SOME 40 years ago a group of ladies tentatively dipped their toes into the gentle 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 come hail or shine…or hip replacement.
Due to turn 90 this year, Ella Smith and Eileen Broome 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 300-400 metres and hang our old bathers on the marker pole.
“There was a time when both my hips went leaving me on crutches.
“I would 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.”
“Yes – it was when she was young and handsome,” said Mrs Broome.
“And of course when we’re out there we solve all the world’s problems!”
Other members, such as Wendy Munroe, have benefitted 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!” said Mrs Broome.
There are around 15 members with eight regulars who never miss a beat. Their 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,” said Bev Harrison.
“We have a fluid group but the stalwarts are there every day,” said Made Delaveris.