Shortest day kicks off countdown to summer

If you’ve been struggling with the dark starts and ends to your workday as we dive further into winter, you’ll be happy to know that this Friday is Winter Solstice, aka the shortest day of the year.

Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice is the time at which the sun appears at noon at its lowest altitude above the horizon, and this year it falls at precisely 3:04pm on Friday, 21 June 2013 in Sydney.

On this day the sun will rise at 7:00am and set at 4:54pm giving us 9h 53m 53s day time. From then on the sun will start to rise earlier and set later for longer daylight and more opportunity to enjoy the outdoors before and after work.

Swimmers dressed up in different costumes frolic in the shallow cold ocean water.
In many parts of the world Winter Solstice is celebrated by dressing up and swimming for charity

For ocean swimmers the return of daylight in the morning and evening is music to our ears – it takes a brave soul to dive into the ocean in the dark and at this time of the year the water temperature is still hovering around a pleasant 19-21 degrees in Sydney (equally warmer in relative terms in other locations around the country) meaning there’s every reason to still be swimming.

Celebrating Winter Solstice

Throughout the world the Winter Solstice means different things to different cultures, for many, it’s a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations.

Perhaps the most popular celebration in present times is the shortest day swim, where hardy souls shed their clothes or dress up in lavish costumes to take on the icy coldness of the open water.

Sydney ocean swimmers keen on a Winter Solstice swim can enter the annual Mona Vale SLSC Solstice swim. For those outside Sydney get your friends together or check your local paper for opportunities to join in the local celebration of Winter Solstice.

Whichever way you choose to celebrate, make sure you have plenty of warm clothes on hand and make a bee-line for the nearest cafe for a warming caffeine hit.

10 reasons to enter the Mona Vale Solstice Swim:

  1. It’s a mid-June swim so there’s nothing else on
  2. A cruisy distance of 1.2km – totally achievable
  3. The water is still toasty warm, trust me
  4. They run it ‘old skool’ and it’s all about having fun
  5. There are no prizes so there’s no pressure
  6. Only four divisions wetsuit/non-wetsuit/male/female
  7. It’s a point-to-point swim around a rock shelf
  8. It starts at “Bongin Bongin Bay” – funky huh?!
  9. Late 10am start time for maximum sleep in time
  10. Stick around after for the legendary ‘Soup Kitchen’


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