The Byron Bay Stingrays
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Every morning, whatever the weather, a group of dedicated individuals make their way to the deck of the Byron Bay Surf Club and prepare for their morning ocean swim. They are known as the Stingrays.
At 8am sharp, the group take the 20-minute stroll down to the Pass. Some run, and others walk. Some come with snorkels and goggles, and others with nothing more than a swimming cap. Some are young, and others well over seventy. The diversity of the group is one thing that makes the swim so appealing.
Once at the pass, the swimmers dive into the ocean. They swim back to the Surf Club regardless of whether the water is warm and pristine, or cold and choppy. The Stingrays often spot sea turtles and tropical fish. And, whale sightings are common June through November.
While some have done the approximately 2.5km swim every morning for decades, newbies are always welcomed. The organised ocean swim is free, and provides a unique opportunity to experience another side of Byron Bay together with competent swimmers.
If you become tired mid-way through the swim, you can make your way to the beach and walk back to the Surf Club. The swim is not competitive. For the Stingrays, the experience is about connecting to the ocean, and soaking up that blissful sense of joy, freedom, and accomplishment.
For many locals, the ocean swim is a celebration of living in Byron Bay, one of the most beautiful parts of the world.
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