Wednesday, January 26, 2011

No newds is good newds, at Mt Martha, on the bottom in Farm Cove, fog in Newie, et al...

Where to start -- when we alighted from the 6:38 from Meadowbank at Circular Quay (changed at Central), the harbour was shrouded in fog. You could barely see the Opera House, you couldn't see the bridge, and ferries came and went, emerging from the fog and disappearing back into it... But then it lifted to a scorcher of a glorious day, in some truly pristine water (all things are relative - we were in Sydney Harbour), and we walked on the bottom in Farm Cove over firm, clean sand, by wafting, waving farms of bright green weed. It was a lovely swim, if cramped in the facilities.

Down at Mt Martha, @Aquagirl72 had been drooling, even bragging over the fact that the swim there was offering a Newd division on Stra'a Day,  ie without wetties. This is new for Victorian swims, we thought, although a Victorian friend in the check in line under the Opera House steps told us several swims down there had taken up the challenge by providing newdist waves. Aquagirl was v. excited. An excitement doused as with a fire hose when she arrived at Mt Martha to find they wouldn't accept newdist entries on race day. But they would accept conventional entries, it seems, so she had to swim newd in a wettie wave. Good girl for doing it, anyway, but perhaps someone from Mt Martha could explain the rationale behind not allowing newdist entries on race day but allowing wettied ones. Go figure.

Up at what the locals these days appear to call Newie -- an appalling moniker for the city of our birth -- the Newcastle Harbour Classic became the only swim this season so far to attract an enormous proportional increase in pre-race day entries: up more than 50 per cent on last year's onlines. There was fog there, too, we're told, but it, too, cleared to a bewdiful day.

There were swims in plenty of other places, too.. Lake Glenbawn in the Upper Hunter, where blokes do that swim vertically, Brighton, in Melbourne's Bayside suburbs, where @KAOSVIC had told us a few days back the water was putrid, a new swim at Hervey Bay, a swim/run at Burleigh Heads, Scarborough in the West, Kingston Beach in Tassie, Grange in Adelaide, Williamstown in Melbourne, and the 'Gong, souther Sydney.

Tell us about your swims on Stra'a Day...


  1. I did the swim @ Mt Martha this morning the water was clear and flat. No sun, no swell perfect for an open water swim.

    I made, didn't drown I made it over the line, a good day! I do agree with @KAOSVIC the water up near Brighton the last 2 weeks has been very dirty. I was very happy with the water at Mt Martha

  2. I did the Syd Harbour swim. Great not to worry about blueys. The only improvement I would recommend for next year would be a large diagram of the course as we enter to start the race. The brightly coloured buoys were clearly visible of course but from about 3/4 way throu, didn't know which one to aim for. I stopped to ask other equally baffled swimmers - we decided to just follow even though it felt like we were doubling back to go around again. Still, can't think of a better way to start the morning and I would definitely do this swim again (lots of nice freebies too). J.

  3. Did the harbour swim, decided the day before. Was terrific and fully worth the $50 for a well-organised swim, decent silicone swim cap and string bag. Well organised and great fun. Met a million and one people I knew and shook the hand of Murray Cox who told me he's just about done with his swim once he does Palm to Whale this weekend. Was pleased to hear he didn't see much in the way of 'marine life' on his journey so far. There's always the Big Swim on Sunday, Murray.

    The water in the harbour was so clear, around 22C or warmer I'd say, with a little bit of chop coming back to make the finish a little tougher. I knew the course, and I'd recommend anyone swimming it to check the website prior (the dog-leg was on there) so no excuses really if you went wrong (navigation is part of the thrill of this sport).

    Was great to see Black Dog there, what a great organisation they are, and what a change from the 'pill for every ill' thinking when it comes to mental illness. I'd recommend anyone, no matter what ability to have a go at a proper ocean swim, do some hard training and get your body moving - there's nothing like to shake off cobwebs, free the mind and cleanse the soul.

    Ryan Huckle

  4. Colin "The Freak" ReyburnJanuary 27, 2011 at 11:53 AM

    It was a very surreal swim across the Newcastle harbour today. The 700m one way trip was OK, no discernable current/tide, beautiful flat conditions and just a light mist. 40 minutes later though a heavy sea fog had rolled in cutting visibility down to maybe 100-200m for the start of the double crossing. The swim started with no one quite sure exactly where they should be headed, other than across to the other side. I would have been maybe 150m off the Stockton shore before I could finally make out what I thought were trees but ended up being the pylons for the Ferry terminal. After rounding the buoys to start the return journey the fog began to clear again allowing us to pick out major land marks on the other side. As always it was a great event and today run on a very tight schedule because of other water activities to follow.

  5. Lake Glenbawn Classic -

    Tough swims yesterday (1k,3k,5k).
    Well done to all swimmers who finished in difficult conditions.
    The lake was looking good, fuller with more rain, but causing the water to be a little murky with some floating debris.
    The forecast 40c weather arrived, together with warm water surface temperature.
    Well done to the the organisors and water safety in managing this swim without incident

    Statistics for Glenbawn:
    - Air Temp. = Scorching
    - Water Temp. = Warm
    - Wind strength = 0 knots
    - Age Category Prizes won by me = 0
    (Word must have got out this year about the age category prizes, a bunch of swimmers in my age group travelled up to Glenbawn and scooped all the 45-59yo category prizes)

    Surprised my time was slower than what I expected. The warm water might have taken my strength (was measured at 28c but we swam through some warmer patches). It felt like the course may have been a little longer this year.
    We'll call that one a training swim

  6. Yep, abandoned my coastal home on 'Straya day for a scorching journey to the wild west. Was drawn to Lake Glenbawn for the challenge of a 5k freshwater swim.

    Felt a bit sorry for the support crew who were stuck on the shore in 40+ degrees and too scared to enter the lake for fear of eels - which had been spotted on the day.

    No fear here, though - into the 28deg soup I went, about 1.5k in I was having one of those "what on earth am I doing here?" moments...but after gritting the teeth (which was also helpful in sifting out the abovementioned floating debris - note to self- tuck in behind swimmer in front) toughed out the 5k, and landed an age group medal (haven't even checked the time, but I deserved it!). Great sense of achievement in getting to the end in this one.

    The dehydration-induced nausea and headache were interesting...have never felt so rubbish after a swim, and I do recall instructing the support crew to remind me of this if I suggested entering next year.

    All that aside, though, thank you and congratulations to the Scone Swimming Club for putting on a great event. Everything was very professionally run, with a twist of country hospitality.

  7. Murray Cox says..
    "... the Zelig of ocean swimming..." As the comedian said, I resemble that remark, and anyway Woody Allen reckoned that 70% of success in life is just showing up. I've told Paul before that I would prefer to be called the Greta Garbo of ocean swimming: 'I swim to be alone'.
    As for this name-calling I have given a measured response on my blog titled 'Bronzed Aussies'...
    And just to correct the record for Ryan, swimming Palm to Whale will complete the North Shore part of my adventure. I then have to go around North Head and across the harbour for the southern journey to Cape Banks.
    Anyone fancy a swim across the Heads on Saturday 12th Feb?

  8. I cannot think of a better way to start Australia Day than to swim in Sydney Harbour with the backdrop of the Harbour Bridge and our Opera House. It was glorious - loved it. Thank you so much to the organisers for taking the initiative and creating a magnificent swim.

    I had been a bit worried earlier when I rode over the Bridge on the train as the heavy fog had enveloped the Opera House and it was nowhere to be seen. How un-Australian for the Opera House to disappear on Australia Day. All was well - it had returned by the time I arrived at Circular Quay! What a huge relief.

    Thank you to everyone involved. Please run this swim again next year. I'll be back.

  9. Photo tagged "Life goes on" shows me (The bearded Murwillumbah Brass Monkey) "about" to enter the water on Australia Day. Very enjoyable swim to start the day. I apparently swam a lot further than some judging by the photo tagged "our trek". I did "turn right" at the the Man'o'War Jetty and swim back toward Mrs Macquarie's Chair before doing a u-turn at the bouy half way across Farm Cove to swim back to the Man'o'War jetty to the finish.


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