As our 5km lockdown draws to a close I thought I should add 4 more of our swims within 5kms of Glebe.
Early on in our 5 km lockdown when it looked like things might never get better I started looking closer to home. What if we could only swim within 2kms of home? While the closest part of the harbour to where I live is relatively close, it is Rozelle Bay which has no water flow and Blackwattle Bay, home to the Fishmarkets. The Fishmarkets has scavenger birds looking for fish bits, a fair bit of rubbish in the water and is where fishing boats often unload their fish. Not ideal! The next closest water is Pyrmont which is within 2kms so this is where we went.
Pyrmont to Darling Island
Access to the water was no problem because the whole of Pyrmont’s waterfront is accessible to the public either as a walkway or park and there are lots of ladders and steps as part of the walkway. Much easier to get in then anything east of the Harbour Bridge, west of the Anzac Bridge or north of the Harbour Bridge. This whole adventure has made us aware of how much of our harbour foreshore is privately owned and inaccessible.
The swim was easy in that we did not have to negotiate wharves or moored boats until we got to Jones Bay. Unfortunately Jones Bay is one big marina. I wanted to swim to Darling Harbour but by the time we swam across Jones Bay toward Darling Island the boats were getting bigger and prolific so we turned back. The water was clean although the bottom was only visible in places but we did see plenty of fish.
Around Mrs Macquarie’s Chair to Botanical Gardens
This was a swim we wanted to do but were a bit concerned about boat traffic. We saw on another swimmer’s Instagram that it was possible and we saw from their map that you could get in near Boy Charlton Pool.
This is a great swim as you are swimming next to park land and the Botanical gardens the whole way. There are no wharves or moored boats to swim around so you can relax and swim. There wasn’t a great deal in the water to look at but it was clear and clean. There were almost no boats aside from a rivercat which came into the bay and just hung around. We didn’t quite get to the Opera House but it was a great vision to see. The only downside is that you have to pay for parking and it is not cheap.
Drummoyne and the Parramatta River
Initially I had said I didn’t want to swim in Drummoyne as it is the start of the Parramatta river and I grew up in Drummoyne and we didn’t swim in the river. But as we explored the area and I realised there were sandy beaches along the Drummoyne shoreline, I thought “why not?”. It’s a lot cleaner than when I was a kid and I thought it might be interesting to see the old area and Drummoyne Bay where I had spent my childhood. We had sailed sabots as kids.
We got in at the beach next to the Drummoyne Sailing club where there were kids playing and swam along the shoreline. There are a-lot of boats moored there as well as one big marina. There was no activity at the marina so aside from making sure we didn’t run into boats or poles (of which there were quite a few) it was an interesting trip back in time. My how things have changed! Some grand modern houses and lots of unit blocks. My family left Drummoyne Bay at the beginning of the unit boom. We swam to where I used to hang out, units and in ground pools all along the foreshore. We used to swim in rock tidal pools.
My initial reluctance was unwarranted and I would swim there again.
McKell Park Darling Point
This swim became one of the favourites. Darling Point was the limit of our 5kms and swimming further east to Double Bay exceeded our 5kms. We had swum from Double Bay to McKell Park when we were allowed to travel 10kms and were discovering the Harbour within that radius. We knew that this was a nice swim. It has a sandy bottom so we could see sea life and there were no marinas and not too many boats.
From McKell Park you can swim around to Rushcutters Bay which also has a sandy bottom until you get right into Rushcutters Bay. You can get in to the west of the Darling Point Wharf where there is an inlet in the stone wall and some steps.
You can swim the other way by swimming under the wharf and around the corner to Double Bay and back. Interesting old houses to look at as you swim, sometimes stingrays and helmet crabs. Make sure when you get to Double Bay if you come from Glebe not to put your feet down then swim back.
We have had a great time exploring our 5kms of swim-able harbour and prior to that our more substantial 10kms of harbour and beaches. Swimming in the Harbour is not just doable but an absolute treat. The water is clean. I have not understood why more people don’t do it or didn’t do it when the pools were closed. If there is a next time which I pray there isn’t for reasons completely unconnected to swimming I won’t become down hearted about not being able to swim because I will know there are all sorts a good options.