Last week I decided to instigate a somewhat longer swim than we usually do in Avila. I wanted to get in maybe 3 miles, possibly more. I’ve been itching for some longer ocean swims now that I’m starting to get back into the swing of things again. I pitched the idea to our Open Water email group and a couple of the guys were on board for a long swim since it was supposed to be pretty decent this weekend. My plan was to repeat the triangle course a few times and change directions each time we finished to make the swim feel different despite following the same lines.
Come Sunday morning we had 8 of us swimming. 2 swam early and went short, they said the water felt pretty cold. Niel measured 53 degrees mid-pier, but there were waves of fog rolling though the beach blocking out the sun making things feel a lot colder. As Sylvia and Yvonne came out of the water the rest of us got in except for Duke. He was going to wait a mile and then hop on so that if Niel decided he didn’t want a full 3 mile swim I’d still have someone to swim with for the last section. Niel, Ed, Ruta, Susan and myself swam out to the buoy line and then turned for Fossil Point. This was Ruta’s first swim with us and her and Ed stuck together. They swam a few buoys and then he swam her back to the beach. From the end of the buoy line Niel, Susan and I made our way to the pier, the creek buoy and back to the pier. The water had a really persistent and short spaced ripple to it that made the angle to and from the tip of the pier challenging. There were also a lot of patches of much colder and much warmer water out there. Something odd is afoot. We have kelp right now in places we never have kelp and the cold upwellings seem to be transient because in 3 rounds they were never in the same spot twice.
At the buoy nearest the pier we picked up Duke and Ed rejoined us as well. We let everyone know what the plan was and Susan and Ed decided to just swim down to the creek buoy with us and then turn back to the beach leaving Me, Niel and Duke to finish the swim. We said our goodbyes at the creek buoy and then charged headlong into the swell. It was so tightly packed that you had a hard time timing your stroke to match it. Duke was nice and fresh so he pulled away from us and Niel and I slogged along behind him. He had some time to chat up the folks on the pier as we caught up. People on piers are always so chatty, it’s kind of funny. We chatted a bit and then made way for the far corner of the buoy line again. I fell in line behind Niel for a while and when Duke caught up and started to pass I hopped on his feet for a while. My goggles were fogging up so I used him as a navigational aid. To reward my laziness he took us partway to the wonky reef buoy out in the kelp patch :) Luckily we righted our course and got to the buoy about the same time as Niel.
The three of us swam back along the buoy line to the inside buoy and did a quick status check on everyone to see who wanted to go where. Duke was still in, I wanted at least one more round, and Niel decided he wanted to swim the full 3 as well. I downed the world’s oldest GU packet before we restarted, I think it has been in my swim backpack since the Reagan Administration, and tucked the wrapper back in one of my suits.
On our last triangle I was feeling pretty good besides a little twinge in the back of my thigh that felt like it could grow up to be a cramp some day if I go dehydrated enough. Niel was fading a little but still making good time. As before we rounded the last buoy, swam over the pier and angled for the creek. At that stop we decided to swim back under the pier to finish our swim since no one was fishing in that area anymore and we weren’t in danger of getting hooked. The water under the pier was stupid cold today. Duke asked me about it right away on the other side… hey man did you feel that? Um… yes… wow.
We arced back in to the beach with 3 miles in the bag. Niel and I spent about an hour and a half in the water. I felt pretty fresh and could have swam some more *if* I had something to drink. I don’t think mile 4 would have been very fun with no liquid in me. Back on the beach we talked about doing some more of this and working out even longer swims with swimmers staggered to support the guys who want to do bigger swims. I’m excited for what the summer holds… I might be too broke for a big swim this year but maybe I can train up and piece together a big swim that just doesn’t go anywhere :)