report below for his toe test.
Stephanie back in the water at Avila!

Stephanie and I swam down the beach and back to the Avila Pier. Being her first time in the ocean in 1.5 years that was enough for her. 
While Stephanie headed in I swam to the end of the Avila Pier and over and back to the end of the Cal Poly Pier. On the way over it was directly into the chop and current and was quite a slog. The upside was that the chop was nice and regular which made it possible to kind'a zone out and just do the work. The ride back had a nice push which was just what I wanted at that point. The water was nice and clean out there.  


Before we got in Duke stopped by on his walk and we chatted for a bit. Saturday he was the support team and cheering section for Margarite at the Cal Poly (?) Tri at Lopez Lake. Margarite finished second amongst all women. The lake was muddy and 51°, It was cool and very windy. Everybody was cold.  Congrats to Margarite for the podium finish.

Tom stopped buy to say hi after his swim. 

Tom's Sunday report: clear blue skies and sunny again at Avila this morning. Air temperature was 53 when I got in at 10 AM. The water felt a little colder than yesterday, so I would call it 48°. The water clarity was better, enough that I swam around the Cal Poly pier. It was a good morning vitamin!  

If this weeks weather report is correct there will not be sufficient rain (yes, more rain) before I can slip in a swim Tuesday morning. 

I'll be traveling Thursday through Sunday so it will be another week out of the water for me. 


Saturday, March 25, 2023

Saturday, March 25th, 2023

Windy, Cold and Not Raining -

I got to Avila at 7:15 and got in at 7:30. It was sunny and clear with a strong offshore wind that was pushing a chop from the beach towards Vandenburg. The air temperature was 44° and the water was 9.5°C/49.2°F. The water looked pretty clean with just a hint of brown on the surface.  Thursday morning, just after the rain, even the white water was brown. 😝
The surf was 3 foot with occasional sets of 4 - 5 foot.
I thought about going over to the Poly Pier but decided to give the west side until Sunday or Tuesday to clean up more, so I swam down to the point and back. 

At Fossil Point.
My toes were already cold at this point, which matched what my thermometer was telling me. 9.5°C which was pleasing in a way because it matched what I was feeling. Looking back towards the Avila Pier I could see sets of bigger swells moving towards shore.  

The wind was laying down when I was at the showers which was nice. 

Tom's 9:45 AM swim report: blue skies and sunny. Air temperature was 53, and the water was 49. There was a slight breeze, along with a bit of a swell.  The swimming was excellent. Good to be back after all the rain

I'm swimming tomorrow at 11. Stephanie Popp is join to join me. She is living in SLO again and is ready to get back in the water. 
Rain is predicted for late Tuesday morning through Wednesday so I hope to get in early Tuesday morning. I'll be out of town and miss Thursday and Saturday. 

Starting in April I'll be doing less traveling and with more sunny skies I'm looking forward to be back to 4 days a week again. 


Sunday, March 19, 2023

Sunday, March 19th, 2023

 Swimming Before the Storm -

I jumped in early this morning in order to beat the predicted rain. There were light showers at Avila, it was gray and overcast with a light wind. The air temperature was 51° and the water was 10°C/50°F.  I didn't notice the water temperature much because the water was a mess. There was a complex chop and swell out of the SSE.  After my first stroke all I was thinking about how I would get in time with such a messy surface.
There was a one foot and a three foot cop with 'mixed seas' in between. The three foot chop was in sets so I'd get these sudden rollercoaster rides. It took me 12 minutes to swim the 420M to the end of the Avila Pier, so I decided today was going to be an hour swim and let the distance be whatever it was.  

Near Fossil Point. Doesn't look too bad from this angle. 

What I'd see when I breathed.

When swimming east, parallel to the beach, the chop was on my right shoulder. Once I turned around it was on left foot so I had a easer time of it and made better time.
It was odd swimming into the shore. I kept checking for waves but there were none. The chop just continued until it broke on the beach. 

Tom swam later in the morning. 

Tom's Report - 
Pretty crazy swim this morning. 53° air temperature when I got in at 10:30. Big chop and swell. I only stayed in for 30 minutes. Brrrrr! 

If, as predicted, we get only a tenth to a quarter inch by Tuesday morning I'll swim early before the main storm arrives.  Thursday looks chancy


Thursday, March 16, 2023

Thursday, March 16th, 2023



Tom's Thursday swim report: it was clear and sunny at Avila this morning. The air temperature was about 58 when I got in at 10:15. The water was about 50 or 51 again today.  And yes, the water had some debris in it, and was definitely stirred up, but out at the end of the other Avila Pier, it was more green and less murky. I know Niel is shaking his head, saying I was swimming in tons of bacteria, but I have two theories on that… The first is, if the creeks aren't washed out by now, then we're always swimming in tons of bacteria. And the second is, there wasn't really that much rain in the past week…  but, then, I did swim the day of the tsunami, so maybe I'm not the best judge of these things.   And finally, you'll notice the lifeguard tower is back. Tis the season. 

Thanks Tom. I hope you bacteria theory holds up.  The entire creek channel and bottom has been scoured clean but after every storm the bacteria levels in San Luis Creek have gone back to the same high bacteria loads. This is a new thing for this winter and seems to indicate a bacteria source that has not been previously identified or a new one. You can keep an eye on the numbers at

I'll be traveling a lot an will probably only get in a few swims before April, when my plan is to get back in the water as much as possible.

bacteria levels 


Monday, March 13, 2023

Tuesday, March 13th, 2023

Tom's Swim Report -

Tom's between storm swim report: it was about 59° when I got in the water at 10:30. The water was glassy with a pretty decent swell coming through. The water was a little stirred up, but it wasn't dirty. I did stay on the east side out of respect for the possible bacterial residual. The big news, though, is the water is up to 50 or 51°. Amazing how much warmer at feels than when it's under 50!

Thanks Tom.


Sunday, March 12, 2023

Sunday, march 12th, 2023


In spite of the brown water and bacteria Tom and I were all set to get in this morning up to this point, when we decided to wait for the water in San Luis Creek to go back down a bit more.
Thanks to the friend of Kris's in Germany who sent this. Apparently is was all over European social media  

Tuesday doesn't look likely because of heavy rain. I'll not be swimming again until Sunday, if the water cleans up.


Thursday, March 9, 2023

Thursday, March 9th, 2023

So beautiful, so cold.

I got in a bit after 7. It was 41°, clear and sunny with no wind. The ocean had a glassy surface with some swell and the surf was only 2 feet +/-. It looked like a wonderful morning for a swim.
I had decided to get over to the end of the Cal Poly Pier today. It had been long enough since the last rain the the water off of the mouth of SLO Creek should be nice and clean. By tomorrow the rain will have put a new load of bacteria into the creek which might last for another week.
There was some shock and awe when I started swimming. I would measure a water temperature of 9°C/48.2°F at the end of the CPP, and there were some colder spots, but it was beautiful out there today.  

Tom's Swim Report

Tom's Thursday swim report: glassy, calm water, Clear blue skies and sunny.  Gorgeous day at Avila. It was 56° air temperature when I got in at 9:45. The water remains 48°.  Beautiful swimming day, although I can only handle about 50 minutes at that temperature. Nevertheless, an excellent day swimming. 

With several inches of rain predicted for Friday/Saturday I do not expect to be back in the water until Tuesday.


Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Tuesday, March 7th, 2023

I got in at 7. It was sunny, 37°, with a few small clouds and an offshore breeze that was chopping up the water's surface. The waves were 2 to 3 foot and the water was nice and clean, and COLD. I measured 49° out at the end of the Avilla Pier.  
I attempted to swim from the end of the Avila Pier to each of the swim buoys, which will not be back in the water until spring. I guessed at the locations, swam in until I was getting into the surf and got pushed around by the wind and chop.    

I felt extra cold today. I don't know why, it was just a day when I felt it more or didn't do as well keeping my mind on other things. 

I'm beginning to wonder how long the sub 50° water temperatures are going to last and if I should get some booties because my feet are freezing when I get out and is this extra cold water thing going to last until May? 

We are having a winter with unusually cold water temperatures and excessive amounts of rain and snow. I wonder if there is a connection?  

Tom's Tuesday coordinates for my Avila swim: air temperature was 55 when I got in at 9:50. As it has been for the past week and a half, the water was 48, 49 based on my toes. There was a breeze, and the water was very choppy.  The water was clean and clear. Very nice morning swim.   

I'll be back at 7 on Thursday morning. 


Sunday, March 5, 2023

Sunday, March 5th, 2023

 I didn't swim today. This is Tom's report:

Another 48° swim day. The water remains under 50°. Air temperature was 50° when I got in at 10. Initially it was complete cloud cover. By the middle of the swim, the sun had broken out in the clear blue skies were showing. The water was clear and beautiful, a pretty large rolling swell. All in all an excellent day. of swimming.

I'll swim Tuesday morning at 7.


Saturday, March 4, 2023

Saturday, March 4th, 2023

Jodi and I swam today!  I was not expecting her and was a bit late so we almost missed each other, but the timing was just right, she saw me turning towards the beach as she was leaving, so she came back. Her right shoulder is tight from surgery and she can only breath on the left, but here she was. It was two or three years ago the Jodi first showed up to swim. It was this time of the year and the water was as cold as it gets, so here she is getting back in after months on the beach with the water between 48° and 50°.    
It was gray and calm. The air temp was 48°, the water was 10°C/50°F, but felt colder, and had the same multiple swells as it had on Thursday.  

Jodi might have been having some second thoughts when we were getting in. 

We swam out to the gate on the pier and down the 'buoy line' to the big rock. 
Jodi figured that a half hour was going to be good and turned back at that point. 
I continued on to Fossil Point.

Garmin says that todays' swim was 800M shorter than Thursday's, which doesn't seem right. Today I didn't use the end of the Avila Pier as a turning point, so this route would be some shorter but 800M less in the same time?  

At Fossil Point
The Point is more exposed to the swell that the Avila Pier 
so it was a pretty lumpy swim at this end.

Getting in it felt really cold, like Thursday, (ask Jodi), so I was surprised to see 10°C on the thermometer, but at the end of today's hour my feet and arms were not as deeply cold so I'll go with 50° with a felt minus for the lack of sun and gray skies.

Tom has water polo today and is planning on swimming tomorrow. 

It looks like the big storm that has been in the news for this weekend will be mostly north of the Bay Area so I'll swim tomorrow unless it really dumps.


Thursday, March 2, 2023

Thursday, March 2nd, 2023

I thought that Tom's toes might have been off when he reported a water temperature of 48° - 49° on Tuesday but the toes were right on.  I measured 9°C/48.2°F today and was glad of it. While getting in and out thru the surf the water felt cold but about the same but buy the time I was approaching Fossil Point I was feeling the cold more than I would expect at 50°, so I'm glad it was not just me.      

I got in at 7:15. It was 39°, clear, beautiful and sunny with a gusty wind. I stayed on the east side of the pier, away from the mouth of the creek. The water was nice and clean with no sign or taste of silt in the water. The swell was up a bit and outside there were rolling SE and SW swells that made things lumpy.     

I waited until I was back at the pier to read the water temperature. That way I could avoid confirming what I was feeling until the end of the swim. My toes were noticeably colder than usual and didn't warm up until I was home and in the shower.  

It was beautiful and really bumpy off of Fossil Point.

Tom's Swim Report - 
Brrrrr! Tom's 10 AM swim report: the air temperature was 54 when I got in at 10 AM. The water was significantly calmer than on Tuesday but the temperature was 48° again. I could only manage about 40 minutes at that temperature. Clear blue skies with a slight breeze.  Hey good morning vitamin.  

I'll swim Saturday morning at 7 and if the predicted rain is as light as promised I'll swim on Sunday at 11.