Birthday Sunrise Paddle

We joined Sydney by Kayak for a sunrise paddle today. It’s been months since we went out with Laura; it was still summer the last time we did so, for kayak netball. She’s gotten brand new kayaks now, all bold and cheerful colors, with cut-out glass bottoms and coffee holders!

Not much cloud cover – but the water was really nice and glassy, which was awesome for quietly drinking in the pastel sunrise, and our coffees. Adding to our wonder, was the seal playing by Blues Point, although it’d pop right back underwater as soon as we raised our cameras!

Birthday boy Jeff enjoying an early start to his morning. And Laura, bless her heart, baked muffins as a birthday surprise. She even managed to light candles in her boat!

Beautiful way to kick off spring. đŸ™‚ And after packing up the kayaks and heading home for a quick breakfast of champions, we rounded off the morning with a long swim from Manly to Shelly and back. The dozens of baby dusky whaler sharks that we’d seen circling the waters earlier in winter had now graduated into the open waters, but in their place we spied Port Jackson sharks and a couple of Guitar sharks. Super cool stuff!

Checking off our first open water swims

At the end of last year, we resolved that we would try an open water swim in Sydney. The 1.5km Manly to Shelly (and back) swim seemed like the easiest bet.

Last weekend seemed a good time to check off that bucket list. Winter is fast approaching; already, the water temperature is a fresh 20 Celsius. We’d a string of sunny days too and gentle swell in the weather report, so we asked a couple other friends keen to check off that swim as well and off we went!

Our friend Nicola has done that swim hundreds of times in the past 4 years. She did it again that Saturday morning at 7am, and messaged us soon that we just had to do it today. I’ve never seen conditions like it, she said. So many fish and sharks and awesome visibility, all the way through.

That was all the encouragement we needed. And indeed, what a swim! We’d brought snorkels in anticipation of gawking at the marine life, but it still blew our minds. We could see the bottom the entire length of the 700m swim from Manly to Shelly Beach, where we saw dozens of baby dusky whaler sharks lazily swimming about, schools of SBT (shiny bright things), three wobbegongs, groupers, sting rays (including a banded stingaree). We had so much fun, we forgot we were supposed to be swimming, and instead spent minutes hovering over the coral beds staring and pointing and grinning. Why had we thought it was a scary swim???

The next morning, Sunday, Nicola messaged us again. She’d gone out to swim again, and conditions were just as stellar. Rose and Lisa had other commitments, but Jeff and I didn’t need much prodding. This time, we brought the GoPro along too.

It was glorious. And we checked off our big 2017 resolution, twice. đŸ˜€

(Addendum: We went back to swim a week later – yesterday. The visibility was still quite good, but we learnt first hand that yes, the ocean won’t always be so nice and glassy. After battling the choppy waves for a while, we abandoned the effort. Oh well, the water was still nice and refreshing though.)