Cap’n Christie

4 Jan

Christmas was more about schnapps than laps for me.  My excuse – it rained a lot.  Not sure why that matters given that you get wet swimming anyway.  Then when I did go, I pulled a muscle and ended up with a migraine.  So, it was with a great deal of trepidation that I lined up with my mates on a drizzly day in a building southerly wind 8 days ago to tackle Captain Christie.  Or rather, a 1.8km swim in his honour.

Captain William Earnest Bartholomew Christie to be precise.  Seemingly a man who would have done anything for a drink.  A man after my own heart.  Legend says that in 1882, one of Captain Christie’s crew bet him a bottle of the finest whisky that he couldn’t swim from Gerringong boat harbour to Werri Beach.  I wonder how much of the old Dutch courage the Captain had consumed before he (a) took the bet and (b) attempted the swim.  Personally, I was with one of the participants last week who asked whether Gerringong Surf Life Saving club could dole out the grog miniatures before the swim instead of afterwards.  Not least because most of the competitors have to walk 2km over a hillside in nowt but their budgie smugglers and a rubber hat to get to the start.  I wonder if the Captain did that.

Just to add to the frisson, Australian terrestrial TV screened Jaws the night before.

Anyway, it was like being in a washing machine.  There was chop, strong currents and surges, swell and a freak wave which came out of nowhere and broke over our heads as Stuey and I were struggling not to get washed on the rocks.  I contemplated sticking my hand up for rescue many times and was very relieved when we finally turned round the last buoy and towards land.  We seemed so far out, I wondered if we were headed for New Zealand.  None of the old Bilgola day spa treatment here. Although I did get an all over exfoliation experience when I managed to get dumped on the beach by a wave right at the end – mum’s probably still able to build a sand castle in her shower.

We skipped the fashion parade (Miss Gerringong Flatbed Truck 2010), treasure hunt and fishing competition and went straight to mum’s for sausages.  Except that Kieran and Richard went into the estate agents to get some cards first because they can’t get over the fact that Richard Payne would go by the name of Dick.  I can’t tell you anyone’s times because Gerringong Surf Life Saving club still haven’t got round to putting them up – they must be finishing off the whisky still.  Suffice to say, Richard, our Can Too Captain did it in about 23 mins (winning girl did 21 according to the Kiama Mercury) and Stuey and I took about 43 mins.

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