So this is by one of my super-cool ginga homegrrls. (I can’t believe she likes water so much!)
Wrecked March 2012
My name is Lara and I’m addicted to swimming. I’m also bookish, of slight build and… a ginger. I like cups o’ tea and romance novels. Probably not your average go-to image of an ocean swimmer.
And yet I love ocean swimming and was down right excited about taking part in a 2.4km ocean swim this past March in the crystal clear, calm, azure waters of Moreton Bay.
If you’ve never visited Moreton Island and stayed at Tangalooma – do yourself a favour and get on that! It’s a subtropical island paradise 35km from down town Brissy. It’s like being on the set of Fantasy Island, complete with staff in Hawaiian shirts who deliver you to your lodgings in a golf buggy! It’s excellently bizarre and a dream like setting for a nice big ocean swim.
As luck or Murphy’s Law would have it though, on the morning of the swim our beautiful Moreton Bay was less than calm and azure. It was dark, choppy, the current we would be swimming against was strong and the course was full of “Moon” jellyfish. Moon jellyfish aren’t deadly (unless of course you have an allergy) but they are unpleasant and the tentacles do sting a bit so I figured I’d just do my best to dodge them and wack them outta my way as required.
My “race strategy” was to hang back a bit and take it pretty slow as I had a dicky shoulder. I was glad I did. As I fell behind the white water of the “splash-a-ton” (my swimming buddy and I made that word up) and my visibility cleared I realised I was swimming into a “bloom” of jellyfish.
This scene from Finding Nemo gives an excellent idea of what it was like
I had to think quick – should I try to swim straight through it as fast as I could or go around the bloom, which would add time and distance but I’d suffer less pain? I looked again at the wall of jellyfish – I had no idea how wide it was. I had an inkling that if I tried to swim through that dense cloud of stinging jelly I’d end up like Nemo’s BFF Dory. I looked up and ahead and sure enough a group of people who had swum into the worst of the jellyfish were screaming and being rescued by the Coast Guard.
The psychological terror and physical agony was pretty evident. Not a good look. For some reason I thought about the $50 registration I’d paid to take part in the event and that was that – decision made. I was going to swim around the worst of it, get outta this choppy swell and get back to having a fully awesome time thank you – no jellyfish was going to rain on my parade! So off I went, swimming out wide past the Coast Guard and doing my darndest to avoid the faceless blue blobs.
Somewhere in the final kilometre the sun came out and all of a sudden I was once again in the warm, calm, azure (but still a bit stingy) waters of Moreton Bay having a really good time!
When I crossed the finish line I was ecstatic. I’d been in the water just over an hour and I actually ran up the sand to the finish line. This is a less than glamorous picture of me legging it up the beach – I think my face says it all.
At the end of the race I stood around with the other entrants clasping plastic bags of ice to our jellyfish welts, munching on slices of watermelon and looking across the beautiful bay to the Glasshouse Mountains.
It doesn’t get much better than that.