While everyone gathered at the beginning of the week in the Northern Hemisphere to celebrate the summer solstice by watching the sun rise over Stone Henge, we down under looked towards celebrating the marking of the days beginning to grow longer.
Aussies are in the depths of winter and counting the days towards
summer warmth where they can once again embark on that much loved sport
of swimming in the ocean.
Hang on! Why wait til summer? Not likely, Aussies are made of much
tougher stuff and wait for no right weather conditions. Residence of
Hobart, our most southern capital city, (if you head any further south
you’ll be in Antarctica), chose to mark the winter solstice with a naked
dip in the Derwent River. Well almost naked, they all wore red swimming
caps. The water temperature was a chilly 11 degrees C as all 700 brave
Tasmanians held their breath and took the plunge into the shivering
Meanwhile, here in the Top End of the country where the winter nights
never fall below 17C and the days still reach a balmy 30C, Territorians
braved the depths of the ocean for their annual winter swim. Fannie Bay
Life Saving Club held a race across the bay that took my breath away
when I first heard of it. I have been warned never to swim in the ocean
up here for danger of crocodiles, sharks and box jelly fish, yet these
amazing brave souls took to the water like a school of fish splashing
about in a frenzy.
Two major swim events, both held on the winter solstice, in the same country, yet they couldn’t have been further apart.
I on the other hand chose to spend the day amongst petrol rev heads
at the V8 Super car races held annually at Hidden Valley race track. As I
gulped down another bottle of water, wiped the perspiration from my
face and applied yet another layer of sun block I wondered what on earth
I was doing here? Then I guess the petrol fumes embraced me as the roar
of the F18′s soared overhead, the drivers revved their engines and the
race began! Maybe raising three boys has rubbed off on me a little more
than I thought as the enthusiasm pumped through my veins.
As for swimming, yes I did eventually collapse into our pool on my
return home. So I guess I did eventually end the day the same way as so
many other Aussies began it, with a dip in the cool refreshing waters
Only two days later I was reminded again just how poles apart we are
in this country. While the heat continues to reign down over Darwin, the
south of the country was in the grips of the largest blizzard in years.
The Snowy Mountains had their best snow fall to begin the school
holiday season in ten years or more and my boys called to say it snowed
on our property all day.Did it make me homesick? It sure did. We may
only get light snow that melts when it hits the ground with the
occasional thin blanket enveloping the ground and surrounding mountains,
but it is beautiful.
I sound like a tourist campaign, no matter what the weather you are
looking for, we have it somewhere here in Oz. As the Queenslanders say,
Australia truly is”Beautiful one day, perfect the next!”