Friday, April 24, 2009

Day Four: Filling In The Gaps

A day when I went back to swim those tidal baths and swimming enclosures that I neglected in my original plan.

I'd had a change of mind by day three of this swimming lark, and had decided to swim harbour and river tidal baths as well as my original idea of coastal and bay baths and rock pools. Unfortunately, this meant going back to swim several swimming enclosures in Port Hacking and the Georges River. In contrast to the previous days, day four was cold and windy. The temperature never got above 16 ( there had been snowfalls in The Snowy Mountains the day before). Luckily, the water was still warm. With the exception of Carss Point Baths, I had never swum in any of these tidal enclosures.

Gymea Bay Baths
It was still 13 degrees with a very cold wind as I travelled to these baths. They are in an attractive reserve, and, despite the cool weather, it all looked very inviting. The only people around were anglers, rugged up against the wind and looking surprised at my swim.

Lilli Pilli Baths
Another lovely spot. The wind was very strong on Port Hacking, creating choppy waves in this small enclosure.

Como Baths
I've often seen these baths from the train when I'm on my way for a walk and a swim in Heathcote National Park. I've often thought about coming here to have a swim. Today it was quite shallow until I got out near the nets. On the photo, you can see part of the chlorinated pool that is here for swimming as well. On this day, it was closed for the winter.

Oatley Bay Baths
I could really tell that I was swimming in the river here as the bottom was really muddy. Again it was shallow, but plenty of water for my lazy breaststroke. The river was cloudy but clean.

Jewfish Bay Baths
This was probably the largest enclosure I swam in. It's set in a large bush park. There were plenty of people picnicking and walking, but again I was the only swimmer. Another muddy and shallow spot while I was there (about an hour until low tide), but I had enough depth out by the nets to practice my slow front crawl. It was such a long length in these huge baths, that I eventually returned to my breaststroke.

Carss Point Baths
I used to come here to swim sometimes in the summer about ten years ago. There used to be a pontoon anchored in the middle where the kids would jump and dive into the deep water. Even today at low tide, I was quickly into deep, warm water. I had a long swim out to and alongside the nets. Lots of families enjoying the bush park, but again I was the only swimmer.

Dolls Point Baths
After day one of this lark, I realised that I had missed Dolls Point Baths. The UBD that I was using had the name, Dolls Point Baths, where Ramsgate Baths are situated, and did not show any baths here. I realised my mistake when I happened to look at the DECC map of Botany Bay and the lower Georges River. I checked an older UBD which gave the correct names and locations of each of the baths. So, today I returned, only to find that these baths have been closed down by the council due to extensive sand movements and storm damage.

Clovelly Pool
On day two of this lark, Clovelly Pool had been drained for cleaning. Today it was sparkling and well worth a dip.

So, hopefully I've swum all the ocean rock pools and tidal baths that I could between Port Hacking and the southern shores of Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River. I regret not doing them all in sequence, but I think I managed to complete my original plan of swimming from Cronulla to Bondi.

Next year: North!

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