The Pod: Ocean Swimming

Marc West

There's more to ocean swimming than swimming in the ocean.

All Episodes

Lauren Tischendorf is the first woman to swim solo around Lord Howe Island - 32.2 km of sharks, currents, 25 knot winds and 2.5 metre swell, finishing in 13 hours 50 minutes and 26 seconds. She has also filmed a documentary of the swim, I just went for a swim, highlighting the spectacular ocean as well as the importance of the empowerment of girls and women. You can watch this film throughout Australia very soon in the Women's Adventure Film Festival. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Lord - Leaux Mane Howe - Andervall Island - extenz Sapphire - Tobu Image from Lauren on instagram

Oct 10

20 min 57 sec

Brendan Cullen is training to swim the English channel, but what makes his journey exceptional is that he is a sheep farmer from Kars Station, east of Broken Hill in NSW, and is about 350 km from the nearest coastline. Four mornings a week, Brendan swims in the murky waters of Lake Pamamaroo and Lake Copi Hollow in the Menindee Lakes, where he can't typically see more than 20 centimetres in front of his face (video). And there's not a lot of open water in the desert!  Brendan already has some major swimming achievements under his belt, such as swimming for 8 hours non-stop, and he an ambassador for lifeline, raising awareness and money for mental health. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Broken - dikomm Hill - Valance Broken - Mind Over Mayhem Hill - Damien Bronieki Broken - trifonic Sapphire - Tobu Image from Jacinta Cullen / smh. 

Sep 20

54 min 31 sec

Peter Hancock has now swum well over 1000 consecutive days, most days in Dumaresq Dam in Armidale, central NSW. Often the temperature is down near freezing. But this is not the first time Pete has conquered an incredible swimming challenge. In 2014, he swam in 333 different locations in the one year, including in the 1.6 degree Fox Glacier River in New Zealand. As a freshwater ecologist, it's not just the swimming that Pete likes - there are plenty of things to look at! He has discovered new species of fresh water crustaceans and beetles,  and documents much of it on Instagram. Pete also recently completed an indoor Iron Man, raising money for Headspace. So he knows how to run and cycle as well! You can see his adventures on strava. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Set - Michael Douglas Dumaresq Armidale - Malfatti Like I do - Dam Feel good - Invertebrate Sapphire - Tobu Image from Pete on Instagram. Also see Pete on Twitter. 

Aug 12

57 min 50 sec

Jaimee Rogers hosts the Big Sports Breakfast program on Sky Sports Radio, is a national level swimmer in the 200m breaststroke, and is now tackling the English Channel. She is raising money with Gotcha4life to support mental health programs. You can sponsor her here. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Balmoral - Peyrius Winter - Datasuck Calais to Dover - Binder and Howorth Cliffs of Dover - Fabio Mazzo Sapphire - Tobu Image from Jaimee on instagram

Jul 4

31 min 1 sec

Jon Stagg has completed the Dark Mofo Nude Solstice Swim every year since its inception. What makes someone swim nude in the middle of the Tasmanian winter? Jon has some fabulous stories - he even did it himself when the event was cancelled during covid! Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Nude Beach - Le Blanche Naked - Pasi Sillanpaa Wobble - Josh Tiong Sapphire - Tobu Image from ABC I'm hoping to do the Canberra version - let's see where we're at come the solstice! You'll see it on strava or twitter if I do.

Jun 4

42 min 30 sec

If you live on the east coast of Australia, your ocean swimming season has been rudely interrupted by the weather, with swims cancelled up and down the coast because of high swells and flooding. Australia has just experienced its wettest summer for five years because of a climate cycle known as La Nina.  Associate Professor Andréa Taschetto is an oceanographer and ARC Future Fellow at the Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: La Niña Y El Lobo - Jesus Adrián Romero La nina que yo ame - Tumi Music Ltd. La Nina De Tus OjoS - Daniel Calveti (DJ PRE Remix) Sapphire - Tobu Image from hippo px Some links from the show: Andrea on twitter, Marc on twitter, Marc on strava

Apr 18

17 min 25 sec

Associate Professor Anna Clark is an ocean lover, fisher and historian at the University of Technology, Sydney. She has extensively researched the history of beach culture in Australia, an important place for thousands of generations of Indigenous culture,  a place of last resort during the Great Depression, and a place of upheaval during the more recent Cronulla riots. And throughout all that time, it has been vital for food and industry. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Beach - Lichu Beach - Hyphelion Beach - piglet Sapphire - Tobu Image from exploroz

Mar 5

30 min 11 sec

John Sheely is head gardener at the Warrnambool Botanical Gardens, an acclaimed ocean swimmer who, with pools closed due to covid, has now swum 300 consecutive ocean swims, and is aiming at 365 - a fair achievement when you consider he's swimming without a wetsuit off the coast of Victoria! It will end up being over 1000 km swum. He's also got quite the take on beer and steak as sports nutrition! You can find John on Strava and Twitter. Image from The Standard. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Beer - The fishermen and the priestess Pepper Steak - User 21293509 Turkish Delight - Mark Armstrong 303 Wellerman - Argules Sapphire - Tobu

Feb 2

39 min 20 sec

Chloe McCardel is probably the world's best ocean swimmer. She holds the record for the world's longest unassisted ocean swim (124.4 km), has crossed the English Channel 37 times, was inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 2016 and was International Marathon Swimmer of the Year, 2014 & 2015. Her achievements are too long to fully describe! She is also an acclaimed coach, and in November is giving free online English Channel solo swim advice talks for which you can register here. Image from Chloe's Facebook page. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Chloe - Fear the priest Chloe - The drop kid English - tphalp Channel - brad2 Hypothermia - Creo Sapphire - Tobu

Nov 2020

1 hr 12 min

Craig Clarke is a champion Australian surf life-saver who has had a dream of swimming the English Channel since watching Des Renford in the 1970s. He had a slot booked in for this year, and then Covid-19 hit. Undeterred, not wanting to waste the training, and to raise money for Beyond Blue, Craig developed the 36 km “Coals to Newcastle” ocean swim on the Australian East Coast, a swim leg that has never been attempted before.  The course dates back over 100 years to when coal ships loaded at Catherine Hill Bay jetty (where the swim started) and transported coal into Newcastle Harbour past Nobbys Lighthouse (finishing point for the swim). It also has a great deal of personal significance to Craig as a coal-miner, with Newcastle being Craig’s home town and Swansea Belmont SLSC his club. Craig also raised as astonishing $32000 for Beyond Blue. The swim took 12 hours and you can read more about the swim at the Coals to Newcastle Facebook page. Image from Newcastle Herald. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Walking on hot coals - Joe Bongiovanni / Jamie Rhind Newcastle city lights - 2G-Ghost Green Bay - Vlad Gluschenko Sweet Maya - Coal fired bicycle Swell - Journal Sapphire - Tobu  

Oct 2020

57 min 23 sec

Heather Massey is a senior lecturer in the Extreme Environments Research Group at the University of Portsmouth. Heather has done extensive work into the human response to cold water, both the physical and mental effects, and her areas of research interest include thermal, altitude and survival physiology. She's also an amazing ocean swimmer, having swum the English Channel and around Jersey, among other things. And has a podcast called Humans in Extremes, interviewing extraordinary guests who have done extraordinary activities in extreme environmental conditions. Image from Heather on Twitter. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Ice Cold - Spurb Music Ice Cold - Brasskazoo Ice Cold - Creamwolf Ice Cold - Moonk Ice Cold - Drew McGoo72 Sapphire - Tobu

Sep 2020

44 min 14 sec

Bold and Beautiful are an informal Sydney swim group for all ages and abilities who meet out the front of Manly Life Saving Club every day and swim at 7am, 7 days a week from Manly to Shelly Beach and back. Dorset Sutton is a philanthropist and along with Bold and Beautiful has been a key part of Operation Crayweed, an effort to bring crayweed back to Sydney beaches - you may remember this from the last episode. Dorset, along with wife Jenny, runs the Lim-Sutton Initiative which is focused on marine philanthropy. Image from Bold and Beautiful Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Bold - Human Condition Beautiful - zayy Beautiful - Tarrah Beautiful - Terrence Duggan The bold and the beautiful - Matt Parker Sapphire - Tobu  

Aug 2020

46 min 37 sec

Crayweed, a type of seaweed, forms dense forests on shallow reefs all the way from Port Macquarie to Tasmania. However, there is a 70 km gap in crayweed off the coast of Sydney. Sometime during the 1980s, crayweed disappeared completely between Palm Beach and Cronulla, likely due to the poorly treated sewage that used to be pumped directly onto Sydney’s beaches. However, despite Sydney's water quality improving dramatically since the establishment of the deep ocean sewage outfalls, the crayweed forests have not returned. Ziggy Marzinelli leads the crayweed restoration research at the University of Sydney and the Sydney Institute of Marine Science, and is part of Operation Crayweed, a concerted effort to restore Sydney's underwater crayweed forests. One of the places they are working is Cabbage Tree Bay near Manly, and have enlisted the help of ocean swimming group with Bold and the Beautiful (stay tuned for a podcast with them very soon). Image from Patagonia AUS & NZ, who are also working with Operation Crayweed. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Seaweed Smoothie - oever Underwater - 10GRI Underwater - michachaney Underwater - Unusual Narwhal Sapphire - Tobu  

Jul 2020

41 min 10 sec

Dr. Shane Gould is the only swimmer to hold every world freestyle record from 100 to 1500 metres and the 200-metre individual medley simultaneously. She is the first female swimmer to win three Olympic gold medals in world record time, and the first swimmer to win Olympic medals in five individual events in a single Olympics. She is also the only Australian to win three individual gold medals at one Games. And now she's a card-carrying member of the Ocean Swimmers' Union! But not only that, Shane has completed two Masters theses and a Doctorate on the role of swimming in Australian culture, runs swim courses, is involved with surf life-saving and swims as often as she can in the ocean in Bicheno, Tasmania. So she knows a bit about swimming. And she also won Survivor! Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Swim Good - Weathrman Survivor - Sammy Nova Survivor - The Toto1000 Survivor - Jamophone Ocean - MBB Devil - KiddTyed Cape Cub Swim - reefVibes Sapphire - Tobu Image from Numismatic Bibliomania Society.

Jun 2020

1 hr 9 min

Caroline Clements and Dillon Seitchik-Reardon run the beautiful website Places we swim and have just released a book, also called Places we swim, a travel guide for water-loving people, exploring Australia through swimming. The book takes us to beaches, pools, waterfalls, lakes, hot springs and gorges all over the country. Caroline and Dillon visited hundreds, if not thousands, of swimming holes to explore Australia's wild beauty and to curate the absolute best of every place they visited. Make this your list of places to swim when we come out of isolation! Image from @placesweswim Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Misty Gorge - sillythewilly Moon Lake - Epic Blast Radius Lagoon -  Dhanesh River - MusicbyAden River - JSMusic Sapphire - Tobu

Apr 2020

40 min 36 sec

Hannah Sassi is a virologist from the University of Sydney who studies the persistence of viruses in the environment. She is also an ocean swimmer who trains with BondiFit, whose local beach is Maroubra. Right now during the Coronavirus pandemic, many swimmers are wondering whether it is OK to go for a swim. At the time of recording, a lot of world is in lockdown or headed towards it, so some of this is a moot point. If the local laws say don't swim, then obviously, don't swim! In summary, should you swim right now? In public pools: NO In ocean pools: NO In the ocean: If you take social distancing very seriously. But don't be a dick, if the beach is closed or you're in lockdown, don't swim. While a properly cleaned pool will kill the virus, the virus can live for a long time in the surrounding environment and everywhere you go on your way to the pool. And in such places where people exercise, people tend to be breathing heavily. Viruses can persist for a longer period of time in fresh/salt water, and so there are further risks with ocean pools, especially those that don't get flushed or cleaned regularly. If you want to swim, swimming at some distance from others in the ocean is the way to go. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Virus - Danik3 Virus - Victor Vicodin Virus - DJ RockinHoof Corona - Alexander Nakarada Sapphire - Tobu

Mar 2020

37 min 18 sec

The Cole Classic is one of Sydney's oldest and largest ocean swims. It has a storied history and in 2020, ownership of the swim moved from Fairfax to Manly Surf Life Saving Club, meaning essentially a whole new swim had to be organised.  Simone Hill is a member of Manly SLSC and runs her own company My Crew Travel. Simone coordinated the volunteers and logistics for the day, and helped create a new community vibe around the event. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Harris Cole - Rain (Extended) - Slayer_Op Classic - Numa Sapphire - Tobu

Mar 2020

31 min 51 sec

Therese Spruhan must be one of Australia's experts on the cultural impact of the swimming pool. Her recent book, The Memory Pool, is a fabulous nostalgic anthology bringing together reflections on the childhood swimming pools of 28 Australians including Trent Dalton, Leah Purcell, Shane Gould, Bryan Brown and Merrick Watts. You can taste the hot chips, smell the chlorine and feel the burning concrete. For many kids, the local pool is a place of imagination, freedom, friendship and romance.  Therese is also the author of Swimming pool stories, a blog to which every Australian swimmer should subscribe! We had a lovely chat at Therese's new local pool, the Fanny Durack Aquatic Centre in Petersham, about all things swimming pools. You can hear kids splashing in the background, but also the occasional flight overhead and a little bit of wind - it's very real! I've left it long, so put the kettle on, go for a drive or a long run, and dive into the memory pool! Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Memories - Sevnth Memory - Aaron Weisflog :memory - Elttob Memory - Majin Bu Sapphire - Tobu

Jan 2020

58 min 54 sec

Dean Summers has conquered the triple Crown of open water swimming and as I type this, is waiting for his chance to swim the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand, part of his attack on the Oceans seven. Only 18 people have completed this astonishing series of seven incredible channel and strait swims around the world, and Dean is five in. He has swum The English Channel, Catalina Strait, The North Channel, Moloka’i Channel The Strait of Gibraltar. He plans to conquer the remaining two, Cook Strait and the Tsugaru Strait in Japan, by 2020. You can sponsor Hunterlink here. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Oceans - Petit Biscuit Seven - Ryan Deano - Roland MacIntosh Chasin' Summers - DJ Fro-Bot Sapphire - Tobu Image from SWIMDEAN

Dec 2019

1 hr 7 min

Tim Garrett is an extraordinary athlete. Not content with swimming some of the world's most famous and gruelling waterways, Tim tags on runs and rides of hundreds of kilometers to his swims. For instance, Tim has completed the Arc2Arch: Run - 87 miles from Marble Arch in London to Dover, Swim - The English Channel, Bike - 181 miles from Calais to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. He is one of only two people to have completed the Arc2Arch and Uberman, an event in which you swim from 21 miles from Catalina Island to Los Angeles (a major event in itself!), cycle 400 miles to Badwater basin, the lowest point in North America, and then run 135 miles through Death Valley before ascending 13,000 feet to Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the Continental United States. He plans his own ultra-endurance events through his company Another Level Performance. Apart from Australia's longest open water swim, he has also organised Hard Bastard, where you: Swim - 35 km from Palm Beach to North Bondi, Bike - 620 km to Mount Kosciuszko, Run - 162 km in the Australian Alps. He fundraises for The Heart Research Institute and unsurprisingly doesn't sleep much! His major aim is to tackle the North Pole. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: The Endurance - Scott Buckley Endless Endurance - pathbot Endurance - Chin Hero Tim Tim - Ready For The Island (DJ Lamonnz WS AS Remix) - DJ Lamonnz Tim Maia - Caminho do Bem (Bhaskar & Rivas Remix) - Rivas Sapphire - Tobu Image from TimmyGarrett888 on Instagram

Nov 2019

1 hr 2 min

Wild swimming is something of a cousin to ocean swimming. Or is ocean swimming a subset of wild swimming? Either way, wild swimming is huge across the world, and particularly in the UK and Europe. It's also often stunningly beautiful - search #wildswimming on instagram and you'll see what I mean. Calum Hudson is the middle brother of The Wild Swimming Brothers, triathlete,Ice swimmer, author, nature love, swimming advocate and wild swimmer. He has swum the world's most powerful maelstroms, escaped Alcatraz and swum between continents. The Wild Swimming Brothers started with a 140 km swim down the River Eden, as you do! We had a wonderful chat about the whole gamut of things that make up the world of wild swimming.  Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Wild - Bank$ the producer Swimming - elesimo Brothers - Marcel Hutter Swimming - David Lassam Swimming in ink - Wontolla Sapphire - Tobu Image from The Wild Swimming Brothers on Instagram

Sep 2019

1 hr 3 min

Dr. Mark Hemer is a Principal Research Scientist leading the Sea-Level, Waves and Coastal Extremes team within CSIRO's Ocean and Atmosphere Climate Science Centre. Mark has researched offshore renewable energy for the past 10 years, exploring the potential of Australia's renewable offshore resources. We chatted about offshore energy, and among many things, whether you can swim around wave farms. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Ocean Wave, Power of Ocean - Shyinka Tides - Chuckee Tides - Chris Kogos Tides - Switch Power! - Andrew Dude Power - Andrew Shift Sapphire - Tobu Image from David Dixon

Sep 2019

21 min 42 sec

What is the likelihood of a tsunami hitting your favourite beach? Dr. Hannah Power, from University of Newcastle's School of Environmental and Life Sciences, conducts research on ocean waves, and recently published on the likelihood and consequences of a tsunami hitting Sydney Harbour. She has also developed the risk forecast for the Figure Eight Pool in Sydney's Royal National Park. This forecast examines the likelihood of being struck by large waves on your journey across the rock shelf. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Tsunami - Cyclotone Symphonic Tsunami - Le MaNiTeK The Great Tsunami - These Loose Ends Tsunami Biter - cj2thed Sapphire - Tobu  Image from Canterbury Maps

Aug 2019

34 min 8 sec

Have you ever had the visibility in a swim drop to a few centimeters? Has it ever gone a bit brown? Perhaps you've ended up swimming through sewage! This happened to Dr. Ian Wright in the 90s, and is likely to have happened to any ocean swimmer who was swimming off the coast of Sydney in that period. Ian is a keen ocean swimmer and a senior lecturer in the School of Science and Health at Western Sydney University, whose research interests include freshwater ecology, water chemistry and water pollution. We chatted about the poo problem at Sydney's beaches. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Plume - Kubbi Pipeline - CyberSDF Water - The Kyoto Connection Water - Stimwise Flush - If I had a Hi Fi The early poo gets the flush - Masterpoo Sapphire - Tobu Image from eutrophication&hypoxia There's also a quick Kath and Kim clip in there at the end #lookatmeme

Aug 2019

49 min 23 sec

Scott Portelli is an acclaimed wildlife and underwater photographer, and has swum with whales and other magnificent creatures of the deep in some of the world's most exotic locations, like Antarctica, Tonga, the Falkland Islands and Norway. Among many other awards, Scott was awarded Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2016, and he runs tours that you can join up with around the world to swim with whales.  Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Message from the whales - Ulrik Grahn-Olsen Whales of the north - Hydrosphere Orca - Skinny Lags Orca - Ani Onix Sapphire - Tobu Image from Scott Portelli on Instagram

Jul 2019

29 min 46 sec

During winter, you're probably familiar with human snot, but are you familiar with whale snot? Dr. Vanessa Pirotta is! Vanessa is a marine biologist, naturalist and science communicator, and has been collecting snot from whale spouts using bespoke drones in order to understand whale health. She's collected viruses, bacteria and DNA from the snot, in a much less invasive way than other methods. She's also run whale watching tours, swum with whales in Tonga and observed them in Antarctica. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Whales - Matt Matic Hipster whales - Jamophone Luminous Snot - Sober Spring Sapphire - Tobu Image from Scott Portelli on Instagram

Jun 2019

24 min 3 sec

Last time we talked about stingers, we learnt some valuable insights - don't wee on them! Turns out, there may be some better solutions on the horizon. Associate Professor Greg Neely, from the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney, has discovered an antidote to the sting of the most venomous creature on Earth -  the Australian box jellyfish. Greg's antidote, discovered using CRISPR genome editing technology, blocks the symptoms within 15 minutes, and overlaps interestingly with research conducted into cholesterol. This means that the drug development may already be out there and we could see something in the hands of life-savers sooner rather than later. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Jellyfish - Fidser Jellyfish in space - Kevin MacLeod Sapphire - Tobu Image from Will Fisher

Jun 2019

19 min 49 sec

Whether you are an experienced or aspiring ocean swimmer, if you are in Australia or New Zealand, you will visit oceanswims.com. Oceanswims.com handles the entries for the majority of organised swims in this part of the world, as well as being home to commentary, photos, witty banter, results and competitions. Paul Ellercamp and Suanne Hunt are the ocean swimming doyens who run oceanswims.com and Ocean Swim Safaris, and we talked rather pleasantly over tea and macaroons about all things ocean swimming, including how the sport has grown over the last 20 years, technology changes, drafting, some of the characters of the sport, swimming around the world, and Paul's starring roll, with a former Prime Minister (another great Bob Hawke story), in the classic Australian TV soap A Country Practice. See if you can hear the puppy sleeping in the background on Suanne's lap! Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Whale Film - James Ellercamp Music Ocean - KV Ocean - Lilat Ocean - Unfinite Ocean - hanimaltos Ocean - Andreas Bu Sapphire - Tobu Image from Paul on twitter

May 2019

1 hr 23 min

Dr Gary Greenberg is a scientist, author, teacher and photographer who combines his passion for art and science by exploring the hidden small-scale dimensions of nature. Gary has invented multiple high-definition, three-dimensional light microscopes (for which he has multiple US patents) and nowadays focuses his microscopes on common objects, such as grains of sand, flowers, and food. He's looked at sand from all round the Earth, but the funkiest sand he has examined is from the Moon. He's hoping he can get some Mars sand! You can identify a beach (or heavenly body) from its sand, which depends on the temperature, surf and erosion conditions and marine environment.  You can see Gary's sand photography for yourself at sandgrains.com. And you might like to do some searching for the in vitro human pancreatic cancer cells he turned into the planet Kyrpton in the first Superman movie - the nuclei of the cells look like impact craters! Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Sand - Viasol Sand - Adrian Rivas Sand Planet - JubyPhonic Laid in the sand beside the sea - Seasidetrip 90 Sand - Sean Tierney Sapphire - Tobu  The image is from sandgrains.com and is of sand from Maui.

Apr 2019

39 min 48 sec

Ocean pools are a delight. I love swimming in them, and they are also quite often simply beautiful places to be. Dr. Marie-Louise McDermott has written a PhD on ocean pools (Wet, wild and convivial: past, present and future contributions of Australia’s ocean pools to surf, beach, pool and body cultures and recreational coasts) and runs a fantastic website dedicated to ocean pools, All into ocean pools inc. I had a wonderful chat with Marie-Louise about her love of ocean pools, why Australia (and Sydney in particular) has such a rich tradition of them, and their influence on Australian life. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Ocean - THBD Ocean - Frederick Ocean - Santamaria Pool - Veronica Judin Pool - Hirnlego Sapphire - Tobu Image: Mona Vale Beach By Gab Scanu

Mar 2019

42 min 25 sec

Swimming caps are a large source of ocean swimming waste. Often only once used, destined for land-fill or the ocean itself, events have not got a handle on to how to appropriately use them. And despite popular belief, they do not break down in the environment in any useful timeframe. They are important facets of ocean swimming safety so that swimmers can be seen in the water and in their racing waves, but at the end of each season, even mediocre swimmers like myself end up with a bag full of caps, never to be used again. So, what can you do? I've been collecting caps for Recap over the last few summers to give them on to good causes. One of those places they go is Reverse Garbage, an organisation that saves materials from landfill and renews their value by making them available for reuse by families, students, artists and community groups. Each year, they take about 35 thousand cubic meters of waste for reuse, saving tonnes of raw material, energy and emissions. I spoke with Kirsten Junor, Creative Director at Reverse Garbage, about what she does with the caps, what Reverse Garbage does in general, interspersed with all sorts of reuse/recycle discussion. We recorded in the pub - surely the best way to spend an afternoon recording a podcast - so occasionally the sound quality dips. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Kalon - extenz Positive Happy - PeriTune Atlantis - Scandinavianz Endless Summer - extenz Eventide - mezhdunami Show me the way - Vendredi Okay - True Magenta Sapphire - Tobu  

Feb 2019

32 min 57 sec

Things that can sting you are part of every ocean swimming experience, not matter where you are in the world. Associate Professor Jamie Seymour, Director of the Tropical Australian Stinger Research Unit at James Cook University, studies venomous animals and has a particular interest in decreasing the envenomings of humans by jellyfish. He has some personal experience in this area too - he has been stung by Irukandji 11 times! He is a world leader in the studies of the ecology and biology of Box jellyfish (his favourite jellyfish), and his work has led to pharmaceuticals being made from animal venom. We chatted about how to treat ocean stings (not with vinegar nor, funnily enough, urine!), habitats and the influence of climate change on the spread of stingers, stinger evolution, the difference between poison and venom, and between a toxicologist and a toxinologist, and a host of other jellyfish tangents (tentacles?). Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Addict - Peyruis Night Out - LiQWYD Want you - ZAYFALL I Wonder - PYC Sapphire - Tobu

Jan 2019

37 min 33 sec

Rips claim an order of magnitude more lives than shark attacks in Australia, and are arguably the most dangerous facet of going to the beach. Associate Professor Rob Brander, also known as Dr Rip, is a coastal geomorphologist who studies morphodynamics (hydrodynamics, sediment transport, morphology) of coastal systems, with a particular interest in rips and the safety of beachgoers. He runs a beach education program called Science of the Surf, and one of the cool things he does is publish a Rip of the month. You might like to read his book, Dr. Rip's Essential Beach Book, or check out the National Geographic documentary, Rip Current Heroes. Coming into the summer, listen in as Rob lets you know how to spot a rip and what to do if you're caught in one. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Groove It - ZAYFALL Somebody - ZAYFALL Paraclet - Amaria Breeze - MBB Sapphire - Tobu    

Nov 2018

19 min 15 sec

Shark nets are fairly common across popular Australian tourist beaches, but beyond giving swimmers a perception that they are being protected from sharks, do they actually work? Jordan Sosnowski is the Advocacy Director for Action for Dolphins, a group that aims to stop cruelty to, and gain legal protection for, small cetaceans (dolphins and other small whales). We chatted about how shark nets probably don't work to keep sharks and swimmers apart, that shark nets have an incredible toll on marine life, that sharks don't hunt you down, that opinions on the use of shark nets are changing, and the non-lethal options that are out there. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Epic Song by BoxCat Games Earth Tones by Hpnotic718 Ave Marimba - Kevin MacLeod Sapphire - Tobu Image from Sea Gazing

Jun 2018

29 min 42 sec

Ram Barkai is the founder of the International Ice Swimming Association - they are all about swimming in water less than 5 degrees Celcius. Ram has swum many of the world's toughest swims, including in Antarctica, and holds multiple world records. The IISA introduced the Ice Mile as its signature achievement; the Ice Mile is one mile in water of 5C or less. The swim must be unassisted and only a pair of goggles, a cap and a standard swimming costume can be worn. In 2014, the IISA introduced the 1 km ice event, and Ram's ambition is to have the 1 km event introduced to the 2022 Winter Olympics. I've left this episode long as I found it absolutely fascinating, and Ram very entertaining! Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License Lullaby - Joakim Karud Yukowla - Yuku Discotheque - Bluehost Sapphire - Tobu don't leave me here alone - Artifical.Music Real Bad Girl - Audionautix  

May 2018

1 hr 16 min

Sally Catt is an ocean swimmer who this year is tackling the English Channel. She is raising money for Save The Box, a campaign to raise awareness and fundraising for gynaecological cancer research, as part of the Australia New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group (ANZGOG). I chatted to Sally about her journey to this point and what it takes to swim that far (>30 km) including long distance training, cold water acclimatization, going to the toilet while you're swimming, diet, travel companies, qualifying swims and English Channel swim operators. Listen in for tips if this is something you want to do! It is not out of reach. You can sponsor Sally's journey for charity here. Songs in this episode are all licensed under a Creative Commons License and are by Bensound, who provides royalty free music. The songs are Funky Element, Jazzy French, Moose and Ukulele.

Apr 2018

35 min 56 sec

Andre Slade runs OceanFit, which is an open water swim school run at Bondi Beach. Andre has been involved in ocean swimming for a long time, and knows a thing or two about ocean swimming training, tactics and skills. He's also started a surf life saving magazine and written surf life saving policy. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License Beach Buggy Ride - SIRPRICE Acoustic Breeze - Bensound Hot Mustard - S Strong Sapphire - Tobu

Apr 2018

44 min 40 sec

The Cooks River in Sydney has been variously described as an open sewer, the River of Death, and one of Australia's most polluted rivers. Yet there are plans - possibly rather hopeful plans - to bring swimming back to the river. There are numerous such rivers in cities around the world, so how realistic is the idea that you could bring swimming back to polluted city rivers? Could ex-industrial rivers join the oceans (and dams) of Australia as recreational swimming spots? Professor Stuart Khan from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UNSW studies sustainable urban water management, and has studied chemical composition of the Cooks River, and how the pollutants got there. He thinks that, whilst it may be a long way off, there are precedents around the world for bringing back swimming to polluted rivers. You can read more on efforts to remediate the Cooks River at the Cooks River Valley Association. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License Funk City - Reatch Up In My Jam - Kubbi Cease - A Himitsu Sapphire - Tobu

Mar 2018

33 min 23 sec

Beachwatch test the water quality of Sydney beaches to see if they are suitable for swimming. The program also partners with councils and wastewater managers for swimming sites along the NSW coast. Water samples are collected and tested for bacteria, which may suggest faecal pollution, and influence whether the beach is safe for swimming. The program started in 1989 due to sewage pollution washing up on Sydney beaches - there was literally poo on the beach... These days, water quality has greatly improved, largely due to new deep ocean outfalls for coastal sewage treatment plants, as well as improvements in wastewater and stormwater management. The major reason why a beach may be unsafe to swim these days is because of recent rainfall, which can bring stormwater and wastewater overflow. Beachwatch also provides weekly star ratings for beaches, and the annual State of the Beaches report. Dr. Meredith Campey is the Beachwatch Program Manager, and I spoke to her about what Beachwatch does, its history, how they test and what they test for, and the various reasons a beach may be unsuitable for swimming. You can receive Beachwatch updates on Facebook and Twitter, subscribe to their RSS feeds, or subscribe to daily pollution forecasts. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License Exit the Premises - Kevin MacLeod Tonic and Energy - Elexive Adventures - A Himitsu A new beginning - Bensound Sapphire - Tobu Episode image - licensed under a Creative Commons License: Yellow Bioman

Jan 2018

19 min 46 sec

It is estimated that ocean plastics will outweigh ocean fish by 2050, according to a study by the World Economic Forum. There are at least 5.25 trillion plastic pieces floating in the oceans right now. Dr. Jennifer Lavers is a Research Scientist at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania. She is a marine eco-toxicologist with expertise in tropical and temperate seabird ecology, plastic pollution (marine debris), invasive species management, and fisheries by-catch. Her research examines how marine apex predators, such as seabirds, act as sentinels of ocean health, and focuses on pollutants of aquatic ecosystems such as plastic, heavy metals, Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and radionuclides. She is also very interested in science and conservation outreach. Jennifer also has an Erdos-Bacon number, as a star of the stage and screen, as well as of academia! I chatted to Jennifer about her work, starting with her article This South Pacific island of rubbish shows why we need to quit our plastic habit.  Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License Happy Life - Fredji Acoustic guitar arrangement for song - TRow A new beginning - Bensound Buddha - Kontekst Sapphire - Tobu

Dec 2017

44 min 58 sec

Can you ocean swim on other planets? Perhaps! Water is far more common in the Universe than you might think, and there are many other oceans out there, even on our neighbours in our own solar system. Associate Professor Jonti Horner is an astronomer and astrobiologist who works in the Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre at the University of Southern Queensland. We caught up at the Australian Space Research Conference. It is currently thought that there are oceans deep beneath the surface of some of Jupiter's and Saturn's moons, as well as astonishingly, on asteroids and Pluto. The Saturnian moon Titan, as well as likely having a subsurface water ocean, may have standing hydrocarbon oceans on its surface. Mars and Venus may have had oceans in the past. And it's almost certain that outside the solar system, there are planets just like Earth with vast water oceans. Could these locations be the home of future extreme sports? We also chatted about publically funded science, future space missions and the future of Earth. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Moon - LEMMiNO Free Your Soul - SIRPRICE Tonic and Energy - Elexive Sapphire - Tobu  

Nov 2017

35 min 2 sec

A Melbourne man recently emerged from the ocean with his legs covered in blood seeping from thousands of tiny wounds. Dr. Murray Thomson from the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at The University of Sydney, thinks that Cirolana harfordi, a small crustacean that lives on the coast and in rivers, may have been to blame. These creatures have been known to take down sharks, have bitten divers on the face and have even skeletonised the top half of a human, using their slicing, guillotine-like mouth parts. If they're around where you're swimming, you've probably got about 10 minutes to get out of the water! I chatted to Murray about his research into these fascinating (terrifying...) creatures, their various types and behaviours, as well as their evolution and precautions you should take if you think there may be Cirolanids around. Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License: Dubstep - Bensound Adventures - A Himitsu Acoustic guitar arrangement for song - TRow Sapphire - Tobu  

Nov 2017

40 min 17 sec