Monday, 26 April 2010

Tony Abbott sends up a prayer and the inaugural Bondi Blue Water Challenge ocean swim is canned

As we drove to Bondi Beach on this cool and breezy autumn day, Davo assured me the swell was .6 of a metre.

Last night, he'd checked out the seabreeze and surfwatch websites, and the surf was flatter than a roadkill lizard.

The inaugural Bondi Blue Water Challenge, was to be Davo's last ocean swim of the season. I still have Byron Bay to go (I fall into a daydream for a moment as I contemplate one of my favourite spots on the planet).

I'm back...

Anyway, we got to the beach and guess what?

Nature in all its quixotic glory did the dirty on us. The surf was up and it was bloody rough - even beyond the foaming, sand-filled breakers dumping on the beach.

Out the back, white caps frothed on the chop and conical buoys swayed and bobbed on their moorings. One, positioned just off the rocks near Ben Buckler, broke free twice before being re-secured by surf lifesavers in a rescue boat.

Closer to the shore, a current was running. But which way? At the northern end of the beach, it was dragging swimmers south. In the middle, it appeared to be running north.

The start of the 1 km swim was moved from the middle to the northern end of the beach so Davo and I thought we'd see how that went.

I'd already decided not to swim in the main 2.4 km event. I'm not a hardcore ocean swimmer. I do it for fun. And let me tell you, because it's happened to me before, swallowing 2 litres of seawater during a swim and digging 2 kilos of sand out of your vital bits after a swim is not fun.

Undeterred, the younger swimmers bolted in for the 1 km, the weaker ones struggling to get through the constantly breaking waves. There was no respite from the onslaught before the first buoy.

Then came the rescues. We easily counted half-a-dozen competitors being pulled from the surf before we left and walked to the finish line in the middle of the beach. The rescues continued there, with surflifesavers offering exhausted swimmers a ride in.

Davo, a confident ocean swimmer, decided to give the 2.4 km swim a miss.

Then came the official announcement from the organisers: the main swim was cancelled.

Davo attempted to withdraw his withdrawal as we laughed like naughty children at our good luck. Now we can brag we were going to do the swim but the bastards at Bondi canned it!

As we walked along the promenade, we passed the Federal Opposition leader Tony Abbott (aka the Mad Monk) who was being tailed by a TV camera crew and photographers.

Mr Abbott was registered to do the 2.4 km event. I reckon he would've sent up a prayer of thanks that the swim was cancelled.

On the other hand, the diehard ocean swimmmers will be pissed off. I bet there's a lively discussion going on at the ocean swims website with all the cranky-pants codgers whining: we wuz robbed.

PS: Whenever Davo and I swim at Bondi, we have a coffee and treat afterwards at the Organic Republic Bakery on Glenayr Avenue. Mmm... tasty.

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