Its the 4th June – the first Thursday in winter. That means the Fortitude Plate starts today. Down to Balmoral Beach in the dark. On the verandah the group assembled, catching a red sunrise and checking the conditions. Jimbles had been the talking point during the week with lots of stings. There were …gasp…even suggestions that the race be called off. I reminded everyone that this years series is named after Bernard Freyberg, a New Zealand army officer who swam ashore at Gallipoli the night before the attack to place flares to fool the Turks. He also had four goes at the English channel without whingeing. We had 32 starters which was excellent. Water really cold compared to Manly – probably 16°c compared to 18°c. Doesn’t sound like much until you are in it. Cloudy too. Guess that’s the harbour. I hate to say it but Balmoral can’t compete with Manly as a swimming venue. There is something animate about the open ocean. It’s alive the same way the mountains are or the deserts at dawn. But the community and laughter at the Balmoral Beach club is unsurpassed anywhere. It’s a tonic for a broken leg. I was cold by the time I got back to Deadmans and walking back to the club wet, into a cold southerly off the snow down south was chilling. No other exercise today. Meant to but my achilles is too sore to do any walking.