After a week of big surf and on-again off-again rain, the Great Spirit in the Sky took a flexi on Sunday. The surf was relatively flat and the sun crept tentatively out from behind its grey blanket and managed to warm the sand underfoot.
Miss Hissy accompanied me to the Northern Beaches for the Manly LSC Blue Dolphins Swim. I did this swim early in 2011 but the club has moved the date to December to avoid doubling up with other ocean-swimming events during the height of the season.
Manly has got the goods which would be one of the reasons why Fairfax Media latched onto the Cole Classic, held in Manly on the first Sunday in February.
It's a stunning location and the swim follows a course that takes punters over the most beautiful ocean 'terrain'.
While the Cole costs $52 for earlybird entries and now starts on the calm foreshore of Shelly Beach (because the organisers had to take into account novice swimmers) the LSC Blue Dolphins Swim costs $25 and begins on the surf beach in front of the steps that lead to the shopping precinct, The Corso.
After Miss Hissy ran into the surf with her cohort - Under 20s - I sized up the conditions and decided the swim would be 'easy peasy'. That was before my goggles got knocked off because I failed to notice a wave coming in as I was swimming out. Initially I thought I'd lost my goggles and contemplated retiring early. I then decided to swim without them. "I am a legend." But that feeling didn't last long - I discovered my goggles sitting around my neck. "I am a goose."
This was time wasted and my cohort - the old and infirm - were but a blur in the distance. I adjusted my goggles, gritted my teeth and did what every trooper does - forged ahead with a heavy yet determined heart.
It was 600 metres to the first can, then I chucked a right and cruised* into the picture-perfect Shelly Beach before heading back to South Steyne via Cabbage Tree Bay.
During the swim I saw schools of fish pottering over the reef and scuba divers lounging underneath me, their bubbles tickling my skin. Afterwards one of my swimming mates said he saw a 'shadow' glide under him, and it wasn't a scuba diver. The area is a nursery for the the dusky whaler shark and there have been sightings of up to 14 babies at once, each about a metre long. Port Jackson sharks, wobbegongs and hammerheads have also been spotted in this marine life reserve.
|The 1 km swim started at Shelly Beach and finished at South Steyne|
Here's a link to a YouTube video where sharks scoot below unsuspecting participants in the 2011 Cole Classic as the swimmers head around the can at Cabbage Tree Bay. If you can't be bothered with the whole 4.38 minutes, the sharks make an appearance just before the 3-minute mark. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_pOb-4LmAM
There are no more organised swims before Christmas but there is some training at the beach. I'll keep you posted. Have a good week.
*I like to make it sound easy. I was swimming my little bum off in order to catch up to my peers.
(AN ASIDE: I'M SITTING HERE AT MY DESK, HAVING JUST RETURNED FROM WALKING LE CHIEN UNDER A LEADEN SKY, AND IT'S STARTED TO RAIN. THIS UNSEASONAL WEATHER IS DRIVING SYDNEYSIDERS MAD. ACCORDING TO THE WEATHER BUREAU, IT HASN'T BEEN THIS 'BLAH' SINCE 1960. I LOVE THE RAIN BUT A FEW DAYS OF SUN WOULDN'T GO ASTRAY, EVEN IF JUST TO IMPRESS LEONARDO DICAPRIO AND BILL GATES AND FAMILY WHO ARE VISITING SYDNEY, THE FORMER FOR THE GREAT GATSBY AND THE LATTER FOR A HOLIDAY)