Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Last Sundee at Bondi: the cold and the beautiful

On the day of the Bondi Bluewater Challenge ocean swim, 'controlled' burning-off of bushland on the outskirts of Sydney left a smog smear on the horizon, but above it the sky sucked up the colour blue like blotting paper. It was a magnificent autumn day.

I drove to the beach with Ms Fivestar, whose dream (along with around 20 million Australians) is to one day live by the sea in a nice house. However, Ms Fivestar and the rest of us would need a couple* of million to put a downpayment on a beach shack anywhere in Sydney. 

In Bondi, finding a parking space on a sunny day has the same effect on my mood as when I find loose change in Spanner's dirty jeans' pockets. We arrived early and I inched in to a perfect METER-FREE parking space. Feeling pretty pleased with ourselves, we strolled down to central Bondi just in time to see the punters lining up for the 1 km swim. There was still a chill in the air - I'm guessing that at 9.30am it was about 17 degrees. The water temp would've been around 19 or 20 degrees. Noice.

By 11am, the weather had warmed up, with the sun pushing its way through the clouds to keep us all comfortably warm.

I've posted two photos. In one is a gorgeous pregnant woman about to do the 1 km swim. Sunday was her due date but she wasn't concerned because her obstetrician was swimming, too. A water birth maybe?

The second pic is of the blokes in the 1 km swim peeling off to the southern end of the beach before diving in. This had something to do with a mild rip and a sandbank directly in front of the start.

Anyway, I followed everyone else and ran to the right at the start of the 2.1 km swim. Although the conditions were perfect, I found the swim challenging (which is just a veiled way of saying it was bloody hard) and spent a fair bit of time on my own, wondering "why on earth do I keep doing this to myself?"

Once the swim was over and I was sitting in a cafe, sipping on a flat-white and eating cheese on toast, I could answer that question: "Because I love it."

*We're talking more than $3 million - a lot depends on the beach location, size of property and of land, etc.

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