The Verdict

This time last week the potential excuses were stacking up and by week’s end, in the wake of a five year overdue university reunion, my physical condition for ocean swimming was very much in doubt. After more than a year of pontificating on the blog about dipping my toe in I finally did. On Sunday I was woken at some ungodly hour by a mosquito which saw me snapping the sunrise at Clovelly an hour ahead of registration time for the limited entry Clovelly 600.

 

The event was organised by OceanFit as part of the “TamaCloey 2.5km” swim and was aimed at beginner ocean swimmers. It definitely delivered, helped no doubt by the near perfect conditions on the day. The worst bit by far was waiting around on the beach contemplating  the awful scenario of getting a stitch or being sucked out to sea in a rip and having to be rescued. Or nibbled by something cartilaginous.

I was lucky to have some pre-swim counsel and advice from @coffeemumswims, a seasoned ocean swimmer, one of a number I’ve connected with on social media. I also paired up with another lovely lady called Sue who empathised on also being a first time ocean swim competitor. As it turned out this definition was a bit literal and really just to make me feel better; just because you havent done an actual ocean swim event doesnt mean you havent done triathlons. Anyway, she was very friendly and I appreciated her company on the start line.

I have to admit that the course instructions could have been a bit clearer, but then, I’m used to yacht races where detailed race instructions are issued with port and starboard roundings indicated for every mark. I almost had a heart attack when I mistook a turning mark for the 2.5km race for the seaward mark on our much shorter course. Needless to say the appearance of a closer pink buoy with yellow hatted fellow swimmers rounding it was a huge relief.

The swim out seemed easier despite the incoming tide, and Clovelly’s shallow waters enabled a great view of the sea life although I didn’t encounter the famous Clovelly Blue Grouper. Just after I rounded the buoy, as I stopped to catch my breath and check I wasn’t swimming to New Zealand, a friendly chap on a surf life saving ski asked me if I’d like a Martini.

I’m not actually in this picture yet
 

But I should be in there somewhere

Anyway, I’ll cut to the chase. I really did enjoy the swim. It certainly got the heart pumping and the lungs working at full capacity and 1km would have more than stretched me. I like the no nonsenseness of ocean swimming, as @coffemumswims puts it, the simple “swimming from A to B”.

The best bit was swimming back over the breakwater and being picked up by the surge which lifted me over the kelp beds and into the closed waters of Clovelly Bay. You don’t get that in the pool.

Finished

 

Gordons Bay; A Little Gem in The Eastern Suburbs

Tinny Magic

You know that strange thing that happens when you’ve never heard of something and then after you learn about it for the first time, for days afterwards it keeps popping up everywhere?  This happened to me this week in a very nice way with the discovery of Gordon Bay near Clovelly in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. When leaving the SLSC car park after a trip to Clovelly beach last week I spied what the Cornish would describe as a cove, with a line of small boats, rafted up along the top of the beach.  When Tess and I returned today to check it out we realised the walk was a little further than we anticipated from the car park, but absolutely worth it when we got there, not to mention the views on the way. Furthermore it fitted in nicely with our participation in the Great Outdoor Challenge. The walk itself goes all the way along to Coogee and if you were in a rush you might just overlook Gordons Bay on your way past. This didn’t happen to me as I was sucked in by the sight of over a dozen tinnies, all racked up together, glinting in the sun.

Two of my favourite things

We had the beach more or less to ourselves for a couple of hours,  save for a few surfers heading across the rocks to reach the bombora,  and a black dog out for a swim with a large stick.

This Black Dog's Not Depressed

If you’re looking for a quiet weekday spot to take the kids for a paddle and a fossick around the rockpools, or somewhere quiet to read a book, away from the buzz of Bondi , then this is just the spot. Don’t forget to take a picnic. We wished we’d brought our thermos along to wash down a scrumptious slice of Clovelly Bakery Bread and Butter Pudding (we burned it off of course walking up and down the steps to get there).  If you’re after something a bit more active, Gordon’s Bay is the home of a scuba diving club who have established an underwater nature trail in the bay, which on a clear day can be enjoyed with a snorkel.  Anyway, in this instance, pictures say it better than words so here’s a snapshot of the delight’s of Gordon’s Bay. Get yourself down there.

Getting There

Clovelly is about a twenty minute drive from Sydney CBD

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