Worth the wade
OCEAN-GOING GROUP TOGETHER FOR 40 YEARS
SOME 40 years ago, a group of ladies tentatively dipped their toes into the gently lapping waters at Rockingham Beach.
It was not long before a ritual began with both ladies and men turning up every morning for a swim rain, hail or shine, or even hip replacement.
Ella Smith and Eileen Broome, who will both turn 90 this year, are two of the original toe-dippers.
“There used to be 20 of us in those days,” Mrs Smith said.
“We had lots of laughs and little customs. When our bathers would get old, we used to swim out some 300 or 400 metres and hang our old bathers on the marker pole.
“There was a time when both my hips went, leaving me on crutches.
“I’d use them to get to the water’s edge, then the girls would carry me into the water.
“Once in, I was myself again; the water supported me. It helped with my recovery.”
Mrs Broome added: “It was when she was young and handsome.
“And of course when we’re out there, we solve all the world’s problems.”
Other members, such as Wendy Munroe, have benefited from the social aspect.
“For me it is socialising but we also do other exercises besides laughing,” she said.
Several of the group have taken to wearing water shoes.
“There is a crab that lives around here and is not shy of taking a nip at your feet. He draws blood too,” Mrs Broome said.
There are about 15 members with eight regulars who never miss a beat.
The newest member is Luci, who is just 18 months old.
Along with a sing-along in the water, some members join Made Delaveris in some Ashtanga yoga.
“There have some been some beautiful moments; once there was a huge rainbow from Garden Island to the mainland and perfectly silhouetted within it was a man on a canoe,” Bev Harrison said.
Mrs Delaveris added: “We have a fluid group but the stalwarts are there every day.”
Taking a dip at Rockingham Beach has been a regular event for 40 years for many of these swimmers.