Today was a typical coastal California summer morning… cold, gray, and foggy. The wasn’t any wind to speak of so the water was really flat, but from the beach I could see there was some sea life at play towards the end of the pier. When Niel went to go get the water temperature I followed him up onto the pier to see who we were sharing the ocean with today.
Half way down the pier we stopped and dropped the thermometer to see what we were dealing with in the temperature department… 55! Oh man… what happened to Wednesday’s 60 degree water? It’s really amazing just how hard the temperatures have been swinging around here this summer. On any given day we’ve had anything from about 53 to 63. I wasn’t particularly mentally prepared for 55 degrees but it’s not like I was going to go home because of it. About now is when I started thinking warm thoughts! When we moved further down the pier it became apparent that the seals (and I think some sea lions) were out in full force. We had a few groups of probably 8-10 moving in slow packs and then others scattered all over on both sides of the pier. This was the most wildlife I’ve seen in the water in a long time. Since all this action was concentrated at the end of the pier it was decided that we would keep to the buoy line and avoid the end of the pier today… no need to swim through the snack bar!
On the beach we amassed about 7 swimmers and made our way to the water. I went down a little early to start acclimating. I can do 55 without a wetsuit but it takes me a minute to get used to the idea. Even being the first guy to step in the water I was still the last one to actually start swimming. We regrouped at the first buoy on the left hand side of the pier and then planned our route from there. We decided to make for the point at the south end of the beach. I’d never actually been down that way before but I guess it used to be a real common route for them a long time ago. It was about right now we all noticed that another one of our buoys had disappeared. There’s now only 2 buoys in the buoy line with the bonus buoy that’s way off course and hung up on a reef a little further out. I’m very curious as to where our missing buoy has gone.
Once we got out to the point I had a while to hang out. I was one of the first 3 people over there and we waited for everyone else to get out there before we turned back towards the pier. It’s definitely a cool place to float, the view is excellent. Looking back towards the pier I could see our last swimmers had marine mammal escorts. Some curious seals had been following us around to see what we were up to. They never got too close, but there was always somebody hanging around keeping an eye on us.
The shot back towards the pier was uninterrupted… no stops to regroup just straight through. This was nice because it gave me enough distance to fall into a decent rhythm. The only thing that threw me off en route was a big chunk of kelp that I ended up swimming around. It was really large but not connected to anything.
At the edge of the pier we recollected everyone again and then made for the beach. I took this opportunity to go fast for a little bit. I like to sprint out the last piece of the swims in the hopes that when I finish up my open water races I’ll be able to sprint them in as well. I started with a little butterfly just to warm up a bit since I’d waited in 55 degree water without going anywhere for a little longer than I probably should have, and once I swam maybe 50m of fly I switched it back over to a freestyle sprint. My body was feeling pretty ok with this but I choked on a little water or something which brought me to a temporary halt while I tried to cough it back out without throwing up. Yuck. At this point I was in water shallow enough to stand anyways and walked myself the rest of the way in and tried to get some pictures of the rest of my group coming in with their covert seal stalker in the background.