This week’s Swim Wild podcast guest is Kathleen.
After we spoke, Kathleen shared some more details about the places she swims, so I am sharing her words with you here.
Prevelly – this stretch of coastline is different from Cowaramup Bay which is sheltered by the shape of the land and had granite rocks in/ under the water. Prevelly though, whilst only approx 10km South, has a limestone geology instead and it’s this limestone reef that provides protection from the incoming swell. Great for swimming. When there’s a big swell, it interacts with the reef to form waves (exciting!). On low tide, low swell, a bit of the reef is exposed and is fascinating to explore, both above and below the water. The limestone provides a solid structure for small coral, seaweed, barnacles, crabs, habitat for crays (actually, they’re western rock lobsters but everyone here calls them crays) and shelter for all manner of fish. Where I swim, there are small reefs close to shore but it’s the larger reefs, further out that are exiting to swim out to when the conditions are right. Closer to shore, it’s not uncommon to swim with stingrays as they feed off the sandy bottom.
Cowaramup bay (Gracetown) where I swim regularly at dawn on my own. Usually, there are waves breaking at the Northern and Southern points but on this day, it was dead calm. The closest boat in the photo is the shark boat. I forgot to tell you about that. Each day, it takes bait out to drum lines (google it) further out along the coast to catch sharks then tow the sharks further away. If a great white over a certain size is spotted, a loud siren goes off and a recorded voice tells you to get out of the water. There are varying opinions about the effectiveness of this practice. Over Summer, there is also the familiar sound of helicopters as the choppers patrol beaches to spot sharks. So there you go… swim wildlife!
Oh and the kangaroos….funny, but roos actually have a big connection to my swimming as well. The drive from my place to my two swimming spots is from our rural property then past vineyards, cattle and sheep farms, national park, bush etc (i.e. I don’t pass any towns). Roos are really active at dawn and dusk so on my morning drives, I’m in high alert. They can bound across the road when you least expect it.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a roo bar on my car but I probably should invest in one. There are two big mobs on our property so I usually pass some on our dirt track out to the gate (approx 1km) as I head out for a swim. I’ve hit one there before then earlier this year, I hit a big boomer (male) out on the road on my drive to meet the swimming group. Roo was fine, car damaged but still made it to the beach and someone from swimming group taped the grill so I could get to work.
Links for more information
Cowaramup Bay (Gracetown), Prevelly (Gnarabup in this link is at the Southern end, it’s where the woman who did her 20km swim started), Swimming Australia Grants (for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse groups), Port Beach Polar Bears (in Freo), Rottnest swim , Swimming Women (Charlotte O’Beirne’s swimming class I did), The Pod podcast