With temperatures expected to reach 36C this weekend, the City of Sydney is offering free entry at several public swimming pools around the inner city. These include the iconic Bondi Icebergs, Manly’s Fairy Bower, and the City of Sydney’s sport and swimming centres in Camperdown, Ultimo, Zetland and Surry Hills. The offer is valid from Saturday 8am until 3pm.
The City of Sydney is also urging people to use their public pools for water-based activities, and says they will have staff available to give tips on the best way to get there. Swimmers are also urged to use sunscreen and follow the signs and directions to keep themselves safe.
A series of natural rock formations along Australia’s Royal National Park coastline an hour south of Sydney have become a popular Instagram hotspot, but these so-called sdy pools can be dangerous. Drownings and broken bones are reported regularly, while travel bloggers warn that unpredictable surf conditions can make the rocky waters dangerous even for experienced swimmers. Despite these warnings, travellers continue to flock to the pools, which are controlled by ocean waves and fill up and drain with each tide cycle.
But it’s not just the danger that has sparked concern, the pools are also a source of beauty and history for the local community. Photographers and artists have redirected attention to the venerable bathing spots in recent exhibitions, highlighting their convivial but respectful relationships with sea, marine life and people who swim in and around them. The images show how swimmers, surfers and fishermen have interacted over the years with the wild swimming environment, often in close proximity to urchins, bluebottles, sharp rocks and other hazards.
Some of the most famous sdy pools are now threatened by climate change, with a rising tide eroding them at their base and changing their appearance. Some have been relocated or turned into artificial reefs, and others have been fenced off from the public. Earlier this year, the City of Sydney launched a plan to protect some of the pool’s most endangered areas by installing floating habitats.
One sdy pool, the Green Pool at the Balmain Foreshore, was closed after a toxic gas leak on Monday afternoon. It has since reopened. The cause was determined by Fire and Rescue NSW to be two chemicals that had been accidentally mixed together at the pool. A bucket of the chemicals was found in the back of a ute at the scene and was subsequently dumped into the water.
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