Sunday, January 23, 2011

Blueys at Mona Vale, eye candy at Cooly, Port Campbell... etc

Third week in a row, there've been blueys all the way up and down the Sydney coast, yet we swam without injury. North Bondi, Avalon, and now Mona Vale. Thought we were lucky. About to decide to start going to church. Even sat off the last booee taking pitchers in water that was clear and the warmest it's been all season. And no stings.

But then we got into the beach and saw the carnage of the early waves. Some horrific injuries on younger swimmers especially. That'll teach 'em to be fast! And to show all us codgers up. Poor Max Collins who, as the afternoon wore on, found one of his welts forming blisters. Max reckoned they didn't hurt, but then Mrs Sparkle had gone to town on him...

Mrs Sparkle ran hither and thither applying X-Sting-Wish (which she retails) to every injury she could find. Needed confirmation that the stuff works. We applied Ross' Jelly Fish Sting Relief, which we're trialling for Ross down in Melbourne, to see whether it works on blueys. Did you have any applied to your injuries? Which worked?

Lovely swim, but, apart from the blueys. Our friend, Patricia, doubted they really were blueys, since she said the stingers appeared to be gossamer threads with no head. We've seen similar things in the tropics, mainly. We did see dead blueys on the beach at Warriewood before the start (the only good bluey is a dead bluey, but even then they can sting so even then they're not good).

Anyway, tell us your story...


  1. Hello Swimmers,
    As stated above us younger swimmers got the brunt of the blue bottles. I want to thank all Mona Vale surf life savers for there help. Especially those who sat with me rubbing ice on the many stings, giving lots of sympathy and mainly just staying there. I think one lifesaver sat with me for at least over an hour. So thank you so much it was very much appreciated.
    Jenna McCrae
    Thank you Mona surf rescue for looking after my daughter.Obviously better then that Bondi rescue mob.
    Peter McCrae
    Hey Mr Oceanswims it is about time you started going to church, you know the place you get hitched, with Miss Sparkle applying to Jenna,myself and countless others the magic sting ointment someone will realize her worth.

  2. What a great morning to be at the beach, especially Warriewood and Mona Vale since they are two of Sydney's best!

    Much to the surprise of the ocean swimming community, the boys from Babewatch were back after their debut swim at Avalon. With an expanded group of 6 (but missing one of their founding fathers) the boys punched out their extended 'Babewatch warm-up' routine. It was a little rusty but we're working on it at practice.

    The boys noticed that conditions were much improved from a week ago - both from swimming and Babewatching. It seems the sun seems to bring out the beauties. Babes, beauties and blueys... or stingers... but it sounds better if I write blueys. One of the Babewatch crew was first to the buoy off Warriewood and swam just behind the group of elite swimmers (who were terrorised by the stingers) all the way to Mona... and got through scott-free. 'Thanks for clearing a path'! Thank the Lord because this guy's never been stung before and he's a bit of a pansy... Overall Babewatch was pretty lucky, a couple of us copped one of two but it was nothing on what we saw coming out of the water at Mona Vale!

    The swim itself was lumpy, as it always it swimming between these two beaches. When you're swimming into the swell and into the wind it can be hard to avoid gulping down on some sea water. What did you think of the visibility of the buoys? We couldn't see 'em but just kept heading for the point. Seemed to work.

    Results? Babewatch achieved a new benchmark this weekend, a double podium in the 20-24 M. Unfortunately, our 4 competitors in the 15-19 M couldn't repeat their excellence from Avalon and missed out on the bling. The SLSC put on a good show and even allowed us to plug our fundraising - good on ya!

    Since we are Babewatch - we're raising money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation on our website:

    Babewatch - raising money for breast cancer - it just makes sense. We're hoping to raise 2K over summer and so if you enjoy the spectacle and over-exposure of Babewatch at the beach then jump onto the website and throw in a donation.

    Can Too is our rival fundraising team and we'll be taking them on at the Cole Classic in the charity team category. Bring. It. On.

    Sadly, Babeatch will only have a small representation at the Big Swim next week. It's the day before a big ergo test (we are all rowers for Sydney University) and some of us are worried about the 2.7km eating into the carbohydrate bank.

    Until next time - ensure you look for real life-savers if you get into trouble, because Babewatch is amateur at best.

  3. A big thank you to Mrs Sparkle with her X-Sting-Wish. It is by far the best stuff I have tried. Max says thanks.
    Thanks to all the lifesavers and helpers for a great day, even the nasty stingers could not spoil it.
    Mr August 2009

  4. They were definitely blueys, I saw the bugger that got me across the face and there were apparently plenty washed up at the rocks between the beaches. I'm a slow young'un and water safety were directing people directly into the final buoy to try and avoid the stingers. I got done at the final turn.

    Thank you to the lifesavers who got me out when I was attacked by a sadistic one across the face, ears, arms, chest and back. Thank you to the incredibly kind fellow swimmer who raised his arm on my behalf.
    I'm mildly allergic so I take antihistamines before swimming (also helps with the sea sickness) and I was in too much pain too thank people properly. Fellow swimmers, friends and lifeguards were just amazing.

  5. I have posted on the new os.c forum but in case any others have a bit of difficulty navigating around it as I did (I know technologically challenged) a big thank you to David Ross of Palm Beach who encouraged me and others to apply that disgusting white engine grease to ward off those horrid blueys. It worked for me and all of Coach David's Crummy Drummy squad (they're used to me bossing them around).
    A big thanks NOT!! to the idiot who gave me an enormous shove with both hands in the middle of the race (you know who your are - royal blue cossies and I said "oh nice, NICE" to you). You are not an Olympian (couldn't possibly be -as you were in my age group and a bloke and only my speed) - get over yourself and show some manners. BTW you are also a very bad navigator!

  6. A big thanks to @oceanswim and @Perama for encouraging me to test out the NSW Coast. I had to make a big decision whether to do the swim as I am afraid of huge waves. My daughters says you need to get in the waves and get over it. I decided to have a practice at Manly beach, thanks to Bold n Beautiful squad for training sessions. I headed off to Mona Vale, following GPS and end up at Warrienwood so I decided to follow the coast to find Mona Vale beach to park my car. Arrived at Warrienwood, entered the race with fifteen minutes left before my wave starts. I inspected the beach, gosh!! waves!!! I felt sick in my tummy, and praying that the waves will be nice to me. I watched the third waves (swimmers) entered the water, the waves behaves well and I said to myself "Oh, please be nice and gentle". its our turn (50-59) I started to entered the water, in my head says "get in the waves and get over it". It works and I managed to get to the buoy. Gosh! it was so beautiful to swim, even I battled the choppy water, I couldn't see the buoys but I followed other swimmers as I know those NSW swimmers know their way of battling against the waves. As soon I approached the last buoy, I lipreads the lifesaver on his paddle board, "huge bluey", I quickly swam around the lifesaver and had a good look at the bluey. Boy! I have never seen anything like that in Melbourne. Towards the finishing line, I swam as hard as I could and knowing the waves are there. I was hoping that I dont get caught in the whitewash. I kept my eyes on the waves and managed to beat those waves. I was happy that I finished the race. I have never seen so many swimmers using ice on their bodies. It was really nice to walk down to the beach, get ready for the swim and go straight in for warm up swim instead of arriving at the beach, struggling to put my wettie on, fixing the folds, then pulling the zip up which sometimes choke me and making my decision whether to do warm up in either cold or freezing water. I will come back in 2012 to do Mona Vale swim and hopefully encouraging other Pirates included Aquagirl72 to swim with me. Lastly, I will make an effort to swim without wetties when the temperature is nice in Melbourne.

  7. They sure felt like bluebottles. The fast swimmers didn't collect all of them. They very kindly left some for us. I was in the final wave and one wrapped round my leg as I turned at the last buoy. I'm usually a lazy kicker but I sped up pretty quickly to shake the wretched thing off. I apologise to the guy in front of me who looked around indignantly as I swam into his legs. Consequently, I'm looking forward to an increase in my times.
    Great swim with the usual gracious northern beaches hospitality. Surprisingly challenging - it looked far easier as we waited on the shore to go. (Someone actually said, we should get this finished very quickly. Ha!) Good prep for Palm to Whale. J.

  8. "Our friend, Patricia, doubted they really were blueys, since she said the stingers appeared to be gossamer threads with no head." daughter Alex, went for a swim at Mona Vale, Sundee afternoon and said she was wrapped in what she felt loike was "water cobwebs", which did not sting...given the carnage from the ocean swim, must be a different marine animal?

    David Helsham

  9. Absolutely awesome swim with a much gratitude to the excellent surf life savers at Mona Vale who looked after me with my nasty sting from a rather big bluey at the last buoy. Everyone was very impressed that I came out running up the beach with the biggest smile on my face, and although I was happy to finish I have to admit that I was just so happy to be as far away from those nasty little creatures as possible!!!

  10. Another excellent swim. Thank you to all the organisers and surf rescue volunteers. It's great having you out there and makes me feel safe every time I race!

    Re the blueys - I agree that they felt like 'gossamer threads' - but they did sting! However, any self-pity soon disappeared when I got to the beach and saw the carnage amongst the younger swimmers! I think I got off quite lightly!

    More importantly, though, due to a mistake at rego when my timing chip was given to another swimmer, I was incorrectly awarded 3rd place in the F35-39 category. I notified Carl (the guy reading out the results) at the time, but seeing as we don't know who ended up with my chip, it was impossible to put it right. So, if you were swimming F35-39 and did about 29mins (I think), then congratulations, and I have your medal! Either get in touch via this blob (I'll keep an eye on it), or otherwise I'm sure Paul at will be able to put us in touch.

  11. I did the Coolangatta swim yesterday and if you're thinking about doing the Sydney leg, I'd highly recommend it. It's a privately run event, but excellent value. Just for entering, I got a swim bag, with a discount voucher for aqua shop, some energy gel stuff, plus I won a $35 voucher for coming 2nd in my age group and then won a $200+ pair of Newton running shoes and a visor in the random draw. That's the best prize I've ever won at an ocean swim event.
    They had lots of sponsors tents there and plenty of staff to help. Make sure you hang around for the random draw they had a lot of give aways.
    The swim itself was pretty good, but a buoy seemed to get dragged off-course with the wind and current, but they're huge buoys they use so I imagine there'll be no problems spotting them in the harbour. I entered on the day, but there was a bit of a line up...probably due to the re-scheduling issue. Still, overall I was impressed. Ky Hurst stood there and shook hands with all the placegetters and there was some other big name swimmers around too...the Grimsey boys, Megan Nay, Gorman.


  12. In a moment of fortunate stupidity I decided after parking at Mona Vale (and all credit to Pittwater Council for the free parking) to walk along the beach to the start at Warriewood.

    Which in fact turned out well, as I soon spotted one, then two, then lots of nice fresh blueys being washed on the shore as I walked.

    Being, like one of the previous bloggers, a bit of a wuss and unlike him having been stung on a couple of previous occasions this gave me pause for thought.

    It's one thing going into a swim knowing that there is a possibility of being stung by a rogue bluey, quite another to plunge deliberately into their midst when you KNOW tyey are out their in numbers with your name on their long trailing stinging thingies (I believe that's the correct Latin term).

    On the other hand it was the second swim in the FoS series (curse you Mr Oceanswims) and I had already paid - what to do?

    Luckily my loving wife had reminded me to take my rashie so I trudged back to the car to pick it up then took advantage of the bus to the start.

    I briefly considered wearing my $150 X stretch running tights as well but discarded the idea as just too wimpy and instead liberally coated my legs with the axle grease (reminds me of an old rugby song) so thoughtfully provided by the organisers.

    I don't know whether it was the twin protections of grease and rashie that saved me, or luck, or the considerate previous waves of swimmers using up all the spare blueys but I emerged unscathed but stuffed, tired from battling a very choppy sea, invisible buoys and the unaccustomed drag of a rashie.

    The day was lovely, the beaches great, the orginasation excellent, especially the provision of free sunscreen and axle grease but it was a tough swim.

    Let's hope the wind changes by the coming weekend for the Big Swim.

  13. Hi guys and girls that swam from Warriewood to Mona Vale..

    Thanks for swimming in our annual ocean swim. With so many swims on the calendar we thank you for choosing ours as one of your swims. . As is always the case our main aim is water safety and first aid. Yesterday like last year in the big surf it was again put to the test this time with Blueys. And in my bias opinion performed admirably. Those that like a statistic here are a few.

    Swimmers 685 entered

    Bluey stings innumerable but probably about 2/3 the field.(plus about half our water safety)

    Bluey stings treated by first aid team 150

    Blueys Serious cases needing oxygen 3

    Bags of ice used 15

    Rubber ducks in water 5

    Water safety people on boards and skis 60

    Water safety with tubes in surf 15

    Beachpatrol doing firstaid and monitoring 20
    Those stung badly

    Ambulances called 1

    Lucky dip prizes donated by local business 50

    Bags couriered from Warriewood to 281 including a bike

    Mona Vale SLSC Donation to flood relief in QLD $2000 approx. (may try and double through Woolworths offer)

    Harris Farm Fruit eaten Bananas 6 boxes
    Peaches 6 boxes
    Oranges 6 boxes
    Nectarines 6 boxes

    Jon Dibbs
    Mona vale SLSC
    Race Organizer

  14. Thanks Jon. Love to get these stats. I wish everyone would do it. We often wonder about these things on the trek home. It was a fabulous day and we will be back next year. J.

  15. They wuzz blueys (too flattering a term for these nasty creatures that have no purpose other than to cause grief to unsuspecting ocean swimmers - except the impenetrable Mr Oceanswims... wonder if Mrs Sparkle can bottle that elusive anti-bluey ingredient).

    My too-clever-for-his-budgie-smugglers brother-in-law reckons the tendrils and random stingy bits can float off from the air-bag body, which might explain the confusion over whether blueys really were the culprits.

    Sounds like a fair enough explanation to me. But I am gullible.

    I hope all the kids who copped the worst of it are coping today. I have a small sting on my wrist, having coated the rest of my bits in Vaso, which does seem to work. And like Steve, I wore a rash shirt.

  16. Reading all the reviews about the "blueys" has me wondering, what is this "Axle grease" concoction that some punters swear by to stop the stings. I'm thinking about coming up from Vic and discarding my "Anti-Bluey" wetsuit(when in Rome. . . .) to do the Sydney Harbour swim so looking for any advice.

  17. Penrith 'Bridge to Bridge' open water swim last Sunday -

    I try to grab a couple of these longer fresh water swims every year, I find they are a useful test of fitness and pace.

    Statistics from Penrith:
    - Bluey stings = 0
    - First aid treatments = 0 (well none that I saw, but I may have been the last swimmer out of the water - it's not that unusual)
    - Fruit eaten = 0
    - Jumbo Hamburgers eaten = 1 (with chips)

    Event entry (including the swim-thru) = $ 35
    Hamburger and chips = $ 11.50
    Satisfaction in smashing my best ever time at Penrith, after beating myself up Chad's 'bulk training' squads for the last 2 weeks = $ Priceless !

  18. To Peter G from VIC - no need to worry - I don't know of anyone who has ever been stung in the Harbour where the Sydney Harbour swim is swum. I have tried a thick layer of sun block in the past and this works pretty well also = dual purpose.

  19. I endorse Mrs Sparkle's excellent advice to wear a THICK layer of sunblock to deter bluey stings - works for me! Well ... it worked for me on Sunday - not a sting to landed on my body. And no sunburn either - a double benefit.

    Thanks to the organisers of the Warriewood to Mona Vale swim for such thorough organisation and the fabulous water safety volunteers - I felt as if I had my own personal paddler out there, there were so many water safety people keeping an eye on all of us. It could not have been easy out there with all those blueys wreaking their havoc. Sorry to read in the informative race stats that so many of the volunteers were stung. I hope they are all feeling better with no nasty after effects.
    "Greasy" Rosie

  20. Hi Peter G,

    "Axle grease" is in fact petroleum jelly (similar to Vaseline) - just my warped sense of humour in referring to it as such, in honour of "Dinah, Dinah", the old (rather obscene)rugby song.

    Talking of the Sydney Harbour swim, does anyone have any idea what time the 2.5k goes off - buggered if I can find out from the official web site?

    I'll be there in plenty of time anyway as I have to get up and cheer on Australia in the Asian Cup semi final at 3.25am tomorrow. In spite of being a professional Pom, as Mr Oceanswims has dubbed me recently.

  21. Hi Steve,
    Re: Australia Day Harbour Swim 26 Jan
    I rang the organiser about the time for the 2.5k a couple of weeks ago after I noticed there were 3 races - 300m for kids, 750 m & 2.5km. He said we should get there by 8 am at the latest - the 2.5km race will go at 9. J.

    ps we should probably do this in the forum...

  22. i too was really sorry to read that so many water safety people were stung as well as competitors. hope you're all getting better. that "skin-crawling" feeling from all the stings is torture!
    i thought the swim was great. definately a challenge. will be back for sure
    liz hill (have to use anonymous as can't make any of the other options work

  23. THANKYOU MONA VALE SLSC Team for taking such good care of those "young pink caps" who suffered the brunt of the blue bottles, on Sunday. We were in first aid with a young girl & my 15 year old daughter for 2hrs, the care the girls received was amazing. And testimony to Mrs Sparkles potion, she generously applied her treatment to the girl, applied X3 per day, you eliminate the "itch" factor Thanks Mrs Sparkles.


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