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Autumn... Ain't it glorious... Forster Turtles enter the water (Image by staff snapper Steve White oceanbeachandcountry.com.au

oceanswimsafaris.com newsletter

April 8, 2024
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Your goggles are your friend 

How to be goggle smart

This is the most often asked, perennial question by swimmers: what are the best goggles for fog-free swimming?

Another version of the question is, ‘How do you keep your goggles fog-free’?

And again, ‘How do you stop your goggles from leaking?’

We see these questions regularly on social meeja groups (where the questioners apparently don’t keep an eye on the groups and see the responses to all the other similar questions asked before theirs), and in direct marketing promotions.

In one case, not too long ago, another swimming newsletter attempted to answer the fog-free question by explaining the physical effects of temperature differences on either side of goggle lenses when in the water. It went on to list a series of factors that could be affecting the foggy goggles.

That was a useful attempt at dealing with the issue, and all the points were, perhaps, fair enough, although we wondered about the physics one. But it left us pulling our hair out (metaphorically, since our noggin is almost absolutely glabrous), because it omitted the most important factor affecting your goggles’ capacity to perform fog-free: are they clean?

Surely, it can’t be as simple as that?

It usually is.

And leaks? The answer to that is pretty simple, too.

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Only the guilty turn up when the weather is like this... But only the committed get out of the car. Sadly, staff snapper David Helsham is not one of them... Sydney's east coast low of Thursdee-Sat'dee...  (Image by David Helsham @ glistenrr)

Fog?

This is a story from a little while back… We had a nasty shock the other day: we walked past a cobber's swim bag, and in the bottom of the bag, face down, loose, unprotected, just kicking around the bottom of a grotty, greasy, sandy swim bag – clearly, a boofhead's swim bag – were his goggles.

Another story: we walked into the change room after our customary early morning swim, the last in as usual, and we spotted, on the sandy, concrete floor – a floor exposed to the elements because the change area had no roof – a pile of wet cossies, and next to it, on the sandy floor, the owner’s goggles.

And another: a friend, a top-ranking international swimmer at the time, showed us their goggles. They were doing multi-squads a week, multi-kms at a time. Fave distance was 26km-plus. So you’d think they’d know better. Their goggles were lined with mould, all around the inner lenses and the silicone seals. So bad, the seals were almost completely black. How they swam in them, we will never know. But their practice was, after use, to just throw them into their swim bags… till next time. Good grief! That’s unsanitary.

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Lone swimmer (on a foggy morn), Forster.

These are our worst nightmares. Not only were these swimmers disrespecting their goggles but, in the first instance, they were goggles we'd given him, as a present. Even worse: they were View Fully Sicks, our fave gog before View Swipes came along!

In the second and third cases, the gogs were owned by good friends who really should have known better. Sure, the shelf space is limited in change areas – very soon, this one will be knocked down and replaced with, we trust, a more utilitarian version – but gogs aren’t cossies, or thongs (the footwear type – none of us wear ‘thongs’) to be tossed around insouciantly – or even swim caps. They were goggles, the most personal item a swimmer possesses, more precious than cossies, or caps, or … well, anything (since these are about the only possessions of an ocean swimmer, which is part of the beauty of ocean swimming). (Some punters use fins, but that’s a private matter for them.)

Every time we sell a pair of goggles in person, we lecture the buyer on looking after them. It's not just a matter of keeping them clean. There's also a need to keep them in good running order, the anti-fog quality of the inner lens continuing to work and providing you with clear vision. One thing is guaranteed to destroy your vision: goggles that are dirty, greasy, and scratched.

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David Helsham commented on Twitter: 'Saturday, two days ago the bay was dead flat, a couple of idiots made a crossing this morning, madness'. (Image by staff snapper David Helsham @ glistenrr)

Gratuitous advice…

Goggles are the most personal item of your swim gear. More personal than your cossies. They deserve respect and care. You should keep your goggles in their case when not in use. If you leave them bashing around in your swim bag, they'll be scratched and become covered in dust and grease. If you drop them on the floor, they’ll gather sand, other dirt, grease from feet (maybe even tinea), mould… who knows what. They’ll scratch and they’ll grease up.

People’s eyes all are different. One model may fit one mug, but be entirely unsuitable to another, irrespective of cost or snazzy colour scheme around the lenses. When you find a model that suits you, you must look after them. Keep them clean; protect them. If you don’t keep them clean, sand-free, then no amount of cost, or colour, or pre-swim rituals will make them work for you when you swim.

Respect your goggles.

baja mobula joeva 600Mobula rays off the Baja Peninsula, in Mexico. (Image by Joeva Dachelet (Insta: joeva.photo)

Before you swim

People have different tricks for keeping their goggles clear when they swim. In the olden days, believe it or not, a standard trick was to soap up the inner lenses. How that worked, we can only guess. It must have assumed absolutely no water leaks. Others used toothpaste, and plenty of divers still do. Toothpaste is abrasive, and it must score the inner lenses and wear away any anti-fog coating. Others swear by baby shampoo, perhaps because baby shampoo is formulated not to sting baby’s eyes in the bath.

Now, this is assuming your goggles are clear and clean…

Spit - When you are dry, and when your goggles are dry – this means, before you enter the water, and before your goggles are wet – spit on the inside of the lenses (just saliva, if you don't mind – try to keep the gollies out) – then wash that around the inside of the lens, ever so lightly with your finger tip. Then rinse the goggles in the water. It's important: spit before you get wet and before the goggles are wet. We don't know why; we do know that water in the mouth changes the consistency of spit. This works better for some than for others. We have top quality spit. We know this because ours works almost invariably, provided we follow our own advice. (Mind you, the viscosity, thus the quality of your spit must be affected by body hydration.) But if our gogs are clean, then our spit works just fine.

Goo – Different makers offer their own anti-fog formula. But be careful: some brands of anti-fog have been known to send swimmers to hospital when it’s burnt their eyes. Maybe they either didn’t rinse them after application, or they didn’t rinse them enough. Or maybe that brand of goo was rubbish. When we need to, we use View Anti-Fog (which oceanswimsafaris.com sells). We call it ‘goggle goo’.
All goggles lose their anti-fog coating over time depending upon usage and care. Anti-fog can work even on old, scratched goggles if they are clean.

Put a drop on the inside surface of each lens of clean goggles (no sand or sunscreen or dried salt or grease), and work it around gently with a clean finger (this means: not the finger you just used to apply sunscreen) or the applicator. Remember, if you use the applicator (the sponge on the tip of the goo bottle) and there is a grain of sand, you won’t feel it, resulting in scratching. With your finger, you will feel foreign particles. The other issue with using the applicator is that you could continue, inadvertently, to dispense the goo, resulting in using far more goo than you need. This would be wasteful and you’d end up using so much goo that it’s then hard to move to the next step…

Then, either dry the lenses with a clean, dry soft cloth after a minute (eg the inside of a clean T-shirt) or you can rinse lightly in water (just enough to remove any excess - the aim is to leave a film but not so much you can detect it when looking through the lens). We rinse in the water in which we are about to swim, but make sure the water is clean, clear, and sand free (be careful of white water on the edge – it’s always full of turbulent grains of sand).

After you swim…

Wrap your goggles in your towel or wet bag or something similar. When you get home, rinse them in fresh water (as you should your cossies and cap); leave them to air dry; then store them in their case. Every now and again, wash gently with detergent, then rinse and leave to air dry before storing in the case. (It shouldn’t need to be said: you must keep your case clean, too.)

We are reminded of the line used by a chap we met in Hawai’i who was running a Maui Jim stand on the beachfront on, er… Maui. We gave him our Maui Jims to check. He cleaned them for us, and handed them back saying, rather unctuously, ‘Remember, when they’re not on your face, they’re in the case’. And rightly so. Ditto for gogs.

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We've lost track of who did this image, either David Helsham or Steve White. Sorry. 

Swipes

We don’t have nearly as much need for goo since the release of View’s Swipe goggles. This sounds like a sales push, but it’s actually true; we’ve proven it to ourselves. The Swipe technology is all about the anti-fog lens coating on the inside of the lenses of Swipe model goggles. The spiel is that it lasts ten times longer than conventional ‘anti-fog’ coatings. And it does. We customarily use a new pair of Swipe goggles 50-plus times before we need to do anything to them prior to swimming, and they remain fog-free. We simply put them on, on the water’s edge, clean and dry. (This assumes you keep them clean and in good order: see above.)

After 50-odd uses, they may fog a little after the first 100 metres or so, in which case rinse them in the water and rub your finger gently around the inside of the lenses. This activates the Swipe coating, and you should be right from then on.

After many uses, you will find that the fogging may occur more readily. In this case, if it becomes an issue for you, when you rinse them post-swim, wash them gently in warm water using dishwashing detergent. Don’t go overboard with it. All treatment must be gentle to protect the lenses. Then air dry them before storing them in their clean case. After that, they should return pretty well to normal. You should need to wash with dishwashing detergent only occasionally.

Clean

We have told this story so many times that we almost bore ourselves with it: a couple of years back, a lady approached us at a swim in Sydney and said she thought it was time for a new pair of goggles. We asked her what she was wearing then. Turns out, she had a pair of original View Selenes, and she’d been using them ‘for years’. How many years? She couldn’t remember. After a bit, as we pressed her, she pointed at her husband, standing nearby, and she said, ‘Longer than I’ve had him’. We said, ‘How long have you “had him”?’ She said, ‘Nine years’. The key was, she’d kept her goggles clean.

It's all about respect. Your goggles are not just another item you need to swim. They’re more than that. They are your most important, precious, personal item. Respect your goggles.

A tight strap is a silly strap

The other issue with goggle performance is how tight you make your strap. This is an issue affecting goggle leaks. Some – ‘many’, as Newman would define when questioned by Jerry – people think the tighter the strap, the more water-tight the gog. Put another way, this thinking goes, the seal is strengthened by the tightness of the strap.

We’ll deal first with corollary problems with taut straps: they’ll give you headaches because they’ll affect blood flow to your head. This also affects your ability to think, although that’s clearly affected already if you think a tight strap is the way to go. They’re distracting because they’re uncomfortable, maybe even painful. Secondly, the tighter the strap, the more pressure it places on the seal, stretching the seal and making leaks more likely.

The other corollary, as some will know only too well, are the Rocky Raccoon marks around the eyes, which are all the more pronounced as the strap is tightened. Perhaps some regard this as a badge of honour, like leaving the numbers from a race on your arm as long as possible (some even have been known to cover the numbers with spray-on bandage to slow them wearing off, or at least to roll the sleeves up demonstratively so the numbers are not abraded). But not everyone appreciates them. This is an advantage of the View Selenes: the generous silicone seal was designed by women for women, one of the objects being to prevent those Rocky Raccoon marks. Mrs Sparkle reports that, since she's been wearing Selenes, which is close to 20 years, no-one at work later has ever remarked on goggle marks around her eyes, for the simple reason that she hasn't had any.

A tight strap is a silly strap.

sunrise behind tree unknown 600We've lost track of who did this image, too. Nothing to do with ocean swimming, but quite a beautiful image nonetheless. Beauty does exist outside of the beach, you know.
Sorry once more.

Seal

Other than if the goggle is rubbish, seal is determined by how well the goggle fits the individual eye.

All eyes are different, and some goggles fit some but not others, and vice versa, or vicey versey, as a friend used to say. One person’s perfect fit is another person’s leak. Fit depends on factors like shape and depth of the eyes and height of the nose bridge.

The best way to fit goggles used to be to attend our Goggle Clinics at swims when we ran goggle stalls. Mrs Sparkle would then go through a fitting process with the individual swimmer, explaining things such as seal, care, common sense, and how not to be an idiot. We don’t do that any more, however, so you’ll just have to read carefully here…

Assuming the goggles are reasonable quality, seal is determined by how well the goggle fits the eye sockets. The best way to determine whether the goggle fits your eye is to hold the goggles onto your eyes before you buy them. Don’t fit the strap; just leave it loose in front. Hold the goggles into the eyes; apply a little pressure; then let them go. If they stay in place even only for a moment, then they fit your eye. The fact that they hold on at all means they’ve sealed, without need of the strap.

The strap merely is an anchor to keep them in place. It should not be used in an attempt to affect seal – ie don’t tighten the strap to pull the goggles onto the face – because that will disturb the seal. This is where the ‘how not to be an idiot’ bit comes into play. The strap should be just tight enough to make the goggles secure on your head and to stay in place.

Another thing: place the strap half-way up the back of your head. And if the strap is split into two strands, then separate the strands, to spread the effect of the anchor; spread the load, as it were.

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Ditto.

Simple

This is all quite simple, really, but it’s taken us a while to work out some of it. Since we began selling goggles c. 2006, we’ve sold literally thousands of pairs of goggles, all of them View brand. These days, we sell mainly View Swipes with the new anti-fog technology. They come as Selenes (the broad, soft seal that don’t leave you with Rocky Raccoon eyes), and Wide Eyes, which come with different sized nose pieces. Since 2006, we can count on one hand the number of people whom these goggles don’t suit.

Respect and smart

It's all about respect. Your goggles are not just another item you need to swim. They’re more than that. They are your most important, precious, personal item. Respect your goggles. And be smart with them.

We have long maintained a guide to Goggle Respect, first on oceanswims.com, and now on oceanswimsafaris.com. We have updated it now to Goggle Smarts, including more comprehensive advice on fitting and maintaining you goggles. You can see this advice here... Click here

 

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Heron Island at the best time of year

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The 'secret, breathtaking island'...

October 14-19, 2024 – The best time of year to visit Heron Island? In October, the turtles are laying on the beach on Heron Island. The weather is mild at both times, and the water is pleasantly warm. Four days of reef drop-off swims – the kind of swims that you can't do if you just visit Heron Island by yourself – and plenty of time to enjoy the place, the Great Barrier Reef, the sea life, the sun, etc, etc... Our dates are at mid-Spring, the start of the summer. The lagoon is alive with sea life... rays, turtles, sharks, fish of myriad colours... This is emerging as our marquee experience... Click here 

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Mansplaining to an expert

Here’s a tale of which all blokes should take note…

These are screenshots of Sally Goble’s Twitter feed from earlier in April… (Note that Sally is in London, so her seasons are the opposite of ours.)

Sally Goble is the author of perhaps the most elegant and amusing blog on swimming, Postcards from the Pool. Based in London, Sally has swum the English Channel, and has related tales from many, many miles (the Poms use miles) and sessions of pool and open water swimming. In short, Sally is the last person to whom any idiot should be mansplaining…

Only a boofhead could do this.

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Goble 240408 mansplain 02 600

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 Equinox Special!

Buy gogs, get free delivery!!!

v820asa clbWe've had such a good response to our holiday deal, and to celebrate the start of autumn swimming — the best time of year to swim in the ocean —we're turning it into a Solstice Special. 

View Selene goggles

Until June 22, if you (inside Australia) buy three or more pairs of goggles from our Goggles Boutique, we'll refund your delivery charge. With Australia Post upping their shipping fees again recently, that'll be quite a saving — c. $15 or more.

Some of our offers…

View Selene Swipes – $40
View Wide-eyes Swipes – $40
View Wide-eyes Swipe Mirrored – $46
View Xtreme masks – $44
Prescription – Swipe Optical – choose your lens strength in each eye – $77

Click this link now and we'll get them away to you quick and smart… Click here

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Prescription Swipes now for kids, too

Our very popular prescription goggles now also come with high-anti-fog Swipe technology. And, they also now come in kids' sizes.

Our Swipes, so far in both Selene and Wide-Eyes versions, have been a big hit, offering what View (the makers) describe as 10 times the anti-fog capacity of other gogs. We've been using them for almost four years now, and we know that it works. We've sold around 3,000 pairs of Swipe gogs since their release just prior to Xmas 2019, so many of you must agree, too.

Now the Platina prescription goggles come in Swipe versions, too. Lenses come in strengths ranging from -1.0 to -10.0, and +1.5 to +6.0, and you can have different strengths in each eye. Just select the strengths you want when you order your gogs online.

View's new Swipe prescription gogs are available at $A77 a full pair, which is cheap compared with how you will pay at a spectacles shop.

You can order your new Swipe Platina optical (prescription) gogs online now… Click here 

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Address

Hellercamp Pty Ltd t/a oceanswimsafaris.com
PO Box 719
Rozelle NSW 2039 Australia
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