Thursday, February 29, 2024

Thursday, February 29th, 2024

This morning it felt like a storm was coming.  The rain is due tonight but all of the players were present in Avila this morning. It was cloudy and at 52°, warmer that it has been this early in the morning. There was a steady wind out of the SE and the surface of the water was a ripped up. The waves were small to flat and the swimming looked easy enough until I got a ways from shore. The flat light had hidden the size of the chop and how confused the surface was.      

The Second Crossbars at the Poly Pier looking towards the Avila Pier
The water was colder near the Avila Pier and 54° at the end of the Poly Pier. Swimming out along the Poly Pier on the west side of the pier the water was constantly changing and I was taking on some water.  

When I turned the corner towards Avila at the end of the pier the chop went up a factor. Luckily (?) I had a lot of trash in my head from yesterday and I was able to keep giving it to the water and until I found myself past the end of the Avila Pier and closing on my point to turn back towards the Avila Pier.  On this leg I kept turning into the swell and swimming towards Pismo. I kept correcting to the left and trying things but I never figured it out. 

Enough rain is predicted between Thursday and Saturday nights to make me sit out the weekend. If the storms wimp out I'll reconsider.


Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Tuesday, February 27th, 2024

 Niel's Tuesday Morning Swim -  

I have a great swim this morning. I arrived a bit early.  The air temperature was 45°, the surf was like Sunday, 2 to 3 foot but mushy, well consolidated and breaking on the sand bars three times with the final break at the beach. Sand is building up on the beach so the walk to and from the water is no longer rocky. The beach near the water is still very steep. Sometimes the water that runs out collapses the incoming waves and creates a wave going back out through the surf.  I waded out until I had to begin swimming and in 10M I could stand up on a bar and walk out past the breaks. 
I had not done triangles in a while so I swam the imaginary buoy line clockwise and counterclockwise. The water felt colder than Sunday. I measured 55° which is almost the same temp as on Sunday but with the lack of sun and a 25° cooler air temperature it felt like 53 - 54.
I could still feel the swells passing under me at the end of the Avila Pier.  Each sandbar takes some energy out of a swell and by the time they reached the beach they were down to mush.

Things look good for swimming on Thursday with rain starting Thursday night and continuing through Saturday so swimming Saturday and Sunday may get scrubbed. 


Sunday, February 25, 2024

Sunday, February 25th, 2024

This was Avila Beach at 10:30 Sunday morning, sunny, 70°, a light wind and a 55.4° (!) water temperature. At 1:00PM the beach was packed and it felt and looked like summer. Not bad for February.
I spoke with Tom Lorish as he was getting out after swimming around the Avila Rock.

Swimming today were Jodi, Tom Israel, David and Niel.  We made the big decision to swim out to the end of the Avila Pier and to figure out what we wanted to do once we got there. 
Once there we decided to swim the same route as yesterday, until we got to the second crossbars, when we decided to make our turn back to the Avila Pier at the third crossbars instead of the end of the pier.   

David, Tom, Niel and Jodi at the end of the Avila Pier.
With the sunshine and the 55°+ water it was very comfortable out there today. 

David at the second crossbars doing an imitation of an otter 

Tom, Jodi and my toes at the second crossbars

The water stayed fairly smooth and we had a great swim.

With scattered showers and a chance of .1 inch of rain predicted for Monday I will be swimming on Tuesday and Thursday at 7.  Rain is still predicted for Friday and Saturday so swimming next weekend is chancy.


Saturday, February 24, 2024

Saturday, February 24th, 2024

Tom and I got in the water a bit before 7. It was 45° with a light offshore wind, the water beyond the surf line was rippled but not choppy. It was close to high tide and the beach still has a steep slope into the ocean. The surf was 2 to 3 foot and was breaking very close to shore  which made getting out, and back in, a short, busy experience.

We swam out to the end of the pier, over to the second crossbars on the Poly Pier, to the end of that pier and back to the end of the Avila Pier.  The wind had picked up and there was a head slapping wind chop now that we pushed into all of the way from the end of the Poly Pier to the shore.  The water felt a bit warmer and I measured 53.5°. With the weak sun and the wind it do not feel more like 52°.

Niel and Tom at the second crossbars on the Poly Pier.

I'll swim tomorrow at 11. Tuesday's swim will depend on how much rain we get on Monday.
Swimming Thursday looks pretty certain but the possibility of rain on Friday may mess up next weekend. 


Sunday, February 18, 2024

Sunday, February 18th, 2024

Tom's Sunday Swim Report -


Managed to get a swim in between water polo games. Lots of clouds in the sky, but no rain… While I was here anyway.  The ocean was wild and rocking and rolling.  The water quality seemed fine to me, nevertheless, I stayed on the east side.  I'm just glad I was able to get a swim in today before the big rain hits. 

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Conditions on Saturday morning were gray skies with some breaks in the clouds, no wind, a 50° air temperature, small surf and 52° water. 
Niel, Tom and Jamie got in just before 7. Jamie has been swimming with us on Sundays and today was her first morning swim.
Jamie was looking for about a mile, Tom and I wanted to go 2 miles, so we planned a swim over to the Poly Pier figuring that Jamie would turn back early.  

Niel, Jamie and Tom at the second crossbars on the Poly Pier

On the way to the Poly Pier there was a strong offshore push. There was no wind and all of the swells were headed N or NE so I do not know where such a strong push was coming from. The plot shows how much correction I had to make to make to arrive at the second cross bars.  
At the second crossbars Jamie was ready to go back and agreed to swim to the end of the Avila Pier with Tom and I . She'd go in from there and we would swim to Fossil Point and back. 

When Tom and I were at Fossil Point it was raining in Port San Luis but was calm in Avila. When we started back and the water's surface blew up under us and we had a riotous swim across a variable cross swell all of the way to the Avila Pier. There was still no wind. The rain over at the port must have had some wind with it and kicked up a patch of storm conditions for us. Tom said that at one point he felt a big lift and then dropped into a hole in the water.

4 to 5 inches of rain is possible between now and Wednesday so swimming before next Saturday will depend on how much rain we get. A couple of inches Sunday night would dirty up the water until the end of the week


Thursday, February 15, 2024

Thursday, February 15th, 2024

Easy numbers this morning; the air temp at 6:45 was 52° and the water was 52°. It was calm with flat surf.  The County's water samples from Monday had Avila Beach and the Creek Mouth in the green zone so I indulged in a Reef  Buoy / Poly Pier loop with a swing by the mouth of San Luis Creek.  

The Poly Pier at the second crossbars
This looks a lot flatter than it swam. There were multiple small swells out of the South and SW that made it more lumpy than the photo shows with a push from the SW and noticeable help swimming in along the Poly Pier.  . 

There actually are lane lines in the ocean

Getting changed in 50° air with no wind was almost luxurious compared to Tuesdays mid 30's and gusty wind.
Current predictions have Saturday being fairly dry and most of the rain on Sunday, so I'm planning on getting in at 7 on Saturday morning and sitting out on Sunday, unless it rains a lot before Saturday morning. 

A Book Review -

More about how the tides function than my brain could hold in one reading 

Sadly, definitly not Avila Beach

Waves and Beaches by Willard Bascom and Kim McCoy - 
I came across this book in December while browsing in a bookstore in Pacific Grove. I had never heard of it. I leafed through it and between the science about how waves and beaches function and interact and the photography, I didn't put it down. It has been a wonderful read, taught me about things that I've seen and wondered about and will be a resource for further study. It was originally published by Willard Bascom in 1964 and was republished with current data and photos in 2020. If you follow my blog this book is probably something for you.    


Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Tuesday, February 13th, 2024

A view of the former Reef Buoy turning point. 
The kelp patch is still here but the big surf two weekends ago put the buoy on the beach.
It was cold this morning. At 6:50 the air temp was 37°, and combined with a stronger than usual offshore breeze I was hustling to get in the water.  That seems strange but I was getting chilled while getting ready so I hurried to get in the water. The rising sun was behind some clouds so it was hard to tell how clear the water was but there was no silty taste. The wind chop was just enough to make itself felt and to require corrections in my navigation.  The water temperature measured 52°-53° but the air temp had me thinking the water was 51°.
The surf was 3 foot + and wimpy.       

Getting changed in the wind was less fun than being in the water but once I got my warm clothes on and into the sun it felt nice.

Xterra Swim Socks Gear Report Follow Up -

My feet get colder than my hands and these Xterra Lava Swim Socks have been great at keeping my feet warmer and not getting in the way or feeling like blobs tied to my feet. Unfortunately, after about 20 swims the soles are torn up at the ball and heel.  The soles have small rubber dots for a wearing surface and they have not adequately protected the fabric. The right one has the bigger holes and this foot is the one that I have behind me to brace myself with when I'm pushing through waves. The big swells have taken a lot of sand off of the beach so the beach and the bottom is rocky. 

These have been perfect for me, just thick and warm enough and my wetsuit pulled on easily over them.  I'm going to have to look for another brand with more real soles.         

I'll swim Thursday morning and we'll see how much rain comes in Saturday and Sunday.


Monday, February 12, 2024

Monday, February 12th, 2024

 Tom's Swim Report -

What can I say… Beautiful day, beautiful Swim! 

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Sunday, February 11th, 2024

Today Avila Beach was showing off just how nice it can be in February on the Central Coast. 
It was sunny and 60° with a light breeze which made it very comfortable on the beach. The water was still 52°-53° but with an air temperature 30° higher than yesterday morning it felt more comfortable. 
I spoke with Tom Lorish between his swim and ours. He had been out to Avila Rock and said that it was really beautiful out there. Tom Israel and I liked that idea so we did the same swim.  
Tom with the Avila Rock behind his hand.  

Niel, Tom and the Avila Rock.

The water was transparent and a nice color with a combination of a swell and small chop. Oddly, for the first half of the distance between the Avila Pier and the rock the water was much rougher, and warmer, than the the second half. The water is usually rougher near the rock because it is more in line with the opening in the breakwater at Port San Luis and is more exposed to the full ocean swell, but today it was reversed.

I'll swim at 7 on Tuesday and Thursday. There is a chance of rain on Saturday so swimming next weekend will depend on how much rain shows up.


Saturday, February 10, 2024

Saturday, February 10th, 2024

 Back In The Water -

Jodi and I swam at 7 this morning. It have been out for 10 days dodging the high bacteria the rain created, Jodi has been out longer taking care of family things, so this felt like we needed retaining.
It was a beautiful, clear 38° morning with a gusty offshore breeze. It would warm up a lot as the sun came up. There were weak 3 foot sets with lots of flat water in between.  The water looked clean and was 52°.   

Thursday's water samples from San Luis Creek were 10X to 20X the safe level for contact so we stayed on the east side of the pier. At some point the water from the creek will be diluted by the ocean to a safe level but without an array of samples from off of the shore and down the coast I can only make a somewhat informed guess based on the tide and waves about where the water will be clean enough. It is a lot like the shark thing, the only way to be 100% sure is to not go in the water. 

Jodi and I swam down the beach and over to Fossil Point. It is odd not seeing the buoy that marked the the reef where we usually make out turn (the big swells put it on the beach last weekend) so we just angled over into the sunrise until we were off of the point. We swam back to the end of the Avila Pier and took an angle in to the beach to make an hour. 
That was well short of our usual swim but felt about right for today.  After we got out, the Pismo Lifeguards were doing a qualifying swim around the Avila Pier so we felt better about our time in the water. 

I'll be back tomorrow to swim at 11.


Friday, February 9, 2024

Friday, February 9th, 2024

Tom's Swim Report -

Lovely morning at Avila. Post storm report: blue skies and wispy clouds. I believe it was the second king tide of the year. Even though there was no swell to speak of the water was coming up almost to the wall. The beach is more rocky than I remember it ever being. The water was 51 or 52 and the swimming was wonderful.  

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Wednesday, February 7th, 2024

Tom's Swim Report -

Interesting conditions at Avila this morning. The tide on shore was definitely high, and sometimes was getting all the way up to the wall, yet a good part of Avila rock was showing… I'm not exactly sure how to reconcile that, but I'm sure Niel is learning about it in his tides and waves book.  There was an curious swell or two or even three cross threading each other…. But the swimming was good on the east side. Water felt about 51 or 52 and there were blue skies with scattered clouds.

Friday, February 2, 2024

Friday, February 2nd, 2024

 Tom's Swim Report -

It was variable conditions at Avila this morning. A swell was kicking up, there were blue skies along with scattered clouds, and there was even rain when I was getting out. The water was about 52, 53 and it was a good morning of swimming before I drive to Davis for a water polo tournament with the Cal poly women team.  You'll note in the picture below, Clarence Gull, the seagull in the foreground. It turns out that Clarence is a distant relative of the great JL Gull. 

So that's kinda cool.

  Thanks Tom. I hope you have a good game in Davis.