Wild about swimming

In England, they call it "wild swimming" – punters head out of the city, find a pool or a lake, and plunge in. It's "in the wild", see. It's swimming pretty much anywhere outside of a council Olympic pool. A bunch of them in London do it every day in the Serpentine, which is a lake in Hyde Park.

wild swimming web 2It's different in Stra'a and New Zealand, where the climate is more conducive to "wild swimming" and it's not quite so special or different, although we, too, get off on the thrill of testing the frontier. There are issues that we face here that make "wild swimming" a little different to over there, however. Such as King Brown snakes in the river. Men in grey suits. And did you see on River Monsters on the telly the eels or fish that attack you in streams in NZ? We haven't done "wild swimming" in the UK, so we can't be sure what the parallels might be.

Yes, please! We'd like to go Wild Swimming here.

wild swimming cover webAnyway, "wild swimming" is the latest big thing in the UK. Indeed, one of our all time fave books is the bible of the subject: Waterlog by the late Roger Deakin is a diary of the author's travels around the UK focusing on wild swimming in enclosed waters and in the sea. It's a cross between Paul Theroux and Nature Watch.

In the UK they have a wild swimming society, with a website, and the newspapers write about it in their feature and travel pages quite regularly. It's an exotic pastime for the eccentric and the pioneering, apparently.

Anyway, now Wild Things Publishing have released a guide to wild swimming around the NSW metropolitan area and the Blue Mountains.

Wild Swimming Sydney is a collaboration between two punters, Steve Pollard, a pom, and Sally Tertini, a Stra'an from Sydney.

The marvel of this book is how far and wide, and how intricate, this pair have travelled to compile this guide to 250 rock pools, beaches, swimmin' holes, ocean pools and more around Sydney and near regions: the mountains, the southern tablelands, the Illawarra, the Central Coast, and Newcastle and the Lower Hunter. Some of them require camping and many of them require bush walks, both of which are bonuses.

Most of the swimming spots are more for tea-bagging than distance, but there's nothing wrong with that. Living in Sydney, you sort of know there are lots of places out there that you'd just love to visit some day and dip into the pristine wilderness of a bushland pool. If you only knew where they were and how to get there...

Now Steve and Sally have done the hard work. It's a terrific book, and the photography is quite magnificent, too.

Wild Swimming Sydney (Wild Things Publishing, Bath, UK, authors Sally Tertini and Steve Pollard, 256pp, paperback)

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I ocean swim, therefore...

bs cossies both bothWe've been wanting to do this for years and now we have, with the help of our cobbers from budgysmuggler.com.au, we've released our very own oceanswims cossies. We haven't put commercial markers on them too heavily because we respect your right not to be a walking billboard. But observing punters will be in no doubt about whom you are: An Ocean Swimmer, ie "I ocean swim, therefore I am".

The Laydees model is designed with racing and swimming longer distances in mind. Mrs Sparkle loves this style, with its narrow straps that slide across the back to suit the way you swim. Very comfy, she says, and they keep her "in", whatever that means. They're chlorine-resistant, too, so you can wear them in the pool as well as the ocean.

The Gents model...? There's not much you can do with budgys for boofheads, of course, apart from make them look good, and chlorine-resistant, and the budgysmuggler people have done both of those things.

We love them. And you can buy them now... Click here

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Note - We've discovered since our last newsletter that the phone number given at the bottom here for contact with the Heron Island people has been wrong in earlier newsletters. Sorry about that. We just used the number they gave us. Anyway, the number at the bottom now is, they tell us, the correct number to use. So, get booking...

A message from our cobbers on Heron Island...

Book your place in the 2016 Great Barrier Reef Swim on Heron Island before 15 June and receive a 10% discount!

Plans for the 2016 Great Barrier Reef Swim are underway and we can't wait to welcome all swimmers, their families and their friends to Heron Island for four days of fun in the sun and in the water from Thursday 3 November - Monday 7 November 2016.

The 4 night Great Barrier Reef Swim Package includes:

  • 4 nights' accommodation
  • All meals - breakfast, buffet lunch and a 2 course or buffet dinner
  • Return boat transfers from Gladstone for 2 guests
  • Welcome drinks
  • Swim clinics
  • Swim entry
  • a 2016 Great Barrier Reef Swim goodie bag

From $900 per adult, twin share

To secure your spot, book online, email [email protected] or call 1300 732 354.

heron find out more button

Terms and conditions apply.

how to ocean swim

How to ocean swim

We're sorry, we'll say this again...

All the years we've been swimming in the ocean, we've struggled. How do you this better? How can we improve our swimming to enjoy it more? What is it all about? What does it mean? Whither are we drifting?

Now, there's a definitive source of answers to all these questions.

How to Ocean Swim is the definitive guide to being an ocean swimmer, covering everything from preparing and first lessons through etiquette, the physiological side-effects of latex swim caps, and the necessary vocabulary so that you can make yourself understood in a contretemps with a breastroker around a turning booee.

It's advice covers all conceivable circumstances, eg...

"Susannah is quite old to learn to swim but she realised from watching the television that swimming is an essential life skill. For instance, what would she do if she was a refugee? Or if she wanted to become the prime minister of Australia like Harold Holt or Tony Abbott?

Or this...

In Australia, there are many colloquialisms to describe men's swimming attire, including togs, sluggos, dick stickers and budgie smugglers. Can you think whey they are called budgie smugglers?


In most sports, being overweight is a distinct disadvantage. Not in open water swimming. Fat makes a person more buoyant and insulates against hypothermia. This means that open water swimmers can eat almost anything which means in Australia that a a lot of us are girth by sea as well as girt by sea.

(You've been warned. Yes, a warning: this is a parody, a spoof, it's not supposed to be serious, but it's not a dead parrot and it is very, very funny, with all the elegant understatement that the poms do so well. It is our best read all year.)

You can get your own copy of How to Ocean Swim from Lizzie Crowhurst, who wrote and published the guide to raise funds for Can Too. If you'd like a copy ($20)... Click here

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Marathon ends NZ season

Telex from Auckland...

Andrew-Cave-with-Wayne-AnnanAfter concerns with the weather, we made the call to start the Auckland Marathon at another location on Saturday afternoon, and do the same course we had in 2014. Proved to be the right call, it was forecast with increasing winds and heavy rain. Of course as soon as the speaker were in place for registration it started to rain, Thanks to the kind folk at the Glendowie Boat club we were under shelter, the rain stopped as briefing finished and the swimmers entered the very calm protect water.

As they came around Ladies Bay, the harbour had settled, the wind was changing to the south, thus no wind on the swim course, although we had a massive rain drop, but it flattened the water.

It went very well with everyone enjoying the swim and no issues with the change of course. A successful swim with only 2 withdrawals, 52 starters. We had 3 teams this year, which added some fun.

Congratulations to Andrew Cave (right, with awgie Wayne Annan) on winning the Fiji trip from the fine ocean swimmers series NZ, organised by oceanswims.com, a web site that supports our swims and helps provide information on open water swimming and worth a look at.

Well done to Brent Foster for a special swim, his first 10km, even though he did a 20km swim supporting Westpac Chopper appeal recently, also to Nikki Johns, first female home and skins swimmer.

Wayne Annan

Biaffaletes! New event at Warriewood for swimmers, beach runners

There's a new event this Saturday, May 7, that will be perfect for swimmers and beach runners. The Chieftain's Challenge, a swim-run-swim, etc, much like the 3 Points Challenge at North Curl Curl in December only the running is all along the sand and there's more swimming. This new event is run by Warriewood Surf Life Saving Club, and replaces the Turimetta swim which experienced such hellish conditions over its brief life. The Chieftain's Challenge starts at Bongin Bongin Bay, at Mona Vale, and makes its way southwards along the beach to Warriewood with alternating swims and beach runs. It's a 2pm start, and it stays well clear of Mothers Day the next day.

Find out more about the Chieftain's Challenge and enter online... Click here

After that, on May 15 it's the South Head Roughwater, for endurance ocean swimmers,and the postponed date of the Caves Beach swim, which is for sprinter-type swimmers. We'll be at Caves Beach, because it's where we grew up.


And we've opened entries to the Mona Vale Solstice Swim on Sundee, June 19, where you can swim from Bongin Bongin Bay around the rock shelf into Mona Vale, then warm yourself with Mrs June Dibbs's minestrone. Water temp probably will still be around 20C, maybe a little over, maybe a little under... Click here

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Perfect water at South Curly

We have our report online now from the South Curl Curl-Freshwater Swim last Sundee. A bit cloudy, but not cold, but how good was the water! It was one of the nicest swims we've done all season, and the reach from the booee off the point into Freshwater, with the gentle swell behind us, was the reason why we get up to this caper.

Check out our report from South Curl Curl, and The Fukers... Click here

reverse garbage 160501

Cap amnesty

Terrific response to our cap amnesty last Sundee at South Curl Curl, and our collaborator, Ross Summerfield, dropped the hundreds of caps at Reverse Garbage later on Sunday afternoon. Well done, you, Ross.


riddington swimfassst poolCraig Riddington's SwimFassst

The ironman, Craig Riddington, has invented a device that could make you a much better swimmer. We've tried it, and it makes us better.

SwimFasst is designed to help you grab and pull more effectively through the water, with better body position. You can buy SwimFassst by itself, or with a couple of lessons from Riddo himself to get you iinto the swing of SwimFassst.

More info and to order... Click here

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We're your next adventure

Come with us on an oceanswimsafari over winter 2016. Pick one below, or if you have a group, we can build one around your needs.

Right now, you can book -

Vanuatu – May 23-June 3 - Port Vila and Santo from $A640 per person for four nights in Port Vila and $A970 for six nights in Espiritu Santo. We also have a three-night prequel, as they say, at one of the most beautiful boutique resorts you will ever find, Paradise Cove, outside Port Vila, from $A760 (prequel is sold out, we're sorry). Prices include swim entry as necessary... Click here

Sulawesi – Our first inaugural oceanswimsafari in this far-flung corner of Indonesia that you'd never otherwise visit. Pristine water along reefs that drop-off to nothing, and lots of sea life.  -- From $A2,725 (July 9-18)... SOLD OUT

Tonga – Come swimming with whales with us, August 10-18 from $A3,305... Click here... And check out our report from our oceanswimsafari to Tonga earlier in 2015... SOLD OUT for 2016 but we are now taking deposits for 2017. We have one Tonga oceanswimsafari full for 2017 already, and we have a second tour half sold. If you're interested, better get in now... Click here

San Sebastián (Spain) – Some of Europe's best food, colourful history, and adventurous swimming from $A2,110 (August 24-30)... SOLD OUT

Costa Brava (Spain) – Swim France to Spain and other myriad swimming adventures, culture, food, Salvador Dalí – it's got it all -- from $A3,320 – (September 12-20)... Click here - We have already sold out one Costa Brava oceanswimsafari in 2016 but we still have places available on our second oceanswimsafari.

Mana Fiji SwimFest - Packages are online now for the Mana Fiji swims October 18-23. Two days of swimming (separated by a day) - 10km solor or 3x relay on Thursday, then 5km, 3km, 1km on Saturday. Mana Island's North Beach is one of the best places in the world for an ocean swim. Packages from $A1,285 pp twin share. You can use the 10km solo swim to qualify for Rottnest the following February... Click here

Yasawas Fiji oceanswimsafaris - We're doing two oceanswimsafaris to Fiji's Yasawas Islands, to the fabled Blue Lagoon staying at Blue Lagoon Resort. The first is prior to the Mana swims (Oct 10-16), the other following (Oct 23-29). Packages from $A2,145... Click here

Book for next year

We've had so much interest in our oceanswimsafaris in future years that we've decided to open bookings early so you can reserve your spot. For a $500 deposit, you can make sure you don't miss out. The deposit is fully refundable if you decide not to go ahead (obviously, until we work out tour prices, we don't expect you to make an irrevocable commitment). We've already taken deposits for 1.5 oceanswimsafaris to Tonga in 2017 to swim with whales. Don't miss out on this one, or on any of the oceanswimsafaris you'd like to do.

Just fill in a pre-booking form nominating the oceanswimsafari you'd like, noting on the form that it's for a future year, and we'll be in touch... Click here

Swims open for online entry

Mona Vale- Warriewood (Sat, May 7)... Click here
Caves Beach
(Sun, May 15)... Click here
South Head (Sun, May 15)... Click here
Mona Vale Solstice (Sun, June 19)... Click here


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