vanuatu santo segund channel rainbow 2013
Segund Channel, Espiritu Santo, calmer now after Cyclone Pam (pic taken two years ago, mind you). We'll swim across this channel during Espiritu Santo Swim Week.

The autumn of our content

This weekend...

The season is winding down. How else to interpret a calendar that shows only two swims around Stra'a, and another two in New Zealand.

Sat, April 18 - North Haven (SA), Raglan, North Harbour Auckland (NZ)
Sun, April 19 - Black Head e (NSW)

We're taking online entries to Black Head on the NSW Lower North Coast on Sunday.

black head pano 13

Black Head

A gem on the lower north coast, just past Forster, Black Head returns this season after an hiatus of a year. It's a beach much like Mollymook, only shorter: the shape of the beach is almost identical to Mollymook, with the surf club nestled in the southern corner, a Depression-era pool built into the southern rock shelf, and a lagoon/wetlands behind. It doesn't have the reefs of Mollymook half way along, but there you go.

Black Head is one of those communities that makes you realise how much you're missing by not getting out of the city more. The coast is dotted with these places, and we get to just a few of them largely by virtue only of their annual swims. It's a stunning place, in a quiet, pretty community. And plus: with the expressway conditions now running past Taree, Black Head is a comfortable day trip from Sydney and Newcastle if you don't fancy the entire weekend up there, which we'll be enjoying, just quietly.

Weather forecast predicts a chance of showers, but the wind on Sundee morning is expected to be a light breeze from the nor'-west, so it's unlikely to be raining then. More like a gentle offshore blow, smoothing the sea and making it just noice.

Two distances: 1.5km and 700m. Like some other country swims, there's even a family entry option to make it cheaper for mum, dad and the school-aged kids. So we'll see you there?

The forecast
  • Weather - Partly cloudy, chance of showers, 17-24C (Willy Weather)
  • Wind - 9 knots NW (Hurley Surf)
  • Swell - 1.3 ft, SSE (Hurley Surf)
  • Tide - High 8:29am, 1.6m (Willy Weather)

Online entries to the Head2Head Swim at Black Head close at 3pm on Sat'dee, April 18... Click here

Postponed swims

Two swims were postponed over Easter. Queenscliff will run now on Saturday, May 2, and Terrigal has been rescheduled to Saturday, May 9. Online entries to both swims have re-opened.

More info

Go to for more info about all this weekend's events. Look at Featured Swims on the right of our home page, and under Swims/Calendars for the complete swim calendar.

And the NZ winner is...

fosnz15logoWe have our travel prize winners in the first inaugural fine ocean swimmers series NZ. We know the series was won by Bruce Smith, of Auckland. Bruce has opted to travel to Fiji in October for the Mana Fiji SwimFest.

hollingsworth rebeccaOur second winner is Rebecca Hollingsworth (left), from Wellington, which points to the enormous effort Rebecca put in, taking part in five of the fine ocean swimmers series six swims. The closest swim in the series to Wellington was Taupo. All others were farther north. Well done, yourself, Rebecca!

Rebecca will be travelling to Vanuatu in June to attend Espiritu Santo Swim Week.

The finishing order of all qualifying swimmers in the series was -

  1. Bruce Smith (Auckland) - 541.93 pts, 6/6 swims
  2. Andrew Stevens (Mt Eden) - 525.56, 6/6 swims
  3. Jenny Stark (Castor Bay) - 508.41, 6/6 swims
  4. Brent Foster (Mt Wellington) - 488.80, 5/6 swims
  5. Harriet Lamb (Te Awamutu) - 458.44, 6/6 swims
  6. Rebecca Hollingsworth (Khandallah) - 396.35, 5/6 swims
  7. Wayne Annan (Glendowie) - 386.75, 6/6 swims
  8. Roger Soulsby (Auckland) - 368.73, 5/6 swims
  9. John Shackleton (Ararimu) - 367.89, 4/6 swims
  10. Pauline Mills (Glendowie) - 365.66, 5/6 swims
  11. Linda Collard (Waitakere) - 343.10 (5/6 swims
  12. Bridget Dingle (Auckland) - 310.79, 4/6 swims
  13. Dermot Smith (Auckland) - 300.34, 4/6 swims

For a full account... Click here

fosnsw15logoNSW fine ocean swimmers

Last Sunday's final round of the fine ocean swimmers series NSW confirmed Lisa Critoph as winner. Lisa will come with us to Vanuatu in June to attend Espiritu Santo Swim Week. Since the second travel prize, to the Mana Fiji SwimFest, is due in October, we'll the draw of that prize to our Brewery Night, which we expect to hold in late May.

Following the completion of all nine rounds of the series, qualifying swimmers are -

  1. Lisa Critoph, Elanora, 811.66, 9/9 swims
  2. Judy Playfair, Earlwood, 742.98, 8/9
  3. Margaret Wilby, Thirlmere, 650.46, 8/9
  4. Angela van Boxtel, Manly, 630.24, 9/9
  5. Sue Wiles, Wentworth Falls, 625.43, 8/9
  6. David Smith, Newtown, 611.37, 9/9
  7. Fiona Hockley, Warnervale, 574.31, 8/9
  8. Shayne Collier, Gladesville, 558.59, 8/9
  9. Mark O'Sullivan, Maroubra, 552.1, 7/9
  10. Matthew Innes, Roselands, 550.48, 7/9
  11. Kate Helsham, Potts Point, 545.79, 8/9
  12. Jillian Pateman, Lawson, 537.19, 7/9
  13. Warren Smith, Kotara, 534.24, 7/9
  14. Regina Haertsch, Willoughby, 504.24, 8/9
  15. Graham Hill, Balmain, 458.31, 7/9
  16. Marc West, Canterbury, 455.87, 7/9
  17. Michele O'Callaghan, Warrimoo, 440.00, 7/9
  18. Megan Duckworth, Narrabeen, 429.76, 7/9
  19. Victoria Nettle, Sutherland, 423.99, 7/9
  20. Brett McCulloch, Callala Bay, 418.67, 7/9
  21. Norm McIntyre, Drummoyne, 390.53, 7/9

What's your next adventure?

vanuatu olry 250


June - Port Vila, then Espiritu Santo Swim Week - Two swims in Port Vila, then a week of ocean swimming and other escapades on Santo, Vanuatu's Adventure Island. Do either or both legs. Visiting as a tourist is one of the best ways to support Vanuatu after Tropical Cyclone Pam. Port Vila was hit pretty hard, but Santo was pretty much unscathed and life continues as usual. Air Vanuatu's schedules are a little restricted until June 25: they're flying from Sydney on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, twice weekly from Brisbane, and four times weekly between Port Vila and Auckland, between April 17 and June 25... Click here

tonga whale 250Tonga

July-August - Swim with whales - A week of swimming and whale watching in this unknown Pacific paradise, with the opportunity of getting in and swimming with the whales... Click here

Greek Islands

August - In the wake of Jason and the Argonauts, and Mamma Mia - Sail around the Northern Sporades, where Jason sailed, and Meryl Streep tried to marry off her daughter, with some of the best food you'll ever eat, and swim in some of the best water you'll ever experience... Click here

san sebastian pintxos 250Spain - San Sebastián

August-September - Pintxos, txakolí, cider, and swimming - The Basque country at the western end of the Pyrenees in northern Spain is a rich cultural mix. You'll get a taste of much of it on our inaugural oceanswimsafari here... Click here

Spain - Costa Brava

September - On the other side of Spain, the eastern end of the Pyrenees, we'll get more of the world's best water in the Mediterranean, and the world's best food, and more culchural mix, dipping our toe into the world -- and the home -- of Salvador Dalí... Click here

yasawas tavewa 250Fiji

October - Mana Fiji SwimFest and the Yasawas - One of our favourite Pacific island swim venues, a festival of swimming at Mana Island, and a week's oceanswimsafari to perhaps the most beautiful, remote swimming location on earth, the Yasawa islands. Do both or either... Click here for Mana... and here for the Yasawas

Heron Island

October 29-November 2 - Enormously popular over the last few years, we had almost 200 punters with us on Heron Island last October. It really is a good weekend of swimming in some of the most beautiful water, right on the Great Barrier Reef. It will be a cathartic experience for you, too. Have you ever swum with sharks?... Packages available soon.

Swims open to online entry on

Black Head (Sun, Apr 19)... Click here
South Curl Curl-Freshwater (Sun, Apr 26)... Click here
Queenscliff (Sun, May 2)... Click here - Rescheduled date
Terrigal (Sat, May 9)... Click here - Rescheduled date
South Head (Sun, May 17)... Click here
Vanuatu (June 6 and 10)... Click here
Mona Vale (Sun, June 21)... Click here
Mana Fiji (Thu-Sat, Oct 15-17)... Click here
Evans Head (Sun, Nov 15)... Click here

Coming soon... Tweed River (Sun, Nov 29), Toowoon Bay (Sat, Nov 28)


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