Cool and cloudy conditions on Sunday greeted the Narooma Numnutz Winter Swimmers at the town wharf as they gathered for their third annual Montague Island swim.
All aboard the big Narooma Charters boat 'Dreamtime', and after waiting for a couple of late arrivals, it was full steam ahead and out through the bar and out to sea.
This trip is one of the highlights of the Numnutz season. The idea originally thought of by Jason Hextel and Stan Gorton, is truly an amazing experience. Everyone on board was buzzing with anticipation!
Upon reaching the Island, sea conditions were not all that ideal with a fair wind, stiff chop and strong current.
Boat skipper Nick Ingersole judged it would be too difficult to hold anchor at our usual position, and too risky for the swimmers, so he decided to motor around to the north end of the island to swim with the resident seal colony.
“Torpedo” Trev Bennett was first in as always, no fear, diving straight into the middle of all the seals, and who knows what they thought when Trevor suddenly appeared in the water amongst them.
The rest of the Nutz followed right in behind him, forming a close tight group together – safety in numbers- as heaps of seals frolicked all around. Truly amazing stuff .
The water was warm, but the surface conditions were a little tricky, with a fair bit of sea water being swallowed due to the choppy water.
The strong current and wind chop actually caused a few of the swimmer's Numnutz Speedos to come adrift , resulting in a "Moons over Montague" again, as observed by those on the boat !
Back with all safely on board thanks to our skipper, with numbers correct and all accounted for, and it was time for some snacks, hot and cold drinks, and lots of smiles.
It is interesting to note, that in previous years the Numnutz have been criticised for doing this swim out at Montague. It has been been said we are inviting trouble out in a dangerous location.
And that others would be at risk if assistance was needed. What is missed is the fact that most days of the year snorkel tours are taken out to the same location. No problems and no objections.
All our activities are done safely with everyone looking out for each other in the water. Head counts, checks and a good lookout.
As our boat sat at anchor with everyone recounting their amazing experiences, it was noticed a scuba diver from another boat had surfaced nearby and appeared to be having some difficulty.
Skipper Nick quickly jumped into action, getting the stricken diver and her dive buddy on board and giving some much needed assistance and reassurance. Well done skip, it was Numnutz to the rescue!
Heading back to port, several whales were spotted on their annual migration. Interesting to note that these huge mammals, with thick layers of insulating blubber, can not stand the cold of winter and have to head north to warmer waters.
Not so the Numnutz, who brave the chilly waters every Sunday morning through winter. That is the true winter swimming spirit.
Arriving back at the wharf it was all smiles and many thanks to Norm and the crew from Narooma Charters for another safe and brilliant Montague Island swim.
Then it was back to Numnutz HQ for a noteable debrief, refreshments and lunch thanks to O'Briens and Mitch at the Raw Prawn Bistro.
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