THE Narooma Numnutz winter swimming club has this season taken to swimming the much-feared, treacherous bar crossing like a duck to water.
Good weather and calm seas have allowed the club, currently the most southerly WSAA (Winter Swimming Association of Australia) affiliated club in NSW, to swim the bar a record four occasions so far this season.
Swimmer and Narooma News editor Stan Gorton has GoPro footage of the last three swims, starting with the July 27 swim that saw 13 swimmers tackle the bar crossing in 13-degree water.
The swimmers made their way out from the main beach, swimming along the outside of the northern break-wall with the rip tide and then around and in through the bar on an incoming tide and back to the start and home base at the far end of the netted beach at the entrance to Wagonga Inlet.
As is tradition, the swimmers retired to O’Brien’s Hotel for a couple of refreshments and soup, that week chicken noodle soup.
The following Sunday, August 4, the Numnutz crossed the Narooma bar for the second time in two weeks.
This time the opposite way with an outgoing current, which sees the swimmers jump in at their home base off the inner break wall, heading out on the tide through the bar crossing.
Rounding the northern break wall they swim into main Bar Beach, up over the break wall and back in at the shark net.
There were 15 swimmers, including a couple of visitors from the Clovelly Eskimos, with the water being 15 degrees.
The swimmers retired to O'Brien’s Hotel and the Raw Prawn Bistro for soup, mushroom and bacon.
Record keeper and drinks man Ray Hirst celebrated his birthday with a cake.
Then on Sunday, August 11, the swimmers did their third consecutive crossing.
This time the Numnutz hosted four swimmers from the newly formed and as-of-yet unaffiliated Bermagui Blue Balls winter swimming club.
Blue Balls founder and ex-Wallaby Gary Pearse dragged his club’s mascot, two giant, blue-coloured exercise balls, along for the crossing.
For this third crossing, an incoming tide saw the swimmers head outside from the other side of the northern break wall and back in through the crossing in exceptional calm and sunny conditions.
There were 16 swimmers and the water was 16 degrees.
Swimmers retired to O'Briens Hotel for one of the favourites dished up every year by the Raw Prawn chefs - hot kransky soup, and it was the turn of swimmer Greg Willis to celebrate a birthday with a cake.
For the most recent swim this weekend the chop up was across the bar, so the Numnutz decided to drift the outgoing tide from the Apex Park boat ramp to home base at the netted beach.
There were 17 present, 12 swimmers and the water was 15 degrees.
After three consecutive swims through the bar, it was very pleasant to drift with the tide down Wagonga Inlet.
The soup afterwards at O'Brien's Hotel was pumpkin in honour of fine master Brent “Locko” Lockton, who was away in Mackay, Queensland.
The Rogerson family also kept up with tradition of sending in a Sunday swim photo from their trip around Australia - today a couple of great shots from a "freezing grotto on the Great Ocean Road".
There are only three swims left in the season so get down to the far end of Bar Beach at 9am on Sunday to join in on the fun.
The Narooma Numnutz are getting excited about again sending a team to the WSAA national championships next month, this year in Perth, having travelled to Wagga Wagga and the Gold Coast in the last two years.
The Narooma Numnutz have their own Facebook page featuring all footage and photos: www.facebook.com/NaroomaNumnutzWinterSwimmers