Around 25 swimmers from the Leigh Swimming group at Mathesons Bay took the plunge this month, completing a 5km swim as part of a national event.
The NZ Ocean Swim series was unable to take place due to lockdown and so a nationwide virtual swim was organised instead.
“Swimfluencer” Kaye Mueller says it was the swimming equivalent of a half marathon.
On a “warm but drizzly morning”, the group swam from Mathesons Bay beach, around the island and along the coast via Daniel’s Reef to the Leigh Harbour entrance and back.
“There were lots of tired shoulders and slightly swollen tongues afterwards from being in the salt water too long, as well as huge grins and loads of muffins and cakes being devoured,” Kaye says.
The fastest time was one hour, 29 minutes set by Kylie Bradley, followed closely by Wellsford’s Matt Cross (1:32).
Kaye and other “conversational swimmers” took about two and a half hours.
Rachael Wilson began swimming in February this year with 500 metre swims.
“I nervously came down to Mathesons Bay to join a morning intro to ocean swimming group. I never would have imagined signing up for a 5km swim just ten months later.”
Leigh’s Alice Keen set a personal distance record of 2km for the swim, and said she felt like “a half-sucked jellybean” afterwards.
The swimmers were joined by support craft MS Muriel, a 2.6 metre inflatable catamaran with a three-horsepower electric engine, which Kaye received for her 60th birthday this year.
No swimmers needed rescuing, but a fisherman in a kayak had capsised behind the island at Mathesons Bay and was grateful for help.
See Leigh Swimmers on Facebook for information on joining.