Swim for Saxon Ocean Swim – Queenscliff Surf Life Saving Membership: soiled water, politics and OH&S

4 surf rescue craft at Queenscliff.

Saxon Hen died on the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships on the Gold Coast in March 2010. In the course of the surf ski leg of the occasion a stray surf ski hit the 19-year-old. It took rescuers 55 minutes to recuperate his physique in treacherous circumstances.

That is the third yr of the Swim for Saxon Ocean Swim, which honours the reminiscence of the champion athlete who skilled at Queenscliff. 

On the commemorative plaque devoted to Saxon is a quote from TS Eliot: 

Solely those that threat going too far can presumably learn how far one can go.

This swim was a primary for me. Earlier than in the present day, I might solely ever walked to the far northern finish of Manly Seashore.  

It is a fairly stretch of sand that ends at a small headland – on the opposite facet is Freshwater.

Manly Lagoon is situated a few blocks again, subsequent to the golf course. The lagoon is not normally an issue, besides after the rain when runoff flows into the ocean at Queenscliff. 

Saxon+Bird+2013+010 - Swim for Saxon Ocean Swim - Queenscliff Surf Life Saving Membership: soiled water, politics and OH&S
The fund-raising Babe Watch is rising in quantity.

Sydney has copped a drenching since Wednesday. As we speak the clouds had been nonetheless round, bunched like juicy grapes, however the huge stretches of blue satisfied them to float out to sea. 

An indication on the ocean pool warned swimmers to keep away from taking a dip there for a minimum of 24 hours after the rain. I ought to have photographed the pool – the water was a yucky inexperienced. 

One other signal close to the seashore had the identical message for the ocean. Its recommendation: wait 24 hours earlier than diving in.

Oh properly, to not fear. The organisers weren’t. The gentle air pollution did not cease them from going forward with the 2 swims on supply – 800 metres and 1.5 kilometres. 

Apart from murky water, the circumstances had been benign. The surf was non-existent and the water temperature a heat 23 levels.  

I might entered each the swims ($40 for the 2), although I wasn’t feeling too chipper. Again to my outdated wine guzzling methods the evening earlier than! 

I packed in a excessive carb power bar on the drive all the way down to the seashore, hoping that might fill the tank with sufficient gas for the 800 metre sprint. God, I really like these bars. They’re so junky. This one contained cocoa powder, rice bubbles, brown rice oil and plenty of different stuff that, to me, tastes like a compacted bowl of Cocoa Pops. Cocolossal!

Previous to the 800 swim, I seen some commotion on the sand with a few digicam crews hovering round. It dawned on me that that is the federal opposition chief’s stomping floor. The northern seashores is blue ribbon Liberal territory and Tony Abbott is the hero, the person almost definitely to turn out to be Australia’s subsequent prime minister when the nation votes in September. And he is a member of the Queenscliff Surf Life Saving Membership. It made good political sense for him to be down on the seashore.

In his budgy smugglers.

Saxon+Bird+2013+002 - Swim for Saxon Ocean Swim - Queenscliff Surf Life Saving Membership: soiled water, politics and OH&S

Saxon+Bird+2013+003 - Swim for Saxon Ocean Swim - Queenscliff Surf Life Saving Membership: soiled water, politics and OH&S
I’d have squatted too. Good transfer Tony.

I do know I’ve stated it earlier than, however I simply adore it that our excessive profile pollies can saunter about in virtually the all-together with out anybody batting an eyelid. Might you think about Barack Obama, David Cameron, Francois Hollande or Stephen Harper operating round of their swimmers? 

What about Kim Jong Un? I might prefer to see the roly-poly dictator with all his milky pale flubber on show. I feel it’d soften his picture. Add depth. Make the man extra human and cuddly, and fewer like an overfed nutbag despot with an itchy set off finger. He would possibly stomach flop into the ocean and resolve all he desires to do is flip again the boats.That is what a dunkin’ within the deep blue does – it offers you a brand new perspective on life.

Anyway, our “virtually” (sorry Julia, however it’s just about signed and sealed) Supreme Chief is down there on the sand, posing for pictures with younger youngsters and pretending to not discover the cameras skilled on him as he checks his goggles and adjusts his… cap. 

I took a few pics. I reckon the outdated Tone’s misplaced tone (the Abbott has misplaced abs) and placed on just a few kilos since I final noticed him strutting his stuff within the budgys about two years in the past. Check out the little deal with of chubby love above the hip. And I reckon he is sucking in his tummy. 

That is what time on the marketing campaign path does to you. Tony’s needed to throw again one too many schooners and Chiko Rolls to show he is simply an strange bloke who’d transfer to the western suburbs if he did not have the lengthy commute.

However sufficient of Tony. He did the 800 metre swim. Dunno if I beat his time. I hope I bloody properly did. (He did it in 19.56, which is gradual. I did it in 16.43, which is common)

What to say concerning the 800 metres? Murky heat water. No motion within the ocean, not even a nudge into the shore. 

No fruit or water afterwards.

I purchased a pink drink and sucked on a type of phlegm-like power merchandise that guarantees you an immediate buzz.

The 1.5 kilometre swim took ages to begin due to the 5 minute breaks between every wave. 

It was supposed to begin at 10, however obtained underway at 10.15am with the youngest wave heading in first. 

My wave did not begin till 10.45am. 

Each swimmer wore an ankle timer. The organisers may have requested everybody to log out after the swim to make sure all swimmers accomplished the course safely, fairly than depend everybody on the beginning line. I imply, how do you get an correct head-count when individuals are milling round and altering their positions on the beginning line?

There have been heaps of rescue individuals on the water. And 4 inflatables.

It was excessive OH&S. Completely pointless on a day like in the present day. The worst that might have occurred was if one of many swimming tragics (older varieties) had a bit of episode.

Saxon+Bird+2013+011 - Swim for Saxon Ocean Swim - Queenscliff Surf Life Saving Membership: soiled water, politics and OH&S
The second wave sprints to the shallows.

Saxon+Bird+2013+012 - Swim for Saxon Ocean Swim - Queenscliff Surf Life Saving Membership: soiled water, politics and OH&S
Working by means of the shallows.

The swim appeared longer than 1.5km however it was simply me. An excessive amount of pink stuff – on the day and the evening earlier than.

As a result of the tide was out, rivals needed to run into the water by means of the shallows. I used to be aware of the troughs and fearful about twisting my ankle, which slowed me down.

I obtained out to the primary pink buoy and misplaced my approach as a result of I did not have a deal with on the situation of the following buoy. 

I ended up, together with different swimmers, heading in direction of the furthest pink buoy once I ought to have been swimming to a better yellow buoy first. What a ache within the bum.

It was all a little bit of a murky blur and the swim again to the seashore wasn’t helped in any respect by a complete lack of swell. 

I went trying to find water and fruit as a result of I used to be certain the commentator talked about it was obtainable totally free for rivals. However I could not discover it.

No fruit, no water. 

Ranking out of 10: 7.5

Any gripes: No fruit, no water. No nothing*.

Why the late begin? And the five-minute wait between every wave wasn’t crucial. Nor was the top depend, which might’ve been unreliable anyway. Higher to provide us a quantity and name it out. That is a good suggestion. 

The poor water high quality wasn’t the fault of the organisers. It was only a disgrace swimmers needed to compete in lower than pristine circumstances.  

This swim is to honour a ravishing boy who died in tragic circumstances.  I am conscious of that and perceive the organisers desirous to get it proper. They need everybody to be protected on this swim.

However in the present day the circumstances had been calm, and at this finish of the season the members are die hards who know what to anticipate, particularly in calm circumstances. There is not any must be hypervigilant, until it will get nasty eg: Freshwater two weeks in the past. 

Subsequent week it is the Coogee autumn swim. I’ve heard the swell goes to be huge by subsequent weekend. Wait and see. 

*Apparently there was fruit and juice – I do not understand how I missed it as a result of I wandered round in search of it. My apologies to the organisers for not giving credit score the place credit score is due.

Saxon+Bird+2013+004 - Swim for Saxon Ocean Swim - Queenscliff Surf Life Saving Membership: soiled water, politics and OH&S
Sausage sambos after however the place was the free fruit and water?

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Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

The post A Plague of Giants appeared first on Elitist Book Reviews.

The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

The post The Art Of Gary Choo appeared first on Halcyon Realms – Art Book Reviews – Anime, Manga, Film, Photography.