Storytellers – ‘Tour de Pools’ – May 2014

Jenny, Denise and Jan

Jenny, Denise and Jan

The presentation by Denise Elder and Jan Davies of their ‘Tour de Pools’, a pictorial journey of some of NSW’s iconic treasures, was not to be missed. It wasn’t just for swimming enthusiasts but for anyone interested in discovering new places, walks, cafes and the like.

Denise began by explaining how about 5 or 6 years ago she had an idea of walking the Great Coastal Walk which starts at Barrenjoey Lighthouse and finishes at Cronulla. In due course Denise and friends did the walk, covering 170kms undertaking it in well planned stages. Each stage commenced near a beach / pool so they could start with a swim and breakfast or a swim and lunch.



Following the success of that walk, about 2 years ago, Denise thought she needed another adventure. So teaming up with Jan, they organised an executive committee (committee of 2 being manageable) and sat down armed with an iPad and a Gregory’s and they realised there were about 100 pools all the way down the NSW coast. They decided they’d do much the same as the Great Coastal Walk starting at Palm Beach Rock Pool and visit as many of the rock pools, enclosures, and ocean pools as possible all the way down to Coalcliff Rock Pool near Wollongong, excluding those under the Harbour, Spit or Roseville bridges. There was plenty to consider in the planning with some pools being closed on certain days for cleaning whilst others being dependent on tides. They decided to break the ‘tour’ into 18 stages. Next step was to send out emails to the usual suspects and then it was all systems go with the first stage starting in January 2013.

Wylie's Pool

Wylie’s Pool

All in all about 30 different people joined in at least one of the 55 swims on the ‘tour’. Stalwarts Jan and Jenny H did all but one of the swims, whilst surprise surprise Denise swam all the pools and some twice. At times when it was in the depths of Winter it would either be Denise and Jan alone or Denise and Jenny alone with Jan joining for lunch. The most pools swam in a day was when Jenny arranged the Wollongong pools when they and others did 5 in the day (there are still 6 to go). Jan told us how that it wasn’t just a case of having a splash in each pool. There were rules to be observed with a minimum of 10 laps to be completed. Meticulous statistics were kept by Denise throughout the ‘tour’ with names, laps, photos, conditions etc. Pool distances varied drastically with the Ramsgate Pool being 110 metres long, whilst others at low tide were hardly bigger than a hanky.

MacCallum's Pool

MacCallum’s Pool

Dutifully 10 laps were still completed even if low tide meant there was more walking than swimming. Being a born statistician Denise, who knows exactly how far she has swam by how many strokes she takes, calculated that the ‘tour’ covered about 30 kms in all.

Thanks to Denise and Jan for offering to share their pool adventures with members. It really was a most entertaining and interesting evening. It was obvious that lots of fun was had by everyone who joined in. Apart from some wonderful photos of the great variety of pools, a photo of Lori Middlehurst sporting her dressing gown and ugg boots in Winter captured the imagination. After the meeting there was plenty of encouragement for Denise and Jan to publish some of their adventure. Keep a lookout for the next ‘tour’, perhaps up to Newcastle.

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