The pics say it all really. The Byron Bay Winter Whales Ocean Swim Classic is my favourite of all the ocean swims. My daughter Miss Hissy has a favourite word, which sums up the swim and location - SUBLIME (definition: majestic. Of high spiritual, moral or intellectual worth).
Monday, 3 May 2010
Byron Bay Winter Whales Ocean Swim Classic 2010
The locals say Byron has gone to the dogs because it's become such a tourist town. But I love it. When I arrive at Main Beach, I feel the release of tension in my neck and back. It's beautiful (the beach and the release of tension).
And the place still has a chilled-out hippy vibe, despite its gentrification. Backpackers and ferals cohabit with baby boomers, who haul their long boards up to The Pass in an attempt to rekindle their youth.
Also, over the first weekend in May the place is chock-a-block with ocean swimmers from as far south as the Mornington Peninsula. They're a weird lot, mostly older (once you hit 40 there's nothing better to do) and totally addicted to the sport. On the Friday, Saturday and Monday morning at 8am over 100 of their ilk gather at Main Beach and snake around to The Pass, just to swim back again. As if the swim on the Sunday isn't enough.
THE SWIM: Just before the 2.2 km swim started from Wategos on Sunday, we spotted two dolphins doing synchronised surfing off the break at The Pass, and during the swim my friend Mrs Snorkel saw four turtles (that's because she cheats and wears fins, snorkel and big fat goggles).
The course takes you out from Wategos, around The Pass and along Main Beach to the surf club, which is easy to see as a row of conifers act as markers. It's a dream course because you can have a good squizz while you swim, and still maintain your stroke. A bonus is the current that gives you a helpful nudge. The big, round orange buoys are easy to spot and, because the older swimmers start before the younger swimmers, which is unusual in an ocean swim, you are never alone.
The water wasn't its usual crystal clear this year as the swell churned up sand from the ocean floor. But you still get to see plenty of fish because it's reasonably shallow all the way.
I and the 2300 or so other punters had a bliss bomb of a weekend.
If only life was like this 24/7.
Pic 1 is at sunset looking towrds The Pass and the lighthouse; pic 2 was taken at The Pass looking out to Mt Warning; pic 3 was taken at the finish line on Main Beach by my friend Ms Five Star. I was still out with the mob, struggling to keep up and regretting several glasses of Pinot Noir consumed the night before the swim.