At Ramsgate Baths
It’s been a while since I swam in Ramsgate Baths, on the Botany Bay Foreshores of Sydney, Australia. Last summer, in fact…
Although I love the freshness of the sea, I’m scared of venomous sea-creatures such as sting-rays that can sometimes be found there.
And so, I stick to the river. That’s not to say that it’s hazard-free: it isn’t. But somehow, I’m less worried about the small chance of striking a jelly-blubber in the baths. Sharks, however, have been reported, but outside the swimming enclosure. They inhabit the river as well as the sea.
And yes, that’s me, braving Ramsgate Baths, last summer…
Me at today’s venue
Twelve months ago, I was so excited: I’d won the perpetual trophy for 50 metres at my local swimming club.
Today, my year was up, and the trophy was ready to be handed on.
Little did I think this morning that, once again, I’d make the grade.
By a strange co-incidence (or family ability), this year’s second place-getter was the daughter of last year’s runner up.
I wish that I could show you the photos that Ron took at today’s presentation, but they haven’t yet been downloaded. But I’ve done the best I can, and here’s a snapshot of me at the venue.
Here in Sydney, the swimming season doesn’t officially start until October. But today’s sunshine and milder temperatures tempted more than myself into the water.
In fact, it looked perfect. The calm, clear water seemed so inviting. Until… I stepped in.
Let me clarify this. Last year, the water warmed up early. Several of us braved it in early September and were pleasantly surprised to find it a relatively comfortable eighteen degrees Celsius.
More– just yesterday I tested the temperature in the shallows. It registered a profoundly reassuring eighteen and half.
Problem is, I can’t swim in a few inches of water.
Reality: a bare sixteen degrees awaited me . And if anyone thinks that a couple of degrees difference in water temperature is irrelevant, I suggest they think again. 🙂
The final crucible: the hot water system had broken, so cold showers were all that was on offer.
Anyway, at least three swimmers, including me, faced the water. And I actually clocked up a couple of hundred metres.
Not bad for the first swim of the season…
It looks inviting
Me at Ramsgate Baths
This summer I have rarely ventured into the sea.
But, on one occasion I braved it at Ramsgate Baths, in Sydney’s Botany Bay Foreshores.
Under good conditions, nothing beats swimming in this delightfully salty and clear water.
In a pounding surf, though, I am not strong enough to get in and out of these baths. Sure, I can swim in it, but the problem lies in the extraordinary power of moving water. It is so hard to keep on ones feet.
Still, on this particular day, despite tempting waves and pleasant weather, I swam alone.
Come on in…
Lately, Sydney has had a run of cool, cloudy weather. Though light, showers have been hanging around day after day.
Nevertheless, the water’s still fine. Its temperature is hovering above 20 degrees, well clear the 18 degree mark that equates to ‘cold’.
So, is it really surprising that a few keen swimmers, myself included, are still taking the plunge?
For me, a first!
I have been competing for almost thirty-two years, mostly at the same venue. Yet in all this time, I had never won a trophy. Well, not the sort that gets engraved and passed on from winner to winner, year after year…
All that changed last Sunday, when, after racing in three, fifty metre freestyle events – heat, semi-final and final- against adult swimmers (both male and female) I actually WON!
Accepting the Trophy
So now it won’t be long before my feat is officially recorded for posterity – written into metal; and as the years go by, swimmers from our Club will look and ponder….Who was this Margaret Sharp???
After weeks of closure, the local swimming baths are back!
Here in Sydney, recent rains had brought with them quite extraordinary levels of pollution. Over the last month or so, signs had been in force almost constantly, warning swimmers to stay out….
So, after a decent spell of dry and sunny weather, at last the ‘all clear’ came, and with it the joy of being able to experience the clean water once again.
With very high, Christmas tides, our stretch of the river is now enjoying near-optimum conditions for water sports.
The Baths are Back….
Let’s enjoy it while we can…