Monday, 24 December 2012
Clovelly beach the morning of the night before Christmas: happiness is seeing the resident groper
It wasn't yet dawn and there were clouds about.
But I'd promised The Hiss we'd do 6am squad at Clovelly beach in Sydney's eastern suburbs.
Driving through Sydney is stressful at the best of times. But today we cruised from the north-west to the east without incident. It's double demerit points because of the holidays and the coppers were out and about - we saw the flashing lights and one poor driver handing over his licence.Whoa. A hefty fine and lots of points gone in one fell swoop.
I stuck like glue to the speed limit and we still made it to the Clovelly beach carpark by 5.45, just in time to watch the sun rise.
Mr Mild Mannered, who has his own swimming blog, regretted not having his camera handy. Here's a link to his blog: http://greginthewater.wordpress.com/ It's nowhere as fun as this one. He works in the public service. That's gotta do something strange to your brain.
Quite a crowd turned up for squad. Some were going for a run with our coach Mr Mean and then doing a shorter swim of ins and outs, but The Hiss and I were there for the splish splash. As was Mr Mild Mannered, who I'm sure is a good sport who can cop a ribbing..?
The air temperature, even at dawn, felt warmish. Mr Mild Mannered said it was 23 degrees. (god, now I'm quoting him. This will give his ego a boost - it probably needs a little stroking since he's spent more than 20 years working for the government).
Fortunately, the water temp was gorgeous too. I'd say 21 degrees though we swam through currents that were 1 degree or more cooler.
Clovelly is a bay that is more European tame than Antipodean wild. Here's a pic I lifted from a useful website to which I will provide the link: http://randwickcitytourism.com.au/sights/clovellybay.html
However, this morning there was a huge amount of chop out towards the breakwater. I get email updates from Beachwatch - lots of Sydney beaches - north, east and south, are closed today because of dangerous conditions.
Of course, Tamarama, around the corner from Clovelly, is closed (it's hardly ever open). And so is the other nearby beach, Bronte.
Our squad group, led by a very nice bloke in hot pink shorts, did a series of ins-and-outs. We ran into the water from the beach and swam to the first ladder on the left and then across to the first ladder on the right and then back in to the shore.
Then we swam to the second ladder on the left and across to the second ladder on the right before heading back in to shore.
There are four sets of ladders at Clovelly, so we did the ins and outs from ladders' one to four in a clockwise direction, and then from ladders' four to one in an anti-clockwise direction.
The tide was going out and there were strong currents running out to the ocean on the left and right hand sides of the bay. The current in the middle ran back into the beach.
There was some weed on the beach and the water clarity wasn't as crystal clear as it can be. Still, we all spotted fish and the resident groper. That made The Hiss happy. And there's nothing better than a Happy Miss Hissy Fit.
I think that groper makes everyone who sees him happy. He's a stunning indigo blue, which more than makes up for his morose expression. He lolls around on the ocean floor seemingly oblivious to the curious swimmers gawking down at him all day.
When we left the beach at 7.30am the sun was in burning mode. I reckon it's around 32 degrees this afternoon.
After I finish this blog I have to make two salads for Christmas lunch tomorrow. Thank goodness we're not having Christmas here this year. Hallelujah!
I wish everyone who passes by a Merry Christmas. If Christmas isn't your thing, have a nice day and try to get to the beach!