Sunday, 13 December 2009

The Bilgola Ocean Swim: weed, wind and wucking waves

I sit here consoling myself with comfort food - a huge slab of toast lathered with super-crunchy peanut butter.


Today my swimming mate (brother-in-law Davo) and I did the 1.5 km Bilgola swim. And I did a %#@* time (what else is new?) My excuse for today's bad result is that my goggles fogged and filled up, and I kept having to readjust them.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Sydney's northern beaches, Bilgola is one of the prettiest. In the olden days it wouldn't have been easily accessible, as it's at the base of a steep hill and is bound by Bilgola Head to the north and Newport Head to the south.

It's the first beach you come to as you begin the Serpentine drive that leads to the furthermost stretch of sand on the peninsula, Palm Beach. Bilgola Beach is small - 500 metres long - and faces south east. It's a scrumptious slice of the paradise cake.

But I digress. The swim was to start at 11am but we arrived nice and early (as old codgers do) and nabbed a princess parking spot. Latecomers were able to use the free shuttle-bus service.

The beach had a dank smell and a huge wad of seaweed was floating at the southern end at 9.30am. By the time the swim started, late at 11.15am*, the weed had drifted north, so it was slap-bang in the path of the swimmers entering the water.

The waves weren't that bad, but a breezy south easterly was blowing right onto the beach, which caused lots of chop.

Davo and I went off in the last of the four waves of swimmers (with other old codgers and really young fit kids) and battled our way through thick swatches of weed to get out past the breakers. I think that's when I gave up.

My bloody goggles kept fogging up and the chop was a bugger - it's hard to establish a rhythm when you're swimming in the wash cycle.

I was over it before the first can. I'll admit it, I'm a pool swimmer so I'm soft. Softer than melting butter. Softer than a poached egg. Softer than the gut of that bloke who ran over the finish line before me (I let you win, fat boy).

I also carry the memory of last season, where for many of the swims the waves were freakin' huge. I have made a self-diagnosis of post-traumatic stress syndrome. I'm filled with dread whenever I see a wave - even a piddly one.

But I digress. The swim was clockwise - from the beach it was basically out towards the northern headland, turn right and swim down the beach towards the southern headland, turn right and swim back into the beach.

I finished. And afterwards I began to feel better as Davo (smug bugger did a good time) explained that I am a brave and wonderful person and that not many people would do what I do. I am a goddess. A slow goddess with a wave phobia.

Whatever, it's all fun - until the next one.

*The swim ran late because of the selfish Gen Y'ers who are new to ocean swimming but have decided that it's a trendy addition to their Facebook page.

Theoretical example of a phone conversation between two Gen Y'ers:

James, 25, lives in Mosman and works in IT: 'Like, hey Cameron, there's an ocean swim at Bilgola today. I've got a massive hangover but, like, let's just do it man.'

Cameron, 24, lives in Coogee and works in advertising: 'Like, cool, man. I'll swing by your place whenever. Like, where's Bilgola?'

Photo comes from the ONLY place to go for ocean swimming news

1 comment:

Anita Joy said...

Shayne, good onya for finishing! I doubt I'd've made the first bouy, lol.