The Icebergers: Only 10% Crazy
“What am I doing here?” This is what I said to myself as I sat in my car in the dark carpark of the Middle Brighton Baths last Saturday morning. It was 6:30am and I was waiting for the sun to come up in the hope that I could capture the Brighton Icerbergers emerge from the clubhouse for their daily ritual of madness.
I started thinking that maybe it was just too cold for them on this day – it was one of the coldest Melbourne mornings so far for the year. And then right on cue, a group of silhouettes emerged from the clubhouse making a quick trot towards the jetty that shoots out into the choppy ice cold Bay.
The Brighton Icebergers are a group of people who religiously get up each morning to swim in Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay for a session of open water swimming. They do this all year round, rain hail or shine, with the sea temp dropping down to an average of 7 – 8 deg C (that’s about 45 deg F) during the Winter.
I had taken a few shots of these guys during the 24 Hour Project - see http://www.the24hourproject.net/. That was back in March, and while I thought it was cold back then, it was nothing compared to this return trip in June. Melbourne had been experiencing an “Arctic snap” as we call them here, and the temperature had plunged all week with ice cold winds blowing in from the Arctic Ocean. On that morning back in March I had to move on to another location to get my next hours shot, so I couldn’t hang around and get as many photos of them as I had wanted.
Understandably they had been a bit more talkative and prepared to stop and tell me their story the first time around. This time they gave me a quick smile as they made a dash back from the ocean to the warm showers that awaited them. Back in March they told me that a half hour swim in the ice cold ocean set them up for a vigorating and adrenaline fuelled day.
Personally I’d love to give this a go, I’m no stranger to early morning training rituals, but it’s just not practical with the Bay being too far from my home. Well that’s my excuse anyway.
Getting ready to go
Leap of faith
Man's best friend
Emerging (a renewal)
Bee-line for the shower
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