After a really excellent weekend in Chicago I landed in San Luis Obispo late Sunday night. I’ll be leaving town again early Wednesday morning for Dallas which means I only had 2 days to find my way into the ocean! Normally I swim Wednesday nights in Avila Beach, but I managed to talk my regular ocean swim buddy Niel into a special Monday night trip so I could get my cold salt water fix. I’m glad he was available because it was a beautiful night for it! No fog, just sunshine and a little wind. You could see the water moving pretty quickly right to left but the resultant chop wasn’t too big. We settled on the classic triangle course in the clockwise direction because it would involve the least amount of time staring into the soon to be setting sun.
Getting in the water took me a little while. I’m still tired and probably a bit dehydrated/jet-lagged from this weekend’s festivities and anytime I’m not feeling 100% the acclimatization process always seems to be a little harder than usual. Luckily Niel was in no hurry and let me ease my way in. Eventually I picked a wave that looked big enough that it couldn’t be avoided and dove through it to get all the way wet. Once I’d been officially dunked I was ready to go. We swam out to the first buoy and then stopped there just to make sure we were both ok and on track. I was still a bit cold but it was fading.
From that buoy it was a short jaunt to the end of the line and then we turned towards the top of the pier. On this leg we were going into the chop a bit but the angle we were taking made it not so bad. Plus the wind was really starting to lay down as we made our way through the swim. We took a break at the end of the pier to regroup and chat a little bit. I like talking out in the middle of the ocean… partially because it’s just a weird place to have a conversation and partially because the people on the pier staring at us think we’re totally nuts :)
Eventually we figured it was a good idea to embark on the second half of our route. We angled for the far buoy on the other side of the pier out by the creek. Again we were moving towards the chop but at an angle that made it not too bad. We settled into a pretty good rhythm on the way down but we did make one very brief unplanned stop. Niel was in front of me a bit and had to stop and refind the buoy we were aiming for because he lost it in the glare from the sun. Those skinny white buoys are nearly invisibly when the light hits the water the right way!
Out at the creek buoy we made our last stop and planned how we wanted to finish the swim. Since there were guys fishing on the side we started from and their lines were floating way out thanks to the wind we decided to stay on this side for our finish to avoid getting hooked. While we were figuring this out I saw my first couple seals of the evening. I thought it had been suspiciously wildlife free. 2 heads popped up off to our right and just sort of checked us out. When we made the turn back to the beach I noticed we had another one follow about 15m behind us all the way to the surf. They really are like big curious chubby dogs… it’s too bad they’re also shark bacon. On the one hand your brain is going “oh hey cool seals!” on the other hand it’s also thinking about who eats the seals. So they’re really just friendly harbingers of doom :)
All told we got in about a mile tonight. It was a great swim and I really didn’t want to get out at the end once I started to realize it’d probably be over a week before I hit the ocean again because of my trip to Texas! Ahhh! After we got dried off we grabbed some dinner at a place facing the beach and chatted until the sun dropped behind the mountains and into the water. Tomorrow I’m off to the pool for a workout there and then Wednesday it’s Dallas for the US Aquatic Sports Convention…