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October 7, 2019

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Emailed to more than 38,000 ocean swimmers
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Early morning swim, in Paradise.

Swims coming up...

Early Morning Swims

Why get out of bed?

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Russel Jackson "leads" the Forster Turtles down to the sea again. Can you spot the four toes?

It’s spring. But just because it’s spring, and the weather forecasters are warning of “40 degree” days, it doesn’t mean that the water is warming. Our water doesn’t usually warm till much later in the year, probably close to Xmas. Until then, it’s officially “bracing”. The kind of temperature that has you wondering, when you wake on an early daylight savings morn, especially the morning after the Grand Final, whether it’s worth rolling out of bed for an early morning swim.

But we are in paradise. At least, that’s what Mrs Sparkle has written on the tag of the keyring where she keeps her keys to our joint here in Forster. We’ve reported before about the equability of the climate here; about how it’s always more pleasant and tolerable here than everywhere else; about how, one day, driving up from the big city, it was 43C on the highway, but 27C by the time we arrived on the coast, 25km away. In Paradise, it’s always nicer. Camelot-on-Sea.

The wondering is always greater on those rare days when you wake, tilting the slats on the shutters, to find cloud cover or a breeze infecting the early morn. Those days really are rare: we reckon, 95 per cent of mornings here are those, when you look out through the slats, your first thought is, “Another rubbish day…”; another great, Strá’an irony. For the vast majority of days up here on the coast, indeed, are paradisical. We have the north-facing beach on one side, the lake on the other. The town sits on a narrowing peninsula between the two, and there’s a channel close by that’s constantly filling and emptying one of the biggest saltwater lakes in the nation; and the lake is full of Sydney rock oysters. And all this is what we reckon tempers the weather extremes.

We’ve been here three days now. Today is rubbish, typical of this joint – warm without too much heat, sunny, a little bit of cloud, a gentle sea breeze, little more than a lilt, and a balmth that is enough, for spring, to remind you that warmer weather is on the way. But the first two days here were genuinely cool, almost unpleasant: a nor-easter blowing stiffly – there was a lone bluey on the high water mark this morning -- cool air, a bit of rain – mainly when we jumped on our pushbike to ride the two kilometres over the bridge to the shop, and back, whereupon the rain stopped – and the water… The water…

According to Russell “Four Toes” Jackson, the spiritual guide of the Forster Turtles, the water is 17C. (We believe “Four Toes” is a distant relo of Arthur “Two Sheds” Jackson.) He says Barwon Greg, who’s away this weekend, had measured 18.5C during the week just gone. We reckon, using the thermal sensing of our skin, that it’s closer to 19. But we’re not going to contradict Russell, who swims here every (Read: EVERY) morning. We are just blow-ins, in contrast. Whatever, it’s cool; much cooler than the water we’ve been swimming in recently, around the Pacific and in the Mediterranean. This is not to brag, but to offer the contrast. (We’re off to Fiji this coming weekend. Yipeee!)

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For us, this time of year is always a challenge, particularly on those rare cooler early spring mornings.

The funny thing is, but, we always get out early for the early morning swim – the Turtles swim each morning on Main Beach, from the surf club at 7:30am – and we always love it. For no matter how ugly the sea might appear when we first glimpse it during our three-minute walk from digs – uglified by the cloud, the wind, the chop in an onshore breeze, the mashed up swell -- we always emerge thinking how beautiful it all was.

There was a complicating factor over the main two days of this weekend, in that there was a Nippers and Masters surf carnival on the beach from early each morning. The beach was packed from sun-up. There were three or four separate areas marked out by booees for water events, and us Turtles were confined to swimming from the eastern end of the beach around the point and back. We couldn’t swim along, as we normally do, because we’d just get in the way.

There can be beauty in disruption, however (although we draw the line at disruption for disruptions sake, as some politicians like it). The swim around the point is a glorious swim, as all rock shelf swims are. Witness Wedding Cake Island at Coogee; the Racecourse swim at Mollymook; the northern headland at Avalon and Bilgola; the reef bottom around from Boat Harbours at Gerringong and Shellharbour. Over weedy bottoms and along rock shelves, with bump and swirl from the chop bouncing off the rocks, they are never boring. Up here, the sandy patches between the reef and the weed are popular with stingarees, and even a bigger eagle ray that startled from the bottom a couple of metres below. The laydees saw a wobbegong.

This is nothing to the sea life that is out here, however. A few days back, late last week, the TV news ran drone footage of a bunch of swimmers doing their early morning swim off what the newsreader said was “Main Beach, north of Port Macquarie”. They were about 100m offshore, and inside them, revealed by the drone, was a 2.5m shark, just idling around behind the break. It was the kind of positioning that meant, even if you were alarmed, you couldn’t make for the shore, because that’s where the shark was.

As it happened, “Main Beach, north of Port Macquarie” actually was Forster, south of Port Macquarie, and the swimmers were our very own Turtles. The story, according to the newsreader, was that, despite being alerted to the shark, the swimmers opted to keep on their normal early morning swim. As they did. (Bear this in mind when you hear any story on the meeja: most are riddled with tiny detail errors like this; you should take it all with a grain of salt, while perhaps taking note of general thrusts.)

One thing to which the Turtles have become accustomed over the years is sharks. The sea is full of them, and the water off the beach here is jam-packed. There is a large school of grey nurses off the reef off the eastern end of the beach. They are not a concern, apart from the fact that it’s fascinating to inspect them, because grey nurses are generally friendly sharks. They’d probably invite you to tea if they had a fairy cake stand. But there are plenty of whites and bulls hanging around here, as well, and the Turtles are used to benign interactions and sightings. One day early last year, a peloton of 20 of us, in 3m of sandy, weedy water about 50m out, behind the Bull Ring (our ocean pool), swam over a 3m bull shark. It was just mooching along, looking for fish, absolutely unconcerned about us just above. The water was so unclear that only three of us – not including us, but including Mrs Sparkle – saw the thing, yet it swam right beneath us in shallow water. No-one was taken.

One day earlier this year, the shark contractors pulled an untagged white shark off the drumline just off the beach. They tagged it and towed it several kilometres out to sea. Next day, they caught it again, just off the beach. Well, it obviously lives around here. Of course it’s going to come back.

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Paradise, indeed. You can see our joint, middle right. (Image by East Coast Photography).

On Saturday, the first day of the Nipper carnival, the regular shark patrol helicopter that comes along each morning between 8:30 and 9:00 circled – which is always a sign -- just this side of the breakwall, then dropped to just above the water, and hovered, and turned on its flashing light and its siren. A hundred metres or so along the beach, Nippers were racing in the ocean. No-one was taken.

Our main concern, however, is how rubbish the weather has been, but despite that, how good has been the water. On such days, we rise less energetically; we “force” ourselves to ready, pack our swim gear in our backpack; and head off up the beach, munching on the daily apple. It’s cool to cold in the wind, under the heavy cloud; there’s no surf; and the water is “bracing” and a bit bumpy. But once you’re past the break, it clarifies so that you’re swimming in a solution of perfectly clear brine. The first dive is jarring, and the initial few strokes are sharp, but that’s all.

We don’t swim in wetties, but we have our wettie built it. It’s a natural wettie. And we “acclimate” (as the ‘Mer’cans put it) quite quickly. Thereafter, it’s all brace and favourable, fresh and clear. You can count every grain of sand on the bottom – we’re still to work out who leaves all those footprints down there – and every prickle on the wafting weed; every pebble in the conglomerate reef, as you wash left and right with the swell over the reef. There’s a bump, but it’s the ocean. That’s what oceans do.

By the time we return to the break, we know why we’ve rolled out of bed on such a rubbish morn: we’re awake and we feel better about ourselves and the world. No matter how bleak is the day; no matter how unappealing the sea, no matter how bumptious the break, it never disappoints, and it leaves us the better for our lives ahead.

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It's on again...

Burleigh coming up

It’s on again. The season. There’ve been swims throughout winter in Queensland, but around the rest of Strá’a and New Zealand, it’s all just coming out of hibernation.

We have 11 swims open for online entry already (see below), but coming up, the weekend after next, is the swim at Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast (that's iconic Burleigh, above). You will never have a better reason for a weekend on the coast.

Four events on this iconic Gold Coast beach: two distances for age groups and elite, a Dash for Cash (for elite entrants), and a shorter swim for younger swimmers. Prize money on offer for Open/Elite swimmers (which can help pay your squad fees), and plenty of random prizes to be won, too.

Find out more and enter online… Click here

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STOP PRESS

Dawny off this season

Dawny's Cockatoo Challenge at Balmain in Sydney will not run in season 2019/20. With renovations taking place to the Dawn Fraser Pool, awgies have lost access to the facilities they need to run the swim. 

The Dawny swim normally runs on the penultimate Sunday in November.

But Dawny will be back next year, awgies tell us.

Such a pity. It's one of our fave events. We look forward to next year.

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2020 oceanswimsafaris

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mana fiji logo 19 250We’re off to Fiji this weekend. Next week, we have the Mana Fiji SwimFest 2019, with record numbers of ocean swimmers heading to Mana Island for the 10km (solos and relays) on Thursday, and 5km, 2.5km and 1km on Saturday. There’s still room if you’d like to come with us… Click here

The week after, we’re up north in the Yasawas for our oceanswimsafari.

And already, we are taking bookings for our oceanswimsafaris in 2020. Most packages are online now, and bookings are coming in…

March 12-16 – Coromandel New Zealand – A long weekend away in one of the most beautiful parts of the temperate Pacific, the Coromandel Peninsula. The feature event is the Cathedral Cove swim, but just being in this stunningly beautiful place is a tonic… Click here

May 12-21, and May 21-31 – French Polynesia -- Swim the Pacific; dine in Paris. That’s about it. Another stunningly beautiful paradise. We’ve already filled two oceanswimsafaris in 2020, but you could take advantage of our Advance Deposit Scheme to book your place in 2021… Click here

June 12-20 – The Philippines – Swim with whale sharks in another paradise of some of the clearest water of the greatest marine biodiversity in the Indo-Pacific region… Click here

June 23-July 1 – Sulawesi, Indonesia – More of the clear water and great marine biodiversity at the other end of the Celebes Sea from our Philippines location. This is a place that hardly any Strá’an visits. It’s pretty well just us... Click here

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July 20-28, July 27-August 4 – Tonga – Swim with Humpback Whales (above) – One of the most unusual, special experiences you can ever have swimming in the ocean. The humpbacks migrate over winter from Antarctica to Tonga to give birth and generally frolic around. Tonga is one of the few places in the world where we’re allowed to get in the water with the whales (under rules, of course)… Click here

August 25-31 – San Sebastián, Spain – Swim the Basque country, with its rich mix of culture, food, and history. And the swimming’s terrific, too. That's San Sebastián, above -- A romantic evening on the bay of la Concha... A must-stop during anyone’s trip to Europe… Click here

September 12-20 – Costa Brava, Spain – Swim Catalonia, and France to Spain around the end of the Pyrenees. Another journey through history, art, culture and food, and some of the clearest water you’ll ever swim in… Click here

October is time for Mana Island the the Yasawas again. We don’t have dates for them yet, but watch this space… Click here

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Postcards from the Pool

Let’s not kid ourselves: sometimes it’s hard

goble sally dinkusSally Goble sends a postcard from the pool...

Parliament Hill Lido. Autumn.

Sometimes early morning dew wets the flagstones surrounding the pool, the sun still too low to dry them. Sometimes the sun shines down, clear and sharp in the autumn light and the pool glistens and glints in the suns rays. These days the inviting blue twinkling of the water belies the sharp pain of the cold I know is waiting. These days I stand looking breathlessly at the water, excited to begin as the sun warms my back.

Sometimes though, the rain drizzles on, the clouds are grey, the wind cuts. The water looks dull, but, in the rainy windy haze, older women who come here every day drift up and down sedately with their heads-up-breastroke, looking unphased. I scrutinise them from the safety of the pool deck. They don’t look cold. They look entirely at ease in the inhospitality of the day. It can’t be so bad.

I strip off reluctantly. I need to swim for two hours today. The water is 14c and the air is 14c as well. I shudder.

Sometimes the only thing that has got me here is sheer bloody mindedness. Sometimes I wake up with a sense of dread that I can’t shake as I pack my bag with three jumpers, a wooly hat, and a flask of hot ribena. Sometimes I have to force myself to show up.
“It’s lovely!” they shout exuberantly, encouragingly, from the water. I smile wanly, thinking: “You’re not swimming for two hours though, are you?”

Sometimes it’s OK when I get in — I manage my cold water shock response with a long exhale, and start swimming. It’s not too bad. But sometimes after an hour I am stiff and cold, and my forearms sting, my big toe throbs, I start to lose my motor skills as my muscles tense and my joints stiffen. Sometimes I’m desperate to get out but I have said I’d swim for two hours and I will do it. Sometimes every length is a battle of my will.

I finish. Two hours.

“Come and have a hot shower!” you call happily from the steaming hot showers as I stagger into the changing rooms.

Sometimes, and mostly when the temperature reaches 14c or below, and I have been in the water for a long time, I can’t shower. Sometimes I have cold hives and the sudden rush of water — even tepid water — on my cold skin, makes my skin itch like crazy, and makes my skin swell with some horrible allergic reaction. I rush, teeth clenched, grimly past the warm comfort of the shower and the huddle of smiling chatting semi-naked swimmers, to the concrete changing cubicles. I dress quickly, putting on everything I have.

It’s over.

But sometimes I am too cold. Sometimes the car is so enticing I sit in it for long after my journey is over because I don’t want to go outside again. Sometimes I’m cold all day. Sometimes my jaw aches from the tension of clenching my teeth for so long. Sometimes

I fall asleep with the effort of warming up. Sometimes I sit in all my clothes, with a hot water bottle, under a blanket for hours. Sometimes I wish it wasn’t so hard.

Sometimes I wonder why I do it. But I always do. 

You can sign up to be notified of each of Sally Goble's Postcards from the Pool... Click here

Controversy Corner...

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

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

(See posts at the end of this newsletter.)

Swims open to online entry...

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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

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

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

Subscribe

If you wish to receive our newsletters by email, or you know someone who would like to receive them... Click here

This newsletter...

We send this newsletter to a mailing list of over 38,000 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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August 27, 2019

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Two views of Bongin Bongin Bay, on Sydney's northern beaches, two days apart, the image below from August 27, the lower from August 24. No two swims are ever the same. Images by staff snapper, David Helsham (@glistenrr).

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Swims coming up...


It's brisk right now, around the early morning swim circuit. But not without beauty. Image by David Helsham (@glistenrr)

Hervey Bay, and whales, this weekend...

This is a quick newsletter to let you know about the Hervey Bay swim in Queensland this weekend. We're travelling on oceanswimsafaris just now, en route between San Sebastián and the Catalan/Spanish Costa Brava, and we have a few minutes whilst waiting for a flight...

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Hervey Bay this weekend, and a rare opportunity in Strã’a to combine an ocean swim with a swim with humpback whales. Hervey Bay is one of the only places where it’s possible to get into the water with these wonderful animals, which we know very well from our regular oceanswimsafaris to Tonga. Mind you, we don’t know the individual, particular whales that gather in Hervey Bay. But we’re probably only one or two degrees of separation from them, on the grounds that they all go back to Antarctica for the summer and they’d all know each other down there.

That’s by the by. Hervey Bay awgies tell us today…

hervey bay slsc logoWeather this weekend is looking great in Hervey Bay for this years swim and for those visiting make sure you take the time to book a swim with the Whales when you are with us. The Whales have been amazing this year.

  • Swimmers we will have live music on the deck Saturday afternoon from 4 - 7 and you will get a great pizza across the road to help with crab loading!
  • Swimmers please note Rego is open from 7 am till 9 am at the Hervey Bay Surf Life Saving Club.

All race briefings will be on the deck at the Hervey Bay Surf Life Saving Club at 7.30am–8.30am-9.15am

Race Starting Times

  • 1km walk up the beach from club for an 8am start
  • 500 walk up the beach for an 8.45am start
  • P2P Urangan Pier swimmers to the Pier at 9.45am for check in for 10 am start

Online entries close at 5pm, Friday, August 30, 2019. Note, this is earlier than most swims online. Don’t be caught short.

Find out more and enter online… Click here

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2020 oceanswimsafaris

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We have packages online already for oceanswimsafaris in 2020, including the Coromandel in New Zealand (Mar 12-16), Sulawesi in Indonesia (June 23-July 1), and The Philippines (June 12-30).

Our two oceanswimsafaris to French Polynesia in 2020 are full, we're sorry. But you can lodge a fully refundable advance deposit for 2021 if you like, to make sure you don't miss out then.

Our dates are pretty well set in 2020 for our two oceanswimsafaris in Spain -- San Sebastián (August 25-31) (that's a quiet moment on La Concha in San Sebastián, above), and the Costa Brava (September 4-12), although we still have a couple more ts to cross before final confirmation of both. Again, you can lodge advance deposits to secure your spots, in anticipation of the release of final packages.

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Mana Fiji SwimFest

Mana extends 30% discount

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mana fiji logo 19 250We've had our strongest ever response to this year's Mana Fiji SwimFest, with more swimmers than ever signing up to take part in the original Fiji ocean swim festival. So pleasing has been the response that our hosts, Mana Island Resort, has extended till August 31 its offer of a 30 per cent discount (off wholesale rates) to those who book through oceanswimsafaris.com. After then, there still will be a 20 per cent discount on offer through swim day on October 17.

Good to hear that Can Too, the organisation that has, almost certainly, brought more people into ocean swimming than any other single institution, appears to have filled its program leading up to the 10km swim at Mana Island. We understand there are 25 Can Too swimmers who've taken up the challenge of training for their first 10km event. It will be good to have them all there with us in October.

We'll also have a strong contingent from the open water squad run by the Grimsey brothers in Brisbane.

Trent Grimsey, the record holder for the English Channel, and his brother, Ridge, will be attending the Mana Fiji SwimFest and will lead morning swims and run a swim clinic on Friday morning for those who book through oceanswimsafaris.com.

Even if you aren't part of these squads, don't let that put you off. The Mana Fiji SwimFest is open to all swimmers. You don't have to be part of any particular group, such as Can Too or Grimsey's Adult SwimFit. 

And if you don't feel you're up to 10km, don't let that put you off, either. There are four swim distances on offer over the week at Mana Island. The 10km swim includes both solos and relay teams of 3 x 3.3km. We put a lot of swimmers who arrive on Mana in teams so they can take part in this terrific swim. You don't need to be a 10km swimmer to take part in this swim.

The 10km runs on the Thursday, October 17. Then, on Saturday, October 19, there are three distances offered: 5km, 2.5km, and 1km. So there really is a distance for everyone.

Find out more about the Can Too 10km swim program... Click here

Find out more about Grimsey's Adult SwimFit... Click here

Find out more about the Mana Fiji SwimFest... Click here

Controversy Corner...

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

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

(See posts at the end of this newsletter.)

Swims open to online entry...

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north curl curl dhd killer 600
Blast from the past: At oceanswims.com, we're very proud of our fans, although it also must be said that we're very prouder of some than of others. Some of them go to all kinds of lengths to proclaim their support, such as Killer here, pictured at North Curl Curl a few years back. Killer, who lives in Murwillumbah, up on the Far North Coast of NSW, had his fandom stencilled on his back before leaving home (by adoring wife, Merryn), and when he rolled out of bed at a motel in Manly on swim day, he left his imprint on the sheets, as it were. Image by David Helsham (@glistenrr)

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

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

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

Subscribe

If you wish to receive our newsletters by email, or you know someone who would like to receive them... Click here

This newsletter...

We send this newsletter to a mailing list of over 38,000 swimmers, mainly in Australia and New Zealand, around the south-west Pacific, and even around the world.

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August 13, 2019

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Emailed to more than 38,000 ocean swimmers
weekly in season.


tonga whales humpback 1907 04 600
A few images from our Tonga oceanswimsafaris, from which we're just back... We went swimming with humpback whales. Here's mum and bub...

This issue...

Swims coming up...

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It's brisk right now, around the early morning swim circuit. But not without beauty. Image by David Helsham (@glistenrr)

What Swimming Taught Me About Happiness

Lesson No. 1: It’s not about how fast you can go

Friedman Richard circular thumbLarge v4By Richard A. Friedman

Reproduced from The New York Times, July 27, 2019

One day, a few years ago, I was rushing from the pool dripping wet when a man with a Russian accent stopped me and said, “You must come to svim with the team.”

I was in my early 50s — too old for swim team, I thought. But the coach — Igor was his name — persisted: “I see you are good svimmer.”

Intrigued, and being a sucker for flattery, I relented and joined his ragtag group of swimmers. Workouts started at 5:30 in the morning, when most sane people were tucked in bed. It didn’t matter because no matter how sleepy we were, we were guaranteed to be wide-awake, if not euphoric, when we finished. We enjoyed our camaraderie and although we were all at different swimming levels, we had one thing in common: We wanted to get better.

One day, a bunch of us were grousing about how little progress we were making in our swim times, how slow we were.

Ever the philosopher of the pool, Igor smiled and said, “You are all confused! Speed is not the goal; it is the result of perfect beautiful technique.”

What really mattered to Igor was excellence — the efficient stroke. Once you mastered that, he argued, speed would follow naturally. Speed was simply the welcome side effect of swimming well.

I’ve been thinking lately that there’s a lesson here that goes beyond the pool. We all wanted to swim faster and the more hysterically we tried, the more speed escaped us. The same goes for happiness. Everyone wants to be happy, yet the more directly we pursue happiness, the more elusive it becomes.

We’ve all experienced this phenomenon. Think, for example, about your coming vacation. You are excited about going to the beach or mountains and relaxing with lots of free time. How happy you are going to be! Then you start to plan out what you’ll do, what you need to bring, what restaurants you need a reservation for. Soon you’re feeling a bit stressed out about your future pleasure.

Research shows that thinking too much about how to be happy actually backfires and undermines well-being. This is in part because all that thinking consumes a fair amount of time, and is not itself enjoyable.

The researchers behind this study, called “Vanishing Time in the Pursuit of Happiness,” randomly assigned subjects to one of two tasks: One group was asked to write down 10 things that could make them become happier, while the other wrote 10 things that demonstrated that they were already happy.

The subjects were then asked to what extent they felt time was slipping away and how happy they felt at that moment. Those prompted to think about how they could become happier felt more pressed for time and significantly less happy.

This jibes with the argument the journalist Ruth Whippman makes in her 2016 book “America the Anxious: How Our Pursuit of Happiness Is Creating a Nation of Nervous Wrecks.” Trying too hard to be happy — downloading mindfulness apps, taking yoga classes, reading self-help books — mostly just stresses us out, she writes. So what should we do instead? Maybe simply hang out with some friends, doing something we like to do together: “Study after study shows that good social relationships are the strongest, most consistent predictor there is of a happy life.”

Which brings me back to swimming. When I swim, I feel that I have all the time in the world, in part because much of what marks time — my everyday life — vanishes the moment I step in the water. And all the while I’m there with my buddies, bound by mutual exertion and joking about life.

Our technique has improved, thanks to Igor. We have a smoother pull, never dropping our elbows, and a steadier flutter kick. Some days, I swim a little faster than I did before. But even if I don’t, I feel great.
In the end, happiness is a side effect of living well — just like speed can be the result of excellent swimming technique. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the pool.

Richard A. Friedman is a professor of clinical psychiatry and the director of the psychopharmacology clinic at the Weill Cornell Medical College, and a contributing opinion writer. newsletter divider clear bgrd

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The rules are that you must stay away from the whales as they swim by, but as they come to you, it's difficult to keep out of the way. They're quicker than we are through the water. The whales are not aggro or bargey, and seem curious and spatially aware, but you need to stay away from the barnacles on the fins and tail.

Dot point news...

  • Cole beds down at Manly... We understand that Nine Entertainment (new owner of Fairfax Meeja) has ceded the Cole Classic and its sibling event, the Saturday fun run from Dee Why to Manly, to Manly surf club. With the sale of Fairfax Meeja to Nine (the 9 TV network), Nine initially divested its four biggest events -- including the City to Surf and the Half Marathon, both in Sydney -- to the Chinese-owned Ironman, leaving 30-odd other events, including the Cole, without a home. Named for its founder, Graham Cole, the Cole ran at North Bondi from 1981, but moved to Manly in 2005, where it's been hosted by Manly Life Saving Club (MLSC). In 2009, Fairfax took over management of the Cole from the Cole lads, Christopher, an architect who now splits his time between Sydney and Fiji, Nicholas, a Sydney lawyer, and Walter, now a maths teacher in England. (That last bit is by the by, but it's interesting how life moves on.) All this means that the Cole survives, still on the first Sunday in February, at Manly. The surf club has great ambition for the Cole, but they have their job cut out replacing the promotion that came with the Fairfax management. Perhaps their deal with Nine includes some promotion? The first Sunday in February now is a crowded date in Sydney. Shark Island at Cronulla now also runs on the first Sunday in February.
  • 2020 oceanswimsafaris... We have packages online already for oceanswimsafaris in 2020, including the Coromandel in New Zealand (Mar 12-16), and Sulawesi in Indonesia (June 23-July 1). We'll have packages online very soon, too, for The Philippines (June 12-30). Our two oceanswimsafaris to French Polynesia in 2020 are full.

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Mana Fiji SwimFest

Mana extends 30% discount

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mana fiji logo 19 250We've had our strongest ever response to this year's Mana Fiji SwimFest, with more swimmers than ever signing up to take part in the original Fiji ocean swim festival. So pleasing has been the response that our hosts, Mana Island Resort, has extended till August 31 its offer of a 30 per cent discount (off wholesale rates) to those who book through oceanswimsafaris.com. After then, there still will be a 20 per cent discount on offer through swim day on October 17.

Good to hear that Can Too, the organisation that has, almost certainly, brought more people into ocean swimming than any other single institution, appears to have filled its program leading up to the 10km swim at Mana Island. We understand there are 25 Can Too swimmers who've taken up the challenge of training for their first 10km event. It will be good to have them all there with us in October.

We'll also have a strong contingent from the open water squad run by the Grimsey brothers in Brisbane.

Trent Grimsey, the record holder for the English Channel, and his brother, Ridge, will be attending the Mana Fiji SwimFest and will lead morning swims and run a swim clinic on Friday morning for those who book through oceanswimsafaris.com.

Even if you aren't part of these squads, don't let that put you off. The Mana Fiji SwimFest is open to all swimmers. You don't have to be part of any particular group, such as Can Too or Grimsey's Adult SwimFit. 

And if you don't feel you're up to 10km, don't let that put you off, either. There are four swim distances on offer over the week at Mana Island. The 10km swim includes both solos and relay teams of 3 x 3.3km. We put a lot of swimmers who arrive on Mana in teams so they can take part in this terrific swim. You don't need to be a 10km swimmer to take part in this swim.

The 10km runs on the Thursday, October 17. Then, on Saturday, October 19, there are three distances offered: 5km, 2.5km, and 1km. So there really is a distance for everyone.

Find out more about the Can Too 10km swim program... Click here

Find out more about Grimsey's Adult SwimFit... Click here

Find out more about the Mana Fiji SwimFest... Click here

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I love you, mum.

Controversy Corner...

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

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

(See posts at the end of this newsletter.)

Swims open to online entry...

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After three groups over three weeks, at last the peloton gets it about being ready to go swimming with whales. So often, you get little notice, and a tiny window to get into the sea. A bit like Cool Running. Image by Clare Bailey (@clarebailey89)

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

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

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

Subscribe

If you wish to receive our newsletters by email, or you know someone who would like to receive them... Click here

This newsletter...

We send this newsletter to a mailing list of over 38,000 swimmers, mainly in Australia and New Zealand, around the south-west Pacific, and even around the world.

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July 10, 2019

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Emailed to more than 38,000 ocean swimmers
weekly in season.


bongin dhd 190707 600 01
Just imagine the chord playing from Close Encounters of the Third Kind... They've been summoned; they don't know why; or by whom; or to where. But they're drawn irresistibly and compellingly by some supreme force. Let's hope they have their passports with them. (Bongin Bongin Bay in the fog last Sundee. Image by David Helsham @glistenrr)

This issue...

Swims coming up...

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After humpback whales, with whom do we all wish to swim with most? Yes, it's whale sharks. And we did, on our Philippines oceanswimsafari two weeks back. Quite a strordnry experience. Here's an oceanswimsafarist narrowly avoiding going down the whale shark gurgler along with all the surrounding plankton.

Annals of snorkelling

Life's perilous in the big city

We met the author of this story at a DP a few weeks back. He told us his story, and we just had to tell it to you. Real name is disguised, at his request, we guess because of perceived embarrassment, but we can't see anything to be embarrassed about with this...

OK so I better knock this story out before I start forgetting the details...

On Tues 15 January, 2019, at about 6:15pm, my cousin Stephen, his friends Peter, Peter's partner, Tom, and I went to Gordons Bay for a swim. It was a nice afternoon, warm and clear. We follow a path from the carpark towards the bay and water where we divert about 20m from the water's edge and walk over the rocks towards a nice flat rock where we always set up. It is about a 200m clamber to get there. We like this spot because it has an easy entry and exit from the water and is generally easy to set up, although it has been getting mighty busy of late.

On this day, I rode the motorbike down. Steve picked up his friends from Peter's house, and go to the carpark just before me. I could see them clambering over the rocks with a few other people who had the same idea as us. I took the low path over the rocks which saw me get to the spot just ahead of them and secure the flat spot. After a quick hello and a minute to change and rig up in goggles, it was time to hit the water.

The tide was high, which meant I could dive straight in off the rocks. You have to shallow dive and time it with a wave to make sure you are safe. I go in first and swim out a bit, then turn to instruct Peter and Tom on doing a shallow dive. Steve is more risk averse and walks down a weedy angled rock to get in. I swim out a few more strokes and call out that I have just spotted a Blue Grouper. It's cool. I have seen this particular fish before, but not for a while. You can identify it by an injury it has taken to the top of its body, but it still manages to swim without issue. The boys swim over to see the grouper while I swim out just a few more strokes and spot a sting ray, which I call back quickly with enthusiasm. I can already tell this is going to be an awesome swim. The water is clear and just a bit cool, but ideal.

It isn’t long until more and more rays are spotted. It's not unusual; the most I have counted on a single swim is about 23. What made this awesome was a flathead I have spotted in the area.

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Early morning swims are a simple concept. And often breathtaking. The Forster Turtles take to the sea this morn.

Over the edge

We are now about 30m off the rocks and a depth of about 4m. I told Steve about the flatty. He couldn’t see it so I dived down to point it out. I actually almost reached the fish and it didn’t react, but the point was made. Steve could see it so I didn’t worry about upsetting the fish. Steve asks if we can swim to the drop off and I immediately agree. The drop off is about another 70m from where we are, but it is where the sea floor drops down to about 15 or 20m. It's normally hard to see the bottom there and it sparks something of a sense of adventure and danger for Steve, who is not a fan of sharks, but it pushes his boundaries and, to be honest, I feel a sense of trepidation at that spot, too, so I am always willing to join him. Sometimes, we swim across the bay, which is 200 – 250m each way, depending on tides. I like to dive down at the drop off and test my depths and lungs.

We swam out to the drop off. I was about 10m in front of Steve. Tom initially was following, but turns back. Peter did not follow us out. It was about 6:20pm, so we still had an hour of good daylight left. I got there first and the first thing I noticed was that, although I could see the bottom, there was a slight particle upwelling in the drop off reducing visibility a bit. It looked like sea weed fragments, but I don’t know what's in the water. A quick look and no sharks about, not that I have ever really worried about such things. I dive down a bit. I often try to get as deep as I can and get a handful of sand, but I don’t try that today. Instead, I dive down just a few meters, before I feel this sudden sensation on my right thigh.

Everything I describe now happens in but a few seconds, and I can best describe the feeling as a punching grab. It immediately shocks the system, but it is quick, lasting barely a second, if that, and no pain. My first thought is that it is Steve grabbing my leg with both hands, but I quickly cycle through the thoughts that it can’t be him, it's too strong, and besides, he doesn’t tend to duck dive, nor is that his type of prank (it is mine though).

I look straight down and behind and I see a seal bolt. My eyes track it as it does a few side rolls as it swims and heads for the surface. I float up to the surface to see it kind of skip with it’s flippers on the surface. My heat is pounding and my head is in wonderland thinking cool! A Seal! And that is when I try to kick for the first time.

As I said, all that occurred within a second or two, but it feels like forever. But now is when I look down to see why I cannot move my leg. I can see two lines running horizontal across the thigh just above my knee. The colour was slightly pale compared to the surrounding skin, and I knew immediately they were gashes, and although I could not see blood, I knew it was deep enough to be bleeding.

It gels; I have just been bitten by a seal.

I take a quick look and sure enough the seal is swimming away but I am frightened now of a second attack and I turn quickly to start my return.

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Oceanswimsafarists don't need air tanks... Lowana Stirk pays her respects to colleagues on the bottom by Apo Island, in the Philippines. Two weeks back.

"This is flesh hanging down..."

I can see Steve swimming to me. I have no idea at this point whether he has seen me being bitten. I tell him I have been bitten by a seal. I am almost half way past him by this point. A few more strokes and I am in front. About half way back to the rocks, I turn back and he is trailing a few metres behind. I check for the seal behind me a few times, but now I look for Steve. He catches up and declares "You’re bleeding!" I say, "I am aware of this", and resume my swim back, not quite as fast but still at pace. I do breast stroke for a bit and try to warn some other swimmers in the water that I was bitten by a seal. I see them turn and swim back.

On reaching the rock where I entered, I flag Peter down from the rock and call out for help. He comes over and helps. I am aware of people looking up and around but I am not focused on that. I hobble over to our rock as I still cannot bend my leg and sit down to look at the damage. I can see the blood from the top, above the knee. Around the sides a bit, I can see some damage but not a lot of blood, and I can also see the bottom of the leg near where the calf muscle meets the ankle. I am surprised at the lack of blood, and confused why I cannot bend my leg properly. I track my eyes round the side and see some red hanging down. I touch it and discover that my suspicion is right… this is flesh hanging down, not blood. I can see blood dripping but it is not fast, and again I am confused why there is flesh hanging out but there is not a lot of blood. I ask for someone to go and get the lifeguards from Clovelly, although I am not sure they are still there at this time of the day. I can see a guy over to the right of me on the phone calling triple 000. I can also see Steve, a local and regular to the spot coming over. Relief is starting to pass over me that it is not more serious. I say hi to Steve and tell him I have been bitten by a seal. I am surprised he doesn’t stay and chat but instead goes back to his rock. I don’t really mind. He might think I caused it or something, but I guess I will find out someday.

By this time, I have a few people milling around. I am basically laughing now as it all sinks in. I am not in pain but I am still shocked, I cannot bend my leg. I spin myself around a prop my leg on a rock for elevation. The blood is dripping out but it is not pouring out. People are suggesting I put towels around the bite, but I decide against this as it is not bleeding profusely, opting instead to wait for a first aid kit. The gentleman who is on the phone comes over and I am now more aware he is calling for an ambulance. I didn’t really think it was necessary, but since I cannot move my leg I decide to roll with it. Some folk are taking pics and I decide to snap a few myself.

I get steve to grab my phone from my bag. He is a bit confused as to which is my bag. I kind of know that he must be in a bit of shock himself, but now is not the time for me to worry. I am kind of glad, actually, that it was me who was bitten, not him, as he has been amazing in trying to overcome his fears of that spot, let alone having those fears come to life.

I tell bystanders to go right ahead and snap pics. I am still amazed myself. Some guy films it extensively, which is a bit off-putting, but I can’t be bothered saying it was too much. I cannot remember when exactly, but I also call my sister. People are offering me water, but I tell them nil by mouth at this time. I also call Pat from SES as he is in with surf rescue and I wanted to know whether the off shore rescue boat was in the water. I figure they won’t want to carry me over the rocks, so the boat would be the best option. Rowers go past and I try to whistle at them, but someone says don’t worry.

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They're bigger than us.

seal nsw south coast 350 destination NSWA charter boat operator based near Batemans Bay is warning people not to hand-feed the local seal population after he was bitten on the leg... See how dangerous the blighters can be. Uppity seals can be more dangerous than aggressive rabbits... Click here

On hold to 000

I finally get to chat with the guy on hold to triple zero. I am asked a few questions before he passes his phone to me. I chat with the 000 operator and ask whether she can call me back on my mobile, but it doesn’t happen as Peter returns with a male lifeguard around this time, and the 000 operator wants to chat to him. There is a bit of fluffing around before he comes back to treat me. He pulls out some gauze but I ask if he has a non-stick dressing. I am flashing back to a time when I treated a disabled girl in Perth who fell through a bottle while disembarking from a train. I recall when the ambos went to take off the gauze I had used to control the bleeding, it stuck to her causing her pain. Eventually I give in and let him put a number 3 or number 5 wound dressing on. Wound dressings are like pads with built in bandages. I tell him I am a first aid trainer but not who I am with. I keep asking my cousin to bundle my stuff up.

The time is now around 6:50pm and we can see the red and blues of the ambulance up in the car park. There is a second lifeguard, female, here by this time. I think she went to meet the ambos but it's fuzzy. The ambos arrive and take off the wound dressing… I knew this would happen and to my pleasure nothing stuck. I was squirted with some saline and the wound was left open. It was decided that a surf ski would be used to transport me out. This appeared quite quickly… the lifeguards must have had this in mind. I kind of regret not swimming to the ramp area after the attack but I guess you naturally go to where you know.

I am helped to the water by Stephen and Peter, I think. The surf life saver positions me on the board and starts to paddle. It is a bit rickety. I am glad it is high tide as there are rocks at the bottom of the ramp which are quite shallow and would prevent the surf ski (and swimmers) passing easily over them at mid or low tides. I am carried out of the water by Peter, the lifeguards and someone else (Tom??). Help is called for to carry the surf ski with me on it to the stretcher. Folks don’t want to get wet shoes, I guess, and I don’t wish that upon them either. The ambos pick me up here and I find the Ambo supervisor is here, also. I am bundled into the stretcher and trundled along the narrow path. One of the ambos steps in water but I don’t think he got his feet wet through his boots.

It is about 7:30 when we arrived in the car park and discover my sister having just arrived. There is bit of confusion about where I have left my keys but that is quickly worked out and we are on our way to hospital.

Tarquin (not his real name)
SES member

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Gordons (Thompsons) Bay, near the spot where Tarquin went in with his cobbers.

Gordons Bay

(known also as Thompsons Bay)

From concretplayground.com

Hidden between Clovelly and Coogee Beaches, Gordons Bay is one of the eastern suburbs' prettiest spots. And it's the only snorkelling destination on this list with a dedicated underwater nature trail. Like the MV Malabar wreck, it's gold for divers, but, thanks to the bay's incredibly clear waters, snorkellers can also enjoy it on most days. Simply follow the series of sunken drums, linked by chains, each of which gives you info about local submarine dwellers, from starfish, sponges, urchins and anemones to cuttlefish, spotted goatfish and garfish.

Get your certificates of effort

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This year, we bring back the Fine Ocean Swimmers Rewards. If you’d like your effort for the year -- as reported in the fine ocean swimmers tallies 2018/19 -- recorded “officially” on a personalised certificate, one that you can frame and hang on your wall in your own personal shrine at home or in your office or the cab of your truck, or the back of the loo door, so you can gaze at it admiringly for hours on end every day, then order it from us and we’ll get it out to you. Certificates will be signed by oceanswims.com and the Queen of Ocean Swimming, Mrs Sparkle, to make it all as official as you can get it in ocean swimming.

Certificates cost $35 plus $9.30 postage/packaging … Click here

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The last whale shark this week. We promise. Oceanswimsafarists had eight fluffing around them in The Philippines.

Dot point news...

  • Philippines oceanswimsafari... We had a fantastic first Philippines oceanswimsafari in late June. The whale sharks were a highlight. We'll have packages for 2020 on oceanswimsafaris.com very soon. And, in 2002, we're extending the period at our resort to 7 nights... Click here
  • Whither the Cole... We're waiting on news about the future of NSW's largest swim, the Cole Classic. With the sale of Fairfax Meeja to Nine Entertainment (the 9 TV network), 9 is divesting the former Fairfax sporting events. It's already sold its five biggest events -- including the City to Surf and the Half Marathon, both in Sydney -- to the Chinese-owned Ironman, but it has 30-odd other events, including the Cole, still without a home. Named for its founder, Graham Cole, the Cole ran at North Bondi from 1981, but moved to Manly in 2005, where it's been hosted by Manly Life Saving Club (MLSC). In 2009, Fairfax took over management of the Cole from the Cole lads, Christopher, Nicholas, and Walter. Manly LSC tell us they, too, are waiting to hear what Fairfax/Nine intends to do with the Cole. We understand Manly are keen to take it on themselves, but whatever happens, Manly tell us, there will be a "Cole" swim at Manly on the first Sunday in February, irrespective of whether it's called that. The first Sunday in February now is a crowded date in Sydney, by the way. Shark Island at Cronulla now also is running also on that day. Decisions, decisions...
  • Cook shifts dates... Also in the Shire, the other Cronulla swim, the Cook Community Classic, shifts dates in season 2019/20 to the first Sundee in December, away from its previous home on the penultimate Sunday in November. That means it's running against the Bondi-Bronte swim. More decisions, decisions... Click here
  • 2020 oceanswimsafaris... We have packages online already for oceanswimsafaris in 2020, including the Coromandel in New Zealand (Mar 12-16), and French Polynesia (May - two oceanswimsafaris are full at this point). We'll have packages online very soon, too, for The Philippines (June 12-30), Sulawesi in Indonesia (June 23-July 1), and our new oceanswimsafari to Barbados in the Caribbean (Sept 18-25).
  • Rotto wash-up... Awgies have released a report from the feedback process following this past season's Rottnest Channel Swim. A few changes are happening, including guaranteed entry the following year for Duo and Team category winners -- to allow them to defend their titles; swimmers will now also be able to win the overall prize AND their age category prize; balloons will continue to be banned as an identification device for swimmers to find their paddlers; there will be renewed efforts to secure a designated swim celebration area at the pub post-swim; and the merch range will be expanded. Next season's date is Sat'dee, February 22, 2020... Click here

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westius 150What they said...

The story of ocean swimming, sort of

Swim ReCap founder Marc West (@westius) has a podcast on ocean swimming. Recently, he popped over to talk with us (os.c and Mrs Sparkle) about our involvement in the caper over the last 10 years or so. It was a pleasant chat. Marc brought a tray of macarons with him. You can listen to the podcast, if you like... Click here

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Commonsense Corner

Your own emergency

When you enter a swim online, you're asked to nominate an emergency contact in case things go awry. Wouldna believe the number of people who list themselves as their own ergency contact. Do they wonder, if they did get caught up in an emergency at sea, who ya gonna call? Do they wonder anything?

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Mana Fiji SwimFest

Fiji's original ocean swim festival

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Judging by the enquiries and bookings we've taken so far, the Mana Fiji SwimFest 2019 looks like being the biggest one yet. But if you're thinking of coming with us, be aware of this: The rates that we list on our Mana page on oceanswimsafaris.com are based on a 30 per cent discount on Mana Island Resort's normal rates. This 30 per cent discount lasts only until July 31. From August 1 till September 30, the discount will drop to 20 per cent. This means, rates will go up. If you get your booking in before July 31, you will receive the higher discount.

Good to hear that Can Too, the organisation that has, almost certainly, brought more people into ocean swimming than any other single institution, appears to have filled its program leading up to the 10km swim at Mana Island. We understand there are 25 Can Too swimmers who've taken up the challenge of training for their first 10km event. It will be good to have them all there with us in October.

But if you aren't part of this program, don't let that put you off. the Mana Fiji SwimFest is open to all swimmers. You don't have to be part of any particular group, such as Can Too. 

And if you don't feel you're up to 10km, don't let that put you off, either. There are four swim distances on offer over the week at Mana Island. The 10km swim includes both solos and relay teams of 3 x 3.3km. We put a lot of swimmers who arrive on Mana in teams so they can take part in this terrific swim. You don't need to be a 10km swimmer to take part in this swim.

The 10km runs on the Thursday, October 17. Then, on Saturday, October 19, there are three distances offerred: 5km, 2.5km, and 1km. So there really is a distance for everyone.

In between and around swim days, Mana swimmers will have social morning swims, and coaching from the Grimsey brothers, Trent and Codie, two of the world's most accomplished ocean swimmers. Trent Grimsey holds the record for the English Channel.

Find out more about the Can Too 10km swim program... Click here

Find out more about the Mana Fiji SwimFest... Click here

Controversy Corner...

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

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

(See posts at the end of this newsletter.)

Swims open to online entry...

newsletter divider clear bgrd

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

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

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

Subscribe

If you wish to receive our newsletters by email, or you know someone who would like to receive them... Click here

This newsletter...

We send this newsletter to a mailing list of over 38,000 swimmers, mainly in Australia and New Zealand, around the south-west Pacific, and even around the world.

Share this post

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June 12, 2019

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Going to 38,000+ swimmers every week

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Swimming in Sydney was characterised by two phenomena over the past week: weed and fog. This blanket, at Bongin Bongin Bay, was captured by staff snapper Glistening Dave early in the week. You need to watch out for weed, quite apart from the erky perky aspect as it ferments in the sun on the beach. As it lolls about in the shallows, little stingarees love to hide beneath weed like this. If you're walking through it to get to the deeper water, always best to shuffle your feet along the bottom, rather than high step. That will give the rays warning that you're there and they can then wrack off before you step on them and they retaliate. (Image by David Helsham @glistenrr)

This issue...

Swims coming up...

fine ocean swimmers tallies 2018/19

It's the series wot done it

Another season done, and ocean swimming continues to grow robustly. Since we started reporting the annual tallies of all swimmers’ total distances, from season 2005/06, there has been only one season when the total number of swimmers in Strã’a and New Zealand has not grown. That season was 2014/15, which was when we began to experience cancellations and postponements due to weather events.

In the season that ended on May 31, we recorded 53,003 swimmers (up from 51,686 in the prior season) in events around Australia, NZ, and the near and some farther spread Pacific. There were 96,001 individual swims (93,417 a season earlier) by those swimmers over 952 events (868 in 2017/18), and they swam 199,977.68km (197,792.83km). (Bear in mind that this reflects the total number of swim events, not the total number of swims. Many events offer more than one swim. Given the resources available to our staff propellor-head, Colin Reyburn, who compiles the tallies for us, it has not been practical to tally the number of individual swims. Colin has a life to lead, too.)

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This image from Sydney's fog last Sat'dee was taken by Tim Ritchie, a Sydney photographer who likes to haunt the city's early morns. We found it on Twitter. (Image by Tim Ritchie @timritchie)

Elephant

But it’s not weather events that we note from this season’s tallies. Perhaps we’re becoming blasé about them, given how frequently they get in the way of swims these days. Ho-hum, another big sea. Another ferocious storm. (Weather events are changing; we don't care what some say. The weather is far more volatile now, erratic, extreme, than it was even a few seasons ago.) But in season 2018/19, we notice the stark effect of swim series on the season’s tallies.

We’ve been watching this coming for a while, but this time, it really stands out. The effects of commercial swim series is so marked that we have decided to present the data to you now in two formats: the traditional way, simply tallying up swimmers’ individual distances; and now also in terms of numbers of swims done. Both forms are valid means of presenting the effort that you exert over the course of the season. Do you swim a long way? You can do only the swims that are convenient to you. Do you turn up more often than others? Both are indicators of effort and worthy of acknowledgement.

This season just finished, the upper echelons of the tallies are dominated by swimmers from Wessna-Strã'a and New Zealand. Both offer swim series with either distance or frequency unlike other regions that we cover, thus offering cumulative distances very unlike any other. This has been evident for years, looking at the tallies at the end of each season. But this season, it really is pronounced.

The series in Western Australia, run by WA Swimming, includes four 10km events and 12 x 5km swims. The West also has three Rotto swims, of 19.7km to 25km. The result is that swimmers in the West can build their individual tallies with far fewer events than can swimmers from any other area. Good on them, by the way. Those punters who take part in these swims really do put in the effort.

In Auckland, there is a mid-week series offering four (sometimes five) distances up to 2km. Add those distances to the already busy weekend program there, and your distances accumulate.

(Parenthetically, there were 12 rounds in the WA series in the season just ended. One wonders how far larger series can go before they crowd out smaller, more traditional events. They may not run on the same day as the smaller swims, but how many punters will do a 10km, or even a 5km swim on Sat’dee then front again on Sundee at another beach for 2km? Is this an issue in the West?

In NZ, the scene is dominated by a 7-event, commercial series. Smaller awgies have been reluctant to decide their dates until the commercial series announces its own, for fear they’ll find the series climbing on top of them. The NZ series says it will be announcing 2019/20 dates “soon”, which means other organisers will still be waiting till mid-late June or so before they can work out with certainty when they can run their own events. This is a late call.

We're sure the commercial series are on guard to the danger of hubris creeping into their business plans, and they are aware that they are part of a larger caper.)

Egs

Illustrating the issue in this season's tallies, of the first 30 in the traditional list – based on total distances swum – 22 are from Wessna Strã’a, 5 are from NZ, 2 are from NSW, and one from Victoria. In the old days, when we were kids, there was hardly anyone in the top order from anywhere other than NSW.

In the list based on swims swum, 27 of the top 30 are from NZ – that’s the Auckland mid-week series for you -- and one each from NSW, Victoria, and swimmer from the West sneaks in at 30.

In the swims swum list, we sort first by number of events, then by total distance, so both are recognised. In the total distances, it’s just pure distance.

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Wow! Sophia Street in Sydney's Surry Hills. Captured by Tim Ritchie (@timritchie). You can almost hear the wails of the ghosts from the ragtraders who used to operate there.

Mugs

We started the tallies as a matter of interest to swimmers overall, but also to acknowledge the efforts of your rank-and-file mug swimmer, who otherwise remains on the beach unnoticed, just minding their own business. But they turn up, week in, week out, doing their bit, schlepping around the ocean and ordering their cuppas afterwards. They have their own boasts; their own achievements; and these are just as valid as your more serious types over longer distances. They take part often in many more swims than your fancy pants 10km swimmers, although it’s harder for them, time wise, to rack up the distance.

This is to take nothing away from the efforts of 10km swimmers. There is a movement towards longer distances these days, with more 5km events in NSW and Victoria, as well as the multiple 10km swims in the west. The interest is there and growing, although by necessity they don’t pull as many swimmers as the longer established events of 1km-2km that are the bread and butter of ocean swimming.

We don’t wish your rank-and-file mugs to be lost. They deserve due acknowledgment, too. This is why we’re presenting the tallies this time in both forms. Neither are a perfect reflection of the efforts individual punters "put in", but they are more representative than just the distances, we've com to realise. Maybe, in future, we'll find some other means of an even more egalitarian presentation. Constructive suggestions are always welcomed... Click here

Some swimmers are noticeable in both versions, particularly those from Auckland who also have the opportunity of the mid-week series that allows them to build their total distances.

Good on all of youse for the efforts you put in. We’ve long reckoned that the most effort comes from those at the back of the pack. They do it tougher than the slick smarties at the front. Most of them were never taught proper as kids, and that is the difference.

Remember, the tallies are not a competition. They are a compilation of individual results to acknowledge all swimmers, not a ranking of merit. You might say, Why, then, do we number the rankings? Well, if you can suggest a better way of doing it (alphabetically, perhaps), but then interest is in the totals, and it's important that swimmers can easily get an idea of the range of achievements. Also, we have little data on many individuals due to the scant data in individual event results that allow us to differentiate amongst them. A pure alphabetical list would not allow easy identification. You'd be surprised at how many swimmers in any region have the same or near identical names.

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Bongin Bongin Bay on a dark and stormy morn. (Image by David Helsham @glistenrr)

Thanks...

... go to Colin Reyburn, our staff propellor-head, and a dab hand at Excel, for compiling these tallies. Without Colin, we simply could not do it.

Get your certificates of effort

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This year, we bring back the Fine Ocean Swimmers Rewards. If you’d like your effort for the year recorded “officially” on a personalised certificate, one that you can frame and hang on your wall in your own personal shrine at home or in your office or the cab of your truck, or the back of the loo door, so you can gaze at it admiringly for hours on end every day, then order it from us and we’ll get it out to you. Certificates will be signed by oceanswims.com and the Queen of Ocean Swimming, Mrs Sparkle, to make it all as official as you can get it in ocean swimming.

Certificates cost $35 plus $9.30 postage/packaging … Click here

This season – By distance… First 10

Rank Surname 1st name Age From State Total distance Events Av.
1 TARR Bob     WA 134.10 20 6.71
2 DONALDSON Jim 61 WESTLEIGH NSW 118.00 31 3.81
3 MAXWELL Aaron 50 SUBIACO WA 114.30 16 7.14
4 MUIR John     WA 112.10 17 6.59
5 ELLIS-KERR Aaron   ILUKA WA 104.55 18 5.81
6 ANDERSON Stuart     WA 101.40 19 5.34
7 WILLIAMS Richard     WA 99.60 14 7.11
8 COTEN Max     WA 97.40 22 4.43
9 COSSEBOOM Peter     NZ 92.70 28 3.31
10 WATKINS Joe 44 NEUTRAL BAY NSW 92.30 20 4.62

Distance by region...
Rank Surname 1st name Age From State Total distance Events Av.
NSW DONALDSON Jim  61 WESTLEIGH NSW 118.00 31 3.81
NZ COSSEBOOM Peter 61   NZ 92.70 28 3.31
Qld EVANS Jessica 31 WAVELL HTS QLD 59.50 6 9.92
SA NAZIMI Leila 35 LOCKLEYS SA 41.90 10 4.19
Tas MUIR Stephen     Tas 19.7 1 19.7
Vic HARWOOD Michael 60 WILLIAMSTOWN Vic 79.70 24 3.32
WA TARR Bob 61   WA 134.1 20 6.71


By events…

Rank Surname 1st name Age From State Total distance Events Ave Distance
1 HOOLE Jacqueline     NZ 66.50 36 1.85
2 BRADLEY Brett     NZ 89.20 35 2.55
3 BREWER Meegan     NZ 57.60 35 1.65
4 COCHRANE Mike     NZ 88.70 34 2.61
5 STARK Jenny     NZ 86.00 33 2.61
6 DONALDSON Jim 61 WESTLEIGH NSW 118.00 31 3.81
7 DICK Danielle     NZ 73.30 30 2.44

Events by region...
Rank Surname 1st name Age From State Total distance Events Av.
NSW DONALDSON Jim  61 WESTLEIGH NSW 118.00 31 3.81
NZ HOOLE Jacqueline     NZ 66.50 36 1.85
Qld CANDLER Karen 55 TOWNSVILLE QLD 32.90 10 3.29
SA MURPHY Serena 44 NOVAR GARDENS SA 17.70 9 1.97
Tas HOMAN
MACDONALD
SAVAGE
WELLS
Rick
Beccy
Chelsea
Megan
42
14
16
33 
  Tas 16.7 9 1.86
Vic HARWOOD Michael 60 WILLIAMSTOWN Vic 79.70 24 3.32
WA COTEN Max 61   WA 97.40 22 4.43


Details, details...

By distance...
By events...
Even more...

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westius 150What they said...

The story of ocean swimming, sort of

Swim ReCap founder Marc West (@westius) has a podcast on ocean swimming. Recently, he popped over to talk with us (os.c and Mrs Sparkle) about our involvement in the caper over the last 10 years or so. It was a pleasant chat. Marc brought a tray of macarons with him. You can listen to the podcast, if you like... Click here

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2020 oceanswimsafaris

Bookings open and flowing in

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We're taking bookings already for our 2020 oceanswimsafaris to French Polynesia (May 2020), NZ's Coromandel Peninsula (March 2020), and for Tonga, where we swim with whales (July-August 2020). Numbers are limited on our oceanswimsafaris. We wouldn't want you to miss out by trying to book late.

Find out more here...

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Solstice in Sydney

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Sydney's Solstice swim is at Mona Vale this Sundee, June 16. Online entries close on oceanswims.com at 3pm on Saturday.

The Mona Vale Solstice Swim offers only four categories -- Newd and Wettie, and Male and Female. It's a spirited dash around the rock shelf, from Bongin Bongin Bay around to Mona Vale main beach. It's a lovely course. Water temp remains c. early 20s. At this point, there's a slight, southerly swell forecast with a gentle offshore breeze. So it looks like it will be a noice day.

More info and to enter online... Click here

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Bandits and pirates

A friendly swimmer on holidays in Hawai'i sent us this excerpt from the Race Notes of the Aloha Salads Summer Sprint Series along Oahu's North Shore - 

If a swimmer does not have a timing chip or race number on their arm then they did not pay the entry fee like you did. They are a 'Bandit' & this is not cool to you folks who entered officially. Water Patrol will still rescue a Bandit if they get in trouble, then these lifeguards might not be able to help a registered swimmer who may get in trouble at the same time. Tell Bandits this is not Pono...

We're not sure what "pono" means, but we guess it means "good form", thus "This is not (good form)..."

We know of some bandits here. Sometimes, they're called "pirates", and at other times we've used the name of one of them to characterise them all. We had one come to Vanuatu with us a few years back. He didn't register as a swimmer, but he still swam all the events. He even drew "race numbers" on his arm in texta -- "00" -- and he filled in each 0 with little cartoon eyes. He certainly was taking the mickey.

We knew of another bloke in Sydney, reputedly "a millionaire", who would turn up at swims with a range of swim caps in different colours, then he'd work out which colour was right for his age group and swim with the appropriate wave.

It certainly is not "pono".

Commonsense in swimming

Being your own emergency

When you enter a swim online, you're asked to nominate an emergency contact in case things go awry. Wouldna believe the number of people who list themselves as their own ergency contact. Do they wonder, if they did get caught up in an emergency at sea, who ya gonna call? Do they wonder anything?

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Mana Fiji SwimFest

Fiji's original ocean swim festival

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We're fielding lots of enquiries about this year's Mana Fiji SwimFest. Bookings are open now, but if you're thinking of coming with us, be aware of this: The rates that we list on our Mana page on oceanswimsafaris.com are based on a 30 per cent discount on Mana Island Resort's normal rates. This 30 per cent discount lasts only until July 31. From August 1 till September 30, the discount will drop to 20 per cent. This means, rates will go up. If you get your booking in before July 31, you will receive the higher discount.

Good to hear that Can Too, the organisation that has, almost certainly, brought more people into ocean swimming than any other single institution, appears to have filled its program leading up to the 10km swim at Mana Island. We understand there are 25 Can Too swimmers who've taken up the challenge of training for their first 10km event. It will be good to have them all there with us in October.

But if you aren't part of this program, don't let that put you off. the Mana Fiji SwimFest is open to all swimmers. You don't have to be part of any particular group, such as Can Too. 

And if you don't feel you're up to 10km, don't let that put you off, either. There are four swim distances on offer over the week at Mana Island. The 10km swim includes both solos and relay teams of 3 x 3.3km. We put a lot of swimmers who arrive on Mana in teams so they can take part in this terrific swim. You don't need to be a 10km swimmer to take part in this swim.

The 10km runs on the Thursday, October 17. Then, on Saturday, October 19, there are three distances offerred: 5km, 2.5km, and 1km. So there really is a distance for everyone.

In between and around swim days, Mana swimmers will have social morning swims, and coaching from the Grimsey brothers, Trent and Codie, two of the world's most accomplished ocean swimmers. Trent Grimsey holds the record for the English Channel.

Find out more about the Can Too 10km swim program... Click here

Find out more about the Mana Fiji SwimFest... Click here

Still time to come 2019 oceanswimsafaris

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The Bay of la Concha, where the action is in San Sebastián.

Food and wine, and swimming in the Basque country - San Sebastián (Spain, Aug 21-27, 2019 - bookings open now, from $A3,765) - This oceanswimsafari just keeps getting better and better: we have a week in San Sebastián, one of Europe's most interesting cities, culminating in the swim around the Isla Santa Clara. In 2019, we're adding a day's excursion into French Basque country, too. Packages online now... Click here

Wild swimming, food, adventure, history, and culcha on the Costa Brava - (Spain, Sep 6-14, 2019 - bookings open now, from $A3,730) - One of our most popular oceanswimsafaris, along Catalonia's "wild coast", where the water, the swimming, the food, the wine, the history and the culture all clamour to be the highlight. Packages online now... Click here

The best Blue Lagoon in the Yasawas - One of our most popular oceanswimsafaris, to Fiji's remote Yasawa island group, will follow the Mana Island swims: October 20-28. Packages available now from $A5,087. Add the Yasawas on to your visit to the Mana Fiji SwimFest Oct 15-20... Click here

Swim with whales in Tonga (July 23-Aug 1, 4 spots left, from $A3,210) – Hot on the heels of an inspiring three weeks in Tonga, with three oceanswimsafaris to swim with humpback whales, we’ve opened bookings to our 2019 Tonga series. Two are full. The middle Tonga oceanswimsafari has four places remaining. Packages are on oceanswimsafaris.com now.

More info and to book… Click here

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Cossies on sale

Stocks of our oceanswims cossies are running down. We have only two sizes remaining available in the Gents' cossies (28 and 30), although we have all sizes available in the Laydees' cossies except 10.

To celebrate, we've reduced the cost of the Gents' cossies to only $40. Laydees cossies also have been reduced, now to $75.

bs cossies both bothGet them now, as they say, whilst stocks last.

We also offer View, the world's best, and best value gogs and swim accessories. We've been using View for years. In fact, we were using View well before they approached us to work with them. That's why we can say how good they are.

Now, with our new shopping cart, you can browse all that we have to offer - View gogs and accessories, oceanswims.com cossies, tow floats, and Cecily's Stinger Suits. Ordering and paying by secure server uses the same process as our online entries, which means it's tried, proven, safe and reliable.

To browse our ocean swimming boutique... Click here

Controversy Corner...

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

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

(See posts at the end of this newsletter.)

Swims open to online entry...

Coming soon - Toowoon Bay (NSW, Nov 23)

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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

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

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

Subscribe

If you wish to receive our newsletters by email, or you know someone who would like to receive them... Click here

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We send this newsletter to a mailing list of over 38,000 swimmers, mainly in Australia and New Zealand, around the south-west Pacific, and even around the world.

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May 29, 2019

fos scroll 450

bongin morning 190527 dhd 600
Fresh from a circumnavigation of New Zealand, our staff snapper, Glistening Dave, was at it again each morning at Bongin Bongin Bay, to bring you his early morning swimming joy. Winter is here. We swam Bilgola on Sundee, with Dave (see below). Despite the chill in the air -- which has intensified since then -- the water still was c. 23C, we reckon. Dave said 22C, based on chitter chatter at Bongin with no empirical basis.

This issue...

Swims coming up...

Health check

Why do we get motion sickness?
And what's the best way to treat it?

It's a surprise to some that ocean swimmers sometimes -- surprisingly often -- suffer from motion sickness in the water. It can make you feel pretty wretched. But there are a few things you can do to try and prevent it, or to treat it once it takes hold. This article by Professor Ric Day and Andrew McLachlan

Motion sickness can be mild, but in some people it’s debilitating, and takes the fun out of a holiday.

We think it’s caused by temporary dysfunction of our brain’s balance centres.

The perception of motion of any sort can bring on symptoms of travel sickness. These include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, excessive saliva, rapid breathing and cold sweats.

The good news is, there are strategies and medicines you can use to prevent motion sickness, or to help you ride it out.

Ears and eyes disconnect

As we move through space, multiple sensors in our middle ear, limbs and eyes feed information to our balance centre in our brains to orientate us. It’s when these sources of information are in apparent conflict that we may experience motion sickness.

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This diagram of the ear shows the vestibular nerve, which is central to our balance. Image from shutterstock.com

For example, in those who are particularly susceptible, watching certain movies can induce motion sickness as our eyes indicate we are moving, although other sensors confirm we are stationary.

A boat trip in rocky seas or a car trip on winding roads means our head and body will be moving in unusual ways, in two or more axes at once, while sensing accelerations, decelerations and rotations. Together these are strong stimuli to bring on an attack of motion sickness.
Motion sickness is common

Around 25-30% of us travelling in boats, buses or planes will suffer – from feeling a bit off all the way to completely wretched; pale, sweaty, staggering, and vomiting.

Some people are extremely susceptible to motion sickness, and may feel unwell even with minor movements such as “head bobbing” while snorkelling, or even riding a camel.

Susceptibility seems to increase with age, while women are more prone to travel sickness than men. There is a genetic influence too, with the condition running in families. It often co-exists with a history of migraines.

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And here he is: Glistening Dave himself, sans lens, at Bilgola on Sundee.

Preventing motion sickness

Sufferers quickly work out what to avoid. Sitting in the back seat of the car, reading in a car or bus (trains and planes are better), facing backwards in a bus or train or going below deck on a boat in rough conditions are all best avoided if you’re prone to travel sickness.

Medicines that control vomiting (antiemetics) and nausea (anti-nauseants) are the mainstay of medicines used for motion sickness and are effective. But as there are unwanted side effects such as drowsiness, it’s reasonable to try behavioural techniques first, or alongside medicines.

More time “on deck”, keeping an eye on the horizon if there’s a significant swell, and focusing on other things (for example looking out for whales) are good examples.

Desensitisation or habituation also work for some. For example, increasing experience on the water in relatively smooth conditions in preparation for longer and potentially rougher trips can help.

There tends to be a reduction in symptoms after a couple of days at sea. Medicines can then be reduced and even stopped. Symptoms often return when back on dry land, usually for just a day or two.

Chewing hard ginger has been claimed to work for naval cadets, but other studies have not confirmed its effectiveness.

Some people find wrist bands that provide acupressure to be effective, although when these have been studied in controlled trials, the proof is lacking.

Glasses with a built-in horizon to combat motion sickness were patented in 2018, so watch this space.
How medications work

Travel sickness medications are more effective when taken pre-emptively, so before your journey begins.

Antiemetics and anti-nauseants act on the brain and nervous system. Medicines used to prevent and treat travel sickness most commonly are either sedating antihistamines or anticholinergics. They block the effects of neurotransmitters (molecules that transmit information) such as histamine, acetylcholine and dopamine in our balance control centres.

But these sorts of medicines are not very specific. That is, they block the effects of acetylcholine and histamine wherever these neurotransmitters act throughout the body. This explains unwanted side effects such as sedation, drowsiness, dry mouth, constipation and confusion (in older, vulnerable people).

Drowsiness is more likely to reach dangerous levels if other central nervous system depressants are taken at the same time. This includes opioids (morphine, oxycodone, codeine), alcohol, sleeping pills and some antidepressants.

So what’s the best option?
Medicine Common brand names Prescription or over the counter
Hyoscine (scopolamine) hydrobromide (anticholinergic) Kwells Adult (chewable tablets, 300 micrograms); Kwells Kids (chewable tablets, 150 micrograms) Travacalm HO (chewable tablet, 300 micrograms) Prescription and over the counter (tablets, capsules, solutions, adhesive skin patches, intravenous preparations)
Promethazine (antihistamine) Avomine Over the counter
Cyclizine (antihistamine) Nausicalm Over the counter
Hyoscine hydrobromide plus dimenhydrinate (anticholinergic antihistamine) Travacalm Original Tablets Over the counter
Metoclopramide (antidopaminergic) Maxolon Prescription and over the counter (should be avoided in young adults)
Prochlorperazine (antidopaminergic) Stemetil Prescription (used for nausea associated with migraine)
Domperidone (antidopaminergic) Motilium Prescription

A comprehensive review of clinical trials in 2011 compared the medicine scopolamine as a preventative with other medicines, placebos, behavioural and complementary therapies.

Most of the 14 studies reviewed were in healthy men serving in the Navy with history of travel sickness. Women have rarely been subjects, and there are no studies in children.

Although scopolamine was found to be marginally more effective than the alternatives, there’s not much to go on to recommend one travel medicine over another.

If you’re somebody who experiences motion sickness, speak to your doctor or pharmacist. Most medicines for motion sickness are available over the counter. You may need to try a few different medicines to find the one that works best for you, but always follow dosage instructions and professional advice.

Once motion sickness is established, the only option is to ride it out. Lying down where possible, getting fresh air and focusing on the horizon can all help alongside appropriate medications. Importantly, for prolonged episodes, try to keep your fluids up to avoid dehydration (especially if vomiting occurs).

If you experience motion sickness for the first time, and if it’s associated with a migraine-like headache, you should seek the advice of a doctor to rule out other neurological conditions.

Ric Day, Professor of Clinical Pharmacology, UNSW, and Andrew McLachlan, Head of School and Dean of Pharmacy, University of Sydney

This article is republished from The Conversation

Vertigo

Dealing with dizzy

Not entirely unrelated, perhaps, is dizziness, from which some punters suffer. A swimmer from the 'Gong, Kevin Schofield, sent us a link to this video (YouTube) to help people to deal with some forms of vertigo. You can do this at home or with your fave physio... Click here

Sunk by my age and weight, now I’m at the bottom
of the swimming pool food chain

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A pool in Sweden has appointed a squad of women to police male behaviour towards lady swimmers. (Pic: Suvan Mrkonjic Fotografiska AB)

goble sally dinkusSally Goble responds to Ella Mae O'Hagan's piece in our last newsletter about women swimmers' experiences at public pools.

Round. Short. Female. And the wrong side of middle aged, to boot. Try being all of those things and see what happens when you go swimming.

A lively debate erupted this week after Ellie Mae O’Hagan wrote about being sick of sexist behaviour by men in British swimming pools. But I find that I am liable to be judged by everyone in the pool – regardless of their gender. As I get older and rounder, it seems I have sunk to the bottom of the swimming food chain, not only prey to “sexist” men who splash and duck, but also young, svelte women with no cellulite who see me as fair game. “Move over, Granny, I’m coming in!”

Only this week I was happily ploughing up and down at my busy local lido, minding my own business in a blissful, zen-like state, about to turn and push off the wall, when – bang! – a young woman in a brightly coloured swimsuit, who’d been standing around in the shallow end for ages, pushed off determinedly right into my path. This heinous swimming crime – a manoeuvre dubbed the “loaf and lunge” by a male swimming friend of mine – is perpetrated just as frequently, in my experience, by women as by men.

On a bad day, someone will look at me as they saunter to the water’s edge, eye me up and down, paying attention to my age, height, and size, and will quickly judge me as less competent in the water than they will ever be. Perhaps if I’m already swimming, and they are standing at the end of the pool chatting, they’ll also see my dodgy stroke, slightly lazy left arm and the relaxed cadence of my arm turnover, and think “she’s old and slow”. They will loaf and lunge – or even worse they will “sprint past and block”, another classic crime perpetrated on swimmers everywhere. Other swimmers’ snap assessment of my appearance and thus abilities will inform any number of infuriating habits.

But just as I am judged by – and on the receiving end of bad behaviour from – both men and women, so I too judge indiscriminately. You, with the board shorts! You in the teensy-weensy bikini! How dare you be fast when you don’t even have the proper swimming attire? And you over there with the flailing arms! I know that you’ve beat me over one length, but that’s because you’ve only swum one length. I will eyeball you as you gasp and huff and puff, and I turn. I will take great joy in looking you right in the eye with a silent fleeting stare that says:

“Watch me turn and push off as you clutch the wall. Is that all you’ve got?”

But worst of all is the red mist that overcomes me when a head-up breaststroker with no swimming cap overtakes me. My indignation when this happens is alarming even to me. I know that I’m being ridiculous, because the breaststroker with no swimming cap could be an Olympic swimmer on their day off for all I know. But I will do everything in my power not to be overtaken by them. On a bad day I can also fume and splash unreasonably.

On a generous day I just shrug and roll my eyes and attribute bad behaviour to utter witlessness, to the chlorine, to the stresses of life.

More often than not, when confronted with bad etiquette I will just move lane, leave more distance between me and my fellow swimmers, and instead choose to smile and marvel at the beautiful cooperation required to swim in a busy urban pool. I’ll concentrate on the fact that I can jump into a lane, slot myself into the appropriate place between eight to 10 half-naked strangers all swimming at different speeds, with differing skills, swimming different strokes, and we can make it work. No language is needed: there is an implicit understanding of the rules of the pool, of water, that apply wherever you might be in the world.

I marvel that we can swim up and down in harmony: overtaking, capitulating, motioning to pass with a silent frantic wave, smiling a nod of thanks between gasps and tumbles. A beautifully seamless, slow-motion dance. Nothing makes me smile more than a lane well shared.

But if you are having a bad day of your own – a word to the wise. I may be older, shorter, rounder (and even more female) than you. I may even be slower. But don’t grab my leg, grope me, or loaf and lunge: take a moment to look at me properly. My goggles mask a glint in my eyes that bespeaks a thousand swims, longer and colder and harder than you could ever contemplate. If you smile and ask me nicely, I might even stop swimming for a moment to tell you about some of them.

Sally Goble is a long-distance swimmer who has swum the English Channel solo. She writes about swimming for the Guardian swimming blog

French Polynesia - Dates revealed

The trip of a lifetime!

french polynesia moorea 190405 600 02

We've released our packages for our 2020 oceanswimsafaris to French Polynesia, and this time we're including two tropical island destinations -- one in the Tuamotus, up north, and the other Moorea. We're planning two oceanswimsafaris there in 2020 - May 12-22, and May 21-31. 

In 2020, we're including stays at two locations in the islands around French Polynesia. As well as Moorea, the venue for the 2019 oceanswimsafari, we'll also visit the Tuamotu island group, about 300km north of Tahiti. It's very remote, very beautiful, very good water, and very, very nice. That's an image from the Tuamotus, above. We're having three nights there, then four nights on Moorea, where we stayed last month. We scouted the Tuamotus last month, prior to the oceanswimsafari, so we know how good it is.

This makes the French Polynesia oceanswimsafari a longer trip in 2020 than this year -- 9 nights instead of 7 -- and therefore a little more expensive, but the gains are well worth it.

Be warned: we have taken, to date, advance deposits equivalent to 1.5 oceanswimsafaris to French Polynesia in 2020. Check out details... Click here

If you'd like to come with us, let us know quick and smart... Click here

This is the trip of a lifetime!

Numbers are limited to 10 swimmers per oceanswimsafari (12 including us).

Dave's book

Our staff snapper, Glistening Dave, came with us to French Polynesia in April. Now, he's produced a book which is his photographic account of his visit.

You can preview Dave's book, to see for yourself how nice the place is... Click here

Another idea on swim caps

swim cap flowers 350See this email from "Anna" --

I love your emails! That’s not the only reason I’m writing though. I’m sure I remember the issue of swim caps being discussed previously but I’ve just been looking at the haul that my husband and I have accumulated this season so I think it warrants another mention.

We were talking about this after a swim and my friend Amy thinks that age groups across all swims should wear the same colour cap. So you can buy one when you do your first swim then keep it for all swims until you move up a bracket. Events could sell them or offer the option to bring your own. I think it’s genius, and in these days of major ocean pollution through plastics, the people who love the ocean (ie us swimmers and the event organisers) could make more of an effort to curb the waste.

I can only see two objections so far - events would lose an advertising opportunity and there can be different age brackets in different events. In all honesty the advertising opportunity isn’t great, most caps are binned at the end of a race. We only keep one or two favourites to wear at other times. And the age group bracket issue isn’t insurmountable, maybe you have two different colour caps combined into one wave at certain smaller events. The upside is a cost saving as well as waste reductions.

Anyway, just wondered if this resonates with anyone else and if there’s any other benefits or drawbacks that I need to consider? I’m thinking that then next steps are to contact event organisers, so support from the Ocean Swims crowd would be greatly appreciated- I’m thinking a petition would be a good way of showing support for the idea. Would welcome any other thoughts though.

Thanks!

Anna
(That's not Anna at right, as far as we know. Picture posed by model.)

Solstice in Sydney

We're descending into the cooler months, but there are a few swims on offer over the next few weeks. You can see our list at the top of this newsletter. Of note is a new series of swims off Port Melbourne/Albert Park/St Kilda running each Sat'dee from June 8 through July 13. They're run by the same organisation that runs the Rip swims. You can enter just one, or the entire series. Distances are 2km, 1.5km,1km, and 500m... Click here

The Mona Vale Solstice Swim runs in Sydney on Sunday, June 16 -- online entries are open now on oceanswims.com -- and you can swim Darwin the following weekend.

We have three new season swims open for online entry already, as well - Hervey Bay on September 1, Burleigh Heads on October 20, and Stanwell Park, rescheduled from March 17 this past season, now running on December 8.

So there is plenty to keep you lot out of mischief over the winter.

(In season 2019/20, Stanwell Park is running two swims: the postponed swim (above), and their regular swim on March 15.)

Who ya gonna call?

Your own emergency

We continue to be amazed at how many swimmers enter swims online listing themselves as their own emergency contact. Do they wonder, if they did get caught up in an emergency at sea, who ya gonna call?

Into the Carribean

New oceanswimsafari in Barbados

barbados bath beach 600
oceanswimsafari HQ in Barbados: Bath Beach. Our beach house is bottom left.

This is exciting: in 2020, we're running our first oceanswimsafari to Barbados in the Caribbean. We've always wanted to visit the Caribbean to swim. So we're partnering with a local swim organisation to give you the opportunity to come with us. Dates are September 18-25, 2020. We'll have a page on oceanswimsafaris.com very soon with more details.

In the meantime, if you'd like to secure a spot on this adventure, you can lodge an advance deposit pending finalistion of the page. Cost will be around $A3,000 for the week, which is very much all inclusive (actual cost varies with exchange rate fluctuations). This oceanswimsafari will be limited to 10 swimmers (12 including us).

The cost of our Barbados oceanswimsafari includes -

  • Private, spacious bedroom in Beach House,
  • All meals (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner cooked by resident Beach House chef)
  • Daily housekeeping service,
  • All daily Transport needs including Airport transfers,
  • Daily 2-3 hour Guided Open Water Swim at a different exotic location each day.
  • Beach bonfire on final night.
  • 2nd daily Swim at the Barbados Aquatic Centre Pool (optional).
  • Commemorative Shirt & Hat.
  • Use of all amenities at the Beach House such as Kayaks, Stand Up Paddle boards, Surfboards, Snorkel equip., Beach chairs, Mountain bikes, free WiFi, use of fridges, and more.

Our page on our Barbados oceanswimsafari will be up soon. In the meantime, with email enquiries... Click here

New Can Too program

Only 10km to Mana Island

cantoo logo 150Can Too, the organisation that has, almost certainly, brought more people into ocean swimming than any other single institution, has a new program encouraging its members to step up their distances.

Following the success of a 5km swim program, Can Too now has launched a 10km program with a target swim at the Mana Fiji SwimFest, on Fiji's Mana Island, in October.

The Mana Fiji SwimFest offers two days of swim events -- a 10km event (solos or 3x3.3km relays) on Thursday, October 17, and 5km, 2.5km and 1km on Saturday, October 19.

In between and around swim days, Mana swimmers will have social morning swims, and coaching from the Grimsey brothers, Trent and Codie, two of the most accomplished ocean swimmers in the world.

In return for fundraising for Can Too, Can Too will provide coaching over winter to build up to the 10km event at Mana. The coaching and other support is worth more than $1,300, Can Too says, but swimmers receive that free by signing up (early bird till May 26 for $219) and raising funds in support of Can Too's work.

Can Too raises funds to support cancer research projects.

Find out more about the Can Too 10km swim program... Click here

Find out more about the Mana Fiji SwimFest... Click here

Mana Fiji SwimFest

The original Fijian swims

mana fiji swimmer 1610

Packages are online now for the Mana Fiji SwimFest, this year from October 15-20.

The Mana Fiji SwimFest is the only Fijian ocean swim event where you're based on the island, on the reef. Out there, life is quiet, slow... Just as you want it to be on a Pacific island. Away from the mainland, where life is frenetic at large, impersonal resorts where you're just one of hundreds or thousands of people checking in and out each day. On Mana, you're right at the swim location. No diesel fumes or crowded buses from daily commutes to swim venues.

And the water! It's correct that, the farther out you go from the mainland, the better the water, and Mana Island has some of the best water in Fiji, jam packed with sea life on beautiful reef, right outside the door of your bure.

We reckon there really is no comparison. But we would say that. We say it also because we know the difference.

Look for Mana Fiji

In the Mana Fiji SwimFest, there are two swim days: the 10km (solos or 3 x 3.3km relays) on Thursday, and 5km, 2.5km, and 1km on Saturday. Packages include accommdoation, all meals on Mana Island, ferry transfers and swim entry packages for both swim days. They also include a 30 per cent discount off Mana Island Resort's normal nett rates until July 31.

Plus a whole lot of other fun in Ocean Swimming Stadium, the best spot in the Pacific for an ocean swim (see pic above).

Packages start at $A1,819 pp Twin/Double share and $A2,687 single.

Add the Yasawas on to your visit to the Mana Fiji SwimFest Oct 15-20... Click here

More info... Click here

To book... Click here

2019 oceanswimsafaris

san sebastian oceanswimsafaris 1501
The Bay of la Concha, where the action is in San Sebastián.

Food and wine, and swimming in the Basque country - San Sebastián (Spain, Aug 21-27, 2019 - bookings open now, from $A3,765) - This oceanswimsafari just keeps getting better and better: we have a week in San Sebastián, one of Europe's most interesting cities, culminating in the swim around the Isla Santa Clara. In 2019, we're adding a day's excursion into French Basque country, too. Packages online now... Click here

Wild swimming, food, adventure, history, and culcha on the Costa Brava - (Spain, Sep 6-14, 2019 - bookings open now, from $A3,730) - One of our most popular oceanswimsafaris, along Catalonia's "wild coast", where the water, the swimming, the food, the wine, the history and the culture all clamour to be the highlight. Packages online now... Click here

The best Blue Lagoon in the Yasawas - One of our most popular oceanswimsafaris, to Fiji's remote Yasawa island group, will follow the Mana Island swims: October 20-28. Packages available now from $A5,087. Add the Yasawas on to your visit to the Mana Fiji SwimFest Oct 15-20... Click here

Swim with whales in Tonga (July 23-Aug 1, 4 spots left, from $A3,210) – Hot on the heels of an inspiring three weeks in Tonga, with three oceanswimsafaris to swim with humpback whales, we’ve opened bookings to our 2019 Tonga series. Two are full. The middle Tonga oceanswimsafari has four places remaining. Packages are on oceanswimsafaris.com now.

More info and to book… Click here

Cossies on sale

Stocks of our oceanswims cossies are running down. We have only two sizes remaining available in the Gents' cossies (28 and 30), although we have all sizes available in the Laydees' cossies except 10.

To celebrate, we've reduced the cost of the Gents' cossies to only $40. Laydees cossies also have been reduced, now to $75.

bs cossies both bothGet them now, as they say, whilst stocks last.

We also offer View, the world's best, and best value gogs and swim accessories. We've been using View for years. In fact, we were using View well before they approached us to work with them. That's why we can say how good they are.

Now, with our new shopping cart, you can browse all that we have to offer - View gogs and accessories, oceanswims.com cossies, tow floats, and Cecily's Stinger Suits. Ordering and paying by secure server uses the same process as our online entries, which means it's tried, proven, safe and reliable.

To browse our ocean swimming boutique... Click here

Controversy Corner...

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

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

(See posts at the end of this newsletter.)

Swims open to online entry...

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

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

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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May 15, 2019

fos scroll 450

hancock bedford tasman 190507 600 01
Peter Hancock prepares, psychologically, to enter the lake on Tasman Glacier, by Mt Cook in New Zealand (Pic by Matt Bedford, ABC New England)
...

This issue...

Swims coming up...

Outdoor swim enthusiast travels to NZ to swim with icebergs — naked

This story appeared first on the ABC website on May 7, 2019.

Story and pics by Matt Bedford, ABC New England

hancock bedford tasman 190507 600 02
... Hancock swims past a niceberg ...

Swimming with icebergs is not something everyone aspires to do, but according to outdoor swimming enthusiast Peter Hancock, it should be.

The adventurer edges his way along a rocky glacial moraine wall bound for the terminal lake of New Zealand's Tasman Glacier.

It is a starry 5:00am, the dark kind where city lights fail to stain the Milky Way, and Mr Hancock is clearly excited about the swim.

"I've never swum with icebergs before," says the father of four, who is based in the New England region of northern New South Wales.

While that might not sound surprising, the icebergs have been calling Mr Hancock for a while.

He has been pursuing outdoor swimming for more than 20 years and has not missed a daily swim for almost 2,000 days.

After an hour of walking and scrambling, Mr Hancock arrives at the lake's edge and picks an iceberg.

He pulls a thermometer from his bag to test the water temperature.

"The lie detector," he says.

The thermometer reads 2.4 degrees Celsius.

"Not a record," he says.

That title went to a swim in the Fox Glacier river on New Zealand's South Island eight years earlier at 1.7C.

'The shock is what gets people'

hancock bedford tasman 190507 600 03
... Fools around with the iceberg...

Unfazed, Mr Hancock strips off and enters the water wearing only his cap and goggles — togs are optional in the world of outdoor swimming.

In a blink, he is submerged and into his stroke, beelining for the iceberg.

"The initial shock of water this cold is what gets most people," Mr Hancock says.

For the inexperienced, sudden immersion in cold water could trigger an automatic response to inhale, which can be potentially deadly.

After a few minutes, Mr Hancock has lapped the iceberg several times.

His skin is glowing purple and red but he looks relaxed and elated.

Cold-water swimmers often report an endorphin rush.

"It gives you a bit of a buzz," Mr Hancock says.

There is an associated danger with swimming in extreme cold and it is clear Mr Hancock is keeping an eye on the time.

He exits the water and moves straight into a rehearsed routine to warm himself.

Once dressed, he explains the danger of 'afterdrop'.

"I come out cold, but then as the blood from my extremities returns to my core, I'll start to get cold again," Mr Hancock says.

"That's probably the most dangerous part — after you get out of the water.

"The rewarming, and preparing for that, is very important."

Not long after Mr Hancock is dressed, the shivers began.

"Here they come," he says.

hancock bedford tasman 190507 600 04
... And dwells upon it afterwards.

Dr Garry Couanis, a specialist sports and exercise physician and former long-distance open-water swimmer, said that while you could train your body for cold water endurance, there were many risks involved.

"Cold water cools the body faster than almost any other medium," he said.

"The reason there is so much risk of hypothermia is as warm-blooded animals we rely on … stored energy in our muscles to burn it to generate our own heat.

"The dangers of hypothermia is that as the body shuts down, the brain gets confused, the heart rate slows, and a slow heart rate puts you at risk of developing arrhythmias.

"It's a very, very risky endeavour."

So, why?

It is clear Mr Hancock loves swimming in the same way most people love chocolate, or the way children love bubbles.

It gets him up in the morning and makes him happy, but why swim with icebergs and be left shivering?

Why swim in his lunchbreaks on busy work days when time is short, or in the dark, or in the snow?

"It's an adventure."

He says outdoor swimming can be a way to find solitude, or community, or whatever you want.

Mr Hancock finds another spot nearby and records the water temperature at 1.4C for a new personal record.

"Icebergs, glaciers and a new record," he says.

"It's been a trip of firsts — that's a pretty good 'why'."

You can follow Peter Hancock's swim adventures on Twitter @platocean

hancock twitter 190515 600 01
Not from the glacial lake, but this morn's centrefold of Peter Hancock on the shores of the lake behind Dumaresq dam. Love that mud. (Pic by Peter Hancock with a timer on his camera.) Well, when punters demand it, you hafta do it, akorss.

French Polynesia - Dates revealed

The trip of a lifetime!

french polynesia moorea 190405 600 02

We're ready to go: after our first inaugural highly successful oceanswimsafari to French Polynesia, in April, we're planning two oceanswimsafaris there in 2020 - May 12-22, and May 21-31. And, this time, the oceanswimsafari will be very different to our first outing, last month.

In 2020, we're including stays at two locations in the islands around French Polynesia. As well as Moorea, the venue for the 2019 oceanswimsafari, we'll also visit the Tuamotu island group, about 300km north of Tahiti. It's very remote, very beautiful, very good water, and very, very nice. That's an image from the Tuamotus, above. We're having three nights there, then four nights on Moorea, where we stayed last month. We scouted the Tuamotus last month, prior to the oceanswimsafari, so we know how good it is.

This makes the French Polynesia oceanswimsafari a longer trip in 2020 than this year -- 9 nights instead of 7 -- and therefore a little more expensive, but the gains are well worth it.

Be warned: we have taken, to date, advance deposits equivalent to 1.5 oceanswimsafaris to French Polynesia in 2020, so if you'd like to come with us, let us know quick and smart... Click here

A fully-refundable advance deposit will secure your place ahead of release of the package costs, which we expect by the end of this week. When you get the oceanswimsafari cost, you'll have seven days to accept or decline. If you decide not to proceed, we'll refund your advance deposit in full.

This is the trip of a lifetime!

Numbers are limited to 10 swimmers per oceanswimsafari (12 including us).

Dave's book

Our staff snapper, Glistening Dave, came with us to French Polynesia in April. Now, he's produced a book which is his photographic account of his visit.

You can preview Dave's book, to see for yourself how nice the place is... Click here

I love swimming, but I’m sick of the sexist behaviour in British pools

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The women’s bathing pond in Hampstead Heath, London. Photograph: Sarah Lee/The Guardian

The vast majority of male swimmers are no trouble, but there are still too many incidents involving men to ignore...

By Ellie Mae O'Hagan, The Guardian, May 7, 2019

A friend told me recently that of all animals, I most resemble a Shetland pony. In other words, my physique doesn’t exactly scream “athlete”. And so, when I go swimming, it comes as something of a surprise to others that I am actually quite good at it.

The more I swim, the more I notice that a not-insignificant number of men seem to take against my swimming abilities, and respond with an array of irritating behaviours. They push in front of me, they take up the whole lane, or – my personal favourite – they expend all of their energy on overtaking me, just to prove that they can, and then spend the rest of the lap swimming desperately slowly in front of me.

The vast majority of men sharing the pool with me are no trouble whatsoever. Many are actively friendly. But it’s also true to say that there is usually at least one annoying incident every time I go swimming, and it’s always a man responsible for it. And so I started sharing stories with other women who regularly swim to see if it’s A Thing. And it gives me no pleasure to report, ladies and gentlemen, that right under our very noses, Britain’s public pools have become hotbeds of patriarchy.

First there’s what I am amusingly dubbing “the Butterfly Effect”. Several women complained to me about men taking up an excess of space, and generally splashing a lot, by swimming butterfly, without any regard for what other swimmers might be doing. One woman told me a man did this a few metres away from a baby swimming class she had joined with her son, “resulting in some very tiny babies getting inadvertently dunked”. The Butterfly Effect is actually a genus in a family of inconsiderate behaviours women listed, such as brushing against and kicking them, and general unwanted physical contact.

Then there are the men whose behaviour is informed by the expectation that women will be less competent swimmers than them. Women complained about men aggressively overtaking them, even grabbing their ankles to slow them down. One woman told me a man pushed in front of her because, he said, “men are faster swimmers,” even though she was fast enough to catch up to him and ask why he had done it. A male friend, one of the most enlightened men I know in matters of gender, admitted he feels distinctively different when he’s overtaken by a woman. “When a man overtook me, it didn’t really register at all. But when a woman overtook me, I had a kneejerk feeling inside that it was just a bit wrong,” he said.

When women confront men about their antisocial behaviour, they don’t seem to take it very well. One woman told me that asking men to change their behaviour only “results in further aggression”. Another said a man had “slapped the water” in anger when she pulled him up for aggressively overtaking.

Unfortunately, but perhaps not surprisingly, the most common stories are about sexual harassment. Women told me about quitting swimming lessons because they were being harassed, having their bums pinched (several times) as they were swimming, being followed into the showers, and being leered at from the public gallery. A man told me he had seen other men swimming alongside women and chatting them up. I was once getting changed when I spotted a man peering through a crack in the doorway and masturbating, which led to the absurdly Benny-Hill-esque situation of me, naked, chasing him away.

Numerous studies show that men, as a group, tend to exhibit aggressive behaviour more often than women. And the #MeToo movement has revealed the sheer extent of sexual harassment women are forced to endure. I think the swimming pool makes these behaviours feel more concentrated, because it is rare for women and men to be packed so tightly together, wearing so little, in a public space. Tensions sometimes run high in pools because, as one friend put it, they can be “generally quite crowded and a bit annoying”. Add in the fact that most men see themselves as physically stronger and faster than women, and it’s no wonder going swimming starts to feel like a giant social experiment devised by Judith Butler.

Many pools are cognisant of gender politics, and respond by holding women-only sessions, which are really good for women who are self-conscious, or have religious beliefs that prevent them from swimming in mixed-gender pools. Nevertheless I’m not sure more women-only sessions are the way forward. Rather, staff should be more attuned to this stuff, and intervene more often. This will require extra training and support from management, because – as a friend who worked in swimming pools tells me – many pool-side staff members are quite young and may feel reticent about challenging angry men who are a couple of decades older than they are. Whenever I have reported bad behaviour to the lovely staff in my local pool, they’ve been fantastic. So I suspect it is an issue of awareness and experience, rather than will.

But men themselves also need to think more carefully about how they behave in public spaces. I go to the pool to get a workout, and I understand the frustration of being prevented from doing that because the lane is too slow and crowded. But we all have a responsibility not to behave antisocially. If you’re a man who internally seethes at female swimmers, engage with your feelings and ask why they are there. If you see other men behaving badly, think: could you intervene without exacerbating the situation? Swimming pools don’t have to be stressful places for women. We could make them nice and relaxing for everybody, if we wanted to.

Online entries this weekend

south head 180520 dhd 600 01

South Head - The epic time of year

Those of you who are doing South Head this Sundee are well aware that it's on and what you need to do to take part in it. You don't need advice from us here. Except this: A few weeks back, awgies brought forward the close of entries by a day, to 5pm tomorrow, Thursday, May 16. Do not miss this closing time. Tell your friends who are planning to swim but who haven't entered yet. We don't want anyone missing out.

Those who don't know about South Head, or who are not planning on doing it, likewise do not need advice from us. Suffice to say, the South Head Roughwater is on this Sunday in Sydney, and it's, as the kids say, "epic".

South Head is 10-11km from North Bondi to Watsons Bay. It's a commitment swim: once you're out through the break, you're committed; there is nowhere to get out, except into your support boat.

Anyway, conditions are looking pretty good for South Head this year: there may be a bit of cloud about, but winds are forecast to be gentle and offshore, which means the air should be quite clear. The water still is warm off Sydney. There's a swell of less than a metre predicted, from the sou'-east, which means it will be gentle and following. We're not sure what the current is doing. That's what brings punters undone on this swim, when the current runs north-south. Sometimes it does; sometimes it doesn't.

Good luck to all those intrepid South Head swimmers. It's not everyone's cuppa, but it's an achievement once done.

What else?

We're descending into the cooler months, but there are a few swims on offer over the next few weeks. You can see our list at the top of this newsletter. Of note is a new series of swims off Port Melbourne/Albert Park/St Kilda running each Sat'dee from June 8 through July 13. They're run by the same organisation that runs the Rip swims. You can enter just one, or the entire series. Distances are 2km, 1.5km,1km, and 500m... Click here

You can swim Noosa the weekend after this.

The Mona Vale Solstice Swim runs in Sydney on Sunday, June 16 -- online entries are open now on oceanswims.com -- and you can swim Darwin the following weekend.

We have three new season swims open for online entry already, as well - Hervey Bay on September 1, Burleigh Heads on October 20, and Stanwell Park, rescheduled from March 17 this past season, now running on December 8.

So there is plenty to keep you lot out of mischief over the winter.

(In season 2019/20, Stanwell Park is running two swims: the postponed swim (above), and their regular swim on March 15.)

Who ya gonna call?

Your own emergency

We continue to be amazed at how many swimmers enter swims online listing themselves as their own emergency contact. Do they wonder, if they did get caught up in an emergency at sea, who ya gonna call?

Into the Carribean

New oceanswimsafari in Barbados

barbados bath beach 600
oceanswimsafari HQ in Barbados: Bath Beach. Our beach house is bottom left.

This is exciting: in 2020, we're running our first oceanswimsafari to Barbados in the Caribbean. We've always wanted to visit the Caribbean to swim. So we're partnering with a local swim organisation to give you the opportunity to come with us. Dates are September 18-25, 2020. We'll have a page on oceanswimsafaris.com very soon with more details.

In the meantime, if you'd like to secure a spot on this adventure, you can lodge an advance deposit pending finalistion of the page. Cost will be around $A3,000 for the week, which is very much all inclusive (actual cost varies with exchange rate fluctuations). This oceanswimsafari will be limited to 10 swimmers (12 including us).

The cost of our Barbados oceanswimsafari includes -

  • Private, spacious bedroom in Beach House,
  • All meals (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner cooked by resident Beach House chef)
  • Daily housekeeping service,
  • All daily Transport needs including Airport transfers,
  • Daily 2-3 hour Guided Open Water Swim at a different exotic location each day.
  • Beach bonfire on final night.
  • 2nd daily Swim at the Barbados Aquatic Centre Pool (optional).
  • Commemorative Shirt & Hat.
  • Use of all amenities at the Beach House such as Kayaks, Stand Up Paddle boards, Surfboards, Snorkel equip., Beach chairs, Mountain bikes, free WiFi, use of fridges, and more.

More info... Click here

New Can Too program

Only 10km to Mana Island

cantoo logo 150Can Too, the organisation that has, almost certainly, brought more people into ocean swimming than any other single institution, has a new program encouraging its members to step up their distances.

Following the success of a 5km swim program, Can Too now has launched a 10km program with a target swim at the Mana Fiji SwimFest, on Fiji's Mana Island, in October.

The Mana Fiji SwimFest offers two days of swim events -- a 10km event (solos or 3x3.3km relays) on Thursday, October 17, and 5km, 2.5km and 1km on Saturday, October 19.

In between and around swim days, Mana swimmers will have social morning swims, and coaching from the Grimsey brothers, Trent and Codie, two of the most accomplished ocean swimmers in the world.

In return for fundraising for Can Too, Can Too will provide coaching over winter to build up to the 10km event at Mana. The coaching and other support is worth more than $1,300, Can Too says, but swimmers receive that free by signing up (early bird till May 26 for $219) and raising funds in support of Can Too's work.

Can Too raises funds to support cancer research projects.

Find out more about the Can Too 10km swim program... Click here

Find out more about the Mana Fiji SwimFest... Click here

Mana Fiji SwimFest

The original Fijian swims

mana fiji swimmer 1610

Packages are online now for the Mana Fiji SwimFest, this year from October 15-20.

The Mana Fiji SwimFest is the only Fijian ocean swim event where you're based on the island, on the reef. Out there, life is quiet, slow... Just as you want it to be on a Pacific island. Away from the mainland, where life is frenetic at large, impersonal resorts where you're just one of hundreds or thousands of people checking in and out each day. On Mana, you're right at the swim location. No diesel fumes or crowded buses from daily commutes to swim venues.

And the water! It's correct that, the farther out you go from the mainland, the better the water, and Mana Island has some of the best water in Fiji, jam packed with sea life on beautiful reef, right outside the door of your bure.

We reckon there really is no comparison. But we would say that. We say it also because we know the difference.

Look for Mana Fiji

In the Mana Fiji SwimFest, there are two swim days: the 10km (solos or 3 x 3.3km relays) on Thursday, and 5km, 2.5km, and 1km on Saturday. Packages include accommdoation, all meals on Mana Island, ferry transfers and swim entry packages for both swim days. They also include a 30 per cent discount off Mana Island Resort's normal nett rates until July 31.

Plus a whole lot of other fun in Ocean Swimming Stadium, the best spot in the Pacific for an ocean swim (see pic above).

Packages start at $A1,819 pp Twin/Double share and $A2,687 single.

Add the Yasawas on to your visit to the Mana Fiji SwimFest Oct 15-20... Click here

More info... Click here

To book... Click here

2019 oceanswimsafaris

san sebastian oceanswimsafaris 1501
The Bay of la Concha, where the action is in San Sebastián.

Food and wine, and swimming in the Basque country - San Sebastián (Spain, Aug 21-27, 2019 - bookings open now, from $A3,765) - This oceanswimsafari just keeps getting better and better: we have a week in San Sebastián, one of Europe's most interesting cities, culminating in the swim around the Isla Santa Clara. In 2019, we're adding a day's excursion into French Basque country, too. Packages online now... Click here

Wild swimming, food, adventure, history, and culcha on the Costa Brava - (Spain, Sep 6-14, 2019 - bookings open now, from $A3,730) - One of our most popular oceanswimsafaris, along Catalonia's "wild coast", where the water, the swimming, the food, the wine, the history and the culture all clamour to be the highlight. Packages online now... Click here

The best Blue Lagoon in the Yasawas - One of our most popular oceanswimsafaris, to Fiji's remote Yasawa island group, will follow the Mana Island swims: October 20-28. Packages available now from $A5,087. Add the Yasawas on to your visit to the Mana Fiji SwimFest Oct 15-20... Click here

Swim with whales in Tonga (July 23-Aug 1, 4 spots left, from $A3,210) – Hot on the heels of an inspiring three weeks in Tonga, with three oceanswimsafaris to swim with humpback whales, we’ve opened bookings to our 2019 Tonga series. Two are full. The middle Tonga oceanswimsafari has four places remaining. Packages are on oceanswimsafaris.com now.

More info and to book… Click here

Cossies on sale

Stocks of our oceanswims cossies are running down. We have only two sizes remaining available in the Gents' cossies (28 and 30), although we have all sizes available in the Laydees' cossies except 10.

To celebrate, we've reduced the cost of the Gents' cossies to only $40. Laydees cossies also have been reduced, now to $75.

bs cossies both bothGet them now, as they say, whilst stocks last.

We also offer View, the world's best, and best value gogs and swim accessories. We've been using View for years. In fact, we were using View well before they approached us to work with them. That's why we can say how good they are.

Now, with our new shopping cart, you can browse all that we have to offer - View gogs and accessories, oceanswims.com cossies, tow floats, and Cecily's Stinger Suits. Ordering and paying by secure server uses the same process as our online entries, which means it's tried, proven, safe and reliable.

To browse our ocean swimming boutique... Click here

Controversy Corner...

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

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

(See posts at the end of this newsletter.)

Swims open to online entry...

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

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

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

Subscribe

If you wish to receive our newsletters by email, or you know someone who would like to receive them... Click here

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April 24, 2019

fos scroll 450

pacific palms 190421 600 01
Ararnd the booee at Pacific Palms on Easter Sundee...

This issue...

Swims this weekend...

pacific palms 190421 600 02
The first wave start at Pacific Palms last Sundee.

Ocean swimming culcha

Morning Swim

Into my empty head there come
a cotton beach, a dock wherefrom

I set out, oily and nude
through mist, in chilly solitude.

There was no line, no roof or floor
to tell the water from the air.

Night fog thick as terry cloth
closed me in its fuzzy growth.

I hung my bathrobe on two pegs.
I took the lake between my legs.

Invaded and invader, I
went overhand on that flat sky.

Fish twitched beneath me, quick and tame.
In their green zone they sang my name

and in the rhythm of the swim
I hummed a two-four-time slow hymn.

I hummed "Abide With Me." The beat
rose in the fine thrash of my feet,

rose in the bubbles I put out
slantwise, trailing through my mouth.

My bones drank water; water fell
through all my doors. I was the well

that fed the lake that met my sea
in which I sang "Abide With Me."

Maxine Kumin

French Polynesia

You wanna see what it was like?

french polynesia moorea 190405 600 03

Our staff snapper, Glistening Dave, came with us to French Polynesia a week or two back. Now, he's produced a book which is his photographic account of his visit.

We plan to run two oceanswimsafaris to French Polynesia in 2020, most probably in May. Stay tuned for dates and details.

And check out Glistening Dave's photographic book... Click here

Who ya gonna call?

Your own emergency

We continue to be amazed at how many swimmers enter swims online listing themselves as their own emergency contact. Do they wonder, if they did get caught up in an emergency at sea, who ya gonna call?

pacific palms 190421 600 03
Little ducks all in a row... Pacific Palms on Easter Sunday.

New Can Too program

Only 10km to Mana Island

cantoo logo 150Can Too, the organisation that has, almost certainly, brought more people into ocean swimming than any other single institution, has a new program encouraging its members to step up their distances.

Following the success of a 5km swim program, Can Too now has launched a 10km program with a target swim at the Mana Fiji SwimFest, on Fiji's Mana Island, in October.

The Mana Fiji SwimFest offers two days of swim events -- a 10km event (solos or 3x3.3km relays) on Thursday, October 17, and 5km, 2.5km and 1km on Saturday, October 19.

In between and around swim days, Mana swimmers will have social morning swims, and coaching from the Grimsey brothers, Trent and Codie, two of the most accomplished ocean swimmers in the world.

In return for fundraising for Can Too, Can Too will provide coaching over winter to build up to the 10km event at Mana. The coaching and other support is worth more than $1,300, Can Too says, but swimmers receive that free by signing up (early bird till May 26 for $219) and raising funds in support of Can Too's work.

Can Too raises funds to support cancer research projects.

Find out more about the Can Too 10km swim program... Click here

Find out more about the Mana Fiji SwimFest... Click here

Online entries this weekend

bondi dh 1301
Pic by David Helsham (@glistenrr)

Easter festival of ocean swimming

Blue water at Bondi

A different course around Bondi, this time run by Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club from near the centre of the beach. Main swim is a champagne glass-shaped course which runs out from in front of Bondi surf club, out towards McKenzies Pt, across towards Ben Buckler at the northern end of Bondi, then back into the surf club near the beach's centre.

This is a different journey around Bondi Bay. The course is different from other Bondi swims, and the start and finish traverse the break mid-beach so potentially offer vastly different conditions, as well. There is a team component to the swim as well. Simply nominate your team name as you enter. That means, there's no different closing time for team entries to the Bondi swim.

This season is the second year that the 4km beach run is part of the program.

Niippers can do the Nipper Challenge, a melange of beach and water events with distances determined on race day in the light of conditions. This is an 8-nipper team event. Open to Nipper members of the SLSA. See below for more.

Online entries to the Bluewater Classic at Bondi close on oceanswims.com at 3pm on Sat'dee, April 27. For more info and to enter... Click here

caves main cave

Along the reef to Caves

One of our fave swims: Caves Beach is our alma mater; but it's also a fast, generally gentle course, along a pretty reef with a lulling swell rocking you from side to side if it has any height on the day. If the water is clear on race day, you'll have a view of the sandy, rocky bottom most of the way along. Course runs along the reef, then into "Narkindi Boonah" (The Beach of the Caves). Nice community atmosphere.

Online entries to the Caves Ocean Swim close on oceanswims.com at 3pm on Saturday, April 27. For more info and to enter... Click here

south curl curl beach 04
Journey to Freshie

This is a swim just right for this time of year. Organisers say: "Approximately 2km 'destination swim' from South Curl Curl Beach around the headland to Freshwater Beach. Swimmers are provided with a fantastic course taking in a small amount of reef, a small amount of blue water, but mostly sandy bottom. Spectators will enjoy practically 100% views of the swim as they follow along the new walkway built along the Curly headland. Once swim is completed join your hosts back at the South Curly SLSC for a BBQ and prompt presentations."

An earlier start this year: 8.30am, so registration is from 7-8am in the surf club.

There are also 2 new age categories: 60-69 and 70+.

Online entries to the South Curl Curl-Freshwater swim close on oceanswims.com at 3pm, Satadee, April 27... Click here

Mana Fiji SwimFest

Don't be confused

fiji mana start 1610 01

We have our packages online now for the Mana Fiji SwimFest, this year from October 15-20. But don't be confused by another swim event happening in Fiji over the southern winter; There are major differences between the two.

Which event you prefer depends on what you're looking for in a Fiji swim experience.

In the "other" event, you're based on the mainland in a busy resort and bussed or ferried out to swim venues each day. You can swim off the beach at your resort, but it's estuarine water... Not like it is on the reef. You stay at busy, ritzy resorts on the mainland, but that ain't the same as staying right on the reef.

In the Mana Fiji SwimFest, you're based on the island, next to the reef, and life is quiet, slow. You're right at the swim location. No diesel fumes or crowded buses from dail;y commutes. And the water! It's correct that, the farther out you go from the mainland, the better the water, and Mana Island has some of the best water in Fiji. And you won't see the sea life that you see off Mana at your busy resort on the mainland, or even in the daily swim locations.

We reckon there really is no comparison. But we would say that. We say it also because we know the difference between the two.

Look for Mana Fiji

In the Mana Fiji SwimFest, there are two swim days: the 10km (solos or 3 x 3.3km relays) on Thursday, and 5km, 2.5km, and 1km on Saturday. Packages include accommdoation, all meals on Mana Island, ferry transfers and swim entry packages for both swim days. They also include a 30 per cent discount off Mana Island Resort's normal nett rates until July 31.

Plus a whole lot of other fun in Ocean Swimming Stadium, the best spot in the Pacific for an ocean swim (see pic above).

Packages start at $A1,819 pp Twin/Double share and $A2,687 single.

Add the Yasawas on to your visit to the Mana Fiji SwimFest Oct 15-20... Click here

More info... Click here

To book... Click here

2019 oceanswimsafaris

costa brava 16 600 01
General fitness on the Costa Brava.

Food and wine, and swimming in the Basque country - San Sebastián (Spain, Aug 21-27, 2019 - bookings open now, from $A3,765) - This oceanswimsafari just keeps getting better and better: we have a week in San Sebastián, one of Europe's most interesting cities, culminating in the swim around the Isla Santa Clara. In 2019, we're adding a day's excursion into French Basque country, too. Packages online now... Click here

Wild swimming, food, adventure, history, and culcha on the Costa Brava - (Spain, Sep 6-14, 2019 - bookings open now, from $A3,730) - One of our most popular oceanswimsafaris, along Catalonia's "wild coast", where the water, the swimming, the food, the wine, the history and the culture all clamour to be the highlight. Packages online now... Click here

The best Blue Lagoon in the Yasawas - One of our most popular oceanswimsafaris, to Fiji's remote Yasawa island group, will follow the Mana Island swims: October 20-28. Packages available now from $A5,087. Add the Yasawas on to your visit to the Mana Fiji SwimFest Oct 15-20... Click here

Swim with whales in Tonga (July 23-Aug 1, 4 spots left, from $A3,210) – Hot on the heels of an inspiring three weeks in Tonga, with three oceanswimsafaris to swim with humpback whales, we’ve opened bookings to our 2019 Tonga series. Two are full. The middle Tonga oceanswimsafari has four places remaining. Packages are on oceanswimsafaris.com now.

More info and to book… Click here

Cossies on sale

Stocks of our oceanswims cossies are running down. We have only two sizes remaining available in the Gents' cossies (28 and 30), although we have all sizes available in the Laydees' cossies except 10.

To celebrate, we've reduced the cost of the Gents' cossies to only $40. Laydees cossies also have been reduced, now to $75.

bs cossies both bothGet them now, as they say, whilst stocks last.

We also offer View, the world's best, and best value gogs and swim accessories. We've been using View for years. In fact, we were using View well before they approached us to work with them. That's why we can say how good they are.

Now, with our new shopping cart, you can browse all that we have to offer - View gogs and accessories, oceanswims.com cossies, tow floats, and Cecily's Stinger Suits. Ordering and paying by secure server uses the same process as our online entries, which means it's tried, proven, safe and reliable.

To browse our ocean swimming boutique... Click here

Controversy Corner...

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

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

(See posts at the end of this newsletter.)

forster turtles 190422 600 03
Diptych: Evolution of a wave (Forster).

forster turtles 190422 600 04

Swims open to online entry...

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

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

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

Subscribe

If you wish to receive our newsletters by email, or you know someone who would like to receive them... Click here

forster turtles 190422 600 01
The daily trek, Forster.

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April 17, 2019

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french polynesia moorea 190405 600 01
Just back from our first inaugural oceanswimsafari to French Polynesia (Tahiti and Moorea), and we thought you'd like to see with whom we were swimming there
(Pic by David Helsham @ glistenrr)... We're taking advance bookings now for our 2020 oceanswimsafari to this ocean swimming paradise... Click here

This issue...

Swims this weekend...

coogee island challenge 190414 600 02
Unorthodox, perhaps, but if this punter was having fun at the start at Coogee last Sundee, then that's what it's all about.

Coogee's "missing swimmer"

What's your favourite swim?

Punters often ask us: What’s your favourite swim? The answer is not simple, we tell them, for we have lots of favourite swims of different types and natures. They all have their own personality and character, and conditions are different each year, so a triffic swim one year may not be so triffic in another year. And different swims will be triffic for different reasons. It’s hard to compare them validly.

But when we think about this, really and truly, there are one or two swims that stand out consistently. We talk not just of formal swim events, but swim courses. Sometimes the two correlate, albeit with variations in course. Sometimes, an informal swim course does not have a formal event to match; sometimes, a formal event almost exactly matches the informal way you’d swim if left to your own devices.

Coogee’s Island Challenge fits into the latter category. When we think of fave swims, one of those we always come back to is the circumnavigation of Wedding Cake Island.

Coogee surf club runs a formal event twice each season – in November, and in April. We’ve long held that the better time for this swim is in the autumn, in April, for there is a good chance that the day will be fine, clear, with a gentle offshore breeze flattening and clarifying the sea. November still is a good swim, but conditions can offer onshore breezes, cold water, and overall meteorological volatility. This is what happened to the Coogee swim last November, in fact, when rising swell behind the island forced delays and course truncations and, eventually, an offer by awgies to roll entries over to last Sundee. In truth, Coogee has not had a great run with April, either, but it remains the best bet. We reckon.

coogee island challenge 190414 600 01

The Truth

In further truth, the best time to round Wedding Cake is in winter, on one of those Sundee mornings described above, one of those winter days when, once out of the offshore breeze, but in the sun, it’s warm enough to wander around topless and still be comfy. The water will be brisk, but Sydney water rarely gets so cool as to be uncomfortable. To top off the morning, if they’d played in Sydney the night before, the Swannies will overrun your gear on the promenade whilst you’re swimming, and you’ll come back to the beach to find yourself sharing the promenade space with your fave full forward or goal sneak. (This happened to us a few years back, when Mrs Sparkle returned to find Lewis Roberts-Thompson standing over her towel.)

Ironically, the times the water temp drops uncomfortably generally is in November, as summer is starting, when the rampant onshores force the warmer water away from the coast, drawing up the colder stuff from lower down (Damn you, Ekman!)

Our real fave is one of those winter Sundee swims, warm sun, clear sky, gentle offshore breeze, clear, smooth sea, when you can go as close to the island as you like as you slink around it. In the formal events, the booees are set well out, so that you can see the bottom – the weed-waving bottom, the fish swirling back and forth as the swells play around the submerged rocks – but you can’t quite get to “feel” the island.

When we arrived at Coogee in the early morn last Sundee, it was definitely one of those desirable autumn days, with a gentle breeze, clear sky, and smooth seas. The sun was pleasant, not hot or uncomfy. We were in for a good day.

Deceitful

Coogee is protected by the island, but we reckon it also makes the water between the beach and the island some of the most difficult on the circuit. We reckon that whatever swell is there gets trapped inside the island, bouncing off the beach with its sharp edge, dumping on the sand then rolling back out to sea, off the rock shelves at either end of the beach, and back off the inside of the island. Coogee so often looks so benign, but you find yourself schlepping through water that’s as bouncy as all get out; no two strokes are the same. But that is part of the challenge, eh.

However, by the time the main swim started last Sundee, the southerly had come in. It was a rip roaring southerly, too. It didn’t seem that strong at first, but it whipped up the sea, from the sou’-east, and made the leg behind the island a slog straight into the chop. It was gusty, too. Whilst we were at sea, the gusts were so strong that tents on the beach were lifted and blown away. We returned to our tent on the promenade to find Mrs Sparkle more like Mary Poppins, holding on to the tent for dear life to stop it blowing away.

On top of that, the current behind the island, as usual, was running south-north – as indicated by the anchor rope on the booees. So, to round the island, at the back, you were into the current and into the chop and into the breeze.

coogee island challenge 190414 600 04

Three

This was a swim of three parts. The run out to the island was about 1.1km in a straight line pulled off trajectory by a sideways current that swept us northwards over the rocks over where Giles gym used to be on the northern headland. The bottom is fascinating here, full of boulders and weed, and lots of fish, some of them very large. But whilst it pulled us sideways, it did not oppose us, and the outward voyage was long, attention challenging, but otherwise uneventful. Indeed, the key event we remembered was how good the water felt. Our previous swim, ourselves, had been in Moorea, in French Polynesia, on Chewsdee last week. The water there was c. 28C. We had been apprehensive about the Coogee’s water, although we know that the water around here doesn’t normally start to chill until the end of autumn. The water was a little alarming when we first felt it, but that was only because of the difference from near equatorial Pacific. It was early 20sC, with nothing bitey or annoying, that we felt. It was some of the nicest water in which we’ve swum in Sydney in a long, long time.

Out behind the island, we were into the chop and the current, and we noticed, armed with our Brownie Starflash-in-a-plastic bag, that quite a few punters were putting in a lot of strokes without getting very far. Mind you, that is ocean swimming. Most of us are mugs, journeypersons, hackers. We – us included – put in a lot more strokes, a lot more energy, than we really should have to, and than we would have had to had we been taught proper as kiddies. Perhaps someone should run a handicap swim so that all us mugs can start early and perhaps finish at the same time as all those smarty-pantses who actually know how to swim, who were taught proper as kiddies, so that we can share the glory.

Sea of Joy

Coming back from the island was a joy. It was barely more than chop, but it ran with us. The great joy of ocean swimming is a following sea, one that picks you up by the feet, runs through you, past your head and your outstretched hands, and pushes you along. You feel it coming, you lengthen your stroke to maintain your streamline, it lifts you gently, all the way down your body, and runs off ahead. And you settle back into the trough until you feel the next little one tickle your tootsies, pick up your feet, and start to run up your legs… Things running up your legs are always fun.

It was like that pretty well all the way back to the beach. Normally, it takes us about two and a half ks to warm up in a swim, till we feel good and comfy, and that warm up paid off as the chop kicked in between the island and Wileys baths. Goodness, it was nice.

It was a lovely swim, despite the southerly, perhaps even because of it, because swimming into the chop and the current behind the island made running with the chop and the swell on the way home all that much more fun. Ya hafta pay your dues if ya wanna sing the blues.

coogee island challenge 190414 600 05

By the way…

Those swimmers who were still haunting the cafes and bars of Coogee two hours after the last swimmer came in – ie 2pm or so – may have noticed a couple of helicopters hovering off Coogee beach. They were searching for a “lost swimmer”, or what awgies feared was a “lost swimmer”. A bit after noon, when the timers had done their checks and their reconciliations, they discovered that one swimmer remained unaccounted for. Chances were, they’d just gone home and their timing chip had not functioned as they crossed the line. But, awgies could not make that assumption, and the powers that be at surf life saving would not “sign off” on the swim until all swimmers had been checked in.

Awgies attempted to contact the “lost swimmer”, hoping to find them through the data included with their online entry. Coogee’s life saving boss called the swimmer’s number, 15 times, he told us, without answer. They called the swimmer’s emergency contact – in this case, the “emergency contact” was another person, not the swimmer themselves (extraordinary that many swimmers list themselves as their own emergency contact… What are they thinking, if anything?), but no answer from the emergency phone number, either.

So what should they do? Awgies have to cover the possibility that the swimmer is actually still at sea, hence the helicopters. These things don’t come cheap, by the way. They hovered around for quite a while off Coogee beach, probably hoping at once that they find someone and that they don’t find someone.

About 2:30, awgies received a call from the police to say that the swimmer had been found, at home. They’d gone to the home address and knocked on the swimmer’s door.

We’re told the swimmer had collected their timing chip at Coogee, but decided later not to swim, and they went home, apparently with the timing chip still on their ankle. No word as to why none of the attempted phone calls had been answered.

Panacea?

Most swims do not have starting pads, only finishing pads, so whilst the finishing pads record swimmers crossing the line at the end of the swim, they don’t indicate how many or who actually entered the water. It must be said, too, that starting pads are no guarantee of perfect knowledge about the numbers who go to sea, because some swimmers will join the starting line after wetting and rinsing their goggles, or splashing themselves to get used to the water, and will avoid the starting pads in the first place. And as we see here, collecting your timing chip at check-in is no reliable indicator that you actually enter the water.

We tell you this story as a heads up. The only other time we’re aware of anything similar happening was at Gerringong over ten years ago when a swimmer had finished, but had not bothered to check in after the swim – Gerringong has always used manual timing, or a form of manual timing – and they just went home. The Gerringong awgies, too, called out the helicopters. Later, the swimmer was found, at home watching the cricket on the telly.

Too Cans to the wind

palm shelly 190413 600 01 

Last Sat'dee saw the first inaugural Palm Beach-Shelly Beach swim, 26km north-to-south along Sydney's northern beaches. This course has been done a few times before, most notably by the blind James Pittar in the early Noughties when, with a following storm swell, Pittar arrived at North Steyne over an hour early to meet the Governor of NSW, and had to be hidden in a coffee shop then shipped back to sea to arrive again at the Governor's appointed time. Last Sat'dee was, however, the first time it's been done as a structured event. Solo winner was the irrepressible Rowan Webb in 5 hours 53 minutes, ahead of 11 other solos and two teams. One of the teams was the Too Cans, representing Can Too. Above, the start, and below, the Too Cans glad to have reached Shelly Beach in 7:58:30.

palm shelly 190413 600 02
The Too Cans, l-r Lizzie Crowhurst, Glenda Hunter-Brittain, Kim Cook, John Cadden, and Grant Campbell.

Taming the Black Dog

Worse than road deaths

black dog logo 250This is grim but we should be aware of it: depression-induced suicide kills more people each year than road accidents.

More people should know this stuff, because only if awareness is greater will action be taken to address the issue. On average, 58 Australians suicide each week; males are three times more likely to suicide than females; incidence of suicide in the LGBTI community is three times the rate in the general population; the frequency with which we hear of young people – the kids we know, or of people we know – taking their own lives through depression is frightening.

Hardly a family in Australia remains unscathed by depression-related mental illness and its consequences.

Action is being taken, of course, and we need to support the people working in this area.

oceanswims.com now has become involved in supporting the work of one of the institutions doing good work, the Black Dog Institute.

Black Dog, based at the University of NSW, works in research of the condition and it the development of services, education and e-health initiatives aimed at improving the lives of people with mental illness.

Black Dog will be familiar already to many ocean swimmers. The chair of the institute, Peter Joseph, is a regular face on the beach at ocean swims, and many other ocean swimmers already work to support it: John Konrads, Peter Thiel, and Justin Hanby, to name three.

We’ll be working with Black Dog to help raise awareness and knowledge of this mental health issue.

A key thing to start off with is to know that, if you suffer from depression or related conditions, you are not alone, and there are ways to deal with it and people to help you.

Find out more… Click here

coogee island challenge 190414 600 03
Another punter, coyly but clearly having fun at Coogee.

Who ya gonna call?

Your own emergency

We continue to be amazed at how many swimmers enter swims online, and list themselves as their emergency contact. Do they wonder, if they did get caught up in an emergency at sea, who ya gonna call?

Grimsey swim at Redcliffe

Stevenson wins Mana Fiji prize

cliffToClub logo 250We're pleased to announce that Queensland triathlon coach Hayley Stevenson won the random draw at the Cliff to Club swim at Redcliffe in Brisbane on April 6 and is coming to Mana Island in Fiji with us in October. The prize is five nights accommodation, meals and swim entry for up to three punters at Mana Island Resort for the Mana Fiji SwimFest October 15-20.

The Grimsey lads, Trent and Codie, are coming back to Mana Island this year, too, and will be running an ocean swimming clinic for everyone who books through oceanswims.com/oceanswimsafaris.com.

For the Grimseys' own squaddies in Brisbane, if you come with us, the lads are offering four free open water training sessions in Brisbane.

Trent and Codie Grimsey run swim training both in the pool and in the open water at Redcliffe. For more info and to contact them... Click here

Pittwater winner

Meanwhile, farther sarth, the winner of the weekend in Byron Bay from the Pittwater Swim Series is a Can Too swimmer, Annette Gray, of Turramurra.

french polynesia moorea 190405 600 02
Water was rubbish in French Polynesia. (Pic by David Helsham @glistenrr)

New Can Too program

Only 10km to Mana Island

cantoo logo 150Can Too, the organisation that has, almost certainly, brought more people into ocean swimming than any other single institution, has a new program encouraging its members to step up their distances.

Following the success of a 5km swim program, Can Too now has launched a 10km program with a target swim at the Mana Fiji SwimFest, on Fiji's Mana Island, in October.

The Mana Fiji SwimFest offers two days of swim events -- a 10km event (solos or 3x3.3km relays) on Thursday, October 17, and 5km, 2.5km and 1km on Saturday, October 19.

In between and around swim days, Mana swimmers will have social morning swims, and coaching from the Grimsey brothers, Trent and Codie, two of the most accomplished ocean swimmers in the world.

In return for fundraising for Can Too, Can Too will provide coaching over winter to build up to the 10km event at Mana. The coaching and other support is worth more than $1,300, Can Too says, but swimmers receive that free by signing up (early bird till May 26 for $219) and raising funds in support of Can Too's work.

Can Too raises funds to support cancer research projects.

Find out more about the Can Too 10km swim program... Click here

Find out more about the Mana Fiji SwimFest... Click here

Online entries this weekend -

Easter festival of ocean swimming

Culburra - We can all be sunbathers

sunbather agnsw 300On the near South Coast, an Easter Saturday institution, the Tilbury Classic is a spectacularly beautiful swim around a beautiful headland through some fascinating water, with lots of life, swells surging over reefs, etc. It's a lot of fun. When we first did this swim, dolphins put on a display in the break to welcome us during the race briefing. Culburra is one of those cul-de-sac towns that most people would not normally get to. Ocean swimming gets us there, though, and that's reason enough alone to be a fine ocean swimmer.

Culburra Beach is where Max Dupain took his iconic photograph, The Sunbather. Perhaps the awgies should run a competition for swimmers who attempt to replicate it (just don't stay in the sun too long without plenty of sun protection. We don't know whether Max's talent used SPF50+).

Online entries to the Tilbury Classic close on oceanswims.com at 3pm on Good Friday, April 19. For more info and to enter... Click here

Terrigal aerial entry portal 600

Terrigal - A north-facing beach

On the other (northern) side of the Metropoltan area, on the Central Coast, Terrigal also is established  as an Easter Saturday swim on the NSW Central Coast. A gentle, north facing beach. It's always fun to visit Terrigal. Most of us have personal history to do with Terrigal, not that we'd talk about it. Some people would rather keep their stories private. It's Sydney's holiday haven.

Two distances - 1km and 2km - over a circuit off the beach.

Online entries to the Terrigal Ocean Swim close on oceanswims.com at 3pm on Good Friday, April 19. For more info and to enter... Click here

pacific palms swim smh 1402
Pacific Palms - Day out in Paradise

Easter Sundee on a glorious NSW phenomenon: a north-facing beach. There are a string of these things as you go up the coast -- Terrigal is another, as is Forster, just up the road. The northerly aspect protects these beaches from the worst of conditions. Swimming at Pacific Palms on a typical Easter Sunday is like swimming on a Pacific island, so clear is the water, so benign, yet assertive is the swell. Look above: that's a typical Easter Sunday.

Pacific Palms (Elizabeth Beach) even is an easy day out from Sydney and Newcastle: the Easter traffic has gone away already, and won't be coming home till Monday or Chewsdee, and maybe not at all in the middle of the school hols. The late start (11am for the 600m and noon for the 1.5km) makes this easier still. Plenty of punters make a long weekend of it at nearby Blueys and Boomerang beachs, or in situ at Elizabeth Beach, or maybe at Forster a few kms up the road. That's where we'll be, in Paradise. Last year, we found oysters, freshly shucked, at Woolies in Forster, for $10 a dozen. We said, "We'll have four, please". (Dozen. We had visitors.)

The markets will be running on the lakeside at Pacific Palms on swim morning, too. Allow time for that.

Online entries to Pacific Palms close on oceanswims.com at 3pm, Easter Saturday, April 20... Click here

Mana Fiji SwimFest

Don't be confused

fiji mana start 1610 01

We have our packages online now for the Mana Fiji SwimFest, this year from October 15-20. But don't be confused by another swim event happening in Fiji over the southern winter; There are major differences between the two.

Which event you prefer depends on what you're looking for in a Fiji swim experience.

In the "other" event, you're based on the mainland in a busy resort and bussed or ferried out to swim venues each day. You can swim off the beach at your resort, but it's estuarine water... Not like it is on the reef. You stay at busy, ritzy resorts on the mainland, but that ain't the same as staying right on the reef.

In the Mana Fiji SwimFest, you're based on the island, next to the reef, and life is quiet, slow. You're right at the swim location. No diesel fumes or crowded buses from dail;y commutes. And the water! It's correct that, the farther out you go from the mainland, the better the water, and Mana Island has some of the best water in Fiji. And you won't see the sea life that you see off Mana at your busy resort on the mainland, or even in the daily swim locations.

We reckon there really is no comparison. But we would say that. We say it also because we know the difference between the two.

Look for Mana Fiji

In the Mana Fiji SwimFest, there are two swim days: the 10km (solos or 3 x 3.3km relays) on Thursday, and 5km, 2.5km, and 1km on Saturday. Packages include accommdoation, all meals on Mana Island, ferry transfers and swim entry packages for both swim days. They also include a 30 per cent discount off Mana Island Resort's normal nett rates until July 31.

Plus a whole lot of other fun in Ocean Swimming Stadium, the best spot in the Pacific for an ocean swim (see pic above).

Packages start at $A1,819 pp Twin/Double share and $A2,687 single.

Add the Yasawas on to your visit to the Mana Fiji SwimFest Oct 15-20... Click here

More info... Click here

To book... Click here

2019 oceanswimsafaris

costa brava 16 600 01
General fitness on the Costa Brava.

Food and wine, and swimming in the Basque country - San Sebastián (Spain, Aug 21-27, 2019 - bookings open now, from $A3,765) - This oceanswimsafari just keeps getting better and better: we have a week in San Sebastián, one of Europe's most interesting cities, culminating in the swim around the Isla Santa Clara. In 2019, we're adding a day's excursion into French Basque country, too. Packages online now... Click here

Wild swimming, food, adventure, history, and culcha on the Costa Brava - (Spain, Sep 6-14, 2019 - bookings open now, from $A3,730) - One of our most popular oceanswimsafaris, along Catalonia's "wild coast", where the water, the swimming, the food, the wine, the history and the culture all clamour to be the highlight. Packages online now... Click here

The best Blue Lagoon in the Yasawas - One of our most popular oceanswimsafaris, to Fiji's remote Yasawa island group, will follow the Mana Island swims: October 20-28. Packages available now from $A5,087. Add the Yasawas on to your visit to the Mana Fiji SwimFest Oct 15-20... Click here

Swim with whales in Tonga (July 23-Aug 1, 4 spots left, from $A3,210) – Hot on the heels of an inspiring three weeks in Tonga, with three oceanswimsafaris to swim with humpback whales, we’ve opened bookings to our 2019 Tonga series. Two are full. The middle Tonga oceanswimsafari has four places remaining. Packages are on oceanswimsafaris.com now.

More info and to book… Click here

Cossies on sale

V825A CBL 250

Our latest discovery gog: the View Solace. The Solace has been around for a year or two, but we've paid proper attention to them only with the ending of the Fully Sick line, which we'd worn for years. We tried the Solace when looking for a replacement.

What we found was a goggle with wide, comfy silicone seal, very wide breadth of vision, clear lens, and good sun protection and filter. Then we realised the price: one of the best gogs we've ever worn, and for $20!

Be aware, we've had a lot of orders for Solace gogs. They won't last at this special price.

Check them out, and all our gogs, accessories, goos, cossies, etc, and order now... Click here

Stocks of our oceanswims cossies are running down. We have only two sizes remaining available in the Gents' cossies (28 and 30), although we have all sizes available in the Laydees' cossies except 10.

To celebrate, we've reduced the cost of the Gents' cossies to only $40. Laydees cossies also have been reduced, now to $75.

bs cossies both bothGet them now, as they say, whilst stocks last.

We also offer View, the world's best, and best value gogs and swim accessories. We've been using View for years. In fact, we were using View well before they approached us to work with them. That's why we can say how good they are.

Now, with our new shopping cart, you can browse all that we have to offer - View gogs and accessories, oceanswims.com cossies, tow floats, and Cecily's Stinger Suits. Ordering and paying by secure server uses the same process as our online entries, which means it's tried, proven, safe and reliable.

To browse our ocean swimming boutique... Click here

Controversy Corner...

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

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

(See posts at the end of this newsletter.)

Swims open to online entry...

New - Hervey Bay (Qld, Sep 1)

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

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 back issues...

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

Subscribe

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March 29, 2019

fos scroll 450

 coromandel 190322 hot water 02 600
oceanswimsafarist Ginny Hedderman takes any opportunity to train up on her rivals, this time at Hot Water Beach on New Zealand's Coromandel Peninsula. But Ginny is not the only swimmer -- or pool -- in hot water... See below... (Pic by Margaret Wilby)

This issue...

Swims this weekend...

coromandel 190322 cathedral cove 01 600
Our Coromandel oceanswimsafari is built around the Cathedral Cove swim, which runs between Hahei and Cathedral Cove. Why is it called Cathedral Cove?... (Pic by random punter accosted by the subjects.)

Cold water

Cure you or kill you?

Winter's coming in the Southern Hemisphere. We can never get too much advice on the merits and issues of swimming in cooler water. Recall polymathic snoozedoc Howard Roby's piece on How cold is too cold in our newsletter almost a year ago... This piece takes a view from the UK...

By Mike Tipton
Professor of human and applied Physiology, University of Portsmouth
As published in The Conversation

There are people who will tell you that a dip in cold water is not just exhilarating and enlivening, but good for you. They have not, they will tell you, had a cold for years. In many nations there is a cultural tradition of cold water dips – whether that’s a swim on special occasions such as Boxing Day or New Year’s Day as in the UK, or as part of a routine of alternating hot saunas and cold baths perceived to have health benefits, such as in Japan, Germany, Russia and Scandinavia.

But cold water immersion is a doubled-edged sword – and there is another group, often including those working in search and rescue, who will warn of the dangers posed by cold water. On average, someone drowns every 20 hours in the UK – and the Christmas holiday period is a particularly a bad time of year for drinking and drowning.

There are centuries of references to the dangers posed by cold water: Herodotus, describing the ill-fated sea expedition of the Persian general Mardonius, wrote in 450BC that “those who could not swim perished from that cause, others from the cold”. In December 1790, James Currie, a physician, stood unable to help as the crew of a stranded American sailing ship fell into the cold sea and drowned. Currie was so affected he went on to undertake the first recorded experiments on the effects of cold water immersion on the human body.

Similarly, claims for the health benefits of cold water, in spa or sea, also boast a long heritage: Hippocrates’ water therapy was designed to allay “lassitude” (physical or mental weariness), while Thomas Jefferson claimed that 60 years of daily cold foot baths every morning had “maintained his good health”. By 1750, there was much published writing that recommended sea swimming for the treatment of a range of diseases, with winter considered the best time to engage in the activity. Sea bathing reached a peak in popularity in the late 18th century and led to the establishment of many of the seaside towns and resorts we visit today. Recently there has been a significant increase in the popularity of “wild” swimming in lakes, rivers and streams, or marathon swimming.

The question is: what does the science say as to whether a freezing dip will “kill or cure”? We looked at the evidence.

A quick way to die

There is no doubt that the physiological responses to immersion in cold water are dangerous, and are precursors to sudden heart attack, the loss of capacity to swim, hypothermia and drowning. Hypothermia has traditionally been regarded as the major threat from being in cold water, largely thanks to the fate of victims of the Titanic disaster and, later, the tens of thousands of mariners’ deaths during World War II – some 30,000 of 45,000 Royal Navy deaths occurred when sailors escaping their sinking ships were trying to survive in the sea.

However an increasing collection of statistical, experimental and anecdotal evidence has meant that focus has shifted to the “cold shock” response: the initial cardio-respiratory response evoked by the sudden cooling of the skin. This places a strain on the heart, and the sudden loss of control over breathing leading to gasping means that the likelihood of breathing in water, even the small volume of water necessary to drown, is significantly increased.

For example, the cold shock response peaks in water between 10-15°C, and the initial one to two-litre gasp of breath prompted by cold water immersion is usually larger than the lethal dose of salt water for drowning. The cold shock response explains why about 60% of those who die in cold water do so in the first minutes, not in the much longer period required for hypothermia to set in.

Invigorating

On the plus side, there is no doubt that a cold dip stimulates the body. The release of stress hormones gives that energised feeling of being really “alive”. The cold and pressure on the body from immersion in water can also act to reduce swelling and combat inflammation. The use of cold water therapy to aid recovery after exercise has been reported to have differing levels of efficacy depending on the exercise and treatment used.

Staying with the theme of inflammation, there is an expanding body of evidence that links inflammation with physical and mental health. Becoming adapted to cold water through repeated immersions can theoretically reduce the body’s inflammatory response. This reduction of inflammation explains why repeated cold water immersion may be therapeutic for other conditions which may have an inflammatory component. For example there is recent research to suggest that depression is a response to inflammation in the body.

There is also evidence that adapting the body to cold water enhances the body’s ability to adapt to other, apparently unrelated stresses. For example, there is evidence that short immersions in cold water improves the body’s response to high altitude stress. Having become adapted to cope with one, the body is also better at coping with the other.

Finally, that old chestnut about cold water baths being a defence against the common cold: when it comes to the benefits to the immune system of a freezing swim, the jury is still out. Some laboratory studies have reported improved markers of immune function, but the clinical significance of these findings is uncertain.

For example, upper respiratory tract infection is often used as a useful measure of immune system functioning: open, cold water swimmers have been found to have fewer infections than their non-swimming partners, but no fewer infections than indoor swimmers. And herein lies one of the problems with the “benefits” side of the cold water debate: the properly controlled experiments that isolate cold water immersions from socialising, exercise, getting fitter, taking exercise in nature (so-called “green” therapy) and other activity that add complicating variables simply haven’t been done.

So, on balance the evidence is that cold water has a somewhat greater potential to “kill” than to “cure”. However, you can still enjoy and be invigorated by your festive dip, but go in slowly, with a friend, at a supervised event – and if you can wear a fancy dress costume that incorporates a wet suit, no one will blame you.

Who ya gonna call?

Your own emergency

We continue to be amazed at how many swimmers enter swims online, and list themselves as their emergency contact. Do they wonder, if they did get caught up in an emergency at sea, who ya gonna call?

Online entries this weekend - North Steyne...

The best journey circuit you'll ever do

north steyne 15 01 600

The North Steyne swims this Sunday are two, very nice swims off the middle of Manly beach, one of them a circuit in front of North Steyne clubhouse, the other a trek from North Steyne across to Fairy Bower and Cabbage Tree Bay and return. The longer, particularly, is a wonderful swim, especially at this time of year. It is without doubt one of the most enjoyable, variable swims on the calendar, traversing water that starts in an exposed beach break, crosses relatively calm seas with a swell rolling across from side to side, through the calm, sometimes gently surging waters of Cabbage Tree Bay, with all the reef and sea life that has to offer, then back across the bay to a beach break finish at North Steyne.

Online entries to North Steyne close on oceanswims.com at 3pm, Saturday, March 30... Click here

Local pools in hot water

general bewilderment 400We well remember the expansion of Sutherland Aquatic Centre into Sutherland Leisure Centre: 20-30 year ago, it added indoor pools, gyms, floor class rooms, and so much more to the old pool, expanded the car park, and configured and repeatedly reconfigured the entry and indoor areas. Now, there are two outdoor pools -- 50m and 25m -- and an L-shaped indoor pool with 25m indoor laps at one end and learn-to-swim in the wing. There's an equipped circuit gym, a weights gym, space for floor classes such as yoghurt, multi change areas, and there's still plenty of grass. Now, Sutherland Leisure Centre is more than a local pool: it's a complete community centre which seems to be jam-packed at all hours of the day and night with punters and famblies doing active stuff all centring around fitness and active skills. There is only one reason for that: it works.

Life in the pool... Thank you to Sally Goble for this.

Sutherland was the first such pool development that we're aware of; perhaps there were others around the same time, so we're not claiming it as the first. But to us it's the shining example of what can be done with enlightened community management: All that time, Sutho has been council-run (as far as we're aware, it's never been handed to the god-forbid private sector).

The problem with council pools has been that they're usually seen by myopic public sector managers as a drain on resources, something that detracts from rather than adds to the community amenity by virtue only of bottom-line dollar results. Witness Crummy Drummy and the appalling management of that gem of public infrastructure over the years by the local council contracting out. The rewriting of the Local Government Act 1993, and the years of the Greiner state gummint under the influence of tunnel-visioned contract-out fanatics which pressured local councils to get the private sector to do all kinds of things from pool management to garbage collection, much of which the private sector stuffed up, usually because they're operating solely on the basis of bottom lines rather than community good, had a big part to play in this myopic culcha. Sutherland council itself contracted out garbage collection for a while and what happened? Half the time, the garbage wasn't collected. Other shining examples abound: Leichhardt Leisure Centre (also council run); Boy Charlton and Ian Thorpe in Sydney (both privately run, but this time reasonably well); and until now, North Sydney. There probably are others, but we're not as aware of them.

Now, we're not one of those who argue that only gummints should run things, or that the private sector is incapable of running community facilities. Neither do we argue that all levels of gummint should not be run efficiently. But we do argue that the community good that facilities such as Sutho leisure centre, and so many other leisure centres, not to mention garbage collection, health, policing, defence, infrastructure planning... Don't forget: What have the Romans ever done for us?... there are some things that gummint should be running, not the self-interested, shareholders-come-first private sector, because the benefit to the community cannot be quantified purely in dollars, and the objectives should not be measured purely in dollars.

There is a culcha about that government involvement in things is inherently bad. Remember Ronald Reagan's throwaway line, "Government is not the answer to the problem; government is the problem". Easy, and glib. We have to respect efficinet government and government management, for the good that it strives to do transcends a profit/loss sheet.

Now read on...

pool north sydney woodburn steven smh 600
Pic by Steven Woodburn, SMH

By ocean swimmer Helen Pitt
Published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 28/3/19

I was on my way for my morning swim when I heard the news North Sydney council was seeking $30 million from state and federal governments to keep its Olympic pool afloat.

Not another pool under threat of closure? Across this city, from Dence Park in the north-west to Carss Park in the south, our swimming spots are under threat.

On Monday night – the same night North Sydney Council voted that its 50-metre pool needed a $58 million upgrade – Georges River Council was presented with a 10,700-signature petition to keep its Kogarah pool open. And the Save Epping Pool group lobbied for years to ensure its old Dence Park facility was not permanently closed.

Not to mention the people of Parramatta who lost their pool in the remodel of the local football stadium. Or Lane Covers whose 50-metre outdoor pool disappeared last year.
The iconic North Sydney art deco gem, built in 1936, site of two Empire games and 86 world record-breaking swims, is but the latest in a long line under a cloud.

pool swim school morris peter smh 600
Pic by Peter Morris, SMH

Cutting the council coffers that maintain a local pool cuts to the core of what it is be Australian. We, the nation that created the Australian crawl, have built ourselves an international reputation for swimming, much of it forged from laps in these suburban swimming sanctuaries.

What would the Cavill clan, our first family of swimming, say? They taught generations of Sydneysiders to swim the crawl, the modern adaptation of freestyle, in our harbour baths. Would we let their legacy fade like a pair of old cossies?

You don't need to take a ratepayer-funded study tour, as North Sydney councillors did, to Melbourne – home to a swimming complex named for a drowned PM, the Harold Holt Swim Centre – to understand that pools are more than just places to ply in chlorinated solitary confinement. They are meeting spots – social centres – as much as town squares or shopping malls. Just ask Olympian swimmer Shane Gould, who is doing a doctorate on the place the pool plays in the social conscience of Australians.

It was here, at this saltwater jewel of a pool in North Sydney, where Sydneysiders lined up on the Harbour Bridge to watch Gould break the world 100-metre freestyle record in 1972.

Our pools are too precious to entrust to the variable support of politicians, local, state or federal. Or perhaps it's time for the Pool Party.

What do you reckon?

To put your bib into Controversy Corner... Click here

New swim in Brissie

cliffToClub logo 250Queensland swimmers are crying out for swims, but there ain't many on. So it's terrific to see a new one, particularly a new one close to Brisbane, and an event run by some of the most credible names in ocean swimming, the Grimsey brothers. The Cliff to Club Ocean Swim runs over three distances along the shoreline between Scotts Point and Redcliffe.

Join Trent and Codie Grimsey for their inaugural Cliff to Club Ocean Swim on Saturday, April 6.

There are three distances on offer: 500m, 1km and 2.5km.

2.5km Cliff to Club Ocean Swim will be the iconic feature event. The course starts at Scotts Point and heads North along the beautiful Woody Point, Margate and Suttons Beach foreshore.

1km Ocean Swim starts in Margate and travels North towards the iconic Redcliffe Peninsula Surf Lifesaving Clubhouse. This 1km option is a great option for swimmers who may be new to the sport or feel the 2.5km event may be too far.

500m Ocean Swim is a great stepping stone for first timers or swimmers and triathletes who prefer the shorter distance. This distance is great for anyone 8 years or older.

Win a visit to Mana Island, Fiji...

We're very pleased to be one of the event's sponsors, with naming rights for the 1km swim. We're offering acoomodation, meals and swim entry for up to three people to take part in the Mana Fiji SwimFest October 15-20. The prize will go to a random draw of all swimmers in the days events.

More info and to enter the Cliff to Club Ocean Swim... Click here

Stanwell postponement

The Stanwell Park swim postponed from March 17 has been rescheduled to December 8.

At the time of postponement, organisers had hoped to be able to arrange a new date later this season. That has not been possible, due to various logistical issues. So they have instead decided to postpone to the earlier part of next season, with the regular occasion of the event taking place in March. That means, the Stanwell Park Ocean Challenge will run twice in season 2019/20.

Online entries from March 17 will roll-over automatically to the postponement date of Sunday, December 8. Entrants who would prefer to roll-over to the later date, Sunday, March 15, have a window of month to let us know. Otherwise, their entry will be included for the December date.

It’s good to see this swim back after an hiatus of several years. We’re looking forward to doing it. Not for nothing do the organisers refer to it as “The Big Swim of the South”.

If you have any queries, or you wish to roll-over to March rather than December, please give us a yell... Click here

Mana Fiji SwimFest

Don't be confused

fiji mana start 1610 01

We have our packages online now for the Mana Fiji SwimFest, this year from October 15-20. But don't be confused by another swim event happening in Fiji over the southern winter; There are major differences between the two.

Which event you prefer depends on what you're looking for in a Fiji swim experience.

In the "other" event, you're based on the mainland in a busy resort and bussed or ferried out to swim venues each day. You can swim off the beach at your resort, but it's estuarine water... Not like it is on the reef. You stay at busy, ritzy resorts on the mainland, but that ain't the same as staying right on the reef.

In the Mana Fiji SwimFest, you're based on the island, next to the reef, and life is quiet, slow. You're right at the swim location. No diesel fumes or crowded buses from dail;y commutes. And the water! It's correct that, the farther out you go from the mainland, the better the water, and Mana Island has some of the best water in Fiji. And you won't see the sea life that you see off Mana at your busy resort on the mainland, or even in the daily swim locations.

We reckon there really is no comparison. But we would say that. We say it also because we know the difference between the two.

Look for Mana Fiji

In the Mana Fiji SwimFest, there are two swim days: the 10km (solos or 3 x 3.3km relays) on Thursday, and 5km, 2.5km, and 1km on Saturday. Packages include accommdoation, all meals on Mana Island, ferry transfers and swim entry packages for both swim days. They also include a 30 per cent discount off Mana Island Resort's normal nett rates until July 31.

Plus a whole lot of other fun in Ocean Swimming Stadium, the best spot in the Pacific for an ocean swim (see pic above).

Packages start at $A1,819 pp Twin/Double share and $A2,687 single.

Add the Yasawas on to your visit to the Mana Fiji SwimFest Oct 15-20... Click here

More info... Click here

To book... Click here

2019 oceanswimsafaris

costa brava 16 600 01
General fitness on the Costa Brava.

Food and wine, and swimming in the Basque country - San Sebastián (Spain, Aug 21-27, 2019 - bookings open now, from $A3,765) - This oceanswimsafari just keeps getting better and better: we have a week in San Sebastián, one of Europe's most interesting cities, culminating in the swim around the Isla Santa Clara. In 2019, we're adding a day's excursion into French Basque country, too. Packages online now... Click here

Wild swimming, food, adventure, history, and culcha on the Costa Brava - (Spain, Sep 6-14, 2019 - bookings open now, from $A3,730) - One of our most popular oceanswimsafaris, along Catalonia's "wild coast", where the water, the swimming, the food, the wine, the history and the culture all clamour to be the highlight. Packages online now... Click here

The best Blue Lagoon in the Yasawas - One of our most popular oceanswimsafaris, to Fiji's remote Yasawa island group, will follow the Mana Island swims: October 20-28. Packages available now from $A5,087. Add the Yasawas on to your visit to the Mana Fiji SwimFest Oct 15-20... Click here

philippines whale sharks 600
Whale sharks off Oslob... Our day excursion during our Philippines oceanswimsafari...

Pristine reef and whale sharks in The Philippines (June 22-29, 2019, Two spots left,, from $A3,843) - Come with us on another exotic oceanswimsafari, and swim with whale sharks. Our visit to the island of Negros Oriental includes swims over some of the healthiest, most abundant coral reef that we’ve ever experienced. And that part of the ocean – the top of the Celebes Sea – boasts the greatest marine diversity in the entire Indo-Pacific region. (Our Sulawesi oceanswimsafari, at the southern end of the Celebes Sea, also gives you the chance to experience this.) In The Philippines, our accommodation is 5-star, with food, wines and luxuriance to match. We’ll also go on a day excursion to the neighbouring island of Cebu, where the local fisherfolk offer a chance to swim with whale sharks, which come in each day to feed. Bookings coming in now.

More info and to book… Click here

Swim with whales in Tonga (July 23-Aug 1, 4 spots left, from $A3,210) – Hot on the heels of an inspiring three weeks in Tonga, with three oceanswimsafaris to swim with humpback whales, we’ve opened bookings to our 2019 Tonga series. Two are full. The middle Tonga oceanswimsafari has four places remaining. Packages are on oceanswimsafaris.com now.

More info and to book… Click here

Controversy Corner...

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

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

(See posts at the end of this newsletter.)

Swims open to online entry...

New - South Curl Curl-Freshwater (NSW, Apr 28), Terrigal (NSW, Apr 21)

Coming soon - Hervey Bay (Qld, Sep 1)

Results...

coromandel 190324 hibiscus 01 400For swim results... Click here

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

Along the path to our digs on NZ's Coromandel Peninsula...

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 back issues...

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

Subscribe

If you wish to receive our newsletters by email, or you know someone who would like to receive them... Click here

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