On most Sundays over the summer months, you will find me and a group of friends gathered at the southern end of Manly Beach just before 9 a.m. The purpose of this ritual has become to swim from Manly Beach to Shelley Beach – the unnamed little piece of yellow directly under the label, ‘Tasman Sea’ – and back again to Manly.
The round trip is some 1,600 – 1,800 metres long and takes anywhere between half to three-quarters of an hour, depending on how bumpy the ride is and whether the scourge of the summer months – the Portuguese Man O’War, or bluebottle as it is more commonly known – is lying in wait to ambush us.
Along the way we are likely to swim over blue groupers, dusky whalers, stingrays lying on the bottom, sand whiting and various other fish. Most of the route is a marine reserve without which protection the area would be devoid of any sea life.
The purpose of the swim is really to make us feel that we have earned a coffee and something to go with it, usually here:
Maybe you can join us sometime?