An Island Off an Island

Musings from Bruny

It is a truth universally acknowledged by the Dunking Southern Rights that this has been a cracker of a summer. After a slow start we have been blessed with warm days, sparkling seas and (mostly) gentle breezes. As we we segue into Autumn let’s hope this continues.

I wrote that on 28 February the last ‘official’ day of summer but didn’t hit the publish button as Summer was still in full swing. Other possible ‘end of summer’ dates presented themselves; the autumn equinox on 20 March and Easter in early April but it still didn’t seem right. Finally, with ANZAC Day today I have to concede that Summer 2022/23 is done and we are in the season of mellow fruitfulness – though the swimming continues.

It’s also been a season of parties! It is traditional for the permanent residents to gather for drinks just before the school holidays begin, to toast the season. This year we offered to be the host venue sending us into an organisational and cleaning frenzy. Age appropriate background music was carefully selected but soon drowned out by the hum of voices and burst of laughter.

This is a scene that has repeated itself in lounge rooms, decks, gardens, boat sheds and beaches across Dennes Point as summer preceded and we got together to celebrate almost everything – or nothing at all. A highlight was definitely the Dunking Southern Right’s beach party with even reluctant swimmers taking the requisite plunge so they could join in the festivities at this long anticipated event. Peer pressure? Never!

It’s also been a season of festivals. From midday on 26 December we began to track the progress of competitors in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race which round Iron Pot Light just to the north of Bruny on their way up the Derwent to the finish line. The winners snuck in under cover of darkness but we were able to see some of the fleet on the final stage of the epic 630 nautical miles. In February the biennial Australian Wooden Boat Festival transformed the dock area of Hobart and like everyone else we were caught up in the excitement and the beauty of these craft.

We have been blessed by the generosity of friends who have presented us with crays, calamari and produce from their gardens. We have welcomed family and friends from the ‘mainland’ and beyond into our new lives (though a couple of them are ‘Frequent Flyers’ ie Regina and Adrienne! – the other ‘regular’ arrived yesterday – Beverley).

Above all it’s been the summer of the Dunking Southern Rights when we meet with our friends at 10 am for our daily dip. We have progressed to a group of about 20 with a core of 6-10 depending on who’s around. We float, attempt exercises, laugh, sing and chatter at one of our three main locations. Guests are always welcome and various visitors have been dragged in to share the thrill of cold water swimming. We had an ‘away’ day when we participated in the Australia Day swim on South Bruny with our team taking out the award for the oldest swimmer!

As I write we are expecting a 20 degree day, the sky is cloudless and blue, the garden green after recent rain and the sea is sparking. Officially we may be half way through autumn but Indian summer weather persists. Only 7 months to go until we are officially back in summer but until then the Dunking Southern Rights can sing this Nat King Cole song.

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