Worth the wade


Weekend Courier - - Front Page -

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.

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