Initially, I decided to do the drive up to the northern beaches as his support person, but then we arrived. I sniffed the salty air and saw the surf was just right - I was a goner.
We parked for free at Mona Vale and caught the free shuttle bus to Warriewood, where I then forked out $40 for late rego. The back/hip was a bit shaky. I knew I wouldn't be able to run in or out of the surf. The run out after the swim was going to be hard because it was a hike up the beach. More of that later.
Conditions were perfect, until we heard the dreaded word: BLUE BOTTLES. Actually, we heard the word back at Warriewood but I don't want to interrupt the story flow 'cos I'm on a roll. So, I went up to a tall lanky surf lifesaver, who had an Irish accent, and asked, "What about the blue bottles?"
And he reassured me with that gentle Irish brogue, "There's not that many."
Mind you, he was covered head-to-toe in sun-safe gear and didn't look as though he was about to go anywhere near the water. But it was enough to put me at ease. What can I say? I'm a pushover for Irish accents.
Davo and I were directed to two huge tins of petroleum jelly and slathered the stuff all over our exposed bits. I guess the blue bottles can't get a grip if you're as slippery as an eel.
Unfortunately, Davo got the stuff all over his goggles, which meant he spent a lot of the swim in a Vaso fog.
Because we're old, we started in the fourth/last 'wave' with the men and women together. There were some nice waves to negotiate out to the first can, which was about 400 metres from the shore. Then we chucked a left and swam north and parallel to the beach. There was a bit of chop, which made it uncomfortable and I swallowed a little bit of water. I also swam WIDE AGAIN. When will I learn? I saw a girl with a GPS on her back and wondered what the pattern would look like if I wore one. Probably a crazy zig-zag.
There were six bouys but I lost count (it's those spent brain cells) and got a bit confused. Towards the last leg of the swim, I also felt a faint stinging sensation on my legs. Then a support crew on a surf ski told me to swim wide of several blue bottles. On the way into shore, I was definitely stung on the right inner-arm.