Tag Archive: fish


Despite my best intentions, the ongoing home renovation saga and the inevitable post-public holiday workload, I missed training all week this week.

Thanks god for Saturday mornings, and training this week did not disappoint!

The water temperature at the moment is so stunning. It really makes swimming such a pleasure.

The session was my second favourite thing (after body surfing!) to do…a swim safari!

Today we headed to the South end, which we do less commonly than the North. I think it’s a little more technically challenging (Wikipedia just told me that ” While the northern end has been rated a gentle 4 (with 10 as the most hazardous), the southern side is rated as a 7″), and the south end is where the surfers tend to be, and that can be a challenge for us (nobody wants to get hit in the head by a surfboard).

Like the North end, there is a famous rip that can give you a sweet ride out if you know what you’re doing. It’s known as the “backpacker express” because of the Backpacker’s hostel across the road. Or the numbers unwary backpackers who have taken a ride on it! If you look closely at the first picture of us getting our briefing on the beach below, you can see the “Dangerous Currents” sign in the background…and if you look even harder at the second picture you can actually see the rip itself…the deceptively calm looking spot where the waves aren’t breaking.

The joy of a rip, though , for ocean swimming, is that if it’s going in the same direction you are, it gives you a significant boost in speed. And if you know not to swim against the rip, when you’re coming back in, that’s a significant gain.

Once we were out in the rip, we did a swimming tour of the reef along the edge of Bondi Icebergs. There were loads of fish around. Schools of surface-swimming silvery garfish parting around the swimmers, tiny stripy things darting around, a massive blue groper darting out from under a rock to give me a bit of a start, and all manner of speckled and coloured fishies sharing the warm waters. Glorious! (I tried taking photos, but the sky was a bit overcast and they were moving pretty fast…not sure my blurry shots add anything so I’ve left them off).

We did our swim, into the “boot” (a boot-shaped rock), and out and around to the point, back again, and then were faced with two options…

First option was to swim out to the other side of the rip to get back in. Benefits: Safe, flatter swim, chance of catching a wave in. Risks: Surfers!

Second option was to shave along the very edge of the reef inside the rip. Benefits: Shorter distance, lots of fish, more to see. Risks: Running into rocks.

The group split. I had a think about the high tide and caught a flash of Zoe’s orange rashie heading down along the reef, and decided on that option. And it was completely worth it.

I swam with Fiona (I think everyone else took the surf option) and we skirted the reef pretty easily most of the way, surrounded by fish. There is one kind of hairy bit, it’s a narrow channel between two shallow rocks, where we had to swim in single file. It was pretty fun, though, as coming out the other side there was a massive school of fish right underneath you.

The risky option paid off, as well, as we were back on the beach well before all but the fastest swimmers who took the other option.

Ah, such a good session. Good for the soul!

Ah, Friday swims…best session of the week in my humble opinion! Last week was definitely no exception. I missed Tuesday training stuck late at work, and then didn’t make my Wednesday Can Too session (booo) as some idiot knocked over my bike where it was parked for the day and broke the clutch lever…making it a little difficult for me to get there. Anyway, a trip to the parts shop, a screwdriver, a shifter and a youtube video later and I’m back on the road and was back in the water. Yay!

I was running quite late getting out of the office so raced across and threw my gear down and literally ran down to the beach to join the group for the swim. We headed out on a swim safari to the boat ramp at North Bondi, then out and around Ben Buckler with a test of nerve to see how far we would swim out as a group!

I love doing this swim, it’s completely amazing to me to see that magical world under the surface, and it’s one of the charms of ocean swimming for me. I remember being so surprised, when I first took up this sport, to find all sorts of sea life flourishing in Bondi. I think because it’s so sandy in the middle, and quite small, and there had always been soooo many people, and I guess never having swum there with goggles and therefore been able to see properly, I had selfish(pun!)ly assumed there wouldn’t really be much in the way of sea life there.

How wrong I was!

Rarely is there a swim where I don’t see all sorts of fish and rays. At the North and South ends there are rocks and seagrass beds which are absolutely bursting with life. On lucky days I’ve seen whales not far off shore, and even luckier had a pod of dolphins come and swim with me, Jules and coach Kingy! On the unlucky days the place is overrun with bluebottles, and there are all sorts of jellyfish out there…luckily most of them seem to be the non-stinging kind.

Even though I’ve snorkeled heaps over the years, swum heaps in the past couple, and taken up diving in the past few months, there’s just something about being right in there checking out this completely different world that I never grow tired of. Luckily for me, I live somewhere where the geography and the climate mean I pretty much never have to!

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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Bronte Beach

Bronte Beach

Ahhh…Friday was hot and steamy in the city. A Friday night swim was definitely in order…especially after I hadn’t managed much swimming during the week due to the finger/door incident of last Sunday.

This Friday was a bit different to usual training. We went to Bronte beach instead of Bondi. Outrageous!

Don’t worry, though, we aren’t finding a new home, there was a very specific reason for the change. On Sunday, quote a few swimmers were planning on swimming the Bondi to Bronte event. We’re pretty familiar with the start, but we did some specific circuits, practicing coming in where we expected the race to end. We also had fish and chips in the park afterwards 🙂

As a special treat my sister decided to join us for a refreshing dip too!

Bronte Beach is quite similar to Bondi in a lot of ways, but in some ways it’s also quite different. The beach in general is much steeper. It’s a climb up to anywhere and the water’s edge itself is quite steep so the water gets deep very quickly.

The sand at Bronte is much coarser and more shelly than Bondi. I know this because I body-surfed right up to the beach a couple of times and ended up with a not insubstantial amount in my swimmers!

Bronte is a bit smaller than Bondi, and has more of a central rip instead of the two you normally get round the corner. A lot of fun grabbing that little express right out from the middle!

Unfortunately I did have a bit of a drama…my trusty (well maybe not so much in hindsight) Pentax decided not to work while I was in the water. When I got it home I realised why….the whole thing was full of water and the battery had leaked. The whole thing was toast. Boooo.

There’s an upside to everything, though..I did a bit of research on the weekend and made a new purchase so watch this space for a review of my shiny new camera!

Woo hoo, it was an absolute cracker of a weekend, and it all started with one stunning Friday night swim. 

The sun was shining, the air was warm, the water temp was good, and the water clarity was as good as it ever gets. Even the tourists had come out of the backpacker hostels and were down on the beach having a swim.

We did a swim across to the north end, with a trip into the beach and back out halfway. Then it was one of the famous Friday Zoe’s swim safaris out the rip, to the boat ramp, then further out to the head.

It was pretty stunning…with such clear water and good light we had a great view of all the fish and the rays and the sea grass. It still amazes me that even at a beach like Bondi where the are always people around, and where that’s been the case for such a long time, that there is so much wildlife down there. It’s pretty special to be able to be out there interacting with that environment, and in such beautiful conditions it was a real joy to be swimming.

Sometimes it’s tough training, if there’s jellies, or you’re having to choose it over some other activity. But other days, it absolutely feels like something you do for pleasure, and Friday was most definitely one of those days!

 

Yes, you read that correctly…summer is here, Can Too Training throws out our normally scheduled programming, and a whole new routine starts from now. And it begins with the long-awaited return of the Friday night swim!!! Hooray!!!

Last year we did Friday night swims at Bondi and it fast became my very favourite swim of the week. I didn’t have my motorbike last summer, so I was only able to go when I could be assured of someone heading back in my direction (public transport options from Bondi Beach to where I live are pretty disgraceful, and involve at least 2 changes). This year, I’m hoping it will be a regular fixture as I can easily zip out of the city to Bondi, and get home in 15-20 minutes afterwards!

This Friday did not disappoint in any way. The weather was glorious…beautiful golden light, warm water, just a few little shore-breakers but nothing too messy in terms of waves, and a relaxed crew of smiling swimmers who also understand that there’s no competition when deciding between Friday night drinks and a Friday night swim.

There’s just something about it….after a hot and sticky week in the city (OK, so there was a crazy hailstorm at lunchtime, but it was still hot and sticky the rest of the time), there’s just nothing like washing of the dust and grime and the cares of the week with a swim. It signals the true end of the working week and the glorious beginning to the weekend!

I also didn’t have my underwater camera last year, and discovered that the evening golden hour light produced some magnificent swimming photos. I don’t have the files with me, so I’ll have to try to remember to add in a slideshow or similar soon, but they’re definitely worth checking out on my Flikr page as they’ll give a good idea of just how lovely it was.

edit: Here’s the slideshow…

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Friday night swims also seem to be a great opportunity for the patented coach Zoe swim safaris, where we go for a bit of an explore around the rocky grassy ends of Bondi to check out all the fish and rays and other interesting things to see, and this is exactly what we did this week (Yay!). The swim map tells the story…

Friday Night North End Swim Safari

Friday Night North End Swim Safari

Ah, just divine. Welcome back Friday night swims. I’ve missed you!!

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