If at first you don’t succeed……….. Barry Feyder and I first conceived the idea of swimming from Palm Beach to Manly after completing the Lake Argyle 20 km swim in 2013 and a Bondi to Manly 14km swim in 2014. We swam both of these highly enjoyable events as a duo relay. When I suggested the swim to Barry late in 2014 it seemed a logical progression for both of us. He agreed but from then on it went pear-shaped.
Originally slated for March 2015, the event was postponed as I broke my leg, in Janaury. Various other ailments plagued us through the latter part of 2015, including a painful ulna nerve problem for Barry and cervical spine problems for me, possibly brought on by the training. An attempt in late Spring 2015 was abandoned. When finally we were set to go in March 2016 I developed a bad rotator cuff and Barry a sudden blood disorder. Hey, it wouldn’t be the Balmoral Beach Club unless people had ailments to share.
But finally on Friday April 29, 2016 we decided it was time to go. Palm Beach that Friday morning was an exhilarating moment for me. By tradition long-distance ocean swimming begins with your best swimmer off first. This certainly did not happen on this occasion as Barry very graciously offered me the chance to leave Palm Beach to open the batting. There was a gentle one metre swell rolling over the bar at Palmy with the beach deserted except for myself and some stalwart BBC members Adriana Feyder, Christine Beard and Brian Davidson. Brian and Christine are also directors of the Pain Management Research Institute, the charity we had chosen to support with the swim.
As I headed round the point, Alex Korjavine, our kayak paddler loomed up out of a blazing sunrise. Alex is our indispensable, go-to guy at the BBC when we need help. Long Reef appeared a long way south through the dawn sea haze.
“It’s going to be a long day,” I thought. I was encouraged by the gentle nor- nor easterly swell and the following breeze and the conditions certainly were benign.
We had decided on a plan for the swim that we had never tried before – one-hour legs. Usually it is half an hour or 20 minutes and this can be tough as recovery time in the boat is often frantic. We planned that each of us would swim two one hour legs, at the beginning of the journey.