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April 15, 2020 – Open our beaches!

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Emailed to 41,000 ocean swimmers weekly in season.

 

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The mob at Bongin, on a bewdiful autumn morn... Image by David Helsham @glistenrr

Look below...

Authorities over the top

Open our beaches! (Please.)

Imagine this: It’s morning. Clear, crisp, a touch below balmy; a gentle breeze whispers offshore from the beach. Swell is up, but in the breeze, it stands up, high, proud, upright, shoulders square, its snowy hair feathering behind as it rolls towards the beach, defiant of the wind; translucent, the sun behind outlining every ripple on its face. Ashore, on the water’s edge, a peloton of codgers and younger boofheads, and laydees, approach the water, their toes digging into the sand, squeaking as they grip. In the backs of their minds, quietly, they calculate and recalculate the time between dumps of the shorebreak onto the edge, the timing of their dive into the sea. It is a personal call: Everyone’s timing is their own, and no calculation need interrupt the morning repartee. At 7, the sun is above the horizon, but it’s not enough yet to soften the air. They are all, all these codgers, they are thinking the same thing: Early autumn morns really are the best time to swim…

We are watching this in our imagination, through a broad-gauged, wire-netted wall, for there is no-one on the sand; no-one approaching the sea; no-one gazing wistfully at the spray thrown back from the erect swells in the offshore breeze. There is no-one on the beach at all. It is deserted. The waves are ignored. The sea is empty, at least of wo/man.

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Northern Beaches Council has, kindly, decorated the picnic tables at Mona Vale to make them more festive for early morning swimmers. Photograrph by Glistening Dave (@glistenrr)

Over the top? Leur?

Many punters will recognise this feeling at the moment, particularly in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, where councils have closed beaches completely as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the top? One might argue so. Indeed, we do. No reasonable person would argue with the need for precautions to constrain the spread of this virus, against which we are pharmaceutically defenceless. It is good that “the authorities” have recognised that, whilst necessarily restricting contact amongst humans, humans still need to get out a bit and stretch themselves. Both are in the interests of their health. A daily outing will make a prolonged lockdown easier to endure, and to manage. It’s a question of balancing the needs. But local councils have gone over the top in closing the beaches completely. You don’t need to close the beaches in order to stop the silly behaviour of a few.

It’s not just in Sydney’s eastern suburbs where they have closed the beaches completely. It’s happening in many other places, too: Sydney’s southern beaches around Cronulla; the northern beaches, particularly in the more populous areas closer down towards the harbour – Manly, Dee Why. But you can swim farther up the northern beaches, and we understand the Sutherland Shire beaches have reopened post-Easter. MidCoast Council even closed the beaches around Forster. Thank heavens we weren’t there at the time. How about the Melbourne Bayside beaches? The Goldy and the Sunny? Freo, Cott to Swanny? Glenelg? Et al? Are they doing this in Auckland?

The closures are in response to large gatherings on beaches in defiance of the need for social distancing. Bondi has had particular problems, especially with the preponderance of backpacker hostels there, and the random crowds that gather there habitually on warm, sunny days. Since that notorious Sunday a few weeks back (see below), Bondi has developed its own coronavirus cluster. Yes, we understand the need for action.

This is largely a council thing, it seems. State rules don’t compel beach closures, although the police appear to be enforcing them. Where the authorities – the councils involved -- are wrong is in their application of the balance. The closures, and the erection of barricades because we can’t be trusted, also recognise that people need to exercise, all the more so in a contemporary economy with such a preponderance of sedentary jobs. There’s not much incidental exercise in office work. So we’re allowed to run and to walk and to cycle, provided it’s not on the beach. Ironically, the temporary barricades actually crowd the runners and the walkers and the cyclistes into a narrower space on Sydney’s beach promenades, making social distancing more difficult to achieve.

That said, the local authorities have a difficult job in managing their areas in response to state and federal restrictions on movement and gathering. This is new territory for everyone. They are doing as well as they can. But in the great Strã'an tradition of deference, they can always do with gratuitous advice.

The error is in the authorities assuming that the only exercise their communities need is walking or running or cycling. As we know so very well, there are many punters who don’t or can’t walk or run or cycle. We swim. Because we prefer to; because we have to; because we can’t, for one reason or another, do the land-based stuff. Whither us? What about me? Personally, we walk because we live inland a bit, when we’re not at Forster. But we prefer to swim. We get a bit of both. But we cannot run, and we don’t have a bike. And it's an hour to the beach.

This is not an argument against restrictions aimed at constraining the spread of the virus. It is a plea for commonsense in how they are applied; to cater to the large number of us who swim. We need our exercise, too. Those authorities are wrong to think that running, walking and cycling is all that matters.


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Bondi beachgoers practise social distancing in the age of coronavirus. Image tweeted by Isabelle Truman (@isabelletruman). Next day, Waverley Council, with the Bill, closed Bondi down. Be aware, the telephoto lens used for this image has the effect of compressing the distribution of beachgoers, so many of them are not as close to each other as they may seem. But there certainly are lots of them.

Our voting strength

In season 2018/19, Australia racked up 53,000 entrants in organised ocean swims, about a quarter of us in Sydney. Including those who swim informally – early morning swim groups, etc -- there are probably more than double that around the joint. Many others use the beaches for daily exercise, although they might teabag at the end of a beach walk or a run. It's not just swimmers who are being dudded. And don't forget surfers; they need their fix, too.

A solution?

We beach users are not in the habit of gathering in large groups on the beach having a drink and a party and spreading coronavirus. We don’t even hang around on the beach much after our swim. We generally turn up, swim, then go home, or off to work. We might go for a cuppa at a beachside café. But we don’t sit around in groups on the sand passing around a flagon or a durry or having a chinwag so boisterous that it infringes the amenity of neighbouring beachgoers. In the ocean, there’s little risk of infringing social distancing rules. And if the authorities feel the need to police our usage, then beaches are far easier to patrol because they are clearly identified, defined spaces, unlike the many kilometres of bike and shared paths, and parklands.

It’s wrong on the part of policy makers to, on the one hand, recognise that we all need our exercise, but on the other hand, to block many of us from getting it. It’s not so much that it’s discrimination; it’s ignorance, and it’s bad policy. There could at least be defined hours for swimming, beach walking, and running -- say 6-9 in the mornings and 4-6 in the evenings -- with restrictions on group numbers.

We all need our exercise, but there is more to the world than joggers, walkers, and cyclists.

What you can do

You can make your views known to your local councillors. Don't be shy about it. Their phone numbers usually are on the council websites... Randwick councillors... Waverley councillors

Only the strength of numbers is likely to force change.

There are petitions circulating online urging both Randwick and Waverley councils in Sydney to think through their blanket bans. You can see these petitions – and sign them, if you like – For Randwick Council (Clovelly, Coogee, Maroubra) … Click here… And for Waverley Council (Bondi, Tamarama, Bronte)… Click here

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Proud swells stand upright, snowy hair feathering behind... Photograrph by Glistening Dave (@glistenrr)

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Calling crusty old sea dogs

pitt helen 250Attention all ocean baths swimmers: an ocean swimming journalist with The Sydney Morning Herald, Helen Pitt, is seeking ocean baths swimmers for a coffee table book she is doing with photographer Chris Chen, to be published by Thames and Hudson. Helen is seeking baths swimmers to talk to about their favourite ocean pools, and why they are their favourites. Ideally, Helen says, she would love the subjects to agree to be photographed in their cossies at their favourite pool.

Please email Helen (link below) with 100 words on what you love about your ocean pool (more if it has an interesting history).

If you are not willing to be photographed, Helen says she is open to suggestions of swimmers to photograph or talk to... Crusty old sea dogs, please apply.

Many will know Helen from The House (Allen & Unwin), her history of the Sydney Opera House, which won the Walkley Book Award in 2018.

Contact Helen Pitt... Click here


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New Swipe Wide-Eyes

More Swipes in stock now

V630ASA AMBK 300There's a new model Swipe: the Wide-Eyes cater to swimmers who prefer an adjustable nose bridge, and a slightly wider field of vision than offered by the existing Swipe Selenes. They come in both plain and fully sick mirrored versions. They will be more suitable, perhaps, for punters who need a longer or narrower nose-bridge.

We wore our original View Selene Swipes for 56 outings, until we lost them at Bondi a few weeks back. Left them in a change room. Now, we're using the new Wide-Eyes Swipes.

We had been cautious about promoting the Swipes when we heard about them from the folk at View. We wore them 30 times before we were comfortable with flogging them to you. If they do fog at all, generally it's in one corner of a lens. Each time, we took them off, wiped the foggy bit gently with our forefinger, and no more fogging for the rest of the session. No goo, no spit, no nothing, except wetting them and wiping them carefully

We've sold 310 pairs of View Selene Swipes since we launched them just prior to Xmas; so many, in fact, that we'd sold out of four colours and we'd almost sold out of the fifth. New stocks have arrived, and we have plenty of gogs in all available colours and styles.

The revolutionary Swipe technology offers anti-fog capacity that lasts 10 times as long as existing goggles, the makers say.

According to the makers, the "10 times as long" refers to distance they say you can swim before you start to see some fogging with new goggles. They say the standard is 4km, but the Swipes will go 40kms. Whatever, all gogs will fog if you don't respect them and look after them. The issue also is how to deal with the fogging if and when it does occur.

For advice on looking after your gogs... Click here

Find out more and order Swipes... Click here

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oceanswimsafaris 2020

It's all over for now, baby

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No-one should be surprised to hear that our early-season oceanswimsafaris this year have been cancelled. Or rather, they've been rolled over to next year, 2021. Our French Polynesia oceanswimsafaris will be in May, 2021, and our Philippines oceanswimsafari will be in June. We're lucky that our providers in both French Polynesia and in The Philippines have been happy to defer our bookings. They're suffering, too, at the moment. That's our mob, above, playing with whale sharks in The Philippines in 2019.

We're not sure yet about late season oceanswimsafaris in 2020. We're keeping a watching brief and we're communicating with those who've booked.

Enquiries... Click here

Controversy Corner...

What do you reckon about any of this stuff? We received a lot of feedback after last week's newsletter. Check it out... Click here

Let us know and we'll facilitate the debate... Click here

(Also see posts at the end of this newsletter.)

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Early morning autumn choob at Forster.

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Advertise...

We email this newsletter to over 40,000 swimmers weekly in season, and less frequently out of season. If you'd like to advertise with us, please give us a yell.. Click here

If you're not receiving our emails...

... even if you believe you're on our list, chances are they're going into your Spam or Trash/Bin folders. Some email providers do that to us; gmail and Hotmail, for example. So check your Spam, your Trash and/or your Bin, and you might find us trapped in their, lonely, with no-one to talk to.

You might also add oceanswims.com to your email whitelist. This should help them to come through.

Results...

For swim results... Click here

If you have a link to results that we have not listed, please send it to us... Click here

Emergency!

Don't be an emergency eejit. It's 'strordnry how many punters enter swims online and list themselves as their own emergency contact. Just say something happens to you out in the sea, who are awgies going to contact? You? Get real. Think about it, and enter someone else as your emergency contact, event if it's your boss at work.

List your swim group...

List your informal morning swim group on our directory, so that travelling swimmers will always have a place and a peloton to swim with... Click here

Check our swim maps...

For a quick idea of what's going on around your area -- formal events, informal swim groups -- check our swim maps. You'll find them for each area under Swims/Calendar on oceanswims.com.

Buy gogs...

You can buy your fave View gogs and other swim needs from the oceanswims.com boutique... Click here

Check our back issues...

For all our back issues of the weekly oceanswims.com newsletter... Click here

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This newsletter...

We send this newsletter to a mailing list of over 39,000 swimmers, mainly in Australia and New Zealand, around the south-west Pacific, and even around the world. If ou'd like to advertise with us, give us a yell... Click here

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28 comments

  • Chris Barazza Comment Link
    Chris Barazza
    Friday, 17 April 2020 06:56
    What a joke.

    I'm glad the beaches are still closed. I don't appreciate such a narrow view of the subject. God forbid you to have to avoid the beaches for a couple of weeks of your entire life to reduce the effect of a PANDEMIC.

    Pull your head in and don't send this rubbish.
    Report
  • Angela Moir Comment Link
    Angela Moir
    Thursday, 16 April 2020 06:14
    With regards to your article about the beaches being closed I really have to disagree.
    On this side of the ditch our beaches are closed too and to be honest it’s been a very hard few weeks. Swimming is my balance, it’s my training sure but more importantly it’s my get away from it all, my peace. Once lockdown is lifted our water down on the Mainland will be pretty darn chilly to be honest. I’ve not been in since March 20 and it’s a long time dry.

    But, the beaches aren’t closed for our safety they are closed for the safety of others. The first responders that are often volunteers that get called out when something goes wrong, or the bystander that goes to the rescue of a person in trouble.
    I know we are accomplished swimmers and know what we are doing but things can and do go wrong.

    On top of this you have those who ‘think’ they can swim but in reality actually need a lesson or two. They will see you out there and go they can swim so I can to. They do this over summer, all the time. Well, they do on this side of the ditch so surely you have your fair share of those people too?

    Is someone going to ‘police’ who is capable and who isn’t? Bags not me!

    The simple solution is a ban. Black and white, no grey areas. It is horrid but I believe this virus is worse.

    Take care and think about how amazing it will be when we are allowed back in!!
    Report
  • Susan McCreery Comment Link
    Susan McCreery
    Thursday, 16 April 2020 04:00
    Honestly, plonk a couple of big NSW Public Health Order signs on the beach that outline the risk of six months in prison and/or serious fines for outdoor gatherings, and with lifeguards on ‘passive surveillance duties’ able to shoo any lingerers off, just let swimmers swim. Swim, then LEAVE. Why is it considered less risky to have joggers and walkers (and where I live, cyclists too) all huffing and puffing past each other along a narrow path? Never felt safer in the time of Covid-19 and at less risk (to myself and others) than when out in the ocean.
    Report
  • Jacqui Ellison Comment Link
    Jacqui Ellison
    Wednesday, 15 April 2020 17:24
    We can swim in bay beaches in Victoria. Get in swim go home is here.
    Report
  • Vince Champion Comment Link
    Vince Champion
    Wednesday, 15 April 2020 17:23
    Agreed re closed beaches. I live on Newcastle beach and the local council are allowing swimming and surfing, despite the beach being ‘closed’, as long as people don’t hang around on the beach. And generally people are abiding by that and doing the right thing, allowing the council to continue that policy.

    Good commonsense decision.
    Report
  • S Atkins Comment Link
    S Atkins
    Wednesday, 15 April 2020 11:04
    Don't agree with your position. Anyone going to beaches will attract others. Social distancing will fall apart. Mass gatherings will occur, and if swimmers hit the sea, surfers, then jet skiers, boaties etc will all want to be out at sea putting first responders at risk. I think this call for pressure on authorities is ill thought out, selfish, and not in the best interests of the fight against covid, and the call to stay home stay safe and save lives.
    Report
  • Nick Tompson Comment Link
    Nick Tompson
    Wednesday, 15 April 2020 09:46
    I have to disagree with this view.
    I live at North Curl Curl and it’s busier than normal with hundreds young people ignoring social distancing. Very selfish!
    The more people that take this seriously the quicker we will get over it and see our beaches safe areas again.
    Report
  • Charm Frend Comment Link
    Charm Frend
    Wednesday, 15 April 2020 09:41
    The decision about which beach is open or closed seems to be dependant on individual councils. I must say with all of the true and not so true info out there I have stayed out of what doesn’t directly affect my area and my living circumstances. I live with my parents and my first responsibility is to them and their well being. So I abide with our areas restrictions and common sense. I am lucky I live where I am and I’m going to sound like a great big NIMBY here but if your area has closed your access to where you normally swim they have a reason, please don’t travel to other areas and swim in your usual groups - I have seen quite a few groups of around 10 pink caps as recently as 2 days ago and people I know live “over the bridge” who are sometimes a bit scornful of my little swimming area come and have a swim with their usual bunch of mates. Stay in your own area. The more people that do this the sooner this can be contained and we can all get back to normal. Please don’t cause areas that you normally wouldn’t be seen dead in shut down.
    Report
  • Lily Lambert Comment Link
    Lily Lambert
    Wednesday, 15 April 2020 08:27
    I have to say that reading this I feel like if anything is over the top, it is this email.

    We are in a global pandemic and yes sadly you can't go swimming in the beaches. But that is to keep people safe! We are fortunate that we can still walk, run and cycle and I understand that people who prefer to swim cannot which must be frustrating.

    But there are many things that some people can do, that others can't - so in this time of global crisis, use this time to try something new. Find your new way to exercise. You never know, you may love it!

    And when we do get back to the ocean, you will appreciate it so much more, as will everyone else.

    I did not appreciate this email landing in my inbox. We have much bigger things to be worrying about.

    "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it."

    You can make your own adventure.

    I hope that we will soon be able to return to the beach and enjoy the oceans - but for now, I hope that you are all safe and well.
    Report
  • Mark Boyd Comment Link
    Mark Boyd
    Wednesday, 15 April 2020 08:25
    Mark Boyd here in Auckland. No swimming in Auckland, or anywhere else in NZ. At the start of our four-week lockdown three weeks ago, swimmers were 'advised' not to go into the (sea) water - all the pools had shut even earlier. A few of us continued to walk or cycle to our harbour beach for a swim - you're only allowed to drive to the supermarket or chemists for essentials. But the weekend before Easter, swimming was specifically banned by law, along with surfing, boating and bush hiking. The rationale is that if you get into difficulty, the ambos or other emergency workers have to expose themselves to risk to help you. Fair enough, it's for the greater good, but we're all hoping that when our present Level 4 lockdown (much tighter than yours, and nationwide) is eased to Level 3, hopefully next week, we'll be able to get wet again, with appropriate social distancing.
    Report
  • Lynley Brennan Comment Link
    Lynley Brennan
    Wednesday, 15 April 2020 07:16
    Hey , thought you might like to know that Newcastle has it solved . The beaches are closed and so are the Ocean Baths but we are using them . The life saver’s voice rolls out over the beach ‘The beaches are closed except for essential exercise - that means walking , swimming or surfing . When you are done , go home . And that couple down at South Newcastle , pick up your towel and your coffee and get off the beach ‘.
    When we had our ‘Bondi’ at Merewether and Bar Beach, NBN3 had it on the news . Next day of course the beaches and Baths were closed forcing a number of us into social disobedience .
    Certainly , if they barricaded the beach , a number of us would go in off the rocks - and the local authorities know us well enough to avoid the confrontations and rescues potentially involved .
    I did have a sleepless night picturing the fines mounting up , but then , on day two , everything changed to the ‘beatable normal.’ ( We are short of toIlets though as they closed the dressing sheds !)
    Hang in there and fight back ! Swimmers and surfers need the ocean!
    Report
  • Jo-Anne Elliott Comment Link
    Jo-Anne Elliott
    Wednesday, 15 April 2020 06:40
    There is a rumour that Randwick and Waverley Councils may reopen beaches in the Eastern suburbs as the weather cools but the problem there is that the longer the beaches are closed the more people will flock to them once they reopen (obviously not as many as summer) after being denied their regular ocean tonic, whereas other areas where beaches have remained open will continue to have a steady flow or even a drop in numbers as newly arrived swimmers head back to their regular haunts.
    Report
  • Jai Di Tommaso Comment Link
    Jai Di Tommaso
    Wednesday, 15 April 2020 06:39
    It’s not just in Sydney’s eastern suburbs where they have closed the beaches completely. ...

    I think it’s the world. Not just here
    Report
  • Brian Munro Comment Link
    Brian Munro
    Wednesday, 15 April 2020 04:48
    I have not read the whole article but look at the streets of Paris etc. As soon as you let one person go to the beach then everyone else says they want to go. Im an old codger at 77, dont live near a beach but love an early morning swim when we holiday etc. What is the point of creating the hugest recession that ourselves, our and grandkids have seen if there is the slightest chance that it may be destroyed by inadvertent spread of this virus. This a New World but not the one the Spaniards found. Some thought that nuclear was the nect world waf, then maybe water rights, but now it is our health.
    Report
  • Sarah Roebuck Comment Link
    Sarah Roebuck
    Wednesday, 15 April 2020 04:25
    Yes please open the beaches. It is the weirdest thing.
    Last weekend I went to Maroubra. The beach and water were perfect, but fenced off. The weirdest thing was that people were all sitting in the park eating their takeaway.
    They were social distancing and why this couldn’t have been also happening on the beach, who would know.
    The lifeguards are equally perplexed, but we were all still allowed to traipse over the Malabar headland where often the track drops to single width and we were passing each other. People were sensible and stepped off the track where they could and practiced social distancing.
    I did get a swim in at Little Bay, thank goodness.
    Report
  • Kathryn Skelsey Comment Link
    Kathryn Skelsey
    Wednesday, 15 April 2020 04:22
    You may be interested to know that some Cronulla surfers are getting around the beach-closure restrictions by paddling out from rocks or entering the water from boats.
    https://www.theleader.com.au/story/6716836/surfers-defy-beach-closures-at-cronulla/
    Report
  • Jo Skinner Comment Link
    Jo Skinner
    Wednesday, 15 April 2020 03:56
    I am being controversial!

    First though, let me say that I love your newsletter and the support you give the great sport of swimming.

    My thoughts are around re-opening the beaches. I understand some people can't walk or run, but the fact remains that if you were to re-open the beaches you would get so many people who 'need' to swim that the same problem would exist. Despite being cancelled, I hear there are still a couple of hundred swimmers who are turning up for the B&B swim.

    I laugh when my surfing colleagues complain about how many surfers are in the water in the morning. They are contributing to the problem! When driving a car you can't complain about the traffic, because you ARE the traffic.

    The more of us who Stay Home, the shorter this period will last, and the quicker we can return to our oceans and pools.
    Report
  • Jason Langer Comment Link
    Jason Langer
    Wednesday, 15 April 2020 03:54
    Your email seems to miss the point. Non-participation in many forms of exercise is about ensuring you pose no injury risk to yourself, so that there’s no chance you end up taking a hospital bed from someone who has Covid-19 and desperately needs treatment.

    This doesn’t just apply to swimming, it applies to cycling also. A friend of ours is an ER nurse and recently shared how their team had to break away form treating Covid patients because a bunch of cyclists had crashed into each other and multiple needed to be hospitalised. This is the scenario we all need to make sure is avoided.

    It’s not just about isolating; even golf - the most socially isolated sport ever - is banned in most places at the moment. It’s about restricting people’s activity so that the probability they become a further burden on the healthcare system, is avoided. Doing nothing literally can save lives right now.

    Please rethink your stance and consider encouraging everyone to do the right thing for each other in the community. You miss swimming, so do I, but I don’t want to be unintentionally responsible for the death of someone else. Let’s all work together to stay home and save lives.
    Report
  • Craig Salkeld Comment Link
    Craig Salkeld
    Wednesday, 15 April 2020 02:12
    Wow guys, opening beaches now is SO WRONG !!!!!!!
    I LOVE Ocean swimming but we all walk down the same paths, ramps, stairs to the beach before spreading out. It’s impossible to prevent transmission of Covid.

    The tough/courageous swimmer right now is the one who doesn’t swim !!
    Report
  • Kyle Salkeld Comment Link
    Kyle Salkeld
    Wednesday, 15 April 2020 01:56
    This newsletter is very disappointing and highly irresponsible. I find it hard to believe that the large gathering of Manly's 'Bold & the Beautiful' swimmers ducking to Shelly and back wouldn't pose an immediate risk of viral spread, especially to the significant 50+ contingent in the group. Multiple this by the number of community swimming groups, or even informal flocks of swimmers. Let alone cramming Sydney ocean swimmers into a given three/two hour window without any obligation or mechanism to track movements, contact or health status would pose any less of a risk.

    We have seen footage of people flouting social distancing by heading to the beach and water broadcast for the last fortnight. It is clear the motivational posture of many swimmers, surfers and beachgoers at large is not to abide by the rules even when the threat of fines along with community and their own safety is at risk. Yet you're suggesting 'balancing of needs'? It's the silly behaviour of a few and the continual disregard of many more to public health measures which supercharged the pandemic.

    I too like you hope beaches will reopen some day, however it is 'the authorities' who have steered us to flatten the curve thus far. Till such a time where it's deemed safe by them, we should pay it forward to the rest of our community by adhering to social distancing advice. We don't want to swap hitting the waves ocean swimming one day, for more subsequent viral waves in the coming months.

    Do better,
    Report
  • Chris Carlon Comment Link
    Chris Carlon
    Wednesday, 15 April 2020 01:54
    Another great swim news letter! Thanks

    In so many swims in those suspect places around harbours, river entrances, those dodgy murky water shark inhabited locations. I have always found swimming in social isolation a little terrifying and have always done my best to link onto some other unsuspecting individual who when the time is right will dutifully sacrifice themselves for my quick (ok slow) get away!

    The problem with ocean swimming and maintaining a close proximity are currents, space, waves, lack of visibility, keeping a sharp lookout for that next buoy. I have never been that successful in keeping that safe zone distance except in those overcrowded swims around Sydney that are really not that exciting anyway.

    I always enjoy your newsletter
    Report
  • Barrie Greenbury Comment Link
    Barrie Greenbury
    Wednesday, 15 April 2020 01:54
    Up here at Mooloolaba we have been fortunate up to this point.
    We can swim for exercise and the beaches are open to walk on just don’t get caught sitting down or sunbaking.
    My skin has suffered enough sun damage over the previous 58 years so the later is the last thing I consider.
    Our Mooloolaba Beach Bum group has taken upon ourselves to socially distance.
    We are starting at different times from different locations and in small “pods” of 2 or 3 most of the time.
    Some have had a few warning apparently, for standing around in herds having a chat afterwards, but nothing more than that.
    And I notice when I slip in for my “takeaway” coffee on my way home the ever present Patrol car cutting laps around the beach front keeping the punters honest.
    Looking forward to the return of normality. Whatever that is.
    Report
  • Michael Munro Comment Link
    Michael Munro
    Wednesday, 15 April 2020 01:53
    I swim at Balmoral every morning around 6am, but I live at Hunters Hill. I am a member of the BBC.

    It’s only a 20 minute drive to the beach and then I go to work, again only a 20 minute drive.

    Sensibly the BBC is now closed due to the virus and all our weekend races have been cancelled. No members are complaining, it’s the sensible thing to do.

    The club still encourages members to swim each morning as long as we comply with the social distancing rules and don’t swim in large groups.

    The last few Sundays police have had to close the beach because people are arriving with towels, umbrellas and eskies and settling in for the day. No distancing or groups of two.

    Unfortunately the vast majority seem to have come from the eastern suburbs where the beaches have closed.

    In the mornings you can’t park after about 6am for the same reasons.

    Now we don’t own the beach or the water and as far as I’m concerned it is for everyone to swim.

    These new groups can be up to 20 people who meet on the grass, put all their gear together and go into the water as a big group.

    If you say anything to them about not congregating so close you just get abused or ignored.

    The police have expressed concern but they are not about to chase them into the water and warn them.

    Everyone is welcome and indeed encouraged into the noble art of early morning swimming, but if they could just obey the rules it would help. We risk having our beach closed as well if they won’t listen.

    Regards and stay well.
    Report
  • Bob Bowden Comment Link
    Bob Bowden
    Wednesday, 15 April 2020 01:52
    A bloody mess. Beaches in far north have largely been left alone except for the odd weekend when the Easties have migrated up for the day. All of Palmie was shut about 11am a fortnight back when the crowds surged.
    It sounds as though we might see a gentle unwinding of the rules but I can’t see it happening quickly. I imagine many people will never work in an office again.
    Report
  • Bernie Buncle Comment Link
    Bernie Buncle
    Wednesday, 15 April 2020 01:51
    I have been swimming Manly–Shelly and back as often as I can. The biggest risk is having a head on collision with a returning swimmer, now that the bold and beautiful swim is not allowed.
    Report
  • Paul McLean Comment Link
    Paul McLean
    Wednesday, 15 April 2020 01:50
    The Covid 19 cluster in Bondi had nothing to do with the crowd at the beach.

    It had everything to do with hostels where the cooking/eating amenities are shared, toilets are showers are shared and bedrooms with 6 - 8 beds are not uncommon.

    The misinformation rolls on and the NSW Government is indebted to all who promulgate this untruth.

    The ridiculous number of mainstream media stories that feature Bondi Beach as the background is a testament to the laziness of the journalists and editors. It’s also a reward for the cunning of the media manipulators in the government. Anything to get the Ruby Princess out of the picture.

    The dispersal rate of any virus in a beach setting is off the charts. The corona virus fares very poorly outside a host or laboratory so you could look for years and maybe find a fragment of RNA but you’d be hit by a meteor before you found a single viable virus cell.

    No wonder the non swimming public are clueless. Even the stakeholders can’t get it right. I include myself as I can’t convince my own family against the noise.

    The crowded buses and cafes on that day are of course a major concern. But that is not about the beach. That is about the government not being a wake up and stopping the problem at its source.
    Report
  • Angela Boyd Comment Link
    Angela Boyd
    Wednesday, 15 April 2020 01:50
    I agree with the comments. We have been lucky enough to be swimming at Boomerang beach and Blueys Beach, Pacific Palms. There were never more than twenty people on the whole beach at a time. The council have now closed all of the beaches in the area. I appreciate the issue with the closure of metropolitan beaches, but seriously!!
    Report
  • Anthony Harris Comment Link
    Anthony Harris
    Wednesday, 15 April 2020 01:48
    Well written.
    This whole thing has been based on fear and fear only!
    A sad state of affairs!
    See you in the sea!
    Report

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