Fine ocean swimmers are we.

Stop Press

Next entries…
Latest results…
forster morning swim 150 teaserThe real danger to your eyes...

Latest newsletter from oceanswims.com (May 10)... Click here

swipe selene 150 puffGet your Swipes

Swipes - Your solution to foggy goggles. Get yours now... Click here

os.c

os.c

November 29, 2017

coogee swim 171126 01 600
This bloke, at Coogee last Sunday, is about to experience the Ekman transport effect.

In this issue...

Swims this weekend...

It's Ekman's fault!

Cold water upwelling on Australian coastlines

This story was published on the website of the Bureau of Meteorology on February, 15, 2017. Thank you to Steve Weller (@EssRon) for pointing it out.

Have you ever gone to the beach to find the water much colder than the day before? A range of factors influence sea surface temperatures in coastal waters. This article looks at the 'Ekman transport' effect—a wind-driven process that brings colder water to the coastline.

continental shelf oceania
The continental shelf in Oceania. That's the green bit. (Image from National Geographic Society)

What is Ekman transport?

Ekman transport is the movement of seawater that occurs under certain wind conditions. It is named after Swedish oceanographer Vagn Walfrid Ekman, who first described the phenomenon in 1902.
How does it work?

Sustained winds in a consistent direction over the ocean move the top layer (about 30 metres depth) of seawater. In the southern hemisphere, the seawater layer moves to the left of the wind direction, due to the Earth's rotation (known as the Coriolis effect).

As the top layer of water is moved by the wind, it needs to be replaced. If the coast is to the right of the wind direction, and the winds persist for more than a day, an 'upwelling' process draws up colder and more nutrient-rich water from the depths of the ocean to the surface. The longer the winds persist, and the longer the stretch of coastline that experiences a similar wind direction, the colder the water brought to the surface. This upwelled water can last for days (or longer) until wind conditions change and the seawater mixes.

The reverse process (downwelling) can also occur, bringing warmer water towards the coast from boundary currents such as the East Australian Current or Leeuwin Current.

Ekman transportLeft: Winds blowing along the east coast of Australia can lead to upwelling of colder water to the surface.

Where does it occur?

Upwelling is more likely along certain parts of the Australian coastline, particularly along New South Wales, southeast Queensland and the Bonney Coast (South Australia).

An important factor is the width of the continental shelf, that is the landmass that extends with a shallow gradient from the continent underneath the ocean. Upwelling occurs when the continental shelf is narrow, i.e. where the sea becomes very deep relatively close to the shore, as the deeper water requires less time and energy to reach the coastline. This is why it's observed along the southeast Queensland and far north Queensland coasts, but typically not within the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

Headlands and bays along the coastline may also vary the effects from beach to beach.

Your location will determine the wind direction required for the upwelling to occur. If you look out to sea from the shore, the wind needs to be consistently blowing from left to right. This means that northerly or northeasterly winds are required along most of the east coast, but southeasterly winds in the eastern Great Australian Bight.
What will you observe?

In an upwelling event, swimmers may notice that water temperatures at the beach get colder from one day to the next. In some cases this has led to hospitalisation for hypothermia.

While swimmers may find this uncomfortable or hazardous, those who enjoy fishing could have cause to celebrate. The cold water drawn up from the ocean floor is typically richer in nutrients and can boost fish numbers.

From an ecological perspective, upwelling of nutrient-rich water is important for attracting and nurturing marine life, including whales.
What other factors influence coastal sea surface temperatures?

A range of other factors influence the water temperature for swimming and other marine activities:

  • Geographic location (tropical waters vs Southern Ocean)
  • Time of year
  • Strength and direction of ocean basin currents
  • Climate patterns (such as El Niño/La Niña)
  • Winds and tides
  • Cloudiness
  • Water depth
  • River run-off, rainfall or snow melt
More information

We ask...

This is all very interesting stuff. But it begs a few questions...

1) We get nor'-easters all summer. Why does the Ekman effect not work thorughout the entire period?

2) Is the intensity of the nor'-easter over an extended period the relevant factor, eg Black nor'-easters over several days, say?

3) Why does the cold water disappear often as quickly as it emerges, without any discernible change in wind patterns?

Controversy Corner...

What do you think, about the Ekman transport effect or about anything else in this newsletter?

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

(See posts at the end of this newsletter.)

Win a trip to Fiji

mana fiji 17 01 600
You can win a trip for two to Fiji to take part in the Mana Fiji SwimFest in October, 2018, just by entering the Cole Classic @ Manly... Click here

Murray Rose collection on the block

rose murray smh 350December 7 is the date of the auction of Murray Rose's memorabilia, by the Leonard Joel Auction House in Melbourne. Jodi Rose tells us, "I’ve always kept Murray's memorabilia in excellent condition – robes, tracksuits, blazers, towels, swim suits, from the 1956 and 1960 Olympic games. Plus, lots of official programs, pins, stamps, big and little trophies, etc. It feels right to allow many of these beautiful items to go to Australian collectors (or museums) who will preserve them into the future. Just storing in the back of a closet or storeroom creates deterioration which is not a good thing."

You can check the collection, part of an auction of diverse sporting memorabilia, in the Joel catalogue... Click here

We've said this before, and we'll say it again now: us baby boomers grew up with Murray as our role model: he was not just one of the world's outstanding athletes of his day; he was more. Murray was the ideal Strã'an young bloke, wholesome, clean, nice to his mum and dad;  the perfect role model... Yeah, yeah, we've heard all this about so many sporting role models, and look where they end up... So it was refreshing and reassuring to find, when we met Murray later in life, and we became friends, that he actually was that person. Such a good, decent bloke. He lived up to all those ideals, not because he tried, but because it was in him. We rank Murray up there almost with our late dad, Rotten ol' Herbie.

Murray's legacy lives on: this week (last night, Tuesday), we attended the launch at the Boyo Charlton Pool of the 10th Murray Rose Malabar Magic. It's on February 18, raising funds for Murray's favourite charity, The Rainbow Club... Click here

Murray's medals are owned now by Jodi and Murray's son, Trevor, and housed in the Sporting Hall of Fame at the MCG.

Pic of Murray above by Jacky Ghossein, The Sydney Morning Herald.

Costa Brava in the South Pacific

coromandel cathedral coveWe're enjoying a good response to our first oceanswimsafari to New Zealand, to the remote Coromandel Peninsula, in early April. It's basically a long weekend -- Thursday-Monday -- using an anchor event, the Cathedral Cove Swim at Hahei (see pic at right). We'll do informal swims along this stunning coast -- which reminds us very much of Spain/Catalonia's Costa Brava, with its towering cliffs with homes perched precariously on their distant peaks -- enjoy a sea kayak tour of the surrounding bays and islands, visit the thermal springs at Hot Water Beach, where you can make your own bath by digging down into the sand, and a whole lot more water-type activities surrounding it.

We visited the Coromandel earlier this year to try out this tour. It’s a spectacular location, very clear water, lots of interesting sea life, and one of the most stunning coastlines in the South Pacific. The Coromandel is a remote, unspoilt finger of land to the east of Auckland. It's almost a wilderness, with very little population and beautiful countryside.

Our Coromandel oceanswimsafari long weekend dates are April 5-9, the week after Easter. We'll meet at Auckland Airport and transfer to the Coromandel from there. Packages are on oceanswimsafaris now. This one will be popular.

More info and to book… Click here

Costa Brava, San Sebastián, Yasawas oceanswimsafaris 2018

We're about to release packages for our Spanish/Catalan/Basque oceanswimsafaris in 2018, and our Yasawas dates in Fiji.

We tell you about our inaugural NZ Coromandel oceanswimsafari in April 2018 above. We also have online now our packages for Sulawesi in Indonesia and to swim with whales in Tonga in July/August. We're already taking bookings for these oceanswimsafaris so, if you're interested, get onto us quick and smart... Click here

We have pretty much finalised our packages to San Sebastián in Spain's Basque country, in August, 2018, and for our Costa Brava oceanswimsafari, also in Spain (or maybe it will be Catalonia by then), in September 2018. When confirmed, we'll first let know the punters who have already lined up for these oceanswimsasfaris, then we'll post them online on oceanswimsafaris.com. We're also finalising a package to swim/sail in Greece's Northern Sporades later in September.

Ditto our Yasawas oceanswimsafaris. Mana Fiji will be in the last full week of October, 2018, and we'll take an oceanswimsafari to Fiji's Yasawas the week prior to Mana.

Where could it be now?

philippines dhd 1711 01 600

Another taste of our new oceanswimsafari, teasing you just that little bit more... It's a particularly exotic location and with a very special main attraction. We're very excited about it. Stunning water, and the healthiest reef we've ever swum over.

This one will be in late June/early July, 2018. Just a hint: it's somewhere in that sprawling myriad of islands that make up the South-East Asia archipelagoes. That's it above, right here, too. This pic also by Glistening Dave (@glistenrr)

You can follow the fun we have on our oceanswimsafaris if you follow us on Twitter (@oceanswimsafari/@oceanswims), Instagram (oceanswimsdotcom/oceanswimsafaris) or Facebook.

More changes

Yet another change to the calendar this season...

The Head2Head Swim at Black Head will not run this season, yet another casualty of an organising club's need to find a long term event organiser. Black Head was scheduled to run on Sunday, January 14. Let's hope it returns in 2019.

Working with our swim calendar

oceanswims.com has run complete event calendars for Australia and New Zealand pretty much since we got going at the beginning of the 21st century.

For complete event listings, check our calendar under Swims at the top of each and every page on oceanswims.com. You can search the calendar by state, country or region (eg Sydney North Side, Sydney Eastern Suburbs, Victoria Surf Coast, NZ South Island, etc), or even by type of swim (Lake, Estuary, Surf Beach, etc), by type of water (Salt, Fresh), and in many other ways.

We list Featured Swims down the right hand side of pretty well every page on oceanswims.com. These are events that work with us to gain extre prominence for their swim. Generally, Featured Swims also offer online entry, but occasionally you still can enter online to events that don't take the Featured Swim status, so if you don't see the swim you're looking for on Featured Swims, check our complete calendar, too.

Fine ocean swims calendar in NZ

For NZ swims, there is a new website run by former fine ocean swimmers tallies winner Mike Cochrane which is a simple calendar of swim events. We'll list swims on oceanswims.com as well, but you also can check out Mike's calendar for a comprehensive list of NZ swims... Click here

Swims open to online entry

Meanwhile, many new season swims are open for entry now on oceanswims.com…

  • Dec 2 - North Curl Curl (NSW, 2km + Biathlon)
  • Dec 9 - Coogee-Bondi (NSW, 4.5km)
  • Dec 10 - Bilgola (NSW, 1.5km, 800m)
  • Dec 28 (Thurs) - Glenelg (SA, 5km, 2km, 1km)
  • Jan 7 - Gerringong (NSW, 1.8km)
  • Jan 7 - Newport (NSW, 2km, 800m, 400m)
  • Jan 7 - Yamba (NSW, 2km, 700m)
  • Jan 14 - Avalon (NSW, 2.5km, 1.5km, 1km)
  • Jan 14 - North Bondi (NSW, 2km, 1km)
  • Jan 26 (Strã'a Day) - Newcastle Harbour (700m, 1.4km)
  • Jan 27 - Nobbys-Newcastle (NSW) (2km) - Note new date, rescheduled from Dec 9
  • Jan 28 - Palm-Whale (The Big Swim) (NSW, 2.5km, 1km)
  • Feb 4 - South Maroubra (NSW, 2.2km, 1km)
  • Feb 11 - North Bondi (NSW, 2km, 1km)
  • Feb 18 - Malabar (NSW, 2.5km, 1km)
  • Feb 25 - Bondi (NSW, 2km, 1km)
  • Feb 25 - Wollongong (NSW, 2km, 800m, 400m)
  • Mar 12 (Mon) - Port Noarlunga (SA, 2.5km, 1.5km)
  • April 8 - Coogee (NSW, 800m, 1km, 2.4km)

Coming soon... Glenelg (SA, Dec 28), North Bondi (NSW, 1km, 2km, Jan 14, Feb 11), Bondi (NSW, 1km, 2km, 4km Sand Run), Freshwater (NSW, Mar 4)

Subscribe

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

 

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

November 22, 2017

dhd reccie 1711 01 600
We've been looking at new places to take you for oceanswimsafaris. This is where we were last week. Pic by Glistening Dave (@glistenrr), who came with us, just to see.

In this issue...

Swims this weekend...

What makes a "classic" a classic

Well, here we are again: it’s classics time. To some punters, “Classics” can be just another term for “big swim with lots of mugs thrashing about and kicking me in the face”, and that is true to some extent. It’s also true that some swims call themselves “classic” not because they are one, but because they want to be regarded as one. The old Göbbels technique: if you say and repeat something often enough, people will come to think it is true.

But some swims are genuine classics. There was a newish one last weekend in Auckland: the Harbour Crossing, with a thousand swimmers swimming from the north side to Viaduct Harbour on the south side. Sydney has one this Sunday: the Island Challenge at Coogee. The weekend after, it’s another one: Bondi to Bronte.

Victoria has a season of “classics” over Xmas-New Year, when awgies take advantage of all those flat out punters who desert Melbourne for the beaches, either the Mornington Peninsula or the Surf Coast, where what we believe to be the world’s largest ocean swim in terms of numbers of entrants, the Pier to Pub at Lorne, is run on January 13. That’s after Pt Leo, Pt Lonsdale, Anglesea, Torquay (Jan Juc), and prior to the two big swims run by Portsea. It’s a holiday of classics in Victoria.

Sadly, the only “classic” we can think of in Queensland is the Magnetic Island swim in mid-year, but that’s restricted in numbers and by the course and distance (8km). In Queensland, many surf clubs, especially on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, are so rich already from bars, restaurants and poker machines that revenue from a swim means little to them, so they don’t run them. The exception is Burleigh Heads, which ran in October. Good on Burleigh SLSC for offering something to the hordes of swimmers up there. Queensland has plenty of swimmers, but not many swims, and most that are run there are put on by private organisers. Hervey Bay is the other exception of a swim run by a surf club.

We regard the Great Barrier Reef Swim at Heron Island as something of a “classic” due to the beauty and challenge of the course. There is no substitute for swimming on the reef. Anything inside the reef is just pretense.

The West has Rottnest, perhaps the largest ocean swim in the world in terms of logistics. Also in February, South Australia has the Jetty Classic at Brighton on the same day that Sydney has its biggest swim, the Cole Classic at Manly. Tassie has a full program these days, too. Embarrassmently, we’re unsure which event down there shines out.

After Coogee and Bronte over the next two weekends, the New Year brings events such as 5 Beaches (Coogee-Bondi), North Bondi (with two swims), The Big Swim (Palm-Whale) at the end of January, followed by the Cole, North Bondi, Malabar and Bondi. Coogee-Bondi, particularly, is a course punters just want to do, although at 4.5km, some might feel (incorrectly) that it's beyond their reach.

osc reccie 1107 01 600

Knock, knock, knockin'...

A host of other NSW/Sydney swims are knocking on the door of “classic” status, most if not all of which will be cranky that we’ve left them out, but there you go. We speak of, for example, Bilgola, Dawny last weekend at Balmain, Newport, Avalon (now with Newport-Avalon running on the same day as their traditional swims), Mona Vale, Malabar, Balmoral, as well as Newcastle Harbour, making a return this season on Strã’a Day. Shark Island at Cronulla probably is “classic” quality, although it will be interesting to see how that event goes this against the Cole at Manly and one of the newer events, South Maroubra, which took on the Cole for the first time last season with great success. Forster's is a classic course.

Let’s not forget Byron Bay, although its gloss has faded in recent years: Byron used to attract 1,500 swimmers and more, but after two cancellations in three years, on swim day, one of them at start time, it’s subsquently pulled around half that. Byron is not cheap, particularly when one considers the cost for most swimmers to get there and stay for the weekend. All swim awgies need to bear in mind, when they make the call in view of conditions on the day, the commitment of the swimmer who has put their money up front to enter their swim.

But Byron is an example of a swim that can still be regarded as a “classic” despite its declining numbers. Why?

Win a trip to Fiji

mana fiji 17 01 600
You can win a trip for two to Fiji to take part in the Mana Fiji SwimFest in October, 2018, just by entering the Cole Classic @ Manly... Click here

A “classic”?

The laziest, most convenient measure is numbers: Lorne is a “classic” because it attracts over 5,000 entrants, although actual starters usually are somewhat below that. The Cole at Manly also can be regarded as a “classic” because of its numbers, which have recovered over the last two seasons from what had appeared to be inexorable decline. Ditto Portsea, The Big Swim, Coogee, Bondi-Bronte… lotsa numbers, lotsa punters, all making for atmosphere.

But there are other criteria that should be brought to bear.

One of them is course, of course, as Mr Ed might say.

When then Bronte preso Graham Ford first brought Bondi-Bronte to us, back in around 2001, the original plan was to run over a circuit inside the bay in front of Bronte and Tamarama. “Mate,” we said to him. “Mate, you have to go around the point”. And the point, Mckenzies Point, and the course from Bondi around the point to Bronte, with its towering cliffs, its rock shelf running out to sea from the cliff base, it’s twin difficult breaks, particularly Bronte -- one of the most difficult breaks in Sydney -- makes that swim a natural classic: with the drama along the way, it’s an achievement to finish.

Such is Coogee: blessed by Wedding Cake Island, Coogee’s Island Challenge is a circuit turned into a momentous journey by circumnavigation of the island. It’s not half the swim when conditions force the course to stay inside the island. The pity is that, these days, the booees are set so far off the island that you miss a lot of the drama that is the island: the bottom, the rounded boulders, the wash and the backwash. Awgies must emphasise safety, after all. But it is a classic course, nonetheless, which why that swim will pull around a thousand punters this weekend.

Up at Whale Beach, it’s a similar story for The Big Swim – a momentous journey from Palm Beach to Whale Beach, but a mind swim as the never-ending schlepp from Palm to Little Head plays tricks on the mind. There are false heads there, and so many times, you think you’re at the head, only to find it’s not the real head, and on you plough.

This was the scene of one of our fave experiences of ocean swimming in Sydney. Years ago, in the days before booees kept us off the cliff at Little Head, they sent us off into a sou’-east wind (stronger than a breeze), and a sou-east chop, and grey, threatening skies. With the wind behind it, the chop was so big that we spent more time and distance going up and down than ahead. We rounded Little Head so close that you could almost touch the cliff base. Unlike McKenzies Point, there is no rock shelf running out to sea from Little Head, so there is plenty of water as you go around, and no break thundering in on top of you. In those days, you could get as close as you like.

George Greenough 450Greenough

Byron is a classic because of the course: from Wategos around The Pass and into Main Beach, generally with the current behind you. Byron Bay has occupied a special place in our psyche since it was discovered and made famous by the kneeboarder George Greenough back in the… was it the ‘60s? Now, when you swim from Wategos, the boardies collecting in the break off The Pass, you feel as though you’re part of that Greenough tradition.

The other classic course that we’ve never done, but sorely want to, is Mt Maunganui, at the mouth of Tauranga Harbour, in New Zealand. The “mount” is a big pimple of a hill at the estuary mouth. The swim starts from a beach inside the harbour, heads out through the harbour entrance, between the rocks, along the rock shelf to a spot behind the break off the surf beach, and in through the break to the sand. It offers all kinds of water, all kinds of conditions, with that spectacular pimple glowering down on you all the way. You dance around it on this course. The finish is barely a couple of hundred metres from the start as the crow flies, but it’s an “epic” – as the youngsters might say -- journey to get there.

Lorne? As well as the numbers, it’s a short but pretty course, an abrupt, almost dead straight line, the rocky shore to the left offering a natural amphitheatre for the towel-carriers to be impressed by your swimming. It takes a few hours to complete, wave after wave, after wave. Lorne is a pretty town surrounded by great Strã’an bush, jam packed full of bronzing Strã’ans on their New Year hols. Adding to the gaiety at Lorne -- another dimension -- is the Mountain to Surf, a footrace through the bush behind the town, run the night before the swim and pulling more punters than the swim. It's probably more spectacular than the swim.

Rottnest needs no explanation: 19km from Cottesloe to the island. It’s a real ocean swim. How the swim committee organises all those swimmers -- 2,000-odd, most of them in teams -- with all the paddlers, boats, official boats, meeja boats, hangers on, interferists -- all coralled into a corridor 19km long and half a kilometre wide, is beyond comprehension. Sydney's match is South Head, which exceeds in swimming spectacle but is much, much smaller.

Hoopla

No, let’s not forget hoopla. Back in the day, the Cole Brothers ran an excellent event at North Bondi, then later at Manly. Both are natural homes for this swim, offering a close-to-the-action spectacle for the passing parade that is Bondi and Manly. If it couldn’t be at one of those beaches, it had to be at the other.

celestial ceramics 01 250celestial ceramics 02 250But the Cole lads went further: they added frills that made the event more than just another swim, giving it a style, a feel that lifted it out of the pack: the jazz band, the prize plates from Celestial Ceramics, the jaunty artwork and imagery, the merchandise, the calling from Neil “the Phil Liggett of ocean swimming” Rogers, and his sidekick, H G Nelson, who, we are proud to recall, once said of us over the microphone, as we stood in waist–depth water in front of the start line at Manly, “he’s always been an idiot”. Never mind the slur; we were acknowledged by Haitch G. #BadgeofHonour Most punters knew Christopher, the head brother, as it were, who put in the real hard yards in the day, but it was Walter, the middle brother, whose business was merch, who added much of that style dimension. The Coles have no direct role in the organisation of the event any more, but they still turn up. Last season, youngest sibling Nicholas proudly introduced us to his kids and relos who swam at Manly and keep the link unbroken.

The plates, the Celestial Ceramics plates, the element that articulates the sophistication of the Cole Classic: when the Coles were at war with North Bondi, presaging their departure to Manly, identities in the Eastern Suburbs who were looking for savings that might lead to the surf club deriving greater revenue from the event – and who can blame a surf club for seeking greater revenue: running that gloriously Strã’an community service ain’t cheap -- questioned their expense. “No-one cares about those plates, do they?” one official asked of us, rhetorically.

We differed.

Shortly after, we asked a friend who had one Cole Classic plate on his mantelpiece, “How highly do you value that plate?” This bloke was – still is – an anaesthetist, so not without substance and concern with higher issues. Without demur, he said, “Higher than my medical degree”.

All that makes the Cole a classic.

Classics all have something different to offer that lifts them out of the pack, that articulates their personality.

Why are we banging on about “classics”? No particular reason, perhaps. Sydney’s first one of the season is Coogee this weekend, and it does us well, every now and again, to dwell on the character and the nature, the personality of ocean swimming, on what makes it such an absorbing caper.

os.c

Costa Brava in the South Pacific

coromandel cathedral coveWe're enjoying a good response to our first oceanswimsafari to New Zealand, to the remote Coromandel Peninsula, in early April. It's basically a long weekend -- Thursday-Monday -- using an anchor event, the Cathedral Cove Swim at Hahei (see pic at right). We'll do informal swims along this stunning coast -- which reminds us very much of Spain/Catalonia's Costa Brava, with its towering cliffs with homes perched precariously on their distant peaks -- enjoy a sea kayak tour of the surrounding bays and islands, visit the thermal springs at Hot Water Beach, where you can make your own bath by digging down into the sand, and a whole lot more water-type activities surrounding it.

We visited the Coromandel earlier this year to try out this tour. It’s a spectacular location, very clear water, lots of interesting sea life, and one of the most stunning coastlines in the South Pacific. The Coromandel is a remote, unspoilt finger of land to the east of Auckland. It's almost a wilderness, with very little population and beautiful countryside.

Our Coromandel oceanswimsafari long weekend dates are April 5-9, the week after Easter. We'll meet at Auckland Airport and transfer to the Coromandel from there. Packages are on oceanswimsafaris now. This one will be popular.

More info and to book… Click here

Costa Brava, San Sebastián, Yasawas oceanswimsafaris 2018

We're about to release packages for our Spanish/Catalan/Basque oceanswimsafaris in 2018, and our Yasawas dates in Fiji.

We tell you about our inaugural NZ Coromandel oceanswimsafari in April 2018 above. We also have online now our packages for Sulawesi in Indonesia and to swim with whales in Tonga in July/August. We're already taking bookings for these oceanswimsafaris so, if you're interested, get onto us quick and smart... Click here

We have pretty much finalised our packages to San Sebastián in Spain's Basque country, in August, 2018, and for our Costa Brava oceanswimsafari, also in Spain (or maybe it will be Catalonia by then), in September 2018. When confirmed, we'll first let know the punters who have already lined up for these oceanswimsasfaris, then we'll post them online on oceanswimsafaris.com. We're also finalising a package to swim/sail in Greece's Northern Sporades later in September.

Ditto our Yasawas oceanswimsafaris. Mana Fiji will be in the last full week of October, 2018, and we'll take an oceanswimsafari to Fiji's Yasawas the week prior to Mana.

Where could it be now?

dhd reccie 1711 03 600

As you'll have seen from the pic at the top of this newsletter, we also plan to have another new oceanswimsafari to offer you in a particularly exotic location and with a very special main attraction. We visited there last week and we're very excited about it. Stunning water, and the healthiest reef we've ever swum over.

This one will be in late June/early July, 2018. Just a hint: it's somewhere in that sprawling myriad of islands that make up the South-East Asia archipelagoes. That's it above, right here, too. This pic also by Glistening Dave (@glistenrr)

You can follow the fun we have on our oceanswimsafaris if you follow us on Twitter (@oceanswimsafari/@oceanswims), Instagram (oceanswimsdotcom/oceanswimsafaris) or Facebook.

More changes

And still they come - more changes with events this season...

Avalon is combining its two events from last season onto the one day, so on Sunday, January 14, they'll offer Newport to Avalon (2.5km) at 8am, then their regular swims of 1km and 1.5km at Avalon thereafter.

Fairfax Media's new aquathlon will be in addition to its Fun Run on the Saturday prior to the Cole Classic. Both events (Aquathlon and Fun Run) will start at Dee Why and finish at Manly.

Queenscliff is not running the Swim for Saxon this season. We don't know why. We've asked the awgies, but we've yet to hear. Over the last few seasons, Swim for Saxon has run on the weekend prior to Xmas.

Working with our swim calendar

oceanswims.com has run complete event calendars for Australia and New Zealand pretty much since we got going at the beginning of the 21st century.

For complete event listings, check our calendar under Swims at the top of each and every page on oceanswims.com. You can search the calendar by state, country or region (eg Sydney North Side, Sydney Eastern Suburbs, Victoria Surf Coast, NZ South Island, etc), or even by type of swim (Lake, Estuary, Surf Beach, etc), by type of water (Salt, Fresh), and in many other ways.

We list Featured Swims down the right hand side of pretty well every page on oceanswims.com. These are events that work with us to gain extre prominence for their swim. Generally, Featured Swims also offer online entry, but occasionally you still can enter online to events that don't take the Featured Swim status, so if you don't see the swim you're looking for on Featured Swims, check our complete calendar, too.

Fine ocean swims calendar in NZ

For NZ swims, there is a new website run by former fine ocean swimmers tallies winner Mike Cochrane which is a simple calendar of swim events. We'll list swims on oceanswims.com as well, but you also can check out Mike's calendar for a comprehensive list of NZ swims... Click here

Swims open to online entry

Meanwhile, many new season swims are open for entry now on oceanswims.com…

Coming soon... Yamba (NSW, Jan 7), Avalon (NSW, Jan 14)

Subscribe

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

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

November 15, 2017

gauja 600
Eric Gauja with daughter Anika, on Heron Island.

In this issue...

Swims this weekend...

Eric's first swim back from a spell

We don’t pay much attention to winners on oceanswims.com. We reckon the hardest work is done down the back of the peloton. A swimmer might be slow, but their story often is more dramatic than those of the quicks up the front. And, for them, the effort to get around a given course is probably greater. All things are relative, after all.

The Great Barrier Reef Swim at Heron Island last week gave us examples of that.

On the morning of the main event at Heron, forecast winds forced a change in course. Instead of a 2.8km virtual circumnavigation of the island, the swim was set at two loops of a 1.5km course on Heron’s south side. It was flat, sheltered, and appeared benign as all get out. After the run out to the course from the beach is taken into account, it was a total 3.5km, a tad longer than planned but not undoably.

The final swimmer in this main event finished in one hour, 58 minutes -- 10 minutes after the penultimate swimmer. That final swimmer was Eric Gauja, 68, from Peakhurst, in southern Sydney.

We know how tough this swim was because, as we swam one of the two loops of the course, we felt exactly how strong the currents were. There were three legs on the course as well as the in-out bits from the beach. On the loop proper, two of the three legs were into the current: the first one across it, as the current came at us from our starboard quarter; the second leg, pretty well straight into us, head-on. The third leg was a doddle with the current behind us: it whooshed us along the island from west to east. One expects all appreciated the respite.

Heron Island is an intimidating place for currents: the sea comes at the island from an angle, then bifurcates around it, creating a rush of water and eddies as the shoreline curves. It makes a swim around Heron Island interesting, confusing, almost bewildering. It’s not like Fiji, say, where current goes one way when the tide comes in, and the other way when it goes out. Certainly, it makes the Great Barrier Reef Swim at Heron Island one of the most difficult swims that a mug can do. We’re all experienced at swimming into a current but we don’t get many swims where the currents get up to as many tricks as they do around Heron, and at the same time it can be so strong.

heron island great barrier reef swim 1711 02 600
Heron Island... Benign, no?

Currents

There is no surf affecting Heron Island, at least not whilst swimmers are there. There is the occasional ripple or undulation as the remnants of ocean swell roll exhausted across the reef. But around swim time, which usually coincides with the full moon, there are tidal movements of three to four metres. This means there are enormous quantities of water moving across the reef as the tides sweep in and out. It means there’s lots of water on the reef when the tide is in, and very little when the tide is out, and in between there’s an enormous amount of water being moved around.

This is why we schedule the Heron swims over the top of the high tide, through the window of plenty of water but relatively slack water movement.

Just by the by, we’re constantly surprised at how many punters come to Heron Island who, quite literally, have never done an ocean swim before. In their lives. Alternatively, how many may have swum in the ocean, perhaps informal morning swims with groups of cobbers, but who have not done a formal event. A race, with all its body contact, pressure, adrenalin, its biff and barge and other uncertainties, is very different to a morning amble around the rocks with your cobbers.

Why do punters choose Heron to break their duck?

Maybe they expect it will be benign, absent surf. Do they factor in the currents? Do they know about the currents? Do they know about the tidal movements? Most have heard something of the sea life – sharks, et al – but perhaps we ought to do more to brief the mob on the other stuff, too.

Anyway, as we left the beach after taking pitchers of the three starting waves at the longer of the two Great Barrier Reef Swims, we passed Eric Gauja about 50 metres off the beach heading to the first booee that marked the start of the 1.5km loop. Already, at that point, Eric was 30 metres behind the next-to-last swimmer. He was only just embarking on a long, hard, lonely road.

We did our loop. We had planned to do just one, so that we knew what conditions were like – we had set the course, so we felt obliged to swim it, too -- then to settle on the first booee of the loop to take pitchers. Everyone must come past us there. We saw Eric next at the end of his first loop.

By this time, we had been sitting on that booee for many minutes; we had witnessed many swimmers end their first loop and set out again for the real schlepp of the second. Many of them looked at us, their eyes pleading, “Do we really gotto go ‘round again?” Some actually asked the question, albeit jocularly rather than seriously. Perhaps they were hoping we’d let them off the second loop.

But they all set off.

When Eric got to that point, he was last by a couple of hundred metres. He has an economic, low-profile, almost round-arm stroke, low across the water in recovery, quietly and neatly piercing his fingers into the sea ahead of him: no fuss; just get on with it. He rounded the booee, and kept going, stoically. He didn’t stop to ask the question. Watching him, the impression was, Here was a bloke who had set himself a job to do, and by jingo, he’s going to do it.

heron island great barrier reef swim 1711 01 600
What do you nortice about this swimmer from Heron Island?... What do we notice? Look at the foot... That's how it should be. Blokes, especially, only rarely can get extension like that; it's easier for girls. But that is some foot.

Head swims

We have staff on these swims who perform a sheep dog role: they swim with the final swimmers so that, in theory, no swimmer is left alone, and swimmers with least confidence have company for moral support. In practice, that can’t always be, for there are more swimmers at the back than there are sheep dogs. At Heron, on the first loop we had two sheep dogs, Mrs Sparkle, and Carly, the daughter of Coach Graeme Brewer, who attends Heron to run swim clinics for attending punters. At the end of the first loop, two more swimmers joined the sheep dog pack, Coach Brew himself, and Babewatch founder James Goswell, attending Heron himself this year, in a private capacity. Both had finished their swims and immediately headed back out as rounder-uppers. So the final swimmers had four escorts available on their second loop.

When Eric rounded the booee at the end of the first loop/start of the second loop, he was alone, throwing one arm around after the other. One after the other…

As a relatively slow swimmer ourselves, we know the challenge required to just keep those arms going in conditions like these, into currents. These swims are head swims, constantly testing your endurance, your application, your concentration, your resolution.

On he went, as we say, stoically.

By the time Eric finished, a long time later, to cheers from the crowd -- which always applauds the endurance of the tail-end swimmer -- he was the last by ten minutes, after an hour and 58 minutes in the water, at age 68. How many strokes would that have been? Certainly more than one per metre; well more than 3,500. Perhaps more like 7,000.

After Eric came emerged from the water at Heron’s Shark Bay, he stood there on the beach, just above the water line, bull rays and eagle rays sauntering past the start/finish area a few metres out, regathering himself. It was lunchtime. A Heron staffer handed him a bottle of water and his time, on a post-it note. He chatted with well-wishers, including daughter Anika.

The applause subsided. The mob began to collect their gear for the trudge back through the bush to their rooms.

An hour or so later, we saw Eric, showered and dressed, walking briskly through the resort. He’s pulled up well, we thought to ourselves, as they say.

heron island great barrier reef swim 1711 03 600
Random swimmer with swim buddy, Heron Island.

Prize

At that night’s awards presentation, Heron Island’s General Manager, Sandy McFeeters, who is the ultimate authority responsible for the swim and everyone’s safety, rustled up a bottle of bubbles to present to Eric in recognition of his effort. As it happened, Eric wasn’t at the preso. Probably tucked up already, asleep. Which would not have been surprising.

We ran into Eric next morning after the farewell brekker. Punters were preparing to leave Heron island that morning. Eric was sitting on the patio overlooking the lagoon, in the shade with daughter Anika, who had been at Heron last year, as well. Eric looked chipper for the previous day’s effort. We asked him whether he’d heard about his prize. He had; Mrs Sparkle had found him and delivered the prize still in its ice bucket.

The stories worth hearing come out in passing. Heroes don’t set out to boast; the stuff worth hearing just emerges in conversation. They’re not braggarts. It’s all just routine for them.

The Heron swims, Eric told us, were his first since January. Back then, 11 months earlier in mid-January, Eric had done the swim at Avalon, way up on Sydney’s northern beaches. Avalon is a lovely swim: a fast sweep to sea over the rocks at the northern end of the beach, then a back reach along the shark net, then back in through the break in the middle of the beach, followed by one of the best barbies on the circuit. Afterwards, Eric and Anika had driven to Bondi Junction, where they were to lunch with Anika’s brother. As they arrived at the Junction, Eric became vague. He was unaware, he told us, but he had suffered a stroke: a blockage in his carotid artery. He didn’t know what was going on, but the kids realised something was wrong. Being the Eastern Suburbs, Bondi Junction has plenty of good health care to hand. They got Eric to hospital, and he’s been in treatment since.

Eric’s doctor approved him, he said, taking part at Heron Island – swimming is good exercise, you see, and it’s generally an exercise that stroke suffers can do safely. But we wonder whether the doctor knew what Eric was in for; how tough that swim would be. The mob applauding Eric as he finished in just under two hours, ten minutes last – us included -- had not a clue what he’d been through over the previous 11 months.

Not a bad effort for a first run back after such a spell.

Everyone has a story

Another one: Heron Island offers live music, usually a duo from our demographic who come onto the island for a block of several weeks at a time. For the last few years, the duo has been Janice and G-Dog. Seasoned musos, they have a knack for playing just the stuff we want to hear, Janice with her acoustic geetar and her lyrical vocals, and G-Dog with his array of supporting strings, including his bass. We’ve come to know Janice and G-Dog over the years and are proud now to count them as friends.

bendall card 01 250Chatting a couple of nights before the arrival of the ferry carrying the mob, G-Dog asked whether anyone was coming who’d been with us in previous years. Yes, we said: there would be Brett and Hugh Stevenson, this year coming to Heron Island for the third successive year. Brett and Hugh are father and son. Brett is confined to a wheelchair since an accident a few years back left him paraplegic.

Heron is a relatively benign place – currents aside – where Brett can swim. Hugh piggy-backs his dad into and out of the water, and swims himself whilst Brett does the 1km Wreck Swim in a flotation suit designed to support his lower body whilst he throws his arms over.

It reminded us of another swimmer in a similar situation, also coming to Heron this time for his first visit, so we told G-Dog, too, about Denis Bendall.

In the 1970s, Denis was a centre for the Balmain Tigers, till his playing career came to an abrupt end after he, too, suffered an accident, unrelated to rugby league, that left him an incomplete paraplegic. We used to watch Denis on the telly. We say this as one who was impressed by this at the time, way before the accident and years before we later met Denis as an ocean swimmer, but Denis was one of the most exciting backs we ever saw play: we remember fast, hard, straight running, in the days when rugby league distinguished between inside and outside centres, and centre play wads an art; a mercurial runner, not big but a dynamo with very fast legs. We’ve despised the Tigers since 1969, but we loved watching Denis play league.

Anyway, Denis swims with a pull buoy because he can’t kick. We first saw him some years ago – here it is again – at Avalon. We photographed him slogging along the shark net, and we published the pic with a smarty-pants comment about the pull buoy as a swimming aid. But we were pulled up by our cobber, The Park Wino, who told us who we’d slagged off and how Denis had got to that position. We met Denis shortly after, and we’re proud these days to call him a friend, too, despite our initial dissing.

Anyway, we mentioned to G-Dog, listening intently, with his muso’s signature scraggly, grey pony-tail, that Denis was coming to Heron.

G-Dog’s jaw dropped just a little, which shouldn’t be surprising since, this time last year, G-Dog’s performances were overshadowed by his recovery from a bone graft to his jaw, in recovery from cancer. His mouth was sore, and he was on crutches, because they took the bone used in the graft from his leg.

“Denis Bendall?...” G-Dog probed, a little sceptically, as something stirred in the back of his memory.

“I remember him.”bendall gdog 350

Crowning his regard for a player whose name G-Dog had not heard spoken for many, many years – this is the highest praise any footy fan could give – G-Dog said, “I had his card when I was a kid”.

Like most kids who followed league, or any populist code, G-Dog, from Sydney’s Condell Park (Bulldogs territory, mind you, not the Tigers), as a kid collected and swapped footy cards of his favourite players.

“When we played footy in the backyard, I was him… I was Denis Bendall!” G-Dog ejaculated, by now his eyes flaring.

Next day, G-Dog flashed his phone at us: on the screen, a footy card of Denis Bendall. He’d done a search to turn it up.

When Denis arrived on Heron that afternoon, we (Mrs Sparkle, actually) introduced him to G-Dog. “Denis, you have a fan,” she told Denis after he arrived on Heron Island. She introduced Denis to G-Dog, and G-Dog became buddies with one of the most exciting league players that we, and perhaps G-Dog, had ever seen on the footy field. Five days later, as they parted on the dock in Gladstone, G-Dog put his arm around Denis as they posed for a pitcher for us; Denis put his arm around G-Dog in return, and gave G-Dog a peck on the cheek. Buddies.

These are the stories we love. 

os.c

Costa Brava in the South Pacific

coromandel cathedral coveHere's a good one: We’re running our first oceanswimsafari to New Zealand, to the remote Coromandel Peninsula, in early April. It's basically a long weekend -- Thursday-Monday -- using an anchor event, the Cathedral Cove Swim at Hahei (see pic at right). We'll do informal swims along this stunning coast -- which reminds us very much of Spain/Catalonia's Costa Brava, with its towering cliffs with homes perched precariously on their distant peaks -- enjoy a sea kayak tour of the surrounding bays and islands, visit the thermal springs at Hot Water Beach, where you can make your own bath by digging down into the sand, and a whole lot more water-type activities surrounding it.

We visited the Coromandel earlier this year to try out this tour. It’s a spectacular location, very clear water, lots of interesting sea life, and one of the most stunning coastlines in the South Pacific. The Coromandel is a remote, unspoilt finger of land to the east of Auckland. It's almost a wilderness, with very little population and beautiful countryside.

Our Coromandel oceanswimsafari long weekend dates are April 5-9, the week after Easter. We'll meet at Auckland Airport and transfer to the Coromandel from there. Packages are on oceanswimsafaris now. This one will be popular.

More info and to book… Click here

Changes

The St Kilda Mile will not run in Melbourne this season. Awgies say the event is taking a break.

Fairfax Meeja has added a swim/run aquathon to replace the fun run from Dee Why to Manly on the Saturday before this season’s Cole Classic.

We were told that the Vanuatu Open Water Swim in Port Vila would not run this coming year through lack of an organiser, but now we're told that that is not certain, and that there are people in Port Vila who are prepared to take on the organisation of the event. That's good news, but it's not confirmed yet.

Watch this space.

Oop north in Vanuatu, in Santo, local swimmers will run the Aore Swim, on May 26.

The Newcastle Harbour Swim re-emerges on Stra'a Day 2018, and the Nobbys-Newcastle Swim has switched dates to the day after, Sat'dee, January 27, after being forced from its original date of December 9 by pesky motor racing. Nobbs-Newcastle will keep this date for the next five years, which must be the period over which Newcastle will be blighted by the noisy cars. It will vary its date over that weekend only if Strã'a Day falls on the Saturday, in which case it will switch to make room for the Harbour swim.

Costa Brava, San Sebastián oceanswimsafaris 2018

We're about to release packages for our Spanish/Catalan/Basque oceanswimsafaris in 2018.

We tell you about our inaugural NZ Coromandel oceanswimsafari in April 2018 above. We also have online now our packages for Sulawesi in Indonesia and to swim with whales in Tonga in July/August. We're already taking bookings for these oceanswimsafaris so, if you're interested, get onto us quick and smart... Click here

We have pretty much finalised our packages to San Sebastián in Spain's Basque country, in August, 2018, and for our Costa Brava oceanswimsafari, also in Spain (or maybe it will be Catalonia by then), in September 2018. When confirmed, we'll first let know the punters who have already lined up for these oceanswimsasfaris, then we'll post them online on oceanswimsafaris.com. We're also finalising a package to swim/sail in Greece's Northern Sporades later in September.

Mana Fiji will be in the last full week of October, 2018, and we'll take an oceanswimsafari to Fiji's Yasawas the week prior to Mana.


Where could it be now?

We also hope to have another new oceanswimsafari to offer you in a particularly exotic location and with a very special main attraction. We'll know more about that in a week or so. We're actually there as we write, and we're highly excited by what we've experienced so far.

This one would be in late June/early July, 2018. Just a hint: it's somewhere in that sprawling myriad of islands that make up the South-East Asia archipelagoes.

You can follow the fun we have on our oceanswimsafaris if you follow us on Twitter (@oceanswimsafari/@oceanswims), Instagram (oceanswimsdotcom/oceanswimsafaris) or Facebook.

Silent Norm finds his teeth at Collaroy

collaroy swim 171112 600
The old folks' wave cops a briefing at the Collaroy swim last Sundee...
Click here for our report

Working with our swim calendar

oceanswims.com has run complete event calendars for Australia and New Zealand pretty much since we got going at the beginning of the 21st century.

For complete event listings, check our calendar under Swims at the top of each and every page on oceanswims.com. You can search the calendar by state, country or region (eg Sydney North Side, Sydney Eastern Suburbs, Victoria Surf Coast, NZ South Island, etc), or even by type of swim (Lake, Estuary, Surf Beach, etc), by type of water (Salt, Fresh), and in many other ways.

We list Featured Swims down the right hand side of pretty well every page on oceanswims.com. These are events that work with us to gain extre prominence for their swim. Generally, Featured Swims also offer online entry, but occasionally you still can enter online to events that don't take the Featured Swim status, so if you don't see the swim you're looking for on Featured Swims, check our complete calendar, too.

Fine ocean swims calendar in NZ

For NZ swims, there is a new website run by former fine ocean swimmers tallies winner Mike Cochrane which is a simple calendar of swim events. We'll list swims on oceanswims.com as well, but you also can check out Mike's calendar for a comprehensive list of NZ swims... Click here

Swims open to online entry

Meanwhile, many new season swims are open for entry now on oceanswims.com…

  • Nov 19 - Balmain (Dawny) (NSW, 2.4km, 1.1km)
  • Nov 19 - Cronulla (NSW, 2km, 1km)
  • Nov 25 - Toowoon Bay (NSW, 400m, 1km, 2km)
  • Nov 26 - Coogee (NSW, 800m Jr, 1km, 2.4km)
  • Dec 2 - North Curl Curl (NSW, 2km + Biathlon)
  • Dec 9 - Coogee-Bondi (NSW, 4.5km)
  • Dec 10 - Bilgola (NSW, 1.5km, 800m)
  • Jan 7 - Gerringong (NSW, 1.8km)
  • Jan 7 - Newport (NSW, 2km, 800m, 400m)
  • Jan 26 (Strã'a Day) - Newcastle Harbour (700m, 1.4km) - coming soon
  • Jan 27 - Nobbys-Newcastle (NSW) (2km) - Note new date, rescheduled from Dec 9
  • Jan 28 - Palm-Whale (The Big Swim) (NSW, 2.5km, 1km)
  • Feb 18 - Malabar (NSW, 2.5km, 1km)
  • April 8 - Coogee (NSW, 800m, 1km, 2.4km)

Refer this newsletter to a friend...

If you'd like to tell a friend about our newsletters... Click here

Subscribe

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

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

October 30, 2017

asia swimmer sea
We go to extraordinary lengths to check out new places for you to swim. Here's one that, sadly, didn't work out. It makes the ones that do work out look pretty darn good.

Swims this weekend...

Mainstream swim groups push into OW

Swimming Australia has emerged in a new push into commercial open water swimming in Melbourne and Sydney, as NSW Swimming is organising a point score laid over five 5km events around Sydney in season 2017/18.

In Sydney, the Swimming NSW Summer Swim Leader Board, as the pointscore will be known, will apply to the 5 Beaches Swim (Coogee-Bondi, actually 4.5km, on December 9), the NSW Swimming Open Water Championships (Penrith, Dec 10), Balmoral (Dec 16), the Rose Bay Splash (Australia Day, Jan 26), and the Cole Classic (Feb 4).

The series aims to give structure to the season for swimmers looking for longer events. Entrants in the five swims will have the option as they enter online to become part of the leaderboard competition. There will be no entry fee, and points will accrue from each of the five events. The competition is open to all swimmers, not just NSW Swimming members.

The competition also heralds a new push by the mainstream swimming organisations to establish themselves in ocean and open water swimming on the east coast. The sport of ocean and open water swimming is distinct: it has no central authority, and stands apart from the formal swim groups and from surf life saving.

Historically, the mainstream swimming bodies have had desultory involvement with ocean and open water swimming, although they picked up their interest when the 10km event was included in the Oympics. They have run annual open water championships and a couple of swim clubs have run their own OW events. The only meaningful involvement by swimming bodies in open water in recent years has been Swimming WA's open water series which now dominates the calendar in the West with 12 events this new season.

This is despite Australia producing a string of world champions in open water events in recent years -- Josh Santacaterina and Brendan Capell in the 25km and Grant Cleland in the 5km, following swimmers like Shelley Taylor-Smith -- but the governing body responded to the Olympics inclusion by abandoning the 25km completely.

Let's hope their interest now is for the good of the sport and swimmers overall, and not just a marketing opportunity.

Rebirth

The Sydney event is a rebirth of the former Great Australian Swim Sydney Harbour, from Man o' War Steps by the Opera House around Farm Cove. The event was bought two years ago by a commercial event manager from Melbourne, SME360, but fell over last season for want of a sponsor. It will run on January 20 with a high profile phone company as sponsor and with Swimming Australia as "event partner".

On Australia Day itself, Swimming Australia will partner with the Swimland event, at bayside Brighton in Melbourne.

In a statement on the Sydney event, Swimming Australia Chief Commercial Officer, Chris Forbes, said they had "a mutual long-term aspiration of growing the sport of swimming and this event is just the first lap".

Swimming Australia says its involvement in Sydney and Melbourne will be part of "a bigger celebration, Australia Swims", which he said would be "a nine-day festival that aims to encourage every Australian to reconnect with their love of swimming".

Mr Forbes did not acknowledge the 42,000 ocean and open water swimmers around Australia who have been connecting with their love of swimming for many years now.

The Sydney event is owned by a commercial organiser, bought as the only remnant of the Great Australian Swim Series two years ago. They have yet to run the event themselves. Swimming Australia appears to be a marketing partner.

heron great barrier reef swim photopia 1611 13
We'll be swimming at Heron Island later this week. Still time to join us... Click here

Other changes this season include –

  • WA Swimming offers the chance to score points in their series from three established Masters events. There are now effectively 14 events in the WA Swimming series.
  • The Rose Bay Splash in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, which debuted in April this year, moves to Strã’a Day, following the demise of the Sydney Harbour swim at the Opera House;
  • The revival of that Sydney Harbour swim by private owners with a high profile sponsor on Saturday, January 20 (with Swimming Australia), after the swim lapsed last season for lack of such a sponsor;
  • Cronulla's Shark Island swim takes on the Cole Classic on February 4, making, with South Maroubra, three high profile swims competing for punters on that date, after the Eastern Suburbs event did very well on its debut last season;
  • There will be a new suite of longer swims of 5km and 10km in Port Phillip Bay in Victoria, run by Mentone Lifesaving Club;
  • The NZ ocean swim series has announced a new series of swims over five days in Fiji, charging $NZ1,200 for limited swim entries, bus transfers, a swim cap, a sulu, one dinner and a ticket to another dinner, but little more; and
  • At the same time, the NZ series has abandoned Christchurch as a venue, moving its South Island swim to Nelson.
Costa Brava in the South Pacific

coromandel cathedral coveHere's a good one: We’re running our first oceanswimsafari to New Zealand, to the remote Coromandel Peninsula, in early April. It's basically a long weekend -- Thursday-Monday -- using an anchor event, the Cathedral Cove Swim at Hahei (see pic at right). We'll do informal swims along this stunning coast -- which reminds us very much of Spain/Catalonia's Costa Brava, with its towering cliffs with homes perched precariously on their distant peaks -- enjoy a sea kayak tour of the surrounding bays and islands, visit the thermal springs at Hot Water Beach, where you can make your own bath by digging down into the sand, and a whole lot more water-type activities surrounding it.

We visited the Coromandel earlier this year to try out this tour. It’s a spectacular location, very clear water, lots of interesting sea life, and one of the most stunning coastlines in the South Pacific. The Coromandel is a remote, unspoilt finger of land to the east of Auckland. It's almost a wilderness, with very little population and beautiful countryside.

Our Coromandel oceanswimsafari long weekend dates are April 5-9, the week after Easter. We'll meet at Auckland Airport and transfer to the Coromandel from there. Packages are on oceanswimsafaris now. This one will be popular.

More info and to book… Click here

budgy smuggler shop mens tangebudgy smuggler opens Manly store

Our cobbers at Budgy Smuggler have opened an actual store in Manly. They tell us it's not just a pop up; it's here to stay!

“We have some pretty sweet stuff planned,” the budgys chirped to us.

budgy smuggler will release a new design in store EVERY Saturday. So no matter how many times you stop by on a Sat’dee, there'll be something fresh to cast your eyes over.

Men’s, Women’s and Kids’ pairs are available plus cheeky accessories like hats, towels and bottle openers.

Head down, say g'day to some of the Smuggling experts in store and check out what they've created.

The budgy smuggler shop is at 1A/22 Darley Rd, Manly

oceanswimsafaris in 2018

Just back from Fiji, and we're off to Heron Island this week for the Great Barrier Reef Swim. They're the finals in our oceanswimsafaris for this year. But we're already releasing packages for our oceanswimsafaris in 2018.

We tell you about our first inaugural NZ Coromandel oceanswimsafari in April 2018 above. We also have online now our packages for Sulawesi in Indonesia and to swim with whales in Tonga in July/August. We're already taking bookings for these oceanswimsafaris so, if you're interested, get onto us quick and smart... Click here

We plan to have 2018 packages online within a week or two, as well, for San Sebastián and Costa Brava in Spain (August-September), and we're costing a package to swim/sail in Greece's Northern Sporades in September.

Mana Fiji will be in the last full week of October, 2018, and we'll take an oceanswimsafari to Fiji's Yasawas the week prior to Mana.

fingers sea
A bit of art. We'd like to think that even Glistening Dave would be intrigued by this: that moment when the hand pierces the water.

We also hope to have another new oceanswimsafari to offer you in a particularly exotic location and with a very special main attraction. We'll know more about that in a couple of weeks. That would be late June/early July, 2018. Just a hint: it's somewhere in that sprawling myriad of islands that make up the South-East Asia archipelagoes.

You can follow the fun we have on our oceanswimsafaris if you follow us on Twitter (@oceanswimsafari/@oceanswims), Instagram (oceanswimsdotcom/oceanswimsafaris) or Facebook.

Don’t leave it too long… Click here

Recap on Recap

As we head into season 2017/18, here's an update from ReCap guru, Marc West...

Recap will be back on the beaches this summer, collecting swimming caps from ocean swimming events in order to reduce waste.

What do you do with your old swimming caps? If you are like me, you’ve probably got a bag full of once-used caps from each summer’s events, which is a terrible waste. Recap cleans up and distributes these caps to worthy causes. We collected thousands last year, and they made it to swim programs in Vietnam and Cambodia, the Special Olympics, council pools and schools. Some were taken to Reverse Garbage in Marrickville, where folk grabbed them for various reasons, one of the more popular reasons being for educational arts and crafts. People even used them as temporary pots for plants – don’t believe what you read about “natural latex” breaking down in the environment, I’m running some experiments at home, latex caps will outlast the pyramids (let alone the silicone ones)…

To swimmers: If you want to keep your cap, then of course, please do! If you don’t need it any more, then come and say hi, we’ll have collection bins near the finish line at various swims this year, watch the facebook site for when.

To swim organisers: Have you considered the “Bring your own cap” idea? If your sponsors haven’t changed and a swimmer has kept last year’s cap, as long as they have the right colour for their age group, why not allow them to use their old cap? You’ll reduce waste, and your own costs. If you don’t have sponsors on your caps, or it’s not an issue, why not allow swimmers to simply match the colour of their age group? If you’re a series or run a couple of events, why not use the same cap twice? Seems win / win to me.

To everyone: Anyone want some caps? Caps come in quicker than I can send them out, so if you would like some, please get in touch. We had a great donation from the Sally Fitzgibbon Foundation of many completely new and unused caps, and these would be perfect for situations where you need them new (like with some councils). Or if you have a recycling idea, please get in touch.

Keep up with ReCap... Facebook... Instagram

tonga anenome fish
Anenome fish protect their little ones: as you swim past, they rush out, as if to bite you.

Working with our swim calendar

oceanswims.com has run complete event calendars for Australia and New Zealand pretty much since we got going at the beginning of the 21st century.

For complete event listings, check our calendar under Swims at the top of each and every page on oceanswims.com. You can search the calendar by state, country or region (eg Sydney North Side, Sydney Eastern Suburbs, Victoria Surf Coast, NZ South Island, etc), or even by type of swim (Lake, Estuary, Surf Beach, etc), by type of water (Salt, Fresh), and in many other ways.

We list Featured Swims down the right hand side of pretty well every page on oceanswims.com. These are events that work with us to gain extre prominence for their swim. Generally, Featured Swims also offer online entry, but occasionally you still can enter online to events that don't take the Featured Swim status, so if you don't see the swim you're looking for on Featured Swims, check our complete calendar, too.

Fine ocean swims calendar in NZ

For NZ swims, there is a new website run by former fine ocean swimmers tallies winner Mike Cochrane which is a simple calendar of swim events. We'll list swims on oceanswims.com as well, but you also can check out Mike's calendar for a comprehensive list of NZ swims... Click here

Swims open to online entry

Meanwhile, many new season swims are open for entry now on oceanswims.com…

Subscribe

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

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

October 4, 2017

tonga whale swimmer
You cannot get much closer up or more personal than this: an oceanswimsafarist swims with a frisky adolescent male whale in Tonga.

Over-exercise putting older athletes at heart attack risk

Published originally in The New Daily

By James Ried

Following the death of surf lifesaving champion Dean Mercer, medical experts are warning older Australians not to overdo it when it comes to exercise.

The warning comes after Mercer, 47, passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest, joining the list of healthy retired sportsmen including AFL star Paul Couch, 51, to prematurely die from a heart attack.

The day after Mercer’s death, a new study by Heart Research Australia found an alarming increase of fit Australians are suffering heart attacks despite patients showing no obvious risk factors.

Published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, the report found the rate of otherwise healthy patients at Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital suffering heart attacks went up from 11 per cent to 27 per cent between 2006 and 2014.

University of Canberra professor in exercise and health Tom Cochrane told The New Daily older athletes participating in strenuous training regimes could uncover underlying, and life-threatening, heart problems despite no history of disease.

“If they have some underlying problem [they don’t know about] that’s been developing over the years, the answer would have to be yes [they are pushing themselves too far],” Professor Cochrane said.

“Constantly pushing themselves too hard when really they shouldn’t be may be problematic because there may be an underlying disease.

“The general consensus is that it’s better to maintain your activity as long as you can – but within the constraints of your body, and recognise you’re a bit older and not able to do what you used to.

“Don’t suddenly change from not doing something for a long time and then suddenly start back trying to be what you used to be. It takes quite a long time for the body to adapt so try to maintain regular activity and monitor your condition.”

Heart Research Australia also found 90 per cent of Australians have at least one risk factor for heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, diabetes, inactivity and an unhealthy diet.

Heart Research Australia professor Gemma Figtree said the study’s “astounding” findings highlight an important need to identify new triggers for heart disease.

“It may be that identification and treatment of standard risk factors like high blood pressure has been successful enough that patients without these treatable conditions are making up a greater proportion of patients having heart attacks,” Professor Figtree said.

According to its statistics, almost 55,000 Australians suffer from a heart attack every year, and 23 people die from the disease each day.

sulawesi swimmers bunaken
Frolicking under a (dormant) volcano in Sulawesi.

Who is most at risk?

Professor Cochrane said a number of factors contribute to the increase in heart disease, including genetics, gender, age and stress – especially in males.

“The stress response in males is quite important and can be a problem,” he said.

“Your heart is constantly under stress so it sets racing quite high over stress-related events and that cannot be a great response.

“Males who are under much more stress in the workplace are much more likely to have a cardiac-related event. Same goes for athletes. The chronic stress can be an issue.”

Professor Cochrane recommended regular check-ups and self-monitoring for possible heart attack symptoms for those at risk.

“One thing that would be useful is to have a regular check-up, including a ACG (sic, may mean acoustic cardiograph) and a blood pressure check, but also self-monitoring during the activity,” he said.

“If you’re beginning a training session and you don’t feel as well as you normally might, then that would indicate there may be an underlying issue.

“I’d recommend you pull back your training or stop your training and make sure you have a check-up.”

Goldy in spring

burleigh pano 600

It’s spring. Water’s still a little cool, but you can get a bit more warmth in Queensland, where plenty of punters are heading to Heron Island in early November (see below). You can get a bit more warmth, too, on Queensland’s Gold Coast, where the Burleigh Heads swim runs next Sunday week, October 15.

Two distances offered: 1km + 2km. An early start (from 7am, Queensland – non-daylight saving – time), which leaves you plenty of time afterwards to enjoy the rest of what the Goldy has to offer.

Online entries close on oceanswims.com at noon (Queensland time)on Saturday, October 14… Click here

oceanswimsafaris - 2018 packages released

tonga swimmers star 17
What humpback whales see when we go for a swim in Tonga: oceanswimsafarists can't resist practising their synchronised swimming skills in between whale blows.

We’ve had lots o’ fun on oceanswimsafaris over winter (we still have a few weeks to go in Fiji and on Heron Island). We had our best season yet swimming with whales in Tonga, and our oceanswimsafari to Sulawesi in Indonesia was triffic, too. You’d have seen all this fun if you’ve been following our adventures on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Now, we’ve released packages for two of our oceanswimsafaris in 2018 – Swim with Whales in Tonga and Sulawesi.

We’re running three Tonga oceanswimsafaris next year, as we did this year, but be aware: many spaces are filled already.

Dates are July 17-25, July 24-August 1, and July 31- August 8

If you’re interested, get in quick… Click here

Sulawesi is filling, too, with punters who’d paid advance deposits before the packages became available. As well as four swim days, we also program in a highlands tour and whitewater rafting. It’s a very full week.

Dates are June 12-21.

Don’t leave it too long… Click here

Costa Brava in the South Pacific

coromandel cathedral coveWe’re also running our very first oceanswimsafari to New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula in early April, focussing on the Cathedral Cove (see right) swim and a whole lotta water-type activities surrounding it. We visited earlier this year to try it out. It’s a spectacular location, very clear water, lots of interesting sea life, and a coastline that makes you think you’re swimming along the Costa Brava in Spain.

Our Coromandel oceanswimsafari is basically a long weekend – Thursday through Monday. Dates are April 5-9, the week after Easter. Packages will be available very soon, but if you wish to secure a spot, you can lodge a $500 advance deposit, which is refundable when the packages are released if they’re not to your taste.

More info, email us… Click here

Season's highlight: Great Barrier Reef Swim on Heron Island

heron island 14 swimmers

There's still time to book your spot on Heron Island for The Great Barrier Reef Swim, this year November 4-8.

Heron Island Resort also is offering good deals to swimmers who’d like to arrive a few days earlier or stay a few days later.

There have been a few hiccoughs with the reservations process for Heron Island in recent months. If you run into difficulties whilst attempting to make your reservation, please let us know. We have an alternative process to help... Click here

Included in your daily rates over the swim period –

  • Accommodation
  • Return boat transfers from Gladstone
  • Daily buffet breakfast
  • Daily buffet lunch
  • Daily 3 course a la carte or buffet dinner
  • Welcome drinks
  • Swim clinics and swim entry

To find out more and to book… Click here

Clearwater paradise at Mana Island

mana fiji swims 1610 15 10k

Still tiime, too, to book your place on Mana Island in Fiji for the Mana Fiji SwimFest (October 26-28, with core dates Oct 24-19).

There are two swim days at Mana: Thursday, when the 10km swim runs off Mana’s North Beach (do it as a solo or as part of a three-swimmer relay), then choices of 5km, 3km, and/or 1km on Saturday. (You can use the Mana 10km swim as a qualifier for Rottnest Island in February.)

There’s a distance for everyone at Mana. Solos can use the 10km as their qualifying swim for Rottnest Island in February 2018.

Book your travel package with oceanswims.com/oceanswimsafaris.com and you will also get five nights for the price of four nights, escorted swims each available morning, and a 30-minute spa treatment at the Mana Spa.

Connections are so good to Fiji’s Mamanuca Islands these days that you can have brekker at home and dinner the same day on Mana Island – getting there is just a one-day process. Same with return: have lunch on Mana, then late supper at home.

If you're making your own arrangements to get to Mana, you still need to enter the event online. We'll have the facility for that open on our online entry portal on oceanswims.com in the next couple of days. See the Featured Swims list on the oceanswims.com home page.

More info and to book… Click here

poort jarrodRed-faced

Youse all will be aware of Jarrod Poort, the ‘Strãan open water swimmer who did a Scotch & Dry at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro by streaking out early for an enormous lead, attempting to blow the field apart, only to be pulled back near the end. Jarrod is a regular on the NSW ocean swimming circuit. But he has now been banned for 12 months for missing dope tests.

Read a report… Click here

Not short of heart

We told you in our last newsletter about our Kiwi ocean swimming cobber, Wayne Annan, and his wait for a heart transplant. Straight after our story appeared, Wayne got the call. He’s had a new heart now for close to two weeks and is recovering in a special rehab unit in Auckland whilst the new ticker settles in.

All is going well so far.

Follow Wayne’s progress on his blob... Click here

costa brava cave 1709
In the mouth of the sea cave. (From Costa Brava, Catalonia/Spain)

Working with our swim calendar

oceanswims.com has run complete event calendars for Australia and New Zealand pretty much since we got going at the beginning of the 21st century.

For complete event listings, check our calendar under Swims at the top of each and every page on oceanswims.com. You can search the calendar by state, country or region (eg Sydney North Side, Sydney Eastern Suburbs, Victoria Surf Coast, NZ South Island, etc), or even by type of swim (Lake, Estuary, Surf Beach, etc), by type of water (Salt, Fresh), and in many other ways.

As well, we list Featured Swims down the right hand side of pretty well every page on oceanswims.com. These are events that work with us to gain extre prominence for their swim. Generally, Featured Swims also offer online entry, but occasionally you still can enter online to events that don't take the Featured Swim status, so if you don't see the swim you're looking for on Featured Swims, check our complete calendar, too.

Swims open to online entry

Burleigh Heads has changed its date to Sunday, October 15, from October 29, a switch made necessary by a clash with other events on the surf life saving calendar.

We’ve had enquiries about the Forresters Beach swim, traditionally the opening swim of the NSW ocean swimming spring-summer-autumn season. Sadly, Forries is no more. Awgies tell us they can’t get insurance at a price they can afford.

Meanwhile, many new season swims are open for entry now on oceanswims.com…

Coming soon... The Big Swim (Palm-Whale, NSW) Jan 28

Subscribe

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

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

September 21, 2017

mediterranean levanto surf
Who said there was no surf in the Mediterranean? This on the nor'-western, Ligurian coast of Italy, just outside the Cinque Terre area. Lasted just a day, 6'-8' of short-spaced windswell, but it was rideable, as you see. The winds can be fierce around the Med, and they can whip up sizeable, if mushy swell in an instant.

Does swimming do you any good?

By Cathy Johnson

This story was published on the ABC News website on February 17, 2016. Yes, it’s a few months old, but it remains relevant.

Swimming is great for fitness and muscle tone, but if you're exercising with your waistline in mind, some might tell you to throw in the towel. That's because  there's a belief held by many that swimming is a lousy way to achieve weight loss. But is this really the case?

"If you want to lose weight, you're better off walking around a pool than swimming in it," according to Sydney exercise physiologist and personal trainer Andrew Cate.

"That's obviously a bit extreme, but it does make the point. From a fat-loss perspective, swimming has some real negatives compared to other forms of exercise."

Buoyancy effect

It's true that swimming involves some flotation, and this may reduce the work you have to do to move your body along, compared to land-based exercise — especially if you carry a bit of body fat, which increases buoyancy.

On the other hand, you have to work against the 'drag' effect of the water on your body and if your stroke is not very efficient, this may increase the energy you use swimming, too.

University of Western Australia academic and researcher Kay Cox agrees there are some potential pitfalls in swimming to whittle your waistline, but she's shown it can definitely be done.

She led a 2010 study of inactive older healthy women who took up a swimming program and compared them to those who took up a walking program.

The study, published in the journal Metabolism - Clinical and Experimental, showed that after a year on the program, the swimmers had lost more weight and more off their waistlines than those on the walking program.

Both groups exercised at the same intensity (as measured on heart rate monitors) and for the same amount of time three times a week. The first six months they were supervised. They then continued for a further six months unsupervised.

The differences weren't huge — the swimmers lost an average of 1.1 kilograms more weight and around 2 centimetres more off their waists compared to the walkers.

But it's nonetheless a significant finding - especially given that very few well-designed studies have ever looked into the issue.

"I think swimming is good for anyone who wants to lose weight," said Associate Professor Cox, who has a long-term history as a Masters swimming coach.

"It takes the load off your joints compared to running or walking, which means you're less likely to get injuries and so you've got a better chance of sticking with it."

mediterranean costa brava early morning swimmer
Early morning punter, Costa Brava.

Cool water and appetite

Professor Cox believes it's the cool environment in the pool (26 degrees Celsius) that may explain, at least in part, why the swimmers in her study had the edge when it came to weight loss.

Paradoxically, cool water may also explain why many swimmers find fat hard to budge.

It comes down to the impact of this cool environment on two aspects of the body in the post-swim period: the swimmer's appetite (which affects how much they eat afterwards) and the energy the swimmer expends to restore their normal body temperature.

Exercise that raises your body temperature, which is most land-based exercise, tends to suppress your appetite, but swimming has the opposite effect because the body temperature usually remains relatively low, Professor Cox said.

Most swim centres maintain water temperatures around 26-27 degrees Celsius and many ocean swimmers subject themselves to even chillier water still.

"If you swim, particularly in cold water, the thing you immediately want to do when get out is have something warm to eat or drink to restore your body temperature," she said.

So it's easier for swimmers to undo all their hard fat-burning work simply by over-eating after their workout - compared to land-based exercisers.

Professor Cox believes the women in the study got around this by being extra vigilant about their food intake. All participants in the study were specifically asked to eat the same diet as before they started the exercise program (and food diaries suggest they did this).

What's more, when you get warm from a walk (or other land-based exercise), you can cool yourself in passive ways - like simply stopping moving around.

But warming yourself after a swim is likely to involve expending more energy (which translates to burning more fat).

"I think if [swimmers] do the same amount exercise as they would on land and don't compensate by eating more afterwards, it could be the same, if not more effective [at bringing about weight loss]. But you have to spend the time and get the intensity up," Professor Cox said.

tonga jump into the water
This is how oceanswimsafarists enter the water in Tonga when whales aren't in immediate prospect.

Get your swim technique right

But to be able to swim well enough to lose weight, you might need a little more help and guidance than if you took up walking - at least initially.

"Technique does matter because if you can't swim well enough to keep going, you won't burn the kilojoules. You'll feel exhausted and give it away. But someone who has basic swimming skills, who can swim 10 to 12 metres without stopping, can build it up," Professor Cox said.

Many swim centres offer stroke improvement lessons or you could try hiring a coach for just a few sessions.

"There are a lot of benefits from swimming, particularly for overweight people, when you put them in an environment where exercise is not going to be painful," Professor Cox said.

But the best exercise for weight loss is the one you will stick at - so make your choice based on what you enjoy.

"If you're going to swim three days a week for the rest of your life, compared to walking six days a week, but giving up after two weeks, well, the choice is easy," Mr Cate said.

Professor Cox added: "Swimming won't be for everyone, but if you just ask the basic question can you lose weight by swimming, the answer is yes, you can."

Boost the kilojoules you burn in the pool
  • Use your legs intensely when you swim
  • Alternate laps where you go faster with laps where you swim more slowly to catch your breath
  • Set personal challenges, such as increasing your time to complete a set number of laps

For the original publication... Click here

heron 16 start 600

Great Barrier Reef Swim on Melbourne Cup Day

This year’s Great Barrier Reef Swim on Heron Island gives you that opportunity to enjoy two great 'strã'an traditions on the one day: ocean swimming on the Great Barrier Reef, and the Melbourne Cup.

This year's 2.8km swim takes place on Cup day. Core dates are Saturday, November 4, through Wednesday, November 8. The main 2.8km Great Barrier Reef Swim on Tuesday is run on the high tide in late morning, giving you plenty of time to tart up for the Cup, which will show on the island’s large screen.

Heron Island Resort also is offering good deals to swimmers who’d like to arrive a few days earlier or stay a few days later.

There have been a few hiccoughs with the reservations process for Heron Island in recent months. If you run into difficulties whilst attempting to make your reservation, please let us know. We do have an alternative process to help... Click here

Included in your daily rates over the swim period –

  • Accommodation
  • Return boat transfers from Gladstone
  • Daily buffet breakfast
  • Daily buffet lunch
  • Daily 3 course a la carte or buffet dinner
  • Welcome drinks
  • Swim clinics and swim entry

To find out more and to book… Click here

wood noel rose

Murray Rose memorabilia for auction

The collection of Murray Rose’s memorabilia is going under the hammer in December, we learn from Murray’s wife, Jodi. The collection includes robes, tracksuits, blazers, towels, and cossies, from the 1956 and 1960 Olympic games. There are also official programs, pins, stamps, big and little trophies, etc.

Jodi says she’s kept Murray’s collection “in excellent condition, (but) just storing in the back of a closet or storeroom creates deterioration, which is not a good thing”.

She says: “It feels right to allow many of these beautiful items to go to Australian collectors (or museums) who will preserve them into the future”.

The collection is up for auction on December 7, with Leonard Joel in Melbourne.

In the meantime, a particularly interesting item, a painting by the artist Noel Wood, is up for sale today (September 21, at 11:30). Not long notice, we know, but it’s only just come to our attention.

Wood gave Murray the painting when he (Murray) was 16. The pair were family friends, Jodi says, and Murray talks about the friendship in his book, Life is Worth Swimming.

Wood, originally from South Australia, lived and painted for 60 years on Bedarra island, on the Great Barrier Reef. The painting is of his house there, which was destroyed in 2011 by Cyclone Yasi.

The collection does not include Murray's medals, which Murray left to his son, Trevor. They're housed in the Sporting Hall of Fame at the MCG in Melbourne.

Check out the painting and, if you like, make a bid… Click here

mana north beach

Mana Island just a short flight away

Before Heron Island, you can enjoy reef swimming in Fiji with a short flight from Australia of just a few hours to connect to Mana Island Resort, where the Mana Fiji SwimFest runs on October 26-28 (core dates Oct 24-19).

There are two swim days at Mana: Thursday, when the 10km swim runs off Mana’s North Beach (do it as a solo or as part of a three-swimmer relay), then choices of 5km, 3km, and/or 1km on Saturday. (You can use the Mana 10km swim as a qualifier for Rottnest Island in February.)

There’s a distance for everyone at Mana. Solos can use the 10km as their qualifying swim for Rottnest Island in February 2018.

Book your travel package with oceanswims.com/oceanswimsafaris.com and you will also get five nights for the price of four nights, escorted swims each available morning, and a 30-minute spa treatment at the Mana Spa.

Connections are so good to Fiji’s Mamanuca Islands these days that you can have brekker at home and dinner the same day on Mana Island – getting there is just a one-day process. Same with return: have lunch on Mana, then late supper at home.

If you're making your own arrangements to get to Mana, you still need to enter the event online. We'll have the facility for that open on our online entry portal on oceanswims.com in the next couple of days. See the Featured Swims list on the oceanswims.com home page.

More info and still time to book… Click here

Missing swimmers

Some have noticed the absence from the circuit over the last 12 months or more of Bruce "The Rabbie" Burns. Bruce has been unwell and has been through a difficult process of treatment and recuperation. The good news is that Bruce's recovery now appears good, and he has returned to modest swimming.

We hope to see on you the beach again very soon, Bruce.

Another cobber who has been through tough times of later health-wise, is Wayne Annan, in Auckland. Wayne has all sorts of endurance achievements to his credit, but finds himself these days on the waiting list for a heart transplant. In the last few weeks, Wayne has been writing a blog about his experience with his dicky ticker. It's a good read. There's something in it for all of us... Click here

san sebastian slippery dip
Some punters find it difficult to master the skills of the slippery dip. (From San Sebastián)

Working with our swim calendar

oceanswims.com has run complete event calendars for Australia and New Zealand pretty much since we got going at the beginning of the 21st century.

For complete event listings, check our calendar under Swims at the top of each and every page on oceanswims.com. You can search the calendar by state, country or region (eg Sydney North Side, Sydney Eastern Suburbs, Victoria Surf Coast, NZ South Island, etc), or even by type of swim (Lake, Estuary, Surf Beach, etc), by type of water (Salt, Fresh), and in many other ways.

As well, we list Featured Swims down the right hand side of pretty well every page on oceanswims.com. These are events that work with us to gain extre prominence for their swim. Generally, Featured Swims also offer online entry, but occasionally you still can enter online to events that don't take the Featured Swim status, so if you don't see the swim you're looking for on Featured Swims, check our complete calendar, too.

Swims open to online entry

Burleigh Heads has changed its date to Sunday, October 15, from October 29, a switch made necessary by a clash with other events on the surf life saving calendar.

We’ve had enquiries about the Forresters Beach swim, traditionally the opening swim of the NSW ocean swimming spring-summer-autumn season. Sadly, Forries is no more. Awgies tell us they can’t get insurance at a price they can afford.

Meanwhile, many new season swims are open for entry now on oceanswims.com…

Coming soon - Mana Fiji (Oct 26-28), Nobbys-Newcastle (Dec 9), Gerringong (Jan 8)

Subscribe

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

To unsubscribe... Click here

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

August 7, 2017

tonga whales 170807 600
Mum and bub off the islands in Tonga. Yes, we were this close, even closer with some whales, ie maximum close. One of our pics from the other day.

Reef swimming for everybody!

Writing from Tonga, where we’ve been swimming with humpback whales. It’s been an extraordinary experience this year: lots of mothers with newborn calves, many inquisitive bubs who swim up to us to say Hi and to show us how clever they are by rolling over for a belly tickle! We had a juvenile male who just wanted to hang about our group all day and play, cutting through the middle of the group, rolling over as he went past flapping his fins at us. And male humpbacks singing and apparently having conversations. We’ve recorded long periods of whale talk: all kinds of widely different sounds that, you’d think, could only come from different whales.

We’ve posted some of this on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and now we’re editing a longer version to go onto YouTube. We’ll post and tweet when it’s available. But it’s an experience we never dreamt of when we started coming here to Tonga. Whales don’t just swim by: it’s as if they’re quite happy for us to drop by, and even to interact. It’s hard sometimes not to have actual contact: if they keep coming by, you can try to get out of the way as much as you can, but the occasional fin swipe is almost inevitable. Just watch out for the barnacles!

heron great barrier reef swim photopia 1611 13

Great Barrier Reef Swim on Melbourne Cup Day

Another experience we’ll bet you’ve never had is watching the Melbourne Cup then diving into the pristine waters of the Great Barrier Reef. There’s no obvious or necessary connection between the two, other than that this year’s Great Barrier Reef Swim on Heron Island gives you that opportunity. Frankly, we can think of few better ways to celebrate a winning flutter, or to forget a losing one. Even if you don’t have a punt, this year’s event lets you do both.

Core dates for the Great Barrier Reef Swim are Saturday, November 4, through Wednesday, November 8. The main 2.8km Great Barrier Reef Swim will be on Tuesday, November 7, run on the high tide in late morning, giving you plenty of time to tart up for the Cup, which will show on the island’s large screen.

Heron Island Resort also is offering good deals to swimmers who’d like to arrive a few days earlier or stay a few days later.

Included in your daily rates over the swim period –

 

  • Accommodation
  • Return boat transfers from Gladstone
  • Daily buffet breakfast
  • Daily buffet lunch
  • Daily 3 course a la carte or buffet dinner
  • Welcome drinks
  • Swim clinics and swim entry

 

Heron Island experienced a few problems with their reservation system earlier, but all that seems to be fixed now. To find out more and to book… Click here

mana fiji swims 1610 22 34

Mana Island just a short flight away

Just before that, you can enjoy reef swimming in Fiji with a short flight from Australia of just a few hours to connect to Mana Island Resort, where the Mana Fiji SwimFest runs from October 24-29.

There are two swim days at Mana: Thursday, when the 10km swim runs off Mana’s North Beach (do it as a solo or as part of a three-swimmer relay), then choices of 5km, 3km, and/or 1km on Saturday.

There’s a distance for everyone at Mana. Solos can use the 10km as their qualifying swim for Rottnest Island in February 2018.

Book your travel package with oceanswims.com/oceanswimsafaris.com and you will also get five nights for the price of four nights, escorted swims each available morning, and a 30-minute spa treatment at the Mana Spa.

Connections are so good to Fiji’s Mamanuca Islands these days that you can have brekker at home and dinner the same day on Mana Island – getting there is just a one-day process. Same with return: have lunch on Mana, then late supper at home.

More info and to book… Click here

Swims open to online entry

Burleigh Heads has changed its date to Sunday, October 15, from October 29, a switch made necessary by a clash with other events on the surf life saving calendar.

We’ve had enquiries about the Forresters Beach swim, traditionally the opening swim of the NSW ocean swimming spring-summer-autumn season. Sadly, Forries is no more. Awgies tell us they can’t get insurance at a price they can afford.

Meanwhile, many late 2017 swims are open for entry now on oceanswims.com…

Subscribe

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

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

July 5, 2017

Fiji yasawas oss 1706 01
We've just been to Fiji's Yasawas. Our mob looks down on us.

Does compression gear really lift performance?

From The Guardian, June 19, 2017

By David Cox

Can ultra-tight-clothing make you a better athlete? Well yes, if the UK’s biggest sportswear brands are to be believed. The sale of compression garments across the webpages of Adidas, Under Armour, Asics and more is almost ubiquitously associated with phrases such as “increase muscle power”, “go further and faster” and “optimise performance”. Going by the revenue generated, such slogans clearly do their job, with the entire compression wear and shapewear market predicted to reach a whopping $5.6bn ($A7.3bn) by 2022. Some of this revenue comes from the sale of bodyshapers such as Spanx, but a third comes from sales of compression-wear leggings, socks and stockings. Such is the belief of consumers in the value of these products that they are even prepared to tolerate premium prices, with retail margins for compression garments standing at 46 per cent, compared with 43% for regular sportswear items.

compression boofhead 170705Typical boofhead on the start line of an ocean swim, in his jammers, which are popular amongst contenders for holding in their cores. Most of us just suck it in.

However, a recent study funded by Nike appears to pour cold water on the supposed performance benefits of compression clothing. Putting 20 experienced runners on a treadmill for 30 minutes at 80 per cent of their maximum effort, while completing a series of fatigue tests before and afterwards, they found no difference in the levels of fatigue between those wearing compression garments and those wearing normal shorts.

One of the key measures of the study was muscle vibration, assessed using high-speed cameras tracking the runners’ legs. Muscle vibration, particularly during running, causes micro-traumas or ruptures in the muscle, resulting from the force of the impact when your foot hits the ground. It has long been thought that reducing this could improve your ability to run for longer, at higher speeds, and perform better if you have consecutive bursts of high-intensity exercise – for example, a trail-running competition with races over several days. However, while the Nike study found compression garments did reduce muscle vibration, this had little impact on performance.

To some, this is far from surprising. The scientific community has long thought that compression clothing makes little or no difference to athletic performance. “That’s my personal belief based on the research I’ve read and conducted,” says Dr Jessica Hill, programme director for applied sport and exercise physiology at St Mary’s University, London. “If you wear them to compete in a race, it’s not going to do anything for you. The theory has been that the garments will increase blood flow and therefore oxygen uptake to the working muscle, which could be a benefit. But this hasn’t been scientifically proven.”

Scientists suspect that any benefits felt when wearing compression clothing during exercise may be down to the placebo effect – the large hole left in the wallet from the purchase may leave the wearer willing it to make a difference.

Where compression garments may prove helpful is for post-exercise recovery, particularly in reducing the risk of injury. Their use in this area has a medical origin, with limb compression used in clinical settings to treat a range of inflammatory conditions such as deep vein thrombosis and lymphedema.

compression laydee 170705Laydee swimmer prepares for the start.

During exercise, the effect of compression is not strong enough to enhance performance, but it is during recovery

“If you exercise, whether you’re working out in the gym or running, you have some microscopic tears in your muscle, and during the repair process you feel some soreness,” says Dr Florian Engel, a researcher at Heidelberg University. “There is some water in your muscle cells and, as soon as you’re passive and you stop moving, the volume enlarges and this causes the pain. The compression works a little bit like a pump, helping to circulate and remove muscle metabolites, enhancing transport and elimination of the water, reducing the space available for swelling, and improving the lymphatic outflow. During exercise, the effect of compression is not strong enough to enhance performance, but it is during recovery.”
Advertisement

It is even possible to measure the beneficial effects of compression during recovery in the blood, through reduced levels of both inflammatory molecules and an enzyme called creatine kinase, which rises after strenuous exercise, or serious skeletal muscle injuries and heart problems. However, to experience any benefit from compression clothing, it is crucial that the compression is within the optimum range. Low levels can be insufficient to modulate blood flow or osmotic pressure, while excessively high levels can have a negative restrictive effect on blood low. “Compression is measured in terms of millimetres mercury, and right now we think a range of 20-30mm mercury is the optimum,” Engel says. “You shouldn’t go more than 30mm mercury, but at 10mm mercury, it doesn’t have any effect. Some manufacturers display the amount of pressure on the clothes, allowing you to see what you’re getting.”

Hill says one of the factors is how well compression clothing fits the wearer. Studies have shown that there is huge variation across consumers of compression clothing, in terms of the amount of pressure they receive from their gear. “The problem is that a lot of the garments that you buy off the shelf are fitted based on somebody’s height and weight,” says Hill. “But if I took 10 people who were all a size medium based on their height and weight, they’ve all got very different body types. Some might have large thighs, some might have large calves. It’s not an accurate way to fit people. So you’re better off if you can find a company that will fit the garments based on something such as limb circumference, which is a little bit more accurate.”

Scientists are now looking into exactly how best to use compression to aid recovery in a sports-specific manner, particularly for sports where athletes have bouts of high-intensity exercise separated by short breaks. “The performance theories are a bit old-fashioned now,” Engel says. “We need to focus on how you can optimise compression for recovery, for example in between periods of an ice hockey match, or between running heats at the Olympics. It has a very relevant role in these cases.”

heron island 14 swimmers 

Heron Island - What you get

Bookings are coming in in a lively fashion for one of the year’s highlights, the Great Barrier Reef Swim on Heron Island (see two punters, above, preparing to train during their stay on Heron Island), this year from November 4-8. Go to the event page to book now. Daily room rates include –

  • Accommodation
  • Return boat transfers from Gladstone
  • Daily buffet breakfast
  • Daily buffet lunch
  • Daily 3 course a la carte or buffet dinner
  • Welcome drinks
  • Swim clinics and swim entry

Find out more and to book... Click here

mana fiji swims 1610 22 34

Extend yourself at Mana Island

There is a move towards longer distances. After many swims at the 1km and 2km distances, swimmers are looking for something more testing, perhaps building up to a real ocean challenge, say South Head (10km) or Rottnest (19km).

The stepping stone appears to be 5km then 10km. A successful 10km swim within time limits, from November, also means qualification for Rottnest in February.

But where to find the swims?

This is why the Mana Fiji SwimFest is attracting swimmers seeking more distance. Mana offers two days of swimming, two days apart (so, time for a rest between swim days). On Thursday, have a go at the 10km swim in some of the most beautiful, comfortable ocean swimming waters in the world. You can do this swim either as a solo or as part of a 3-swimmer relay, each swimming c. 3+kms.

Then two days later, on the Sat'dee, you can have a go at 5km or 3km, and/or 1km.

Mana's dates this year are October 24-29. While this falls prior to November, Rottnest awgies over the past few years have allowed their 10km swim to be taken as a qualifier because it is so close, and provided the qualifier keeps a training diary to show that they have kept up their swimming over the period to February.

Mana Island offers a special ocean swimming experience. We call the water off Mana's North Beach, Ocean Swimming Stadium, because it is such a good, natural venue for this kind of swimming. And over stunningly beautiful reef, too. Can you imagine the joy of spending five days with no-one but ocean swimmers?

Come with us... More info and to book... Click here

Swims open for online entry...

Subscribe

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

Controversy Corner...

In comments below...

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

June 14, 2017

sulawesi os 1706 01 600
From our oceanswimsafari in Sulawesi earlier today - We like the Nana's looking glass effect.

Kiwis seas ahead

barker raewyn 02Surprise, surprise... New Zealand swimmers dominate the fine ocean swimmers tallies for season 2016/17. At the end of our season, on May 31, the swimmer who'd swum the farthest distance in formal events over the course of the season was Raewyn Barker, who'd swum 179.2km in 53 events. Just behind was Mike Cochrane, with 172.9km from 51 events. You'll all remember Cochrane: two years ago, he tallied over 300km over the course of the one season.

Third, and first Strãan and New South Welshperson, was Jim Donaldson, on 122.5km (31 events). We note that this is 50.4km behind Cochrane and 56.7km behind Barker, although it is not to take anything away from Donaldson's efforts. In context, the next Australian and NSW swimmer, Ned Wieland, whom we understand is preparing for a crack at the English Channel, racked up 94.8km, but from only 12 swims.

We have the full list of tallies for every swimmer in Strãa and New Zealand who completed a formal event over the course of the season – all 50,000 of them... Click here

mona vale pano entry portal

Solstice swim at Mona Vale

If you’re in Sydney, get up to Mona Vale on Sunday for the Solstice Swim. This year, it’s not on the actual solstice, but just a few days shy. Water is still fine for swimming, according to our cobber, Glistenign Dave, who swims at Mona Vale every morning, although not the past week because he’s had an ear infection. He must have forgotten his Aqua Ear

It’s a very informal swim from Bongin Bongin Bay around the rock shelf and in onto Mona Vale main beach. Only two categories, Newd and Wettie, apart from M/F. And afterwards, a cup of Mrs June Dibbs’s minestrone.

No new entries on race day – which means online only. And online entries close on oceanswims.com at 3pm on Sat’dee, June 17.

More info and enter online... Click here

heron island great barrier reef swim 1306

 

What's included in Heron Island rates

Bookings are coming in in a lively fashion for one of the year’s highlights, the Great Barrier Reef Swim on Heron Island, this year from November 4-8. Go to the event page to book now. Daily room rates include –

  • Accommodation
  • Return boat transfers from Gladstone
  • Daily buffet breakfast
  • Daily buffet lunch
  • Daily 3 course a la carte or buffet dinner
  • Welcome drinks
  • Swim clinics and swim entry

Find out more and to book... Click here

 

Subscribe

This is a brief newsletter this week because we're away right now at our oceanswimsafari in Sulawesi in Indonesia. You can follow it on Twitter (@oceanswimsafari), Instagram (oceanswimsdotcom).

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

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

June 1, 2017

 vanuatu port vila 170529 moray
A swim buddy in Erakor Lagoon, Port Vila.

Swims coming up...

Brewery night next Wednesday...

Our annual Organoleptic Evaluation at the James Squire (Malt Shovel) Brewery in Sydney is next Wednesday, June 7. This is a free night put on for us by our favourite ocean swimming brewer, Chuck Hahn. Spaces are limited but tickets are available... Click here

heron island beach 14

What's included in Heron Island rates...

Bookings are coming in in a lively fashion for one of the year’s highlights, the Great Barrier Reef Swim on Heron Island, this year from November 4-8. Go to the event page to book now. Daily room rates include –

  • Accommodation
  • Return boat transfers from Gladstone
  • Daily buffet breakfast
  • Daily buffet lunch
  • Daily 3 course a la carte or buffet dinner
  • Welcome drinks
  • Swim clinics and swim entry

Find out more and to book... Click here

fiji mana start 1610 01

Come with us to exotic waters to swim...

Most of our oceanswimsafaris in season 2017 are booked out, but you can still come with us to –

  • Mana Fiji SwimFest, Mana Island in Fiji October – 10km (solo or 3 x relay), 5km, 3km, or 1km over three days… Click here
  • Yasawas Fiji oceanswimsafari – six days of swimming in some of the best water in the Pacfic in Fiji’s remote Yasawas islands... Click here
  • Great Barrier Reef Swim, Heron Island – Find out what it’s like to swim right on the Great Barrier Reef – There is no comparison – Four days November 4-8... Click here

Champagne on the reef

vanuatu santo 170531 timmys place
Timmys Place, up on the East Coast Road in Santo, Vanuatu, and finishing line for our new swim course, the Santo Champagne Reef Swim. We tested this new course this week, and it's good. We'll run it in 2018.

New season swims open to online entry

vanuatu santo 170531 bike 02
The kind of stuff you find on the bottom in places like Santo, Vanuatu, which were the scenes of much activity during the war years. Is this war vintage? Some aficionado should be able to tell us... Click here

Brief...

The new season starts today, according to us. We’re travelling (right now, Mrs Sparkle and us are in Vanuatu, where we did the Espiritu Santo Aore Swim today), so this newsletter is more of a quick brief. We don't publish as often over winter, but there remains stuff to tell you.

Subscribe

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

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

The real and original home of ocean swimming since 1999

What's New

Get in touch

Ellercamp Pty Ltd
t/a oceanswims.com
PO Box 1164
Meadowbank
NSW 2114
Australia
ABN 57 089 070 057

Connect With Us