Monday, December 17, 2012

The Bold and the Beautiful

Today I joined "The Bold and The Beautiful" in a daily ritual that has been undertaken for many years by the folks here in Manly. I'm not talking about the television soap opera, I'm talking about the swim club.

It's early, but the surfers are already out.

I'm not sure if "The Bold and the Beautiful" is an appropriate name however. Maybe they should rename themselves to "The Crazy and the Mega Fit". 

Swimmers gathering.

For starters, everyone musters at just after the crack of dawn (6:45 am). You sign in and receive a safety briefing (hint: there is no safety, you're on your own), and then, when everyone is ready to go, you head into the surf in the only spot on the beach where the surfers are not.

Distinctive pink caps.

The surf.

You might wonder why the surfers ignore this spot. The surf is a little lighter, but mostly it's because of the hidden rocks.

Once past the breaking waves, you're now in 3 feet of surge. The group musters again, in open water, and then you all swim to the beach next door (Shelly beach). Other than the surge, there is also a current. On the way out the current is mostly with you, but on the way back, it's not. Overall, it's not a swim for beginners.

I'm having a good time, really.

As an added bonus, much of the swim is through a marine sanctuary, popular with divers and snorkelers. I saw a lot of fish this morning plus a darter and the cutest little penguin. I also had contact with a bluebottle jellyfish.

Bluebottles (source)

In this area of Australia, there are no deadly stingers like the box jellyfish. Bluebottles, while annoying, sting about as hard as a bee. I stuck my hand right in one while swimming today. It was a little shocking, but after smearing what remained of it down the side of my wetsuit (what else are you going to do?) I continued the swim and about an hour later I was fine.

A small piece of bluebottle tentacle, 
still stuck to my hand after the swim.

Between the waves, the current, and the bluebottles, amazingly over 100 members of The Bold and The Beautiful battle the 1.5 km course every single day.


And there is a good chance I'll do it again, maybe even tomorrow.


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