It’s Sunday morning, and I’m sitting under a perfect blue sky as I look across Clovelly Bay's aquamarine waters shimmering in the summer sunshine.
My friend Matthew will arrive as he always does, jogging along the walkway a few minutes after 8 am, trying to make up time.
I have arrived ten minutes early as I always do to give myself time to watch the surf heave itself up over the lip of the bay's concrete wall, and fan out across its deck before sucking back into the clutches of the bay.
In many ways, Clovelly Bay represents an act of historical environmental vandalism as, back in the twentieth century, the rocky foreshore of both sides of the bay was covered in a thick layer of concrete. Monstrous as this seems, all is forgiven, for it has transformed Clovelly Bay into an enormous ocean swimming pool.
Matthew arrives and we shake hands before debriefing each other about the week that was. Stripping down to our speedos, we smear on sunscreen, pull on our swimming caps and goggles and make our way down to the water.
We cling to a stair handrail until there is a lull between the sea's surges then launch ourselves into the briny water. Leaping into the ocean is literally breathtaking but the sting of the cold is quickly overtaken by the joy of swimming in the sea again.
The most captivating aspect of swimming at Clovelly lies beneath the surface. The narrow V-shaped inlet is home to countless varieties of fish; silvery bream swim by in schools, striped blackfish seem oblivious to our presence and trevally flash their yellow stripes as they forage in the kelp.
If we're lucky we catch a glimpse of the leading local identity, the dominant male blue groper, his scales the texture of velvet and as blue as the Mediterranean itself.
Gropers, the friendliest fish in the sea, can grow to an enormous 1.7 meters and swim slowly enough for humans to keep up. On weekends, they typically have a fan club of snorkellers following them around.
Should the dominant male blue groper die, the largest female will grow even more, change colour from green to blue, and change its gender to become the next dominant male.
Makes me think that a gender-bending fish swimming in one of the most idyllic ocean pools in the world is 100% pure Sydney.
text Robert Carrick;