I learnt to swim at one of these pools, waking up at dawn to walk down to the pool with my cousins every morning of every summer for far too many years. We would trudge down, get shouted at and our strokes demolished by an ex life guard by the name of Johnny who it seems, had never spent a moment out of direct contact with the sun and had the skin to prove it. If Johnny was feeling particularly nasty, he would lead all the kids up to the point, and instruct us all to jump and swim back to shore.
Sydney, as we all know shares one of its edges with the Pacific Ocean, and another with the Blue Mountains. Along the eastern edge are many beaches, and to my surprise in putting this post together, almost all of these beaches has its own pool carved somewhere into its rocky perimeter.
The geometry of each is slightly different. They are skewed rectangles, triangles, they are of indeterminate length - although most are around about 50m - they are embedded along the edges of cliffs, they sit solitary on reefs, they occasionally like at Narrabeen, spectacularly hinge off the point of a peninsula. At Wylies Baths they play host to a wonderful timber platform. At Collaroy, the ocean side edge of the pool bends as an abstraction of the bend of the cliff behind. At South Bondi they have a mythical status and provide the foreground to fine dining and summer boozing while at North Bondi, the pool recalls Corb’s ear of God at La Tourette.
So, from North to South here are Sydney’s 26 ocean pools:
South Curl Curl
Manly - Fairy Bower Pool
[I am no expert on these things - if I have mislabelled one of the pools, or missed anything, then let me know!]