Manly LSC Blue Dolphins Ocean Swims, Sun, Dec 16, 2012
Nobbys-Newcastle Ocean Swim, Sun, Dec 16, 2012
True Blue Challenge - Doing "the time warp at Manly Beach"
Today I will be swimming at home ground, it's nice when you just can walk towards the swim; have a cuppa at your fav place on the beach and enough time to finish the Sunday paper before the first ocean race will start.
I arrive at 9.15 at Manly Beach and the ocean just looks stunning. I immediately notice the small strip of sand, a shrinking of the beach, probably still an after effect of this week's "King Tide". The beach is occupied fully by pink safety vested noisy little kids. I wonder how WE ocean swimmers will fit into this? Then I notice the yellow shiny buoys floating around in the gorgeous layered blue ocean and immediately understand this is a course, which will be swum from Shelly Beach. What a piety I think, as it looks quite ok to me. Registration is at the top floor of the Surf Club and a long queue welcomes me. "S%&t", I think as I really want to take photos from the 1km start. Luckily behind the mass of swimmers there is the pre-registrations with no waiting time at all. The black marker (for number tagging me_ does not seem to write properly on my arm (& hand?). The number looks already faded before I've even been in the water. I check out my red cap, as I'm always curious towards the design on it, representing the swim ahead. I see a lovely drawing of a male and female in bathing suits, and think a bit weird for a swim with the name "Blue Dolphin", I would have definitely expected simply -a dolphin-. Surprise surprise: the wording on the cap reads "Bondi to Bronte Ocean Swim 2005!!!" What the F%%#K is this?, I think! Really are we so environmentally friendly in Manly that we are actually recycling other swims race caps? Or is this a matter of saving measures? Or just a simple "cant be bothered"? Whatever it is..it's weird! Totally HILARIOUS in some way to see all those swimmers walking around with caps referring to Bondi & Bronte while we are actually in Manly! Many swimmers don't even seem to notice and it gives for quite a few funny laughs when I point out to some "mate you are in the wrong swim", they look suspicious towards me and I read out the wording on their cap. REALLY they ask? I say REALLY!
It goes thataway!
The walk towards Shelly Beach is nice, just stunning scenery, even after twelve years living here I cans still be in awe when I get around that bend. By now it's stinky hot and the water looks "uber" attractive. I just can't wait to get into it! Especially after last week's terribly challenging swim under Bilgola's grey skies after that Xtreme Southerly change. Compared to that. Today's circumstances look like pure paradise to me. I see the small beach is chock a block full with swimmers. I position myself in a get spot to make some overview photos and enjoy the start of the race. It's just a colourful spectacle of caps. My race won't be until 10.30 so enough time to ease myself in my swimming suit and enjoy the pre-race activities. In the change room a fellow swimmer asks "You are Angela?" Before I really can answer, she says I lost my time tag too last week, quickly filing in "I read your report". First nice to hear that these words are actually been read by someone ☺ Secondly I guess sharing experiences is a good way to realise what happens to me is not unique, others out there swimming share in same discoveries. It''s interesting to hear how this swimmer solved her "time tag crisis". She actually swum towards a paddleboard to hold onto and strapped it around her wrist. Later, to discover that the time tag, this way actually did not register her time. I never would have thought of choosing that option and so you see It's all one big learning curve. Still proud of myself though to have managed to get that time tag on my ankle again in that crazy washing machine ocean swim last week. But back to Manly..or ahum I mean the "Bondi to Bronte Ocean swim race 2005!"
The first 1km swimmers arrive at the finish! There is no one to help with the time tags and one volunteer ushers the to take them of themselves and put them in the baskets. A box of apples gets plonked next to it and it's a "help yourself". No water or drinks. Not that I mind the last one as being in a marine protected area as Cabbage Tree Bay is, I don't mind they skip the plastic rubbish normally part of each ocean swim. Though I do understand some people are very thirsty on this hot day and want a drink! Maybe it's all you can expect for a $15 entry fee for a 1km swim? Considered a bargain in the ocean swim circuit. Though it's the way it's all presented, there doesn't seem to be put in much love or care, like you often see with smaller clubs which seem to really bond with a minimum amount of resources to put on a fab community event/swim. It looks like just an other "tick" on the calendar. Manly Club. Manly SLSC still has the big Coles Classic to come, a gigantic yearly commercial event which means all hands on board. Today looks just like "one" swim too much for them.
There was a bit of swell at Manly, and some punters may have been discomfited by it.
Today for some reason I get asked a lot of questions by other swimmers, I have this feeling there are a lot of newbies or fresh ocean swimmers around. It's all very unclear to them what is going to happen. How is the swim? In which order do we swim? Do male & female swim separate? It would not be too hard in this digital age to print out a sign with this info and stick it onto a wall. The answer is I don't know either. But maybe over time I have developed into a more relaxed experienced ocean swimmer and just go with the flow, whatever happens will present itself attitude. Other more insecure swimmers might pick up on that, I don't know. The obvious blue bottle question I answer with lifesaver diplomacy. Saying no there was no sign up this morning, but you never know as bluebottles mostly come in later in the morning. On top of that I add, a bit less tactic, guess what you are swimming in the ocean, you never know what you encounter, DO you? The girl nods obviously satisfied with the assurance of no reassurance at all!
So finally it's time for us 2km swimmers! I'm dying to get in by this point, as the water looks just awesome, it's terribly hot standing around on a sheltered beach with no wind. There are intervals of five minutes and the pink caps are first. meaning anyone under 20. A big dude behind me with a pink cap, obviously thirty plus something looks guilty as people turn around and look at bit awkwardly at him. He points at his cap and says with a bit of a hilarious voice "sorry I'm pink because they run out of caps". This is only the start of the confusion of the age groups, as today everyone seems to do an other time warp on top of the one that has us capped in a race of "2005"! Suddenly you can be any age! NOW we have to state before the race that we are the age we are, on top of all the usual disclaimer long boring read (sorry didn't we sign off on that already when we entered?) by the MC. Confusing? Yes! It's time for the yellow caps to run of in the water, a handful of red caps run with them... other red caps who see red caps running look confused and a few run off too following the other reds, thinking it's our wave which has to start. Obviously not have listened to our age disclaimer statement. I'm not sure about timing today, if you mix in this chaos.
Glistening Dave was at Manly...
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I only can think of one thing, please let me swim! AND off we go, into the beautiful blue ocean surrounded by clear blue skies. The water feels lovely refreshing. The swim feels like a cruise, maybe it's because it's home territory and you don't really let yourself guide by the buoys that much as you know what's behind the yellow marker such as the North Steyne Surf Club in the distance. It's so easier to swim this way as you just can trust on your own navigation system. The swim is just truly gorgeous except the usual superman ocean swimmer dudes. I would love to see some special swim tees for them. Like with a super man action quote "it's ok to be scared"! So we women know when to get out of the way. Today I get not even wacked but get twice almost pushed under by an arm, just pulling true on top of my back and just pushing me down. What's wrong with you guys? When this happens for the third time while I'm not even swimming in a pack anymore I get really annoyed. It's actually an orange cap this time, which means in normal jargon 50+, which surprises me as normally these men are more like gentle men. I double check and see some "jammers" swimming past me! Right since when did fifty plus age group converted to jammers, the long trunks towards the knees!? Aren't wise "elderly" men the sole secrecy holders of the sacred speedos, budgy smugglers. I remind myself we are still in the time warp! I speed up to swim past him to double check, yes definitely age group above. So, I guess keep your eyes out for this new trend!
Cruising home, back into the wondrous Cabbage Tree Bay with all it's marine life down below, it's nice to see a row of spectators on the board walk enjoying and encouraging the swimmers. There is a life guards standing in the water, pointing us to the left, obvious I think, as someone might have want to run of on the boat ramp. I run onto the beach, take my time tag of, chuck it into the box, and bite into a delicious cold apple, it might be the only fruit on offer, but it tastes really yum! Time for the after chat, hang and see hallo around and I even watch the last swimmer, a yellow cap come over the line, she bents over and just yells "that was HELL!. Mmm!I guess opinion differs ☺
I take a cold shower and get ready to watch the presentation. I see the times have been printed out and put on the wall. I search for me names, read all the lines a few times and can't seem to find my name. A gorgeous misses Sparkle points out we are looking at the wrong sheet, the one of only men! Funny! Then to my and many swimmers big surprise a handwritten note gets put up saying "No presentation, winner gets advised by email or phone "re prize". The grumpy administrator mumbles.. "don't know how they think we would have a presentation". Right?! I guess this says it all! Thank you Manly for your gorgeous beach, I truly enjoyed swimming here today, but I hope you put some more lovin' in your ocean swim next year or I just will be off with the other punters Obviously some are prize winners, who are still hanging around, a tad disappointed... but as the special species we ocean swimmers are we don't hold grudges we just move on and these are the words I hear "next year we just all go to New Castle".
Time warp completed, as I'm already home, I don't have to go home as such. I just can sneak in another cuppa overlooking our gorgeous bluey shaded blue Manly Beach. My window looks straight onto a blue bottle sign, erected on the sand! It makes me smile! I wasn't so far from the truth after all.
Angela van Boxtel
That's why we like the Manly swim: it's the prospect of swimming through whitewater over Fairy Bower.
A parfait day to swim Nobbys-Newcastle...
Pics by Glistening Dave and Angela van Boxtel.
oceanswims.com uses Olympus cameras, this time the Tough TG-1 and PEN E-P1.
Our thanks to our favourite ocean swimming brewer, Chuck Hahn, for the
James Squire Award.
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