Ode to a groper

Clovelly Bay

Clovelly is a fairly sleepy suburb of the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, sandwiched between the bearded people of Bondi and the nearby Coogee Irish.

The suburb is identifiable for its series of roundabouts, abundance of baby yoga day-spas and over-priced kids-wear stores.

While it might seem like everyone in this area is breeding, it’s not just the humans who have been busy.

At the end of the long, downhill slope of Clovelly Road you’ll find a protected marine sanctuary that is also home to Sydney’s second most famous fish (after Nemo).

Clovelly is all about sunbathing, snorkelling and its former main attraction – Bluey, the legendary Clovelly Bay Groper.

There are cheaper ways of finding Fish and Chips

There are cheaper ways of finding Fish and Chips

A short back-story for those not so familiar.

Bluey was a very large fish, and local legend, famed for his friendly ways with Sydney snorkelers.

Around 10 years ago he was thrust into the spotlight when he was “murdered” by an unknown spear fisherman.

This was such a big deal that the NSW premier Bob Carr got involved, calling the killer ‘a mongrel” and pronouncing the fish, ‘his good friend.’

Then there was confusion, was he or wasn’t he actually dead? More Bluey’s kept popping up. Bottom line is these days you can strap on a snorkel and mask and find multiple ‘bluey’ lookalikes.

Just like a child TV star that is actually played by triplets, it turns out the famed Clovelly groper is no longer just one fish, but basically a family of lookalikes.

On most days you just need a snorkel and mask and you can spot the/a groper, just don’t try and catch one ($11, 000 fine).

But I digress. Clovelly is my regular swim spot where I lose the travelling lawyer for hours while he attempts to follow the groper (and later tell bad Bob Carr jokes).

Clovelly (or Cloey as it’s known to the locals), is not your typical Australian beauty.

A narrow sandy beach is surrounded by a concrete foreshore, originally built during the great depression.

With a breakwater at the end of the long bay, the ocean waters are generally calm, making the area look more like an ocean swimming pool than a beach.

Around 100 years ago Randwick Council had the inspiring idea to give unemployed men something to do, and make access to the bays foreshores easier for swimmers. This forward thinking has made thousands (or maybe millions) of sunbathers happy throughout the generations.

mind where you step

mind where you step

High points: Clovelly has so much to offer. The pool for laps, the long expanse of ocean for what lies beneath and the beach for the little people to scream and throw sand. It’s also class A people watching material. The nearby Clovelly bowls club also deserves it’s own blog post.

Low points: The eastern suburbs shitting bird. What ever you do, do not park near a lamppost or signage, unless you fancy a new paint job, if you get my drift. Also beware of sea urchins when you’re stepping. They’re good for the sealife, but not your feet.

A recent victim of the E.S.S.B

A recent victim of the E.S.S.B

Attire: snorkel and mask (obviously). Inflatable devices also encouraged.

Best for: Fish spotters and daydreamers.

Overall rating: 8.5

bathing beauties get in line

bathing beauties get in line

One thought on “Ode to a groper

  1. Oh, I remember passing by here on the way to Coogee Beach. I was walking from Bondi and got a bit lost around here and was contemplating just staying here instead…but I did have my heart set on Coogee back then. I didn’t know about the fish though, an interesting story to know of. If I ever make it back to Sydney, would love to visit here again. 🙂

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