I got a chance to hop in the ocean twice on Tuesday. I started with a trip to the north side of the Pismo pier for lunch. I was out on Monday night in the same spot and the surf was great so I was hoping Tuesday would still be decent. It started well but deteriorated pretty badly after about 30 minutes when the wind started to pick up. I caught a few decent waves while I was out, but mainly floated and waited. While I was out just floating around my spidey-sense started tingling a little bit and I though I saw something cruise by underwater. I figured it was a false alarm and I was imagining things to make my wait a little more interesting. Well… today I read online that there was a confirmed Shark sighting down there within an hour of me being in the water. Hmmm…. makes you wonder a bit huh? If that’s what it was well that just reconfirms my hypothesis that they know enough to not eat us because we’re just not that tasty.

Later in the day I was out at Avila Beach to meet Dani and her cousin for a swim. They’re both doing the Pacific Grove Triathlon early next month and needed some kelp krawling practice. Dani had never swam through kelp before and asked me if I knew a spot… I knew just the place! My plan was to go out and swim the left side of the buoy line and then keep going to the reef buoy that we always avoid due to its kelpiosity.

The swim out was pretty easy, and we regrouped at the first buoy. I decided it was best to let the girls get in front of me for this swim so I could keep an eye on them. Dani hadn’t done an Avila swim in quite a while and her cousin was here for the first time. I worked with her a little bit on her ocean swimming on the way to the end of the buoy line. Relaxing, stretching out her stroke, that kind of stuff.

At the far buoy we set our sites on the reef buoy. What I wanted us to do was swim out towards it and then do a big circle around it keeping the buoy on our left shoulder and then swimming back to the regular buoy line. Everyone was swimming along all nice and happy until we hit that kelp. Dani in particular was not a fan. I was too fast for the group if I freestyled so I mainly sculled with a little breast stroke through the kelp. There was a big open water pocket in the middle and I stopped there and observed while my friends kept swimming around the buoy. They were doing ok but working a little too hard. As they rounded the buoy I started to sight out the way back and noticed a sea otter a few meters away. He didn’t look real excited to see people out there… probably not a real common occurrence. After mean mugging me for a little bit he dove under the water never to be seen again. I hustled the three of us out of there so he could get back to his evening.

We made a short stop at the end of the buoy line to regroup and talk about the next part of the swim. The girls were looking tired from the kelp krawling so I decided we’d just aim to go back the way we came. The swim back was going to be a bit harder because it’d be against the current, but there wasn’t much chop going on so it wouldn’t be too bad. The glare however sucked, a lot. We made it to the middle buoy and I decided we should just angle towards the beach since we couldn’t see anything straight ahead. On the way in we made Dani’s cousin’s life a little harder by doing a “race simulation” which mainly consisted of swimming all up in her business. So over her, tangling up arms, bumping, etc. The idea was to get her used to being bothered while swimming so that when it happens in her race it won’t be that big of a deal.

Back at the beach we body surfed a couple waves and then walked it in. I changed and made my way home and they ran off to the movies. We didn’t swim super far, only about 1000m, but it was a good experience builder for everyone.

2 Responses to “Swimming to the Kelpy Reef Buoy *On Purpose*”

  1. Sandra Cathey says:

    I understand that if seals or otters are around, then the sharks may be close by since that is a delicacy for their palates. Glenn, I just don’t like the grasses and kelps which are in the Pacific. In LA working, and watching the high surf reports. Appears the waves are fairly treacherous. Are you getting that up in northern CA?

  2. Rob D says:

    Seals and otters just going about their business don’t necessarily mean sharks are about, but if lots of them are grouped together and feeding then it’s a lot more likely larger predators are about. When it looks like it might be “sharky” we tend to either stay on the beach or modify our route to stay far away from the activity in the water.

    Here in Central California the surf is really starting to pump… last night was big and today is supposed to be even bigger. I’m not sure what they’re getting up in NorCal from it all.