2 January 2012
Our annual short break on the coast has been timed around the Point Lonsdale swim for the past few years. We leave the big boys at home to mind the pets and the house and check ourselves into the historic Vue Grand hotel in nearby Queenscliff for a couple of days of ocean swimming, eating, walking and book buying.
Point Lonsdale always seems to put on perfect conditions for its swim. This was their 24th swim, and my 7th and it was hot and sunny with clear water and a very favourable tide.
It was 40 degrees in Melbourne on the day of the swim.
That’s one reason to be pleased not to be there. Another is that my local beach, Brighton bathing box beach, has been unswimmable lately. We had a massive thunder storm on Christmas night and it washed large amounts of the Yarra into the bay. The turbid silt has been making its way down the bay and has now reached Brighton, Hampton and Sandringham. The EPA has rated water quality as only “fair” and advised against swimming there. You’d have to be mad or desperate as the water is all churned up and silt coloured.
So I was pretty keen to swim in water where I could see my toes. Both Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale hit that mark.
It was so hot I decided to abandon my wetsuit. That wetsuit is like a security blanket to me. As a later-in-life ocean swimming adopter, I cling to my wetties promise of buoyancy and warmth like a drowning woman.
I planned to take the swim easy as my shoulder is still recovering from bursitis. It tends to ache a bit after squad, but doesn’t seem to mind ocean swims.
Husband Alan and I strolled down to the starting line in just our bathers feeling cool, calm and collected.
You know how it is when you enter the water and you can tell everything is going to be all right? The course is an easy follow – one big red buoy then large yellow ones all the way home in a gentle curve. The current was great. The water was clear and cool. This is why I ocean swim.
I loved every minute of it. No shoulder pain (though it is making me pay a little the day after).
When you pass the last buoy, helpfully numbered no 1, you swim through a line of junior lifesavers warning you of rocks, telling you not to stand up yet, and cheering you on. It’s good for the ego to come home through a line of clapping kids.
Time? Slower than last year by almost 90 seconds ... but it doesn’t matter. It was a swim I will stick in my memory bank of all time favourites.