French Bay last April, and…

Looks like I had a swim on April 2 last year at French Bay. That’s almost a year ago. I was still with ‘him’ at that time, but he wasn’t at the beach with me. Not sure whether that makes sense but anyway, the ducks were friendly.

Ducks at French Bay on April 2 2014

Ducks at French Bay on April 2 2014. Love the tiny little wave that is in the process of breaking onto the beach. 

In the middle of last year (so, after this photo was taken) I started attending a photography class. Then, towards the end of the year, started attending a writing class. We write short stories (fiction or non-fiction) then read them out. And then joined a poetry class earlier this year. We read a poem then write one in response then do it again, producing two poems each class. I have had quite a lot of trouble reading for the last couple of years, for several reasons, but at present I’m a bit obsessed. The Odyssey. The Canterbury Tales. Emily Dickinson. Susan Howe. It is incredible that we can get inside the heads of people who lived many years ago. Reading is time travel.

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French Bay one day last summer and Pt Chevalier today

Not sure whether to continue relating previous swims. Seems a bit pointless. But, then again, there are a few more photos from last year so I might as well pick up from where things left off and keep going.

Here is one from an afternoon swim at French Bay on the 9th of March 2014. It might look a bit lacklustre but the thing with photos is you can edit them to create the mood you want to inflict on the memory.

Memories have a tendency to fade, lose detail and become increasingly grainy.

…memories tend to fade, lose detail and become increasingly grainy.

On this day I had the company of the man who suddenly, unexpectedly and completely disappeared some months later, so it is a bit surreal remembering how close we appeared to be at that time. Mind you, frequent doses of wine probably helped conjure that illusion.

But, here’s proof that ‘he’ was actually there. And I’m not talking about the duck. That’s not my foot in the corner, it would have been difficult for me to take a foot-selfie from that angle. And my feet are somewhat daintier.

Deliberately over-saturated proof of the company I kept, for a while. It wasn't actually the duck, but might as well have been.

Over-saturated proof of the company I kept, for a while. I’m over being saturated by these tainted memories.

And now for the present moment. Or, more correctly, earlier today, and earlier this summer. Time is such a slippery thing. I’ve had a swim virtually every day this year. It is becoming somewhat of a ‘ritual’ or ‘practice’. I don’t like to miss a day, so plan things around the tides. I’m no longer obsessed with high tide since realising there is actually a window of swimming opportunity about 3 hours either side of a full tide, a total of about 6 possible swimming hours each day. Fantastic!

I have been doing proper swimming. Freestyle. Took me a while to get the breathing sorted but it was worth persevering.

The water temperature has cooled a little in the last couple of weeks as it is autumn. I’m considering the purchase of a wetsuit to enable winter swimming as I’ve started fretting about the weather becoming too cold because I don’t want to stop or resort to an indoor chlorinated pool.

Despite the slightly chilly water it was a lovely sunny day today with an irresistible midday high tide at Point Chevalier beach.

Summery autumnal full tide at Point Chevalier beach today

Summery autumnal full tide at Pt Chevalier beach today

New Year’s Eve

I wanted a swim in the morning and the Manukau high tide was at 10.23am so I thought I’d check out Green Bay as a friend had told me it was relatively close to where I live. So I did. This is what I saw…

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Not very inviting for swimmers

The ‘friend’ who had recommended Green Bay for swimming could actually more accurately be described as an ex. Perhaps he does not have my best interests at heart. Anyway, I walked further down the path to find that the beach itself was very windy and I was not gripped by a passion to swim right here, right now.

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Green Bay

So, I left Green Bay and carried on further west to French Bay. It was about an hour after high tide when I arrived but there was still plenty of water for swimming and quite a few people were taking advantage of the sunny day and doing so, despite a strong westerly wind coming in from Manukau Heads.

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French Bay

A few more beaches, a few more days

Many beaches, many photos, many days but hardly any writing. I still haven’t resolved the problem of what to do with all the photos. They were going to accompany blogs, and be arranged chronologically. Perhaps I can still do that, in several multiple blogs, until things are completely up-to-date, for all you readers out there. Lol. That would mean organising the photos. And remembering when these things happened. And what time the tide is high each day. Luckily there are such things as tide tables.

But of course, our memories aren’t necessarily chronological, they slip and slide all over the place. Particularly when the memories are traumatic, these can take on a life of their own, warping, twisting and amplifying.

But here we’re all about swimming. Chronological swimming and high tides. A beach a day.

My first swim of the season was early evening on Saturday 14th December at Pt Chevalier beach. High tide was 6.08pm. Pt Chevalier is a gentle and very popular beach in the upper reaches of the Waitemata Harbour. It was sunny and the beach was crowded. I didn’t take any photos because this blog had not been thought of, let alone constructed. As Laurie Anderson once said, it wasn’t even a Hershey bar, in my father’s back pocket.

The second swim was a very refreshing Sunday evening experience at about 8pm with a group of friends at Piha. South Piha to be precise. Piha is surf beach on the west coast, with big waves and distinctive black sand. Once again I didn’t take any photos, but plenty of other people have.

We are lucky in Auckland as there are two tidal cycles (one on the east coast and one on the west) and each tidal cycle is diurnal, so has two high tides a day, meaning that there are usually four high tides each day around Auckland. So, on Monday I really had two swims, one in each harbour. The first one was during high tide (10.51am) at French Bay, a small beach on the Titirangi edge of the Manukau Harbour. And the second one was in the evening at Pt Chevalier beach on the Waitemata. High tide there was at 7.48pm.

Monday was the day I decided to create a blog, so, here are a couple of photos from the second swim! And by the way, my camera is not that flash.

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Evening at Pt Chev beach looking north

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Evening at Pt Chev beach looking west