Sunday, October 29, 2023

Sunday, October 29th, 2023

 Much Bumpiness -

There was a steady offshore wind and the surface of the water was all sparkles. It was beautiful but it was difficult to see if anyone else was swimming.  The chop that was moving offshore was against the wind chop and swell from the SW.  The combined chop and swell were small but they made a varied bumpy surface.
It was a beautiful day, 70° and sunny. I spoke to Tom and Jamie as they got out before I was getting in. Tom thought the water temperature was 53°. The water temperature varied a bit and my thermometer said 53° to 54°. Tom's toes seem to be well calibrated.  
I swam two complete triangles. The Garmin plot of my swim stopped recording distance and time when I rounded the first buoy on the west side and headed west back along the buoy line. Garmin reacquired me when I was at the end of the Avila Pier when time and distance jumped ahead 20 minutes.    

At the end of the Avila Pier.
Any evidence of a temporal vortex that would explain the jump in time and distance did not appear in the photograph.

The direction of the combined swell, chops and wind was from the SW. The leg from the 4th buoy on the east side to the end of the Avila Pier had the toughest chop and strongest push. Each of the rest of the legs were less difficult but each was different. 
This is the last weekend for the Avila Lifeguards for the 2023 season.  Their presence is much appreciated and it is nice to know that they are keeping an eye on us when we are out there beyond the buoy line.

I plan on swimming on Tuesday at 7 and I will be absent until Thursday, the 9th of the following week.


Saturday, October 28, 2023

Saturday, October 28th, 2023

At 7 AM it was 47° in Avila Beach. It was clear, the big full moon had gone down behind the hills and the sun was rising behind Fossil Point. Wind chop was already wrapping around the breakwater at the port so the water was getting lumpy.
Jodi, Niel and Tom were joined by Stefanie. The water temperature was 54°to 55°. 
We swam parallel to the beach until we ran out of room at Fossil Point. Tom and Stefanie went back along the buoys and would swim the whole buoy line. Niel and Jodi swam to the end of the Poly Pier and then in to the beach.  

Niel in front with Jodi, Tom and Stefanie at the 4th buoy on the east side. 

I'll swim tomorrow at 11.


Thursday, October 26, 2023

Thursday, October 26th, 2023


Getting in to swim at sunrise is great. Today it was 48° with a little offshore wind, pretty flat and glassy, the water was 57° and the surf was knee high. 
It was just me this morning. I felt like a Poly Pier Loop. I saw four cormorants at different spots along the Poly Pier. 

I'll swim at 7 on Saturday and at 11 on Sunday. 


Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Tuesday, October 24th, 2023

Today's numbers were a 54° air temperature, the water at 56°-57°, an offshore breeze, kind'a lumpy water and clear with another great sunrise.  

From the 4th buoy on the west side of the pier. 

My plan was to swim back and forth along the buoy line but to go around instead of under the pier. I needed to do the east side twice to get my distance.  

Duke was swimming out as I was going in. He was going to do the buoy line today. 

I'll swim Thursday and Saturday at 7 and Sunday at 11.

Pat Mead completed the Fresno Ironman in 10:55:38. Averaged 21 mph on the bike. That is the only detail I have. Maybe he will join us Sunday and we can check out the new t-shirt.


Sunday, October 22, 2023

Sunday, October 22nd, 2023

 It is feeling like fall in Avila Beach 

At 10:30 Duke and I were holding down the beach. There were more people walking on the beach than set up with blankets or chairs. It was 63° and calm but the breeze was starting up and by 12:30 the swimming conditions would be blown out. Pismo looked to be fogged in and fog was trying to roll over the hills west of the port. The water was colder at 56° and the temperature is supposed to slide down a few more degrees in this coming week.    

Duke and I got in on the west side at the second buoy. He swam straight out past the end of the pier, turned left, swam to the lifeguard tower on the east side and in for his 1,100 yds. I turned left at the buoy line for the 4th buoy on the east side with a plan to do two triangles. My shoulders had been aching the whole way and at the end of the first triangle I decided that one triangle would be good for today. I did my own tri on Friday; the Shovel, Wheelbarrow and Rake 4 cu. yds. of bark tri and doing 6 hours of real work seems to have put the hurt on my shoulders. Our yard looks really nice though.

Again, no plot today. I fired the staff who forgot to start my watch yesterday and got it started today. When I got out I saw 1900M on the clock but when I got home Mr. Garmin said that there was no data. I rebooted the watch and I'll see how it goes Tuesday.  

Sending out thoughts to give Pat a push who is doing the full Ironman in Fresno today. 

I'll swim on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings at 7 and Sunday at 11.


Saturday, October 21, 2023

Saturday, October 20th, 2023


More Sun, Less Surf and Happy Swimmers
Jodi, Paula and Niel at the 2nd crossbars on the Poly Pier
Thursday's fog and big, messy surf were gone today. At 6:45 it was 50° and clear in Avila Beach with a nice sunrise coming up over Fossil Point. There were some 4'  sets but they didn't halve the power of Thursday's surf and were well spaced out.  Between the sets were periods of 2 to 3' waves. The water temperature was +/- 57°
Swimming this morning were Paula, Niel and Jodi. We went out to the first buoy on the east side of the pier, crossed under the pier and swam to the second crossbars on the Poly Pier. Then we did a loop to the end of the Poly Pier, to the end of the Avila Pier, to the 4th buoy on the east side and back along the buoy line to our starting point.  Paula went in from the end of the Avila Pier. There was a long period swell with a decent lift during the entire swim. Between the ends of the Poly and Avila Piers there was a push coming from the beach.  Since there was no offshore wind this was really strange. It was strong enough to push us to the right (offshore) on the way to the Avila Pier.

Somebody forgot to start my watch for me so I have no plot of today's swim. From experience this route is about 3,200M.

I'll swim tomorrow at 11.

Gear Report -  Orca Safety Buoy

I really like this buoy. It has a double screw cap on the bladder which makes inflation and deflation really easy. It also set up to hold a hydration bladder. There is a mesh pocket on the back with a Velcro closure. The pocket has an opening at the bottom for the hose and two elastic loops along the side of the float to hold the hose. I'm not sure I'll use the pocket for a bladder but it is handy. Paula found a tennis ball in the water at the end of the Poly Pier so I had a handy place to stash it. My only issue is that the fittings on the belt seem to be a bit flimsy. Similar to most floats the Orca has an adjustable flat nylon strap that come off of the float and and attaches to the waist belt. The Orca uses a   

to attach the line from the float toe the belt.  Theirs is not as sturdy as the one in the image. 
On Tuesday the slider broke as I was coming in through the regular sized surf. I still had the belt and my camera and thermometer, I picked up the float on the beach and now run the belt through the loop of the strap from the buoy with no plastic fastener.  The float seems to be very well made so Orca may have had calm swimming in mind with this design.    


Thursday, October 19, 2023

Thursday, October 19th, 2023

Mr. Magoo and the Surf -

Avila was all dense fog this morning. From Front Street I could see only a short way out along the pier. The air temp. was 57°, it was damp and drippy, there was no wind, a very high tide and the surf was sounding large. The water temperature was 57° and felt pretty comfortable, probably because once I was in the water there were a lot of other things to focus on.

I walked down to the water and didn't like what I was seeing on the east side of the pier and walked over to the west side which isn't usually as large. I waded out to waist deep and tried to figure out what the waves were doing.  The waves were stacked up close together and had sufficient power that it was difficult to stand in the wash. The white water was head high. Later, Duke and I agreed that the large swells were 6 to 7 feet.  
On the west side I could just see the waves when they began breaking. That's a Mr. Magoo in the surf moment.  That was not going to work so backed out and walked down the beach most of the way to the creek to where the waves were more mellow and swam out without having to do any duck diving. (I took this picture after I had gotten out and the visibility had improved).
Outside of the buoy line the surface conditions were something. I think that there were three different swells, all a foot + high, all from the SE to SW.  Swimming across that surface was a full body workout. 
The light was so flat that my photo doesn't convey the very lumpy nature of the water's surface.

Coming back in I didn't judge the sets correctly and got in too far as the swell was building. I swam back out and dove under three breakers. It was still big and I was getting gassed so with goggles full of water I just swam for the beach and took what the water had for me until I could stand up.

Duke had arrived after I had gotten in. I saw his car when I got out but I never saw him in the water. After I'd changed I used my binoculars to look for him and both sides of the pier and never saw him until he was at his car. He told me that he could see me scamming the ocean when we was on the buoy line but even with his yellow cap and buoy I never saw him. 

We had a good laugh about how much sand was in our wetsuits and declared it to be a memorable day for swimming at Avila Beach.

I'll swim Saturday at 7 and Sunday at 11. 


Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Tuesday, October 17th, 2023

The Numbers: The air temp.: 61°, the water temp.: 56°/57°, clear, calm, 2 to 3 foot surf with an occasional 4 to 5 footer and another great sunrise. It was just me this morning. 

I swam two counter clockwise triangles. 

Fossil Point sunrise and glassy swimming conditions.

The first time I rounded the reef buoy I got the stink eye from two otters who where next to the buoy.  They were way up out of the water as if they were standing on the kelp. I guess they were trying to figure out what kind of an awkward seal like thing I was. I looked the other way and kept swimming. They would have dived if I had stopped and turned towards them to take a photo.   

Duke and I will swim on Thursday at 7.


Sunday, October 15, 2023

Sunday, October 15th, 2023

 At 11 o'clock Margarita, Duke, David and Niel got in on the west side of the pier.  It was sunny and breezy with an air temperature of 75° and a water temp of 57° which felt a lot friendlier than yesterday mornings 49° air and 55° water.  
Margarite and Duke would do Duke's 1000 yds around the Avila Pier. Niel and David were going to swim over to the second crossbars on the Poly Pier and go from there. 
Margarite and Duke getting in 

The surf was 2 to 3 foot with an occasional 4 to 5 footer. When I jumped through the lip of a 5 footer I found put that I had not zipped up my wetsuit. I could only get the zipper up about half way so I caught up with Duke and had him finish zipping me up. We headed out on our respective routes.    

David, Margarite and Duke behind his float at the first buoy.

Half of the way to the Poly Pier Justin caught up with me. We had met before after a morning swim. He is training for a half and was interested in joining us. The three of us swam to the second crossbars and to the end of the Avila Pier.

David, Niel and Justin's route

Justin, Niel and David at the end of the Avila Pier. 

Justin went in from the end of the Avila Pier.  David and I headed towards the end of the Poly Pier. This leg was into a steep head slapping chop that required some mind games to deal with. Fortunately the chop flattened out some as we approached the Poly Pier and got into the shadow of the breakwater.

David and I swam in to the third crossbars and from there directly to the beach.

Duke and I will swim Tuesday and Thursday at 7. Jodi, Tom and I will swim on Saturday at 7 and I'll swim on Sunday with Duke and whoever else shows up.


P.S. - The problem with the text is not you. Sometimes Blogspot gets into a funk and refuses to left justify text. It's a free google app so I'm getting what I paid for.


Saturday, October 14, 2023

Saturday, October 14th, 2023

Two Benchmarks -
For the first time this season at 7AM the air temperature was below 50°, at 49°, and the water temperature had slid to 55°. 

Soon there may be frost on the pumpkins soon.

For the rest of today's conditions we had fog, a light offshore wind, 2 to 3 foot surf with an occasional 4 footer, no swell to speak of and no chop. The offshore breeze did provide a strong smell of bacon from the Custom House kitchen as we were swimming. 

Niel, Tom and Jodi were swimming. 

At 6:45 the was a hole in the fog between the Avila and Poly Piers so we started planning a back and forth route between the two piers. By the time we were ready to get in the fog had moved west from Fossil Point and I could not see the end of the Avila Pier, let alone the lights on the end of the Poly Pier.
Plan B was to start down the buoy line to the east to the last buoy and see what we could see to swim to from there. From the 4th buoy we could clearly see the end of the Avila Pier so we swam to there. At the end of the Avila Pier we could now see the entire Poly Pier so we swam to the end of the CPP and in to the second crossbars where there was a nice spot of sun . then we headed back into the gray to the end of the Avila Pier and in to the beach.        

At the end of the Avila Pier
Tom, Jodi and Niel 

At the showers my jug of hot water, wool turtleneck, fleece and Uggs are beginning to be considered the best part of the swim.  

I'm swimming tomorrow at 11.


Thursday, October 12, 2023

Thursday, October 12th, 2023

 Wind, Waves and Colder

When I arrived a Avila at 7 there was an offshore wind picking up. It was clear, 57° and the wind was holding up the occasional 5' breakers. There was no chop on the water yet. I didn't see Dukes car. Getting out through the surf required good timing but no duck diving. 
I decided to wander around between the two piers; the second crossbars, the end of the Avila pier, the end of the Poly Pier, the third crossbars and a second stop at the end of the Avila Pier before going in. The water is down to 56°. In the last week the water temp has gone from 56° to 61° and back to 56°. My hands and toes got cold today so I'm thinking I may need to up my neoprene this weekend. 

At the end of the Poly Pier. 

When I was on the leg to the end of the Poly Pier from the Avila Pier there was a push and chop coming off of the beach. It was running against the swell so the surface conditions were 'mixed'. 

Duke got in at 7:30 and did his loop around the Avila Pier.

I'll be back at 7 on Saturday and at 11 on Sundry.


Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Tuesday, October 10th, 2023

This morning Avila had heavy overcast. It was 57° with a light breeze. The water temperature was 59°, colder than Sunday but still on the warm end of the scale for Avila in October.  The surf was small and the water glassy with just a bit of a ruffle.     

This morning seemed like a day to go around the Poly Pier. For me the choice of direction is about which way I feel that I'd like to finish and this morning it meant swimming clockwise. 

Swinging around the end of the Poly Pier to swim down the west side.

I was not feeling too enthusiastic when arrived and got in but a problem with my cap set me right. Not far down the buoy line I began feeling a rub on my neck from the strap on the cap so I began paying attention to what I was doing with my head. I was lifting it too much when I breathed on the left (I alternate breath) and was twisting my nick instead of letting my head roll with my shoulders. With that sorted out my shoulders started feeling nice and strong and it felt good to push through the whole swim.  

After I had changed I saw Duke getting out.
He looked a bit bushed but I think he was glad that he is  
already getting strong enough to push himself.

He had seen Jim in the water.  

I'll be back Thursday and Saturday at 7. 


Sunday, October 8, 2023

Sunday, October 8th, 2023

61° Water!
The weather today was quite a bit different than yesterday.  At 10:30 Avila had heavy fog or overcast. The air temperature was 66°, there was a wind out of the west and I measured water temperature of 16°C/60.8°F.  It was 56° last Tuesday.  61°is as warm as the water had been all summer.
Peter Kelley stopped by and he is of the opinion that the predicted Super El Nino will mean warm water temperatures all winter. We can only wait as see. 

Duke, Pat, Niel and Jim swam today at 11. Duke does his own route while Pat, Niel and Jim set out to do a east side version of the Yo-Yo route that I did on the west side last Thursday.  

There was an occasional 3 foot wave and a very small chop. There was a swell out of the SW that I had to push into when heading to towards the end of the Avila Pier.

I didn't stop for any photos today.

Afterwards during lunch we had a pod of dolphins swim west parallel to shore between the buoy line and the end of the pier.  Then we had a pod of whales a good ways out headed in the same direction. 

Tom Lorish swam at San Semeion Cove and said that it was nice.

I'll swim on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 7


Saturday, October 7, 2023

Saturday, October 7th, 2023

Wow, what a nice day to swim at Avila Beach.

Niel, Jim, Tom Israel, Sue and Jodi swam this morning. We got in at 7 AM and swam around Avila Rock. Neither Jim or Tom had been out there before and today turned out to be a wonderful day for that route. It was 55° at 7 with a slight offshore breeze, no clouds, an occasional 3 foot wave with glassy water.     

Tom, Jodi and Niel getting in with Jim in the background just off of Jodi's right shoulder. The water temperature was up to 59° 😀.  The water felt comfortable and easy to swim in.   

I was the slowest swimmer in the water. The group started pushing each other so I got to the rock after Jim, Tom and Sue everyone had made their turn and headed back towards the Avila Pier. 

Jodi waited for me so I got a photo of us with the rock in the background.
Avila Rock blends in in the photo. It is the brown lump in front of the light color of Fossil Point.   

In order to make it a full hour Jodi and I did a finishing loop over to the #4 buoy and back to the pier. It was 72° and getting warm when we were at the showers. 

I'll swim tomorrow at 11. 


Thursday, October 5, 2023

Thursday, October 5th, 2023

I got in a bit before 7. Jim caught up with me about 15 minutes later. Today Duke did his ride first so I did not see him. He did swing by and leave a card on my car when I was swimming. 
At 7 Avila was 53° and sunny with a gusty offshore wind.  It felt like it was going to be a warm day. It was clear and the water wasn't too choppy.  I did the Yo-Yo between the right hand buoys and the end of the Avila Pier. Jim swam his own route, passing me a couple of times.   

I started by swimming down the buoy line to #4 and swimming the longest leg first and having only the length of the pier to do for the final leg.   The water was 57° and by 7 o'clock there was a chop and push coming offshore. The legs to the end of the pier had become noticeably easier than swimming  toward shore.  

Jim and I looking into the sunrise at the end of the Avila Pier.

I'll swim Saturday morning at 7 with Jodi and Tom and Sunday at 11 with Duke.

The lifeguards are working just on weekends in October. At the end of this month the guards and the buoys go away until next spring.



Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Tuesday, October 3rd. 2023


I arrived at Avila earlier than usual and was able to enjoy the first part of the sunrise over Fossil Point.
It was 56°, calm and clear. The water was also 56° but felt colder to me than Sunday's 56°. The lack of sunshine on my back will make the water feel a degree or so colder than my thermometer says. The surf was up to 4'. The largest ones were barreling and making a nice boom when they broke.  
I decided to swim Jodi and my route from Saturday the other way around, heading down the buoy line, to the end of the Avila Pier, to the second crossbars on the Poly Pier, out to the end of the pier and then the 1100M swim to the beach.
Duke would arrive between 7 and 8 and do his lap around the Avila Pier. 

Sunrise from the Poly Pier.

Duke and I got out at the same time and met up on the beach. He was pleased that he 
had felt like pushing and for the first time was a bit tired from swimming. Not too bad for less than two weeks back in the water. 

Duke and I will swim on Thursday at 7.


Sunday, October 1, 2023

Sunday, October 1st, 2023

It hurts to write it this but we had a beautiful fall day at Avila beach today.  
It is no longer summer.
The 'shoulder' months in the spring and fall are often our best; no choice between ripping afternoon winds or fog along the beaches, sunny, the beaches and roads are empty of tourists and the weather can be the best. So, I'm working at embracing the colder water and getting into enjoying fall.
At 10:30 Avila was sunny with no clouds and in the low 60's. It was not crowded. There was a light breeze, small waves and the water looked clean. There was enough of a wind to put a small to medium chop on the water. 

Duke and I were on the beach getting ready when Tom Lorish and Jamie got out. They had swum out to the end of the Poly Pier.  Tom's toes told him that the water temperature was 54°.

Duke was aiming for 1000M and I was planning on an easy 2 miles. We got in on the right side of the pier. Duke went out and back around the pier and I found the energy to do two triangles. The chop had a decent push to it and was enough to make each leg a different swim. Fortunately, by starting on the right side going counterclockwise and then doubling back on the same route I had the easiest conditions on the second lap. My thermometer read 56° at the end of the Avila Pier. It felt just like yesterday's 56° to me. 

Afterwards Duke and I hung on the beach for a while. The temperature was prefect with the light breeze.  It could have been nap time but both of us needed to get going on the rest of the day.

I'm panning on swimming Tue., Thurs., and Saturday at 7 and next Sunday at 11.  
I'm getting a COVID booster tomorrow. I've not had a strong reaction to the previous ones but I may not feel like swimming Tuesday morning.  

GH Sports is having their annual 3 Day Sale on this coming Thursday - Saturday. 

Product Review - Orca Wetsuit Sizing

I bought a Orca RS1 Thermal wetsuit about a year and a half ago and just replaced it when they went on sale. I like swimming in their wetsuit. It is very flexible and comfortable.  The feel much better than an XTERRA and the Orca is easier to put on and take off. However, their sizing is wonky. I have been happy with a MT in many Patagonia and XTERRA wetsuits. I checked Orca's height and weight chart and ordered a 6/MT. I swam in it right away and it seemed short in the torso, and observation that Hillary Trout's experience with these wetsuits confirmed. It was hard to get the suit up far enough for the collar to fit right. There are no returns after you have swum in their suits so I pull the legs and the torso up as best I can and deal with it. My new one is a size 7 and fits better but still could be longer in the torso. I compared the Orca 6/MT to my Patagonia MT and from shoulders to crotch the Patagonia suit is 2.5 inches longer than the Orca. The arms are the same length. The Orca is cut more for a gorilla than a triathlete. If you want to try their wetsuits the best sizing information is in the drop down menu where you pick the size of the suit you are ordering. Entering your sex, height and weight in the tool will give you three sizing options with remarks about how each size will fit.