Monday, December 21, 2009

Continuing The Swim

In April, this year, I decided to swim in all the rock pools and tidal baths along the coastline of Sydney. My conceit was that I would adapt the ideas behind John Cheever's story, "The Swimmer" and Roger Deakin's book, "Waterlog". Essentially, I would swim along the Sydney coastline from South to North, using the ocean pools and saltwater public baths on the beaches, and in the bays and the rivers of Sydney. My only rule was that I must swim at least one length in the direction of completing the overall swim.

By the end of April I had swum the coast from Port Hacking at the southern limits of Sydney to the southern shores of Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) and The Parramatta River. On the way I had taken a dip in thirty-five pools, either ocean rock pools or bogey holes at the beaches or on the rock platforms, or tidal swimming enclosures in the bays or tidal rivers.

I finished my journey there, and decided to try to complete the North Shore section after the winter. Today I began the trek again. However, I only had time to swim two tidal baths, and will need to find quite a bit of free time to attempt the remaining coastal pools.

Henley Baths

Henley Baths is on the north shore of the Parrammatta River. It's a small swimming enclosure below a pocket park. It's in a small bay with a tiny beach. Most of the shoreline is stone walls built upon the sandstone rock. There are small boat houses and jetties along the shore.

Woolwich Baths

Woolwich Baths is on the Lane Cove River close to where it flows into the Parrammatta River/ Sydney Harbour. The water gets deep very quickly until it reaches about four metres in depth out under the enclosure and the jumping (strictly no diving) platforms. I had a great old time, flinging these old bones off the edge and into the warm depths.


  1. these look great - good luck with your trek!

  2. Thanks, Marina. It could take quite some time to complete - I think there are still 35 pools to swim.

  3. these pools are amazing! I've never heard of rockpools before. We are swimming-pool-impoverished here in Toronto, and in Canada in general.

    love the idea of recreating The Swimmer. :)

  4. Thanks for the comments. We are really lucky with the number of rock pools and tidal baths here in Sydney.