Monthly Archives: January 2011

Training for the Cole Classic…2025

I can do this

I’ve always fancied trying my hand at an ocean swimming race, however, on occasion I have been known to harbour a little too much confidence in my own ability in some areas than is good for me.

The sport of open water swimming has undergone a massive surge in popularity in recent years according to a recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald.  Before reading this article I hadn’t really given much thought to what would actually be involved other than (of course)  being seriously fit.  So last weekend I dipped my toe in the water and headed out for a bit of a doggie paddle with Rhubarb along Port Hacking. Before long I realised my goal of competing in the 2011 Cole Classic (next week) is more than a little ambitious, and we werent even in the ocean yet. But there are lap lanes with worse views than South West Arm and you have to start somewhere. Are there any serious ocean swimmers out there with some advice for a complete amateur?

Rhubarb and myself in serious training mode

Mussells and Mangoes

Gran Fran and her clan

Its taken me a long time to get used to Christmas in the antipodes and in many ways it will never feel quite right without the freezing weather and food and drink to warm the cockles.  But as the years have passed I have begun to acclimatise to the topsy turvy seasons, not least because of the fresh seasonal food that peaks around Christmas time in this part of the world. Christmas now means two things; mangoes and seafood. To those reading in the Northern hemisphere you’re probably wondering why I’m writing a Christmas blog at the end of January, those down South will know its because Christmas is just the beginning of the summer holidays, the days are still long, the nights balmy and we can find any excuse to stick a prawn on the barbie.

The following photos depict a fantastic boat trip we did on holidays in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand. It was Hattie’s first time in a boat and as we left the marina speed limit zone and hit 20 knots I wondered if I would regret the decision to bring her along. On the contrary she loved every minute and laughed and chuckled her chubby little chops off as soon as the throttle went horizontal.

Dressed for boating

We headed to the deep clean water at the mouth of the bay for mussels and oysters and then headed inshore for pipis. Seafood doesn’t come much fresher than that.

Scooby Sunday

Doggie Paddle

I know its a cop out getting people to do guest blogs while you are away on Christmas holidays, but when your dog puts paw to paper you simpy have to publish. Here’s Rhubarb’s latest dog blog…well actually she sent me an email just after I arrived in New Zealand in the Bay of Islands but I think its blog worthy.What did your dog get up to this Christmas?

Dear Mum,

Woke up this morning expecting another day lazing around at home while Reg did some gardening. Things started to look up when out came the fuel tank and other boat stuff.

With one eye on the tide chart we headed for Swallow Rock.

The tinnie now has some new carpet, blue of course and it’s much easier on the paws.

I’m sitting up front now like a proper tinnie dog see below.

 It’s pretty cool, I can stick my nose up in the fresh river air to pick up the scent of a bbq in Mainbar. Well mostly its cool except Reg didn’t see some waves coming when were going fast toward Lilli Pilli and my furry little butt got some air under it. Not to worry, there were seagulls to catch and we were racing the tide. We pulled into the channel in the basin at Mainbar and chased said seagulls and a few sticks. Had good splash around then it was time to head to sea.

Seeing as it was a calm day we went out near Shark Island, more of a rock really than an island. Decided we would take their word on the shark bit. Plenty of grommits out for a Sunday wave and someone swimming around the island impersonating shark bait. Next we motored across to near Jibbon bombora. There were lots of people fishing but the bomby was calm. It was a gently rolling swell, good for getting my sea legs. Thought about a swim at Bundeena but too many other people there so cruised up the river via Red Jacks to South West Arm. By this time the tide was in so we went right up the river. Dragged the boat up on the rocks and Reg had a swim where you and him went last time, remember? The fresh water was flowing in so had a splash but didn’t go in myself. We didn’t stay too long, you know those yogie bears are everywhere trying to ruin a dog’s day out. We drifted down the creek a bit then a couple of boatloads of bogans came up. Some people don’t appreciate where they are. Why don’t they just go to panthers cable ski park???

Tinnie Dog

On the way out we went up another little creek. It’s a bit like Muddy Creek, takes you to Anice falls where we walked that time. Good potential for a picnic on a high tide. It was getting hot now so after a bit more drifting down the arm, saw some eagles (Granny is certain they were wedge tails) but I think they might have been Sea Eagles, then headed for Grays Point. Lots of boats out now so it was bumpy so I hunched down with my head on Reg’s foot for some security.

Next stop Granny’s house for lunch, a woof at the neighbours just to let em know I’m here and coming back next week. Grandad worked out a plan to close the gap in the fence so it should keep me in.

Missing you and the girls heaps, love to all,



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