Ocean Pools – The Start of a Quest

Ocean Pools carved into the Rock

This is where I went for a swim today. Looks impressive eh?

This is the ocean pool beside the famous Bondi beach. The pool is equally famous I guess, to those who know about these places. This place is better known as the “Icebergs” pool as it is managed by the Bondi Icebergs Swimming Club.

Ocean Pools

Ocean pools (or Rock pools) were built adjacent to many beaches in Australia. Literally carved into the rock and filled with sea water. A place for swimmers to do tranquil or sporting fast laps as an alternative to fighting the waves and dodging the surfers.

The first one ever built is oddly not associated with any beach. It is called Bogey Hole and located at Newcastle north of Sydney. It was built by convict labour back in 1819 under the orders of Lieutenant Colonel James Thomas Morisset, the Commandant of Newcastle between 1818 and 1823. He initially had it built for his own personal use. For this reason, it is also known as the Commandant’s Pool. This is probably also the reason why this first ocean pool is quite small measuring only about 10 meters by 6 metres. Whatever the reasons for its construction, Mr. Morisset started a trend that continues to this day.

Free or Pay?

The Bondi “Icebergs” pool is a full Olympic sized 50 metres in length. The downside is that it costs $9 to use. The one at Bronte beach is only 30 metres in length but is free to use. I think that will be the determining factor as to which one I use on a regular basis. There are several others nearby. Some are free and some charge an entrance fee. I shall see over the next few months which ones are free to use and which are the best. Suffice to say that there are enough of them about. In fact, there are about 100 ocean pools in New South Wales alone. Another great example of why Australia has won so many swimming medals over the years.

I intend to swim in as many as I can. But I will not be in a hurry to pay $9 every time I want an ocean pool swim. Once was enough (for now) for the Icebergs pool.

An interesting view of the Pools when empty. By Nicole Larkin

This last photograph is courtesy of Nicole Larkin. A talented, Sydney based architect, artist and designer, Nicole has painstakingly surveyed, photographed and classified many of the ocean pools in New South wales. You can see the brilliant results of this and her other exciting work here:  https://www.nicolelarkin.com/the-wild-edge

Incidentally the pool gets a clean once a week – probably when this last photograph as taken.

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