Category: Clovelly


Ahhh…I made it to Monday training at Clovelly this week and it was completely worth it. It was the end of one of those long summer days when plenty of people are still stretching out their holidays and spending time at the beach, so it was way more crowded than I’ve ever seen before!

It had its benefits, though. The sun was well and truly beaming and getting down into the water so you could see more than usual…and there was plenty to see!

The highlight was a Wobbegong Shark (not usually the bitey kind…unless you pull their tails!) which was unfortunately a bit deep to photograph, and then there were plenty of blue gropers include on big grandaddy one who was enormous!

I have to admit, I may have slacked off on training too hard for a bit as I was seriously tempted by the photo opportunities of all the fishies, and distracted by the sheer joy of being out there swimming in such a beautiful spot on such a gorgeous day!

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I was very excited all day. I missed the first Monday training session at Clovelly last week as my motorbike had broken down and was still on the shop, making it difficult to get there and almost impossible to get home afterwards.

This week, though, I was ready and raring to go. I’ve been having so much fun swimming lately that I was really keen…literally fidgeting in my seat at work as the day dragged to a close and I could leave.

Things don’t always go according to plan, though, as a request came through just as I was packing up to go. Gah! Don’t they know I have a date with the beach??? Anyway, I managed to power through and only leave 10 minutes later than planned.

Next was the ride over. I’ve only been to Clovelly once before, and that was leaving from home and not the city…and I had Fiona giving me directions. I know how bad I am at these things so I had looked up directions, printed them off and had them handy and available in my front pocket.

All was going along fine, and then I saw an actual street sign pointing to Clovelly. The direction was different to what Google maps had told me…I had to make a split-second decision. Unfortunately I chose wrong. I took the turn-off with the sign. And got horribly lost. And tried to turn around and found myself confronted with no right turn signs wherever I wanted to turn right, and various other dramas. Unfortunately this is not even a slightly new experience for me.

So…after riding around all sort of crazy Randwick and Clovelly streets, stopping twice to check maps on my phone, I finally found myself on the right track. even though I was horribly late, I decided to head down anyway…hopefully I could either do a shorter session, my own swim, or at the very least be a bit more familiar with the right way to go for next week.

I finally rocked up to Clovely…20 minutes late, and not in the best of moods. I wandered around, but to my surprise, couldn’t see any distinctive orange caps. Clovelly very contained…almost like a pool but open to the ocean at one end, so it’s not like I would have expected to not see anyone.

 I decided to take a seat and check the timetable on my phone…maybe I had somehow gotten Clovelly and Coogee confused?

Well, it seems it wasn’t the location, but the time I had wrong. I had been trying to get there by 6 and the session didn’t start til 6:30. I was actually 10 minutes early, and looked up to see the first swimmers and coach Zoe arrive!

My first Facebook status for the evening:

I may have hidden talents, but being good with directions is not one of them. Luckily I also suck at attention to detail so am actually early, not late as I thought!
Not one to let the opportunity pass, I rocked up to training and started the session.
 
Clovelly is kind of a funny spot to swim at. It has the beach down one end, but is more of an ocean channel with concrete walkways and ladders along each side. It’s also completely packed with fish! Lots of bigger than you’d expect fish…so many that at times I felt a bit like I might accidentally scoop one up as I swam! The light wasn’t great, but one night I’ll have to take the camera in for a swim as I’m certain of some great wildlife shots.
 
It was also subject to some pretty strange thermal currents….varying widely between some pretty warm spots to some areas that seemed seriously freezing. It was like hitting a wall of icy water!
 
After a warm up lap of the channel, we did a set designed to keep the heart-rate elevated…slow swim to the first ladder on the left, medium swim across to the corresponding ladder on the  right, then hard swim back to shore (helped along by a nice little current running along that side). Then a sand run, squat, lunges or other exercise of choice on the beach, and repeat to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th ladders.
 
I actually chickened out on the 4th ladder part of that set…the water out the back was so cold, and I had neither wetsuit or rashie for any coverage (just 37 years worth of being a carb-lover, which is not entirely unhelpful) and was starting to feel that horrible wrong cold where I couldn’t stop shivering. I opted to do two laps to the first ladder instead until we finished.
 Clovelly Sunset
Despite my inauspicious travels to Clovelly, I very much enjoyed the set, and I always prefer swimming in salt water to a pool. I was pretty happy my two errors cancelled each other out and I had managed a set after all. I packed up (no changerooms, so clothes over the top of swimmers), took a pretty picture of the sunset, and rode home (no unscheduled detours or anything).
 
I was pretty cold by the time I got home, so headed straight for a long hot shower. Only to discover the source of my second Facebook status update of the night…
 
ahhh…seems i have had a bit of a hair colour day….notice anything odd about this garmin map from tonight’s swim at Clovelly?
A VERY Long Swim

A VERY Long Swim

Yup, I’d forgotten to stop the GPS tracking when I stopped swimming.

Guess it was just one of those days…

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