getting out after my swim

It was a weird day in the ocean. On the way to Avila the sun was shining brightly upon the freeway but the ocean was completely blanketed with fog. Never a good sign. The weather in Avila doesn’t always match the rest of the coast though so I was hoping for the best. Unfortunately it was just as foggy there as it was down in Pismo. It was so thick I couldn’t see more than a quarter of the way down the pier from the beach.

walkers disappearing into the fog

While waiting to get going I wandered into the ocean to get my feet wet and figure out how cold it was. According to Niel’sĀ measurementsĀ it was 53, my human thermometer agrees… it was cold. While wading I saw a weird boat coming in towards shore. There’s never boats that close to shore on that side of the pier so it was kind of weird. With the fog it looked really ominous… a bunch of dudes on a smallish boat… very Navy SEAL-esque. I think they were scuba divers, but I have no idea what they were doing there. The water is shallow and murky, not exactly dive worthy.

mystery boat

We had one of the best groups we’ve had in quite a while today, even though the water was cold it’s May so swimmers are starting to come out of the woodwork. 5 of us swam today and we did the top half of the triangle, mainly because that side of the pier wasn’t completely fogged in anymore. The water was 53 degrees and everyone opted for a wetsuit. I’m hoping to shed mine soon, but 53 is a bit beyond my wetsuitless cold tolerance for an extended swim. I tried out a new wetsuit lube today and it worked out pretty well. I sprayed on some TriSlide and didn’t chafe or break out in any kind of weird rash so that’s good. I’ll have to try it a few more times before I decide how much I like it.

deciding on a route

On the way into the water I stopped and talked with some people that were just getting out. It’s pretty unusual for us to see anyone else swimming in there, it turned out there was some lifeguard training going on today. They were throwing these dudes off the pier and having them swim back in.

Once I got used to the water I let most everybody else get a little bit of a lead on me and then worked on chasing them down. I don’t like being too far out front and I was the fastest guy in the group today so I stopped every once and a while to take pictures and let some distance build between us.

Duke swimming up to the end of the pier

dramatic self portraiture at the far buoy on the north end of the buoy line

Once we came around the other side of the pier we were greeted by a bunch of boats. I think they’re the dudes from Pale Kai, the local hawaiian outrigger canoe club. Luckily they were all paying attention and made sure to give us room to do our thing without running us over!

row row row your boat

Once we hit the last buoy on the north end we regrouped, chit chatted a little bit and then swam back under the pier to where we had started. At this point the fog had totally cleared out, at least any where we would have swam and I would have been down with swimming the other half of the triangle now that we could see it. While this thought was going through my brain half of our group started to swim back to shore so I let it go. Once I got into the surf I managed to catch a wave just right and surf it most of the rest of the way back in. I don’t know what’s up with me recently but I’ve been really lucky with waves this week! I wasn’t even trying to catch this one but I felt it build underneath me and just did my best to not screw it up :)

swimming back under the pier

While we were exiting the water we saw someone out in the water waving for help. It wasn’t what it seemed however… the lifeguards were still testing and sending out one guy out at a time on either side of the pier to pretend to be distressed. Hopefully no one was actually in trouble today because after a while we assumed any trouble we saw was imaginary. We did have someone from the Yacht Club come check on us swimmers on the beach though just to make sure nothing bad had happened to one of us!

checking out the make believe drowner

I’m hoping to get back in the ocean on Wednesday but my usual swim buddy is going to be out of town. I’m going to try and scare up somebody to get in with me if I can.

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