At the beginning of winter we drove south to spend the weekend with friends at Trudy’s Werri Beach house. On the Saturday morning we went for a walk, bought a coffee from the man with the van near the surf club, then back home for Stephen’s leftover ragu. After lunch we retired to the lounges, read the papers, did the word target, the quiz in The Good Weekend and flipped through Trudy’s millions of magazines.
About three, Bruce headed out for a run and I decided it was time for a swim. The grey skies from the morning had turned to blue and when I walked on to the beach, surfers in black wetsuits dotted the waves and the afternoon light cast a soft glow over the water.
Far out to sea, a faint rainbow coloured the sky and close to the shore white water gushed over the sand in patterns like lace.
Near the southern corner of the beach, surfers tiptoed over the rock platform and launched themselves into the sea.
The high tide poured out of the pool.
“Going in,” I said to a young woman by the side of the pool. “Yes, but just for a second.”
She walked down the steps, paused and then ducked under quickly, and then under again. Less than 20 seconds later she was out, drying off and walking away from the pool.
And then it was just me and the pool. I stood on a raised block of concrete to protect my gear from the in-coming tide and gradually stripped off and then stepped into the pool.
I paused for longer than the young woman, letting each part of my body adjust to the cold water. Eventually I ducked under and swam frantically to the deep end and after a couple of laps I felt warmer than before I’d got in.
Occasionally people appeared at the shallow end and dipped their hands in the water. One woman told me she would have joined me but she’d already swum in the Bondi Icebergs that morning and how she used to swim in much colder temperatures when she lived in the UK. We kept chatting for a bit but when I started to get cold, she said: “Quick, get back to your swimming.”
I swam up and down for about 20 laps, stopping every now and again to watch the light and the changing colours over the pool. When I got out I felt fantastic and as I dried off, the colours became more intense.
Feeling euphoric after my cold water swim, and warm as toast with my fleece and trackies on, I stayed by the pool watching the light cast hues of pink, orange, gold and blue.
Eventually I drew myself away and walked over the flooded rock platform where the grey and pale pink clouds reflected in the round children’s pool.
‘Sensational,’ I said out loud to myself, and ‘glorious and magnificent too!’
When I finally trudged up the hill and on to the path, gentle rain started to fall. I wrapped my beach towel around my shoulders and over my head and hurried back to the gang and the warmth of Trudy’s house.