judging by symbols on the beach I think aliens took it!

Last week’s ocean swim was skunked due to bad water quality and I was really itching to get in an ocean swim today. I woke up to a voicemail from Niel letting me know he was going to go to the beach and figure it out from there so I knew I’d have company today. I was a little concerned about what excitement the water may hold today since there was some rain and hail and stuff like that leading into the weekend, but at least from the beach things looked ok… or at least I wanted them to be ok so that’s what I decided to see.

I went out kinda early and set up my stuff. My parents were on a walk in Avila and stopped to say hi, after that I walked down to the water and tried to take a temperature reading with my digital laser thermometer thing. It’s a little squirrelly… you have to mix about 5 separate readings with the foot test to figure out which reading is right. I settled on 52.7 degrees in the water… the air was probably high 40′s at the time but en route to low 50′s with nice bright clear skies. Since I knew we were in for a cold swim I went back to my chair protected from the wind, sat down and snoozed while baking in the sunshine… I woke up to the sound of Niel and his wife Kris coming down the stairs.

Niel getting the water temp from up on the pier

Niel and I went down to the middle of the pier to get the “official” reading with his thermometer… his came in at about 53ish… a little different from mine, but either way not warm. We decided on a route down on the beach of the regular triangle but in the opposite direction.

The walk into the water sucked. The water was cold which is kinda too be expected, but the wind was picking up and it was really cold too! Lame! After getting about waist deep I looked at Niel and let him know this was going to take a minute. While I was trying to get myself acclimated a family up on the pier yelled down to me asking if the water was as cold as it looked… I assured them it was plenty cold… they took my word for it :) Eventually Niel took off for the buoy line and since I had an audience I figured I better throw myself in too… funny how it’s always easier to make yourself get in when strangers are watching…

why does the water never look as gnarly in pictures as it does in person?

The swim to the buoy line was real short because the tide was way out, and we didn’t really talk much there because we both still needed to swim a little further to get warmed up. On the way down towards the creek buoy you could really feel the building chop battering us from the left. As an added bonus the visibility in the water was virtually nothing. I couldn’t see my own hand out in front of me today, apparently the water wasn’t as clean as it looked from the beach. As we passed the 3rd buoy we both realized that we’ve lost another buoy! The creek buoy that marks the end of the buoy line on that side of the pier has gone missing… I’m starting to think we need to buy and place our own buoys and hope the Harbor Patrol doesn’t figure out that they don’t belong to them :)

We swam a little further past the new end of the buoy line and then made the turn for the top of the pier directly into the chop. This leg was pretty exciting, you had to fight the whole way out there. Despite my best efforts to not drink non-see-through water I got a couple less that pleasant gulps, not fun. I just kept thinking on  the way out that it was all downhill from the next turn because we’d be going with the wind and the chop.

Niel at a regrouping spot

I met Niel at the tip of the pier and we took a minute to regroup. The chop was starting to break a little… baby whitecaps were on the verge of being born out upon the sea. We decided to shoot a little past the end of the buoy line on the other side of the pier to end up about where the last buoy we lost should be. This leg was definitely easier, but we must not have been at quite the right angle to get any juice out of the motion in the ocean.

view back to the pier from the Phantom Point buoy

At the next stop we hung out for a while and just enjoyed finally being back in the ocean. We’d both acclimated pretty well at this point and despite the wind had the advantage of the sun bearing down right on top of us. Eventually we wrapped up our swim back towards the pier and in to the beach. The waves were really tiny but I managed to get a piece of one and ride it into the really shallow water.


the adventure beard was looking pretty burly post swim today!

Post swim I ran home for some lunch and to get some stuff done, but then I went back to the beach in the late afternoon for a walk. To make it productive I brought my bucket and trash picker upper and cleaned my way down the beach. Out of curiosity I tracked my expedition with my GPS to see how far I walked and what my pattern looked like… here’s today’s beach clean up

1.58 miles in 1:15:43

I found lots of the classics – cigarette butts, styrofoam, plastic chunks, and wrappers. I did find 1 pretty interesting piece today though, a stuffed lemur that smelled like sewage! Fun for kids of all ages! Gross… even the garbage can was apprehensive about ingesting him!

nom nom nom

2 Responses to “Another Buoy Vanishes… How do You Sight on Phantom Buoys?”

  1. brendan says:

    I also wonder why the water is so rough & choppy and nasty when I swim out there and my pictures look like the ocean is fairly mellow…

  2. Rob D says:

    I think it’s because frozen in time things don’t look as bad as they do when they’re in motion