Sunday, July 30, 2023

Sunday, July 30th, 2023

 We had a nice summer day and a large group of swimmers today. At 11 the air temp was 75°, the water was 61° to 62°, it was sunny and warm but not yet hot and there was just a slight wind. 
Today we had Tom Lorish and Sue, Niel, Tom Israel, David, Jaime, Jaime's boyfriend, Pete and Richard.
Sue and Tom were already out in the water when I got there. I saw then go west then back east along the buoy line. I do not know where they had been before I saw them.

Sue got back in with her sister with the 11 o'clock group.  Richard is going to do the Santa Cruz (?) half later this summer and came with Pete to begin his ocean swimming education. Pete regularly swam with us sometime pre-COVID so it was nice to see him again. The plan was to do one or two triangles. Pete and Richard stuck to the east side of the buoy line.  Tom I. came in from the end of the pier on the second lap. He was going bareback to prep for the Maui Channel relay later this summer. Sue and her sister stuck to the buoy line. That left Jaime, David and Niel to complete the two triangles. When we finished the second triangle Jaime and David decided to go down the buoy line again. I came in.    

Counting me this is six of the eight at the last buoy on the left side. 

There was a spare pair of sandals on the sand when I was leaving. 
If they are yours let me know and we'll arrange a hand off.   

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


Saturday, July 29, 2023

Saturday, July 29th, 2023

I was the only one swimming this morning. The conditions were prefect; sunny, 56°, 60° +/- water, calm with a bit of a swell. I was not sure how enthusiastic I was feeling so I selected a familiar and easy route; clockwise around the Poly Pier.  I did not feel that great until after the Poly Pier, where the kinks seemed to relax, my posture got better and the swimming felt good and easy.   

I'll be back tomorrow to swim at 11.


For the time being there will be no notification emails when the blog is updated. I've lost control of the swimavila email account and cannot access the list of email addresses. Given some time I'm sure that I will be able to access the file and set up an alternate email account.     

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Thursday, July 27th, 2023

My Birthday Swim, Six Months Late

On January 27th, 2022 I swam 7200 M for my 72nd birthday. On 1/27/23 the water was 5 degrees colder and full of bacteria because of the heavy rains, so the swim was put off until it came together which was today.   

Conditions were perfect today. It was 56°, overcast, there was no wind or swell and the water was 61.7°. I planned on swimming our familiar triangles route but I extended the legs a bit to try and make four laps come out to 7300M.  I was off a bit and had 7,600M on my watch when I finished the forth lap. I hung in the water a bit and thought that 400M more would put me at 8,000 and that sounded nice, so I swam to the end of the pier and back before coming in and finished up with 8,372M in 3:08.      

At the showers after getting out. 
Either I'm squinting into the sun or have a case of goggle face. 

The swim was great. My nutrition worked out right, I never had to fool with my goggles or any of my gear and the water felt nice. It was still flat at 10 when I got out. The sun came out at about half way, which was nice, but the clouds came back in.

I want to thank Scott Kolofer, DC, for the great tune up yesterday. I felt all lined up and running smooth when I started swimming.

I spoke to Paula and her daughter before I got in. We did different routes.

I'll swim Saturday at 7. Maybe Jodi will give me a tow.


Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Tuesday, July 25th, 2023

 At the reef buoy. 
Unusual water conditions this morning, There was no wind, the water was clean, 60° and looked pretty flat but there was a sneaky swell out of the SE, similar to what we get in the winter when a storm is building.  At 7 it was like a small chop with a very short period but a lot more push than a wind chop. It built up as I swam getting larger but keeping the same short period, so it was more difficult to swim in. Near the end of my swim it got easer because the swell had grown in size to the point where I was starting to ride up and over it instead of getting slapped around. I could still feel the push of each swell. 

The warm water was nice so I did a third triangle, which took almost 2 hours of swimming and is my time limit if I don't bring some nutrition along.  At the end I felt like I was still swimming well but my brain was getting grumpy, a sure sign for me that I'm running out of fuel.

I'll be back Thursday at 7. I think I'll bring a bottle to tow along and see if I do better at this distance with some fuel during the swim.

To tow a bottle during a swim I use an Ultimate Direction bike bottle, an old one that has a large ring cast into the cap. I thread one end of a piece of ski rope through the ring and the other end around the nylon belt I wear to hold my camera and thermometer. The rope is about 6' long so the bottle is back there past my feet and I barley notice it.
If I'm staying along the buoy line I can use this rig with a snap to tether a couple of 32 oz. bottles to one of the swim zone buoys and tank up every time I pass by.  

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Sunday, July 23rd, 2023

Summer Comes To Avila Beach -

Today is the first day when it really felt like summer at Avila Beach. At 10:30 it was 70° with high broken clouds, there was a fog bank over the hills beyond Port San Luis that wrapped around to the south, the beach was crowded but not holiday crowded, the swimming conditions were great and the water was 16°C/60.8°F at the Poly Pier, which I last measured in September 2022.
Jeff Reid, David Cheney and I swam at 11. This was Jeff's last swim at Avila until next summer as he and his family will return to New Zealand tomorrow where it is winter.
We decided to swim for a bout an hour and possibly go further if it felt good. A loop around the Cal Poly Pier would be about 3200M and give Jeff some drop off points if he needed to stick to his schedule. 
There were more than the usual number of people in the water. While swimming out to the buoy it was definitly warmer than yesterday, even allowing for it being sunny and warm vs yesterday at 7 when it was foggy and cool. I wasn't surprised when I measured 61°.    

Niel. David and Jeff at the end of the CPP.
Things got a bit bumpy on the way out along the pier and there was a rolling push and chop on the way to the end of the Avila Pier. 

David and Jeff at the end of the Avila Pier. 

We swam over to and swung around the reef buoy and came back along the buoys to our starting point. The chop was well up now and I thought this leg was the roughest of the conditions today. The chop was head high plus and there was an occasional swell that would roll me around.

Jeff swam around the Avila Rock with Tom Lorish in the morning earlier in the week. Being the gracious host Tom picked a route that went down to Fossil Point and out to Avila Rock through the kelp beds.

I'll swim at 7 on Tuesday and Thursday.


Saturday, July 22, 2023

Saturday, July 22nd, 2023

 At 7 AM on Saturday there was nothing new about the swimming conditions, with flat 59° water, small surf, no wind, and foggy, but there were two faces that were new to me.  Two of Paula Dooley's swimming buddy's joined us. Eileen and Avery have been swimming at Avila with Paula and I think both of them were part of the Trans-Tahoe team with Paula last weekend.      
We swam to the 4th buoy on the left and to the end of the Avila Pier, checked out the visibility and swam to the third crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier. Then to the end of the CPP (a first for Avery), back to the second crossbars, to the end of the Avila Pier and in.  Towards the end of our swim the sun started peaking through and the water began to get bumpy so the wind was already picking up offshore. 
We had a great swim.
Paula, Eileen, Avery and Niel getting in.

I'll swim at 11 tomorrow.


Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Tuesday, July 18th, 2023


I had a wonderful swim this morning out to the Avila Rock. Approaching the rock I swung quite a ways to the south to avoid the kelp beds and instead of circling around I came back by the same route.  It has been a great spring for the kelp and the kelp beds between the Avila Rock and Fossil Point have grown to the point that there is no open water left to swim through. 
There were high scattered clouds, the water temperature was 58°, the air temp was 61° and there was no wind at 6:50 when I got in.  
I'll swim at 7 on Thursday morning.


Sunday, July 16, 2023

Sunday, July 16th, 2023

At 10:30 Avila Beach was already getting crowded. It was sunny with a fog bank offshore, 70+° and getting windy. The water conditions were a repeat of yesterday with clean, 59° water and small surf. I decided to do a clockwise loop to the end of the Poly Pier. I had a busy afternoon ahead so I got in early at 10:35. The wind was picking up as I turned around the reef buoy and headed towards the CPP. The chop and swell was out of the SE and got steadily larger on the way to the end of the Poly Pier.  I was busy trying to become one with the chop and got pushed in a bit and had to finish this leg by swimming out along the pier for a ways. The leg into the second crossbars was a hoot, getting lifted and launched in the direction that I wanted to go. The last leg back to the Avila Pier was across the chop and swell and I'll say it was some work but not as physical as the trip out.    

I had a great swim in the sun with fun conditions and almost 60° water. 
I think I had some nice photos of the conditions but, sadly, I suffered a brain fade and reviewed and then deleted the photos before saving them to my computer.  😫  

Tom swam before me and said Hi on his way to his car.   

When I got out David Cheney and another swimmer had left their stuff at my chair. I never saw them in the water. 

I'll be back Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 7.


Saturday, July 15, 2023

Saturday, July 15th, 2023

Jodi and I got in at 7. The conditions were 55°, foggy and still, small waves and 59° water that would pick up some small chop and swell over the next 90 minutes. The water is still nice and clean.   

The fog was pretty thick so we decided to swim to the #4 buoy at the mouth of the creek, over to the 2nd crossbars on the Cal Poly Pier, out to the end of the pier and back the way we had come to the #4 buoy, then hit the end of the Avila Pier, the #4 buoy on the east side and back to the start. 
We could see well enough to know what direction to swim and once we got closer we fine tuned our course.
Mr. Garmin put some extra jogs in my plot today. I swam out and back along the west side of the CPP but the plot has me coming back on the east side and the squiggle in the plot between the second crossbars and the #4 buoy is a bit wacky. We did swing further to the south around an anchored sail boat to give the kelp and a whole family of otters more clearance but I didn't double back like the plot shows. The rest of the plot looks correct.  

Niel and Jodi at the end of the CPP

59° water was sure welcome, making this a nice relaxing swim. It is hard to imaging doing this just 3 months ago in water that was 10 degrees colder.
By 8:30 the fog had lifted enough to almost be low clouds and visibility was more than a mile. 

I'll swim tomorrow at 11. The beach will be really crowded but maybe it will be warm and sunny.


Thursday, July 13, 2023

Thursday, July 13th, 2023


A new combination this morning of foggy with warm water.  The swimming was buoy to buoy and approximately towards the pier until you could see the end, but, the water was up to 58.1°F from 52°- 53°on Saturday and Monday so it was really nice. We are still on the water temperature roller coaster so I'm not making any predictions about possible future water temperatures and I'm keeping my 3.5/4.5 wetsuit handy for the next drop.

Jim and I swam at 7 this morning. The air temperature was 53° and there was a light breeze that would just put a ripple on the water and then drop away.  The water was nice and clean and the swimming was great.

Jim swam until he was cold enough to get out and I did two triangles. 

I'll be back Saturday morning at 7 and Sunday at 11 for some swimming in the sun.

Paula Dooley is on her way to Lake Tahoe for the Trans Tahoe Relay. I do not know who else is on her team. I hope that they have good conditions and a great time.


Saturday, July 8, 2023

Saturday, July 8th, 2023

We had a beautiful day for a swim. At 7 Avila was 59°, sunny (!), with no wind, small surf, a slight swell and clean but cold water.  Yep, for the the second time this spring, after briefly reaching the mid - upper 50's, the water temperature has slid back to 52.5°.   The swimming gods are really messing with us this year.
Paula Dooley joined Tom Israel and I this morning.  We decided to swing over to the end of the Cal Poly Pier and swim in to he third crossbars.  Tom and Paula planned on going in go in from there for about 3000M and I would double back on our route for closer to 4000M.    

I'll be out of town so my next swim will be on Thursday, the 13th.   

Up on Front Street Mr. Keep the Shinny Side Up was waiting to say hi.
Duke is looking good but won't be back in the water for a while yet. 


Thursday, July 6, 2023

Thursday, July 6th, 2023

 Double Short, and Stinky

Jim and I swam this morning at 7. I was going to go short in order to make a 9AM appointment and Jim, now wearing a Lycra sleeveless suit and ever closer to regaining his bareback form, would swim until he got cold.  The water had a surprise temperature of 12.5°C/54.5°F. Under gray skies this was a bummer. There was no was wind and the water was very smooth.  The second short was the very stinky water near the mouth of San Luis Creek. Sometimes the tide, waves and the volume of water held in the estuary wash out the channel at the creek mouth and the very stagnant and stinky water in the estuary is 'flushed' into the ocean. It is not something you want to intentionally expose yourself too. Jim and I cut to the right, swam directly to where we began and got out.           
Jim and I just before we turned to take a short cut back to the beach.

I'll swim Saturday morning at 7. I'll be out of town for Sunday and Tuesday's swims.


Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Tuesday, July 4th, 2023

 Jodi, Jim and Niel swam at 7. We parked along Front St., swam, and were leaving as the crowds for the 4th of July Dog Parade were showing up.
There was high fog, a light offshore wind, clean 56.3° water, knee high waves and no sharks to be seen.    
Jodi and Jim getting in.
Jim is continuing to reacclimate himself to the water on his way back to swimming bareback. Today he was down to a thin looking Farmer John. 

Today we did a route we haven't tried before, swimming four triangles of different sizes on the left side of the pier. The first triangle was from the first buoy, to the 4th buoy, to the end of the Avila Pier, then back to the first buoy. the second was first buoy, third buoy, end of the pier, first buoy and so on for the second and first buoys. It came out to be the right distance.

The water was nice and flat and clean. Both Jodi (sinus) and Jim (skin rash) had had trouble with the plankton blooms. Jodi was wearing a new nose plug today. She didn't like it but having messed up sinuses was worse.

After the swim Duke rode up to me in the plaza. He kit was very snazzy. He is still waiting for parts for his ebike so he is back to riding the more 'traditional' road bike which is a Italian beauty in carbon fiber. 

I'll swim Thursday morning at 7. I will swim short to make an appointment at 9.


Monday, July 3, 2023

Moday, July 3rd, 2023

Tom's Sunday Swim Report

A 6' white shark was Spotted Sunday near the Hartford pier by a fisherman.  Beautiful swimming this morning. My toes tell me about 57. At 11 the lifeguard told us that the shark was near the shore of the dog beach   Interesting the guard I spoke had a different story. Gotta be the same one like you said.  Agreed, time for it to move along.

From Tom with my edits.


Sunday, July 2, 2023

Sunday, July 2nd., 2023

 Summer Comes to Avila Beach -

By mid-morning Avila was beginning to get crowded, the fog was clearing, it was 70° and the wind was starting to chop up the water offshore. The water was plankton free and 58° 😃.  
We had a great group today; Jeff Reid is in town from New Zealand with his family and joined Jamie, myself and Alex and Don who were visiting from the Bay Area.  
A lifeguard came buy and let us know that earlier a 6 foot white shark had been swimming along the buoy line at the dog beach, so, we decided to not go further out than the Avila swim buoys. 
Based on yesterday's 56° water I had switched to my summer weight Orca wetsuit today. The The water felt friendly as I was wading in and I was immediately comfortable when I began swimming. Ah, summer at last.  

Jeff, Jamie, Don and Alex

From the beginning the water had a 6" to 12" chop and a good push from the SW. Swimming west required patience and persistence but being in 58° water made it easier. This was a physical and really fun swim. 

Jeff may join Jodi and I on Tuesday morning at 7 for a swim before the crowds show up.
I won't be able to swim Thursday.


Saturday, July 1, 2023

Saturday, July 1st, 2023

 If Finally Feels Like Summer - 

At 7 AM Avila was 54° with low clouds or high fog, depending on when and where you looked.
There was a light wind, a glassy surface with a small swell and 1 to 2 foot waves. The plankton count was low. The water temperature was up to 56.3° and felt nice and friendly. 
Jim and I swam down the east buoy line and over to the end of the Cal Poly Pier. Jim went directly in to the base of the Avila Pier while I went down along CPP to the second crossbars and over to the buoy line. 
The kelp beds that are growing like crazy this time of the year and the kelp that is between the base of the CPP and the creek mouth has become large enough that to swim between between the last buoy and the second crossbars requires a detour. There were two otters in  the kelp that I also detoured around. The kelp bed around the Avila Rock has also become very large which requires either kelp crawling or a big swing out and around the rock.

Patagonia Wetsuits On Sale -

Patagonia has their wetsuits on sale for 40% off. That is a savings of about $200. 
I have used an R3 for swimming in water below 55 - 56 degrees for many years.  With the abundance of cold water this past winter my suit was used four times a week since November and was getting leaky around the shoulders so being able to replace it and save some money was a nice surprise.
If today's water temperature holds my new wetsuit will just wait for me to need it next fall.

I'll swim tomorrow at 11 and Tuesday with Jodi at 7 and be out of Avila before the crowds arrive.