Bold & Beautiful – First swim of the year

New Years Day

Norfolk Island Pines, Cabbage Tree Bay and the Bower Break loom up into view as the silver bullet once again zips down the hill into Manly for a 7am deadline with the surf.

Eyeballing the Bold & Beautiful swim squad on FB and the web for a while but haven’t taken the time to get the arse up the northern beaches to check it out. Pacific Jules, the founder and leading light, runs it 7 days a week, 365 days a year, so it’s not for the lack of opportunity that haven’t been there yet. Just sloth.

Zero traffic on the roads this morning coming from the Gorge down the back of Hornsby, through the leafy glens of Wahroonga and Turramurra, by the saintly halls of St Ives, over Terry’s Hills, way leading on to way by French’s Forest, Balgowlah, Fairlight and finally the big M.

Can almost feel the poison pulsating through the walls of the homes of the thousands of hangovers curdling in the brains and bodies of the afflicted ex-revellers along the way. Beep the horn a few times through sleepy suburbs just to torment the fuckers.

Very friendly are the peeps of the B&B squad.

Amazingly friendly and approachable.

So much so that surfmuppet begins to feel a bit uncomfortable, up periscope for a hidden agenda somewhere amidst all the camaraderie and general feel good.


Leaving paranoia behind in the old year and forward into the new with a spirit of wholesome cooperation with fellow bipeds and primates inhabiting the planet in this early morning of the third millennium AD.

Everyone very helpful and just having a good time…happy new years all around.

Line up with a few others for a mugshot and provide contact details in the log for new recruits. In return, get the pink swim cap and we’re away.

Bit of a swell coming through in front of the Manly SLC where the pink legion enter the fray. Can feel the strong pull of the rip trying to get back out to sea.  Leg it up to the sandbar and then under the breakers to get out the back.

Very relaxed atmosphere.

Regroup just off Manly Point and all bob around in the 21 degree clear water.

Cameras come out, lots of shots taken, then off in the direction of Shelley.

Official stats from the webpage ( 105 swimmers including 4 newcomers (inc surfmuppet).

It’s a kind of find-your-own-pace sort of swim and so the dysfunctional competitive instinct of the muppet takes a welcome backseat resulting in a pleasant meandering across Cabbage Tree Bay looking at the fish, an odd ray of two, the light getting stronger, the B&B people swimming past.

Not even a twitch of the old reptilian brain to try and beat any other no hoper, just swimming for the pleasure of it.

Pure magic.

Speedboat filled with groggy NYE revellers parked up just in front of Shelley.

Looking disorientated as their slumber is interrupted by a swarm of pink hats splashing past all full of bonhomie and vigour. Not long before they fire up the motor and tear off into the yonder, no fear of an RBT out on the ocean this time of the day.

Shelley – last time here two weeks ago practically crawled up onto the beach after the Blue Dolphin swims, absolutely bollixed. This morning just glide up to the shore, so fucking serene that it’s almost disorientating.

Again really friendly swimmers exchange banter – almost too much for surfmuppet all this niceness. Three undead in sleeping bags in the middle of the beach. Whiff of wood smoke from the campfire beside the bodies. One of them moves. Life.

All present and correct. More photos. Option called out to do the double s’il vous plait, just wait at the point and do it again. Then back in the water direction Manly and the SLC.

In no time coming through the break and the line of body surfers waiting for the next decent set. Lots of little gangs by this stage as the field has fragmented across the bay.

Then, just under the body surfers, as cool as, just doing it’s thing, a shark.

Not a 3m white pointer or anything serious like that but maybe a meter and a bit, brownish colour, swimming north.

Surprised more than anything by the desire to swim after yer man for a better view. Beastie phobia seems to have taken a holiday along with the let’s-try-to-beat-at-least-one-other-swimmer instinct.

Flounder around in an ersatz body surfing fashion for a bit and then it’s back on the beach. Everyone fully oxygenated and radiating New Year’s good will.

Invites to go for breakfast and coffee.

Chat with Pacific Jules…thanks for a great swim!

Happy and satisfied surfmuppet is with the morning’s sojourn into pleasantness and wanders off direction north, just like his underwater buddy, in search of a solitary breakfast.

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