Monday, April 15, 2024

Monday April 15th, 2024

 From Tom Lorish - 

Well, the water seems to have warmed up to about 53° while I was gone over the weekend.  Nice conditions this morning. Swam around the rock.  🪨

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Saturday, April 13th, 2024

 Vertical Swimming - 

Jodi, Tom and Niel did  a swim in storm conditions this morning. The air temperature was 52°. It was very windy with light rain. The water temperature was up to 53° to 54°. The surf wasn't large but the SW wind from the storm had pushed up a highly variable, large and confused swell that made today a very physical swim. The swells were close together so getting in sync with the water required me to do short and frequent breathing. We all swallowed a lot of water.   
The beach was covered with Velella velellas or By The Wind Sailors, palm sized colonies of small animals that number in the billions and are pushed by the wind. The steady onshore winds from this storm has driven large numbers onto the Central Coast beaches. They are a beautiful blue color but it is sad to see so many dying on the beach. 

I've also been seeing baseball sized globs of tar on the beach this week. I don't see nearly as much of this as was common before the big cleanup in the late 90's. Jodi stepped in some today. Baby Oil and a strong paper towel is the best way to remove the tar.  

Swimming parallel to the beach and parallel to the swell was the most difficult, across or into the swell was easier.  We did 2362 M in an hour which tells you that the conditions were swimmable but couldn't make good progress. 

Tom and Jodi.

Experience what it was like out there today:  

I'll swim tomorrow at 11 if we do not get enough rain to dirty up the water. 


Friday, April 12, 2024

Friday April 12th, 2024

Tom Lorish's Swim Report - 

Silly me…   I thought the rain and cold were done for the year. On Wednesday at 9:30 when I swam it was 73 ° and Clear blue skies at Avila… When I got in at 9:30 today, it was 54° With a drizzly rain. The water was about 51° and choppy. The good news is, the cold showers felt warm! 

Tom Israel's Swim Report -  
I jumped in today for a little swim. It was pretty rough out there.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Thursday, April 11th, 2024

 Avila was fogged in this morning. I could not see the buoys from the shore, so I swam both buoy lines whit a lap around the pier. The sun was starting to come and go when I was getting out. The tide was very low making it seem like I would be able to walk out to the buoy. 
The air temperature was 48°, the water was very flat with one to two plus surf and 52°. Out along the pier the water was colder, probably 50° or 51°.     
I could keep a reasonably straight course by judging my direction by the lights along front street. 
A bit of a Arthur C. Clarke moment with the #1 buoy 

It is hard to believe right now but we are predicted to get showers Friday night and .5 to 1 inch or rain and thunderstorms on Saturday. If the rain holds off the Saturday group will slip in a swim at 7AM.
Sunday could be washed out. 


Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Tuesday, April 9th, 2024

I did a couple of triangles this morning. At 6:50 AM the weather at Avila was clear, 42°, the sun was up and the offshore breeze was gusty. The surf was flat and the water was glassy and 48° to 49°.

Yes, I am wearing booties at these temperatures so that my feet don't get so cold that I can't feel them or the cold water anymore and I can pretty much stand up and walk without embarrassment when I get out of the water, so wearing booties is not as entertaining for the people walking their dogs but better for me.

I'll swim Thursday at 6:15 to 7. There is a change in the weather coming Friday night but I hope the predicted showers don't keep me out of the water.


Sunday, April 7, 2024

Sunday, April 7th, 2024


The weather today at Avila was lovely and it was not crowded. At 10:30 it was sunny, 62° and breezy with nice cotton ball clouds. It was still flat offshore so this looked like a good day to swim to the Avila Rock. 
I spoke to Tom Lorish before I got in. He had swum over to the Poly Pier.
It is amazing what some sunshine, an additional 30° in air temperature and a positive attitude can make. Yesterday the water was 49°, today it  was 50 - 51°. At 7AM yesterday Jodi and I expected to be cold. Today I was expecting to have a much warmer swim and did.         

This coming week I'll be swimming Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday ay 7 and Sunday at 11. 


Saturday, April 6, 2024

Saturday, April 6th, 2024


Two Popsicles - 

Niel and Jodi got in at 7AM. In Avila Beach it was clear with an offshore breeze and 35°. The water was 49° and felt every bit of that. The surf was 2 to 3 foot. The was a medium wind chop on the water. It was going to be a cold swim.
We swam a route that Jodi suggested; left along the buoys to the last one, out past the kelp where the reef buoy used to be and over to the end of the Poly Pier. Then we doubled back along our route for a couple of miles in 1:20 (that's total time in the water).

The water was nice and clean. The offshore wind made the swim back a bit more work than the way out and it was sunny at the showers, which is a big bonus after a cold swim.

I'll be back tomorrow at 11.


Thursday, April 4, 2024

Thursday, April 4th, 2024


Jim and I got in a bit before 7 and both did short swims. Jim's shoulder is bothering him and I  was cold this morning. The water was 50°, about what it has been for the last 10 days, but I was feeling it more than usual. I think it was a mental thing more than physical. The swimming conditions were great, the water was flat and glassy, there was no wind and the water was clean. 
There was a big surprise getting in. I got one step into knee dee water and the next one had me in up to my chest, cutting the easing into the water down to one step. That hole was still there when I got out for a wave to push me into.   

I'd like to swim Saturday and Sunday but I'll see what we get for rain before deciding. 


Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2024

 Tom's Swim Report -

Oh, Niel! The water was 50°, maybe even 49.  Of course, it may have felt colder because of the heavy marine layer.  The water was calm beautiful and glassy.  Excellent swimming conditions. 

Thanks Tom. I think that it may be spring conditions for a while.


Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2024

 Spring Conditions - 

Jim and I got in at 7. Jim swam on Saturday and Sunday and said that he enjoyed beautiful conditions with water about 53° - 54°.  My toes told me it was definitly not 54° this morning. The 47° air temp and slight offshore breeze had the water at 50° except over along the Poly Pier where it was about 1° colder. 
We got going and enjoyed the great swimming conditions while waiting to acclimate to the water temperature.  It took most of the buoy line for me to get evened out with the water temperature. Today's route was the west buoy line, second crossbars, the end of the Avila Pier, the end of the Poly Pier, back to the second crossbars and back to and along the buoys.  I don't think that I've done this exact route before. It turned out to be 3,742M which was plenty .

There is a 'chance of showers' Thursday night and Friday, so Thursday morning looks good and probably Saturday as well.

Update, Living with a GoPro10 -

I'm very happy with my GoPro10 and the support that the company has provided. The initial purchase came with a year of their membership program which I have continued for $50/year . Being in the water 4 times a week the programs once a year, no questions asked replacement of the camera seemed like a good investment. I've not needed that level of support but I've twice had small exterior parts replaced when years of salt water exposure took their toll.
Taking the photos for the blog used up 6+ water proof cameras before I tried a GoPro and their camera has outlasted anything else I've had. Recently I've started having trouble with water droplets hanging onto the lens protector and causing blobs in the photos. Today's photo is an example. This is a new issue. For years whatever GoPro coated the lens protector with would leave the glass clear. I have been unable to find anything that will stop water drops from clinging to the glass. I contacted GoPro this morning and I'll have a new lens protector in a few days.


Monday, April 1, 2024

Monday, April 1st, 2024

 Tom Bags Another One - 
Another amazing spring swim at Avila this morning.  Swam around the rock again. Met up with a bunch of otters in the kelp beds nearby and had a seal escort me back to the beach. Great start to the week. 

Hummm, nothing about the seal surfing in with Tom and giving him a magic shell and three wishes.

Tom's missed a holiday opportunity there.


Sunday, March 31, 2024

Sunday, March 31st, 2024

 Tom's Easter Swim Report -

It was a perfect day for a swim… On the east side. Clear blue skies with beautiful big puffy💨 clouds scattered in the sky. The water was clear and beautiful. The swell Waves were clean and lined up nicely. The water was 51 or 52. I swam around the Avila rock.  

Good for Tom.
I did not swim today. My prediction was off as I expected the water to still be brown with runoff. My to do list around the house profited but I missed a chance for a nice swim. 

Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 7 look good. 


Friday, March 29, 2024

Friday, March 29th, 2024

Two Tom's Catch Get In Before The Storm -  

Swim report from Tom Lorish - 

Roughest, coldest swim I've had in a long time.  If you look closely, you can see the buoy riding up on that swell wave.  You get a sense of how big the swell was, and how rough the water was. 🥶

Nice photo Tom, the buoy is about 3 feet tall and it looks pretty small on that face so the wave is more than twice as tall.  

Swim report from Tom Israel - 

I swam today and it was very rough out there.... good luck tomorrow. Hope it's better for you guys.

Unfortunately Jodi and I will sit this one out. SLO has had an inch of rain between 2 and 9 PM and more to come. The water will be muddy and buggy tomorrow.


Thursday, March 28, 2024

Thursday, March 28th, 2024

 Down Looks Like Up From Here. 

Today the water was warmer than it was on Tuesday and felt more comfortable, but at 50° it was still at the bottom of the range for Avila Beach.  The air temp was also in the low 50's, there was light rain and wind. The water was glassy with 2 to 3 foot surf.  

I was late and got in about 15 minutes after Jim. I saw him swimming out along the Avila Pier but didn't manage to catch up with him. 

Swimming Saturday and Sunday will depend on how much rain we get before Saturday morning. If San Luis Obispo gets only a quarter inch or so I'll swim on Saturday. 


Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Tuesday, March 26th, 2024

Back To The Bottom Numbers -

The water looked beautiful this morning, flat and glassy with small surf. The air temperature was  43°, it was sunny and calm so Jim and I were looking forward to a nice swim. It all changed when our feet hit the water. The water was 48°or 49° depending on if you were in a warm(er) or cold(er) spot.  We did not spend much time hanging in the water at the meet up points. 
Other than the water temperature the swimming was great. 
When I was at the showers it was sunny, calm and warming up which helped me to warm up.   

Niel and Jim at the end of the Avila Pier.

I'll swim Thursday at 7. A powerful rainstorm is predicted for late Friday and through the weekend so swimming this Saturday and Sunday will be weather dependent. 


Sunday, March 24, 2024

Sunday, March 24th, 2024

Jim and I had a great swim today. The water was lumpy/stormy with swells out of the S and SE, rain clouds passing over, rain showers, sunshine and periods of strong wind out of the west, but no thunderstorms. We got beat up and pushed around and had lots of fun. The conditions kept changing with both the direction we were swimming and time. The second triangle was more sunny and not as difficult as the first. After we got out a strong gusty wind came up out of the west and hurried me into my dry clothes.
The water temperature was up to 53° and the area near the creek mouth was not muddy with runoff.      

Jim and I at the 4th buoy on the east side. 

I'm planning on swimming my usual schedule; Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 7 and Sunday at 11. Rain is predicted for Friday night into the weekend so the schedule may change. 


Saturday, March 23, 2024

Saturday, March 23rd, 2024

Jodi, Tom Israel and Niel got in at 7. It were scattered clouds, the air temperature was 47°, and the morning offshore breeze was rising with the sunrise. The rain last night had not dirtied the water. The surf was 2 to 3 feet with no sign of a bigger swell from the storm. The negotiated route would celebrate the return of the swim zone buoys by swimming the length of the buoy line and to not to repeat a leg, so, we swam to the left end of the buoys, to the end of the Poly Pier, in to the 2nd crossbars, over to the last buoy near the creek and along the right buoy line to our starting point.  The water was still 52°.

Jodi, Tom and Niel near the left end of the buoy line.  

As we swam further offshore there was a large swell but the swimming stayed smooth. We swam through some showers that moved west to east across the bay.  

Coming in we were surprised by a couple of 5 to 6 foot waves. The first one picked up Jodi and I and gave us a view from it's lip of Tom looking up and back at us from the impact zone. We slid down the back of the wave and floated over the second one. There wasn't a third so we swam for shore where Tom's cap was visible in the whitewater. He'd ducked under the waves, avoided a round in the spin cycle and caught a smaller wave that took him to the beach.

I'll be back tomorrow to swim at 11. There may be some showers but it should be a beautiful day at the beach.

Gear Report - Garmin 935 upgrade to 945 

Last week I replaced the second of the Garmin 735's I've had with a 745. The second one was a refurbished model that Garmin gave me a deal on when a seal failed in my first 735. Recently the second one had what appeared to be a battery failure. It locked up, took multiple reboots to get the display back and then didn't have GPS and showed the wrong time, so I got on the web and went shopping. I was happy with the 735 but it is discontinued. Garmin's list for the 745 is $499. Online a refurbished 735 was $230, a new 735 was $285 and a new 745 was selling for $330. I was happy with the 735 but rather than buy a 'new' watch that had been on the shelf for years with its battery aging out I bought the 745. Its basic functions are very much like the 735 but I had some reservations. The 745 has Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Garmin Pay and Sportify and certainly other stuff that I would need to dig into and turn off to dial it back to how I'd like it. It is not unlike getting a new phone.  On the upside, the buttons are a different design and look to be more resistant to sand and salt, so less chance of a leak. It has improved GPS and the plots of my runs and swims are more true to my route without the zig zags in the previous plots. It also, somehow, logged my heart rate through my wetsuit today!  It does a different pulse sensor. Tomorrow's swim will tell me more.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Thursday, March 21st, 2024

It's Official - It Is Summer at Avila Beach

OK, the water temperature is still 52° but the swim zone buoys are back in the water and the lifeguards will be working beginning this weekend so the beach season has officially begun.   
The buoys on the west side were in when Jim and I swam out this morning.
The derrick was putting the buoys in on the east side when I was leaving for home.   

It was 42° when Jim and I got in. A offshore breeze was starting and would strengthen as we were swimming.  We couldn't pass up swimming the west buoy line and then swam over to the second crossbars on the Poly Pier, back to the Avila Pier and to the third crossbars. Jim's shoulder had had enough when we were about 2/3's of the way to the third crossbars so he turned back there while I continued to the third crossbars, the end of the Poly Pier and back to the Avila Pier.  

Jim and Niel at the second crossbars

While I was swimming out along the Poly Pier the chop became pretty bumpy.  When I turned to the Avila Pier I was swimming into the wind and chop. That far offshore the chop was slapping my head and messing with my hands but it flattened out the closer I got to shore. Swimming into the chop from an offshore breeze can be a nice piece of work because the chop will lay down as you get closer to shore and you'll feel stronger and more relaxed as you finish.     

We both had a very nice swim today. 

NOAA is predicting an 80% chance of a 1/4 to 1/2 inch of rain after midnight Friday and a 50% chance of a additional tenth on Saturday. Unless it dumps more than is predicted I'll swim Saturday at 7 and Sunday at 11 because I want to celebrate the return of the swim buoys.


Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Tuesday, March 19th, 2024

Signs of Spring at Avila Beach:

Fog, pelicans, cold water and more people on the weekends. 

Fossil Point 
We have all of those now. Jim and Niel got in just before 7. It was 46° and calm with patchy fog. The water was 52° with a mix of small swells. The surf was small except for a very occasional thumper. The bottom is flat a long way out so the small waves break on shore and the big ones will break way out.    

Jim and I swam out to the end of the pier and began a counterclockwise triangle. Jim's shoulder lasted until we came to the creek mouth, so he headed back and I continued on to complete two laps before coming in along the pier.

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


Sunday, March 17, 2024

Sunday, March 17th, 2024

Sunday was a exceptional early summer day at Avila Beach. It was 70°, cloudless and almost windless with small surf. There was a wind chop out of the west that wasn't noticeable until you got a good distance offshore. 
We had a lot of people in the water today. Coach Tom Lorish brought a group from the CP women's water pollo team and swam with them around the Avila Pier. Then Tom swam over to the CP Pier. Sue from London was here and swam Friday and today. Today she swam around the Avila Rock. Niel, Jim and Tom Israel also took advantage of the favorable offshore conditions and swam around the Avila Rock. 
Avila Beach at 10:30

Jim, Niel and Tom at the Avila Rock.

Avila Beach at 1 PM.

Beautiful spring weather is predicted for this week so I'll be swimming 
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 7 and next Sunday at 11.



Saturday, March 16, 2024

Saturday, March 16th, 2024

Jodi, Jim and Niel
at the end of the Avila Pier
It Might Be Spring - 

At sunrise it was 39° and clear with the beginnings of an offshore breeze.  The surf was up a bit, there were occasional sets of 4+ footers with 2 to 3 footers in between.   

The water temperature at Avila Beach is the coldest in the spring, so Thursday's 50° and todays 49° are providing spring swimming conditions. The water is nice and clean and the offshore breeze puts a chop on the water to make it more interesting. 
When Niel, Jim and Jodi began wading in this morning there were expressions about unhappy toes. After full immersion and a short swim out to where we grouped up the conversation was short and we got back to swimming in order to not focus on how our exposed skin was feeling. 

We swam the west buoy line, to the end of the Avila Pier and to the second crossbars on the Poly Pier. That was enough for Jim's shoulder so he went back while Jodi and Niel swam to the end of the Poly Pier and back to the end of the Avila Pier.  Offshore as far as the end of the Poly Pier the wind chop was real enough to make swimming like running a rocky trail, except for the addition of 3 foot swells.  The chop would flatten out the closer we got to shore which was nice to keep in mind during the slog back to the Avila Pier.
Spring also means that it is sunny at the showers which makes getting changed a much friendlier experience. 

I'm looking forward to swimming tomorrow at 11.


Thursday, March 14, 2024

Thursday, March 14th,2024

 Five-O -

This morning the water temperature at the Poly Pier was 50°. It felt cold getting in, but it always does when the water is below about 55°. I guess the water temperature by judging how long it takes to stop noticing how cold the water feels and get into the swimming. My thermometer then tells me how accurate my bare skin estimate was.  I was thinking probably colder that the 52's we have had recently but not 50°.  It is nice to find out the water was colder than I thought it was. 
I'd gotten in just before 7. It was a chilly feeling 44° with a light wind and clear skies with a nice sunrise. The water was flat close to shore but bumpy further out.     

I'll be back Saturday at 7 and Sunday at 11.


Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Tuesday, March 12th, 2024

The Avila Pier from near the mouth of San Luis Creek. 

I'm back to swimming at sunrise. I got in a bit after 7 when the light was good enough to see everything clearly. 

At 7 it was 45° in Avila and calm. The surf sounded large but was the same as it had been over the weekend, one to three foot breakers with an occasional larger set. The water is holding at 52°.

I did clockwise and counterclockwise triangles and swam 3,501M in 1:18.

Swimming parallel to the beach I'd occasionally find myself on the top of a big swell looking way down to the beach, but when I came in I swam to the shore without having to deal with any waves. 
The bottom is evened out now so there are no holes to drop into.

I'll be back on Thursday morning at 7.


Sunday, March 10, 2024

Sunday, March 10th, 2024

Today's conditions were calm, completely gray and 51° above the water and 52° and very clear in the water. The waves were up with sets of 3'+ and there was a short period SW swell and no chop, so the water was smooth and lumpy. 

Swimming today were Tom Lorish, Tom Israel, Paula Dooley, Jim and Niel.  When I arrived Tom L. was already heading out to the end of the Avila Pier. I lost sight of him in the swell but I think that he swam to the Avila Rock. That would have been an extra special swim today because the swell that would be like riding into the wind in bout directions.

The 11 o'clock group swam out to the end of the Avila Pier and decided a route based on how things were there. Getting out through the waves was more challenging that it has been. We decided to swim the the second crossbars on the Poly Pier where Paula and Jim would drop off and Tom and I would swim more to somewhere. 

Niel, Jim, Tom and Paula at the second crossbars on the Poly pier.
The water was nice and clean.

Tom and I pushed our way into the swell to the end of the Poly Pier and rode the swell bus back to the Avila Pier.

We have a nice clear week ahead of us so I'm planning on swimming Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 7 and next Sunday at 11.


Saturday, March 9, 2024

Saturday, March 9th, 2024

It was a nice morning in Avila Beach, 41° and clear with a light offshore breeze with small surf breaking on the steep beach. The water looked like it would be choppy but the wind died and we hade smooth swimming. 
Jodi, Tom Israel, Jim and Niel swam out to the end of the Avila Pier and over to the end of the Poly Pier. Jim is nursing a shore shoulder and went back from there. The rest of the group swam to the second crossbars, to the end of the Avila Per and in. The water temperature was down a bit to 52°. 

Tom, Jim, Niel and Jodi at the end of the Poly Pier.

The lifeguards were in the water doing their recertifications. We spoke with Phil briefly.

I'll swim tomorrow at 11. It looks like we will have a week without rain so I expect to be swimming Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday next week.