We’ve been learning a lot of the lingo so we can talk like ocean swimming pros.  Some of it is cultural (in ocean swimming culcha).  And some technical.  Here’s some of the stuff we’ve learned.

Bluey Bluebottle – nasty stinging type of jellyfish common in NSW.  Also known as pacific/portuguese man-o’-war.  Distinct from hair jellyfish/hair jelly/snottie, blubber, fire jelly, jimbles, little mauve stinger and sea nettles which all have stinging tentacles.  It’s important to know your irukandji from your tamoya and types of stingers generally because the effect of the stings varies from mild discomfort to imminent death.  Interestingly, jellyfish are not fish (should be called jellynotfish then).  They are actually invertebrates which means they do not have a backbone – so, if threatened during an ocean swim one tactic may be to try abusing them and see if they run (wobble) off.Bluebottles are venomous assailants with no heart.  Or head, backbone or brain.  Spineless.  Brainless.  According to a stinger specialist, they are just little bits of goo with stingy bits.  Who just happen to co-operatively hunt prey.  Oh, and some can actually see and react to the images they see.  Even though they have no brain.  The reason why you see so many washed up on the breach is not because they ain’t smart, they are just very, very, weak swimmers apparently and get blown about by the wind.
Booey Float on the surface of the water – pronounced booey as in Louis by colonials who can’t speak the Queen’s English
Buoy Float on the surface of the water – pronounced boy as in toy.  The standard buoy shapes are   cylindrical , conical (also known as nun buoy), spherical , pillar    and spar     (upright post)
Breaststroke A style of swimming generally frowned upon by ocean swimmers (and completely unrelated to one swimmer likening ocean swimming to some sort of marine love in with a bit of slap and tickle at the start and around the cans)
Budgies Short for budgie smugglers also known as dick stickers/sluggos/togs – tight fitting male swimming costume (togs/bathers) usually made from lyrcra
Can Generally a marker buoy in an ocean swim but strictly a cylindrical of flat top (like Bart Simpson) buoy
Cot to Rot Famous WA   ocean swim as opposed to an observation on life
Dezzie Raw or handicapped.  A ratio comparison of a swimmer’s aggregate performance compared with the winning swimmer in the Hahn Super Dry ocean swimmers’ series (you’d think they could have chosen a different variety like Hahn Premium, I mean, super dry and swimming seems like a bit of an oxymoron)
Drafting Swimming in someone else’s slipstream
Hahn Sponsor of ocean swimming series.  See above. Who the hell was Dez anyway?
Impact zone Area of breaking waves also known as the wave zone or the Break.  So if someone talks about weed in the break – they are referring to seaweed in the wave zone – it’s not a reference to a half time pee
Laydee Female ocean swimmer
Love David Love.  Ocean swimming blogger of whom I am in awe
Lube up Application of personal lubricant prior to a swim to prevent chaffing
Peloton From French, meaning little ball or platoon and also related to the English word pellet: field, bunch or pack of swimmers in an ocean race
Out back Far side of the impact zone (see above)
Sea Lice Potentially mythical (nobody seems to agree on what they are) aquatic creatures that cause skin eruptions apparently known as closeuppapules or papulovesicles (someone has to be kidding here – more likely something to do with slap and tickle in ocean swimming see above and/or sex position below?).  Allegedly the stings are nearly always down your pants –any excuse to justify the popularity of those tight budgie smugglers among ocean swimmers.  Commonly attack the laydees perhaps a little more as there is more warm, wet, lyrcra to nestle into and that lyrcra stretched across an ample bosom forms a highly effective trawling net.  Treatment is apparently to get naked ie. rip your gear off as soon as possible and hose yourself down in alcohol(!).  Prevention – they hate lavender – must remember to always take some with me – between my teeth perhaps!?  They allegedly live out of the water, dormant, in your togs.  Coach told me to put my togs in the freezer!  I assume there are no sea lice in the Antartic.  But it’s a very good prophylactic when I forget to take my togs out the freezer in time to go swimming.  Apparently, there’s even a sea lice prevention lotion called Safe Sea.  Sorry but isn’t that an oxymoron?  Their marketing is lousy (sorry, couldn”t help it!).  But hey, why bother?  Why not carry it as a badge of honour/high aquatic compliment given that sea lice usually attach themselves to fish?
Sex Position Following a race, your sequential position in your gender group
Tapering I thought was something candles did but apparently it is a period of rest before a race for elite endurance athletes
The Fragrant Wave Category of female swimmers in an ocean swim
Weed Seaweed.  Learn to differentiate your konbu, nori, wakame and hijiki

The above has proved to be most useful to me when communing with other amphibious types in bars.  Prior to joining Can Too, I had mastered the distinction between an old boy and the Beach Boys but was previously embarrassed to admit that I couldn’t tell my self locating datum marker buoy from my sonobuoy and didn‘t know the difference between a bouy, booey and can.  Now I can bore people stupid with interesting aqua facts such as did you know that turtles can breathe through their butts?  And all you need to know about sea lice – how to make your ocean swim go without an itch.

Now if only I could bump into David Love……

© December 2011

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