Posted by: Sam Olsen | May 21, 2012

Under The Net

Saturday saw me taking the new swimming regime to a whole new level, with my first venture into Open Water Swimming, HK style. A far cry from the ponds of Hampstead Heath; in many ways, swimming in HK is more pleasant;  warm sea, hot showers, hot weather, big group of people all well organised and very friendly. The sea is nice and warm if rather litter-strewn and there are no lethal looking geese watching from a not-too-safe distance. Instead, there is of course the threat of sharks! I don’t really go in for sharks much myself, but Sam has an unhealthy obsession with them. But it was undeniable that we were heading outside a special boundary established to protect Man from Shark, and as such, taking our life in our hands. The first obstacle was actually getting outside the shark net. The boundary is a big floating yellow boom, quite slimy from being in the sea, and you just have to slither up and over the top, rather like someone on Total Wipeout. Once free, we set off, a group of about 15 of us entitled ‘the B team’ heading just from Repulse Bay Beach over to Middle Island. (The ‘A team’ went all the way to Deepwater Bay and back). After about ten minutes something grabbed my ankle!! But it was only the coach, trying to instruct three of us of similar ability how to swim in a line and ‘draft’ off each other. Not entirely sure whether the frenchman at the front ever realised we two girls were trying to follow him but he certainly wouldn’t have passed the ‘swim in a straight line’ test and had probably had a boozy lunch.

Landing up at Middle Island I saw to my horror a disgusting sight; huge black slugs covered the sea-bottom, these were sea cucumbers (see a previously SCDOTW on this), that just wallow on the sand and look absolutely foul. Many people will know my huge fear of slugs; but I have managed to control it over the years in the knowledge that a. they are generally quite small and b. I can move faster than they can. With these unsavoury creatures a. did not apply and b. I had no idea whether they could suddenly pounce upwards from the bottom and get me. Eurgh. I was much relieved when we headed back to the shore of Repulse Bay where no such Repulsive things exist.

So here is a question, can someone help my teammates and me come up with a name for our swim team for the 2nd of June race we have entered. It’s all girls, so we were thinking the HK Football Club Manatees….!

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