Sunday, 18 September 2011

Swims and snorkels at Fairy Bower in Sydney: spring has finally arrived

Manly is a stone's throw from Fairy Bower
I don't enjoy swimming in freezing cold water but yesterday I was tempted to dive into the ocean for the first time since June when I last swam at Byron Bay (a dreadful admission from someone who has the temerity to call herself an ocean swimmer).

I met Ms Onyabike and Mr and Mrs Snorkel at Fairy Bower, the only place in the world you'd want to be. As I waited for them to arrive a carefully groomed, 30-something bloke strolled past with another couple and a small child (the must-have accessory after the cockadoodle whateveritis spaniel combo). 

He said of the shimmering scene before him: "It's all very Euro."

You can see Shelly Beach from Fairy Bower
He's sort of right but not. Fairy Bower is in Cabbage Tree Bay, a stone's throw from the calm waters of  Shelly Beach and the surf beach at Manly.

I'd say the 30-something bloke looked at the sparkling bay and saw the colours of the Mediterranean that are Photoshopped in tourist brochures - aquamarine, turquoise and indigo on the one palette. 

There's no sand either, just smoothish caramel rocks and a small man-made harbour pool. The walkway from Manly to Shelly is bustling with human traffic, people walking dogs, riding bikes, pushing strollers and jogging. A whitewashed cafe with outdoor seating could be in some little village on The Riviera but I bet the coffee's better at FB.
On the rocks. Look at Mr Snorkel's skinny old pegs
To me this Sydney in a nutshell. 

When my friends arrived we did go for a swim. I don't have a wetsuit so it was in (brrr!) and swim - no time to think about the cold. After I got used to it, I can't tell you how wonderful it felt to be back in the ocean again, especially since the swim takes you over a shallow reef that is home to an abundance of sea life. As Mrs Snorkel noted, there were lots of nice looking "eating" fish hanging at the Bower. 

My guess is the water temperature was 17-18 degrees Celcius. The air temp was more like 26 degrees.  

Simply Perfect. Simply Sydney*.

* Simply cliched!

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