Fog and low clouds have been clinging to the coast as hard as they can since Saturday, but Avila was trying to burn a hole in that so all us swimmerfolk could have a nice day. It sort of faded in and out, but after our swim the clouds broke over the top of the mountains by Port San Luis and it was only a matter of time before the fog took over the beach. When I got down to the beach in the morning Sylvia was already there and Kim and Jen showed up shortly thereafter. Jen was visiting us from Bakersfield and had spoken with me a bit on Facebook about coming to swim so I was stoked to see her on the beach. Since I knew she was pretty quick I explained a good deal of the route we’d be swimming today (the regular triangle) so she’d know in advance where to stop and where to aim since we’d never catch her if she took off on a wild tangent.
Duke’s stuff was on the beach as well but he was nowhere to be found. Apparently he took a longer than usual run pre-swim. That was ok though because no one was in a hurry to hop in the 50 degree water. Niel wasn’t there to get an official reading, but based on the nearest buoy and our standard 2 degree deduction 50 seemed about right and it felt about right too. Once Duke was half way in his suit a few of us made moves for the water to start pre-chilling for the swim. I was only about thigh deep by the time he got there. Luckily the surf was occasionally big enough to force the issue and after diving through a few of them it was time for us to go.
We swam out to the first buoy and the sky started clearing up a bit. A touch of sun in cold water is always extremely nice. Everyone was looking good and feeling good at the buoy. Sylvia (who is generally the only other non-wetuiter in our group this time of year, and is in her 70′s btw!) originally thought she might just do and out and back since she’s been out of the water for a while. She was feeling really good though so she decided to keep pushing along to the end of the buoy line with us.
When we all got to the last buoy Sylvia decided to check out and swim the way she came. Kim opted to follow along leaving Duke, Jen and I to take on the ever building chop. Things were starting to get rougher and the chop was being pushed in the opposite direction that we were going. I took off from the buoy first in hopes of getting a couple interesting shots of the other two from my wrist camera as we swam along. They caught up to me and we roughly held together for a while. At one point though I lost my focus and inhaled a whole bunch of water. Not bueno. I stopped for a moment to hack it out and then got back to chasing Jen and Duke. I never caught back up. They were waiting for me at the pier and Duke was busy explaining the next leg of our swim.
After a brief regrouping at the pier we made our way towards the other end of the buoys. On the way down Jen and Duke started arcing a little too far inside and it turns out they were chasing the wrong buoy. The creek buoy was being lost in the chop and I think Jen locked onto the wrong one. Duke straightened her out and they course corrected for the right buoy. The ocean really wanted to push us towards the wrong buoy though! It was coming at us from the left and really tossing us around.
At the buoy Duke talked about swimming down the buoy line, under the pier and back in. I saw the Harbor Patrol boat right there though and thought it would be smarter to swim in on this side of the pier instead. We looked at Jen and she was starting to turn smurfly colors and was a little more interested in just going to the beach. We decided that was a good idea, didn’t want to freeze the poor girl out on her first visit, so we all angled for the sand.
After the swim everyone hung out on the beach for a while hoping for the sky to clear up some more, instead it got a little thicker. It was still really pleasant however. Once everyone split I packed my beach stuff away and went to check out the Earth Day event my Surfrider buddies were having in conjunction with the Avila Sea Life Center. They had people out cleaning up the beach and were have some fun kids stuff at the sea life center while beer and live reggae entertained the grown ups. Not a bad way to wrap up an afternoon at the beach :)