Heron Island: It is waiting for you.
It's pouring new season swims
We've been inundated with new season swims keen to open for online entry on oceanswims.com. Chief amongst them is the return of the Hervey Bay swim, the Pier2Pub, which had disappeared for a couple of years but is resurrected now for Sundee, October 2, the new Queens Birthday weekend in Queensland.
Thus, it's a long weekend, and an easy drive up the coast for sou'-east Queenslanders, or a quick flight direct to Hervey Bay from Sydney.
Hervey Bay is the eternal beach. We stopped in there in late July. What struck us was that the beach just seems to drift on forever. We say drift, because that's the pace of life 'round them parts: the beach just goes on, and on... Sighhh... There was lots of whale activity in the bay when we were there, but life on shore went on the same.
Three distances in Hervey Bay along the beach – 3km, 1km, and 500m.
Online entries close at noon on Friday, September 30... Click here
Back down south, the first event of the new season is the Forries Island swim, when the boardies of Forresters Beach continue fundraising in support of research into bone marrow cancer. So far, since Dave "Coke" Wards passed away 28 years ago, they've raised around $300,000.
Forresters is a spectacular beach on the NSW Central Coast (that's it, above). It's open, exposed, with a reef offshore, and the main swim goes around that reef. It's a beautiful swim.
Online entries close at 3pm, Friday, October 14... Click here
Back to Burleigh
Back in Queensland again, but the Goldie this time, Burleigh Heads (right) runs on Sunday, October 30. An icon beach, this one: some of the best-shaped waves in Strãa run into this beach. Easy to get to from both Brisbane and Sydney; two distances on offer: 2km and 1km. It's a very early start, but you can check in the afternoon prior to save time on swim day.
Online entries close at noon on Saturday, October 29... Click here
It's not too late to book for Mana Island (below) in Fiji on October 20-22, either: again so easy to get to from Strãa's east coast (provided to book the right flights). Mana's 10km swim is growing strongly, particularly since it was opened up to all comers through a 3 x 3km relay to complement the solo swimmers. You also can use Mana's 10km as a solo qualifier for Rottnest Channel in February.
That's on Thursday, October 20. Then, on Saturday, October 22, there are swims of 5km, 3km, and 1km.
These swims are in some of the best water in which you will ever swim.
Find out more and book... Click here
And that's not all!
In all, we have 13 new season swims already open to online entry through oceanswims.com, and seven or eight more will be added in the coming days. There's a complete list of swims open for online entry through oceanswims.com at the bottom of this newsletter...
Among other notable news in new season swims –
- There's a new event in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs at South Maroubra, on the first Sunday in February, February 5;
- The move of Narrabeen from October to the first Sundee in November means that November is now full of swims in and around Sydney;
- Yamba, on the Far North Coast of NSW, has moved into the New Year, on Monday, January 2;
- The Mona Vale swim on January 22 will offer a longer distance this season at 2.2km for the main event, by extending around the rock platform and ending in Bongin Bongin Bay; and
- There's another new swim at Cronulla in early November, part of a "weekend" festival of sporting events. (We hope this does not detract from the Cook Community Classic, run as a fundraiser for all Bate Bay surf clubs, on November 20.)
Like painted punters, in a painted ocean.
Heron Island makes room for more punters
The folk at Heron Island are offering incentives to punters who've already booked for the Great Barrier Reef Swim (November 3-7): upgrade your room at special rates. This could free up more rooms for punters who would like still to book. Alternatively, come to Heron early and/or leave late: add days at the start or the finish.
You'd must do this swim at some stage, not just for the experience of swimming on the Great Barrier Reef, but for the critical mass of ocean swimming culcha to which it gives you access. Just think of it: five days of mixing with no-one but ocean swimmers! Can there be anything more desirable in the world?
Most of the Reef rooms on Heron Island are taken, but some are still available, along with some Beachside Suites, Wistari Suites and Point Suites.
Think about staying outside the base days for the swim too: head out to Heron Island early, or come back later. We'll be there early, swimming around the island each day to get a feel for the water. Why don't you join us?
Swim on the reef, not inside it
Swimming on the Great Barrier Reef is a cathartic experience. You also may never swim in water as clear and as pristine as the water over the reef. It's very different from swimming off islands and beaches inside the reef. If you're thinking of heading north to swim over the cooler months, best to make sure that you're heading to water on the reef, not inside it, as some swims offer. There is a big difference.
Find out more and book... Click here
Last drinks on our oceanswimsafar Costa Brava for 2016: some of the mob gather at the 3 Pins.
We don't take you just anywhere
2017 oceanswimsafaris - Get in now
We're in Yrp as we bash this out on our vintage Olivetti portable (the one with the bouncy keys... it takes up a lot of room and weight in our cardboard Samsonite), but already we have finalised some dates for our oceanswimsafaris in 2017 –
- Vanuatu - Port Vila (May 24-29 Dates TBC)
- Vanuatu - Santo (May 31-June 5 Dates TBC)
- Sulawesi (Indonesia, June 11-19)
- Tonga - Swim with Whales 1 (July 25-Aug 2) - 4 spots available
- Tonga - Swim with Whales 2 (Aug 1-9) - 3 spots available
- Tonga - Swim with Whales 3 (Aug 8-16) - Sold out!
- San Sebastián (Spain, Aug 23-29)
- Costa Brava (Spain, Aug 31-Sep 8)
- Greece (Sep 12-21 TBC)
- Yasawas Fiji (Oct 16-23)
- Mana Fiji (Oct 24-29)
- Heron Island (Nov 4-8 TBC)
We've had a lot of interest in our oceanswimsafaris in 2017, so we have set up a system by which you can secure your spot on your favoured oceanswimsafari with a refundable deposit. Then, when we finalise the tour costs, you will have a week to decide whether to proceed or pull out. We've taken quite a few deposits already for Tonga, Sulawesi, the Costa Brava and Mana Island.
If you'd like to take advantage of this opportunity, send us a (no obligation) Enquiry form... Click here
We're your next adventure
Ever since Lanie Campbell floated serenly in the entrance to the sea cave on the Costa Brava, following punters have tried to emulate her, only to be stifled by swell that made the cave entrance dodgy. This year, we got in again, although this is not us.
Our old friend, Joe Oakes, has a business card that reads, "Joe Oakes, Adventurer". He said to us once, "(oceanswims.com), do you know how you become 'an adventurer'?" No, Joe, we said. And he said, "You get a business card with 'Adventurer' written on it."
Joe Oakes really is an adventurer: he went around the world using non-motorised transport, including swimming Bering Strait from Siberia to Alaska (and he wrote a book about it). Later in life, Joe spent much of his time travelling the world in cruise ships delivering lectures to more mature passengers, whom he referred to as "coffin-cheaters", about his adventures.
But Joe's advice comes to mind when we hear of some of the swim series running around the place these days. The "Global Swim Series", based in Canada, charges events to be listed on their calendar then applies a point-score system to them. But "global"? How does the "World Swim Series" get to be "World"? They call themselves that and perhaps register the trading name. In reality, the "World Swim Series" has a handful of events in Queensland, one in Victoria, and now a commercial tie-up with one in NSW.
The "Great Australian Swim Series" was one event in North Queensland, two small events near Brisbane, one larger event in NSW, then a later association with the Byron swim.
As ocean swimming grows, so it becomes more attractive to more commercially-driven operators. We like to think that ocean swimmers are insightful enough to spot the commercial from the authentic, but some may slip through.
There is a recently arrived website, for example, that has begun to hold itself out as being the centre of the ocean swimming community. It offers a calendar and swim entry online. Most of their calendar material appears to be taken from oceanswims.com, and when you click the Registration buttons, the links bring you through to oceanswims.com. It seems to us that they like to pretend that they're us.
The common thread through all of this is the quest to build mailing lists. Commerce depends these days on the size of your mailing list. Ocean swimmers would be aware that whenever they interact with a commercial group, they will be added to a mailing list. We have had several approaches in recent years to "acquire" oceanswims.com, but when it boils down, it's all about acquiring our mailing list.
Be aware that our mailing list, built up over 17 years involvement in ocean swimming, is available to noone. We may work with commercial interests from time to time to let you know about stuff that we consider to be relevant to your participation in this caper, but we control what's in it. No-one gets our list.
One of the saddest sights in San Sebastián is at the end of the "season", when the authorities tow away the pontoons with slippery dips that are moored in the bay over summer. Some punters relish their last goes on them, like Stephen Burns.
Swims open to online entry
The season hasn't even opened, but already we have entries online open to a string of new season swims...
- October 2 – Hervey Bay
- October 15 - Forresters Beach
- October 18-23 – Mana Fiji
- October 31 – Burleigh Heads
- November 3-7 – Heron Island
- November 5 - Narrabeen
- November 13 - Collaroy
- November 20 – Balmain (Dawny), Cronulla
- November 26 – Toowoon Bay
- December 3 – North Curl Curl
- December 10 – Nobbys-Newcastle
- December 18 - Wollongong
- January 22 - Mona Vale (coming soon)