The Pink Dressing Gown Edition

Comedians Damian Callinan and Mickey D visited Willy beach on Wednesday morning 18 June, as part of their intensive research into their Road Trip show. They arrived in style, wearing pink (salmon?) dressing gowns. After introductions to the Willy Dolphins, Damian plunged into the shallows with much grace and flair. Mickey D, despite Andrew Featherston’s encouragement, barely dipped his toes into the mildly cold water. (14 degrees.)

That evening Damian and Mickey D presented Road Trip at the Williamstown Mechanics’ Institute to an audience of locals who enjoyed having a good laugh at themselves. As well as their beach adventure, the duo visited Blunt’s Boatshed, the Titanic and the Altona market, picnicked by the Altona refineries,  dobbed goals from the boundary at the Morris St ground, challenged Geoff van Wyngaarden to a quiz about the suburb, and asked  shoppers about the Nelson Place development (“How about a giant coffee shop down there? There aren’t enough coffee shops in Willy. Or hairdressers.”).


Damian and Mickey D’s Road Trip National Tour


Porcelain Pieces by Michael Harwood

Photo and poem by Michael Harwood

Photo and poem by Michael Harwood


Porcelain Pieces

back to the beach

what for?

to hide or reflect

drink from the cup of neglect

swim out, so far from the shore

porcelain pieces

lie on the floor

glitter in a moon bold and full

crushed by the rampaging bull

what for?

your taste on my tongue

what for?

is it a hunger or thirst?

why can’t passion come first?

hot and raw

back to the beach

once more

am I just one grain of sand?

to be held in your hand

what for?

Dolphins on sand

Beach photo

Friday 30 May. Photo by Ray. Poem by Tom.

Standing captured for ever under grey skys

Clearly this swimming caper not a youngster’s game

The Dolpins on sand bringing together a disparate group

Commonality in the clear salt water and the daily stories unfurled

Whether it be the sea in all its mystery or personal tale

Dolphins rarely leave the beach without a smile and a friendly word

An ongoing daily dance as we plunge or wade into the bay

We would have it no other way. The sunrise paints the start of another day


Tom Cannon

The Willy Dolphins Swimsuit Edition

Willy Dolphins

The Willy Dophins lined up for their inaugural photo shoot on Friday 30 May, just after a month of mild weather and just before the official start of the winter-to-winter swimming season. Many thanks to photographer Ray (a mate of Pat’s) and to Andrew  for organising the whole shebang. Not all the Dolphins could attend – maybe we’ll have a full house for the T-shirt photo shoot.

Here’s a recent  poem by Kevin.

Save the bay

Upon the shore at Willy Beach, you can spy hearty souls swim out of reach

All year long each and every morn, they take a plunge before the dawn

In winter time their numbers thin, but the dedicated still have their swim

The Willy Dolphins have a cause and ask the litterers to take a pause

We like the water crystal clear and free of rubbish throughout the year

The rubbish dropped at your feet finds the drains in the street

It travels on to a creek or stream and finds the bay it would seem

So think of us when you throw away, use a bin and save the bay.



And here’s a poem by Tom


I wasn’t on a plane nor in Spain

It chased me as my hands rhythmically stroked the still sea

Flying forward into darkness no beacon to guide my heart working

Pushing me into the unkown but out there is my direction

I can glimpse the lights just across the bay

The rain continues  I turn my face to the sky my lips open tasting wetness

Then I plunge deep into the depths chasing nothing but myself

Day 365 – not drowning, waving goodbye

Day 365   Saturday 1 June 2013

Exit sign at Williamstown beach

No marching bands. No media mayhem. No merchandise. Not surprising, really.

365 Swims completed its less-than-epic year of dips at 7.30 last Saturday morning, the first day of winter.

Walter and I huffed and puffed through the water and the rain as far as the Forster Street rocks, and then back again, followed by breakfast at the Rotunda, overlooking the water and the rain. (And, appropriately, there was a swimmer out near the buoys.)

Karen (the swimmer of darkness) and her son Jack arrived just as we were leaving, Karen mentioning she is counting the days to the winter solstice, after which  the mornings will, incrementally, begin to lighten.

I’ll keep going for a daily  dip but the 365 Swims blog has run its course. Time  to concentrate on music, sport and life in general.

Thanks to everyone for your company, comments, and  contributions.  They have been very much appreciated.

It’s been fun. I wish you all the best.

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Week 32 – fresh water

Week 32      Saturday  5 January to Friday 11 January 2012

Photo by Teresa Dowd

Photo by Teresa Dowd

This week’s guest columnist is Willy Dolphin Teresa Dowd, who – having moved to central Victoria last year – now enjoys fresh-water swimming in a reservoir near Chewton, a town near Castlemaine.

Three kilometres past the site of the 1851 Monster Meet, Chewton’s version of the Eureka Stockade, there’s a reservoir. It’s a regular spot for teenagers, and women take their kids there for a dip after school on a hot day.

There are some sights along the way. There is an alpaca farm where the animals have been shorn a bit like poodles; very close cropped around the body, leaving frilly ankles and fancy feet. Quite posh really. There’s a also a family of ducks who have taken up residence in some grass and they move back and forth across the road without a care in the world.

ducks by roadside

Photo by Teresa Dowd

Most mornings I have the reservoir to myself. Recently, however,  I shared it with a bloke who was trying to catch a redfin for his breakfast and three 60-pluses out for an early morning skinny dip.  The guy with the delicious breakfast aspirations had pulled his hippy bus up alongside the water the previous night, made a camp and had claimed the prize spot on the fairly small muddy bank where the swimmers enter the water. As for the skinny dippers*, eyes averted was the best approach.

One morning this week there was a mystical vapour coming off the water as the air temperature was down to 2 or 3 degrees (reaching 30 by 2pm in the afternoon).

And the distance from one side to the other? 130 strokes. Cheers.

*Editor’s note:  365 Swims has pencilled in Saturday 1 June, 6am, for the inaugural meeting of The 365 Swims Skinny Dipping Sub-Committee. Lanyards optional.

Recommended reading: Freshwater Swimming Holes in Victoria

Hampton beach

Hampton beach. Photo by Reuben Maskell

Meanwhile 365 Swims’ dips this past week were:

Saturday morning: Williamstown (very crowded)
Saturday afternoon: Jawbone Marine Sanctuary with my mate JD (too choppy, poor visibility)

Sunday morning: Williamstown

Sunday afternoon: Hampton (windy but good.)

Monday morning: Williamstown

Tuesday morning: Williamstown

Tuesday afternoon: Jawbone with my mate Walter (very good visibility, especially of the sun-lover on the eastern shore)

Wednesday morning: Williamstown

Wednesday afternoon: The Bunburys, a little rock pool between the Willi beach and the Willi footy club

 Bunbury rock pool

Thursday morning: Williamstown

Friday morning: Williamstown

Friday afternoon: Bonbeach, Chelsea, Edithvale.

Next week: The Crystals and The Great Oyster Heist of 1885.

Click on any of the images below for cinematic viewing.

Thanks for visiting 365 swims.

Week 31- what rhymes with ‘2012’?

Week 31 Saturday 29 December 2012 to Friday 4 January 2013

Rotunda Cafe, Williamstown

Rotunda Cafe, Williamstown

The Willy Dolphins had their annual breakfast in late December at the Rotunda Cafe on Williamstown Beach.

Once again the group’s poet laureate Kevin Moran summed up the year with an ear for rhyme.

Here are some extracts from Kevin’s 2012 poem, The Year That Dolphins Surfaced…

THE  beach at Willy runs east-west, but to swim year round is the test

The group has varied as we know; I’ll list them all as we go:

Andy, Clive, Dan and John; Karin, Keith follow on,

Kevin, Lester, Mark and Mike, who comes along on his bike.

Pam and Paul and Roger too, and Teresa, who has since shot through.

Tom and Vin and by all reports, Digger and Kimba are canine escorts.

Many others do come by, some to swim some just say ‘hi’…

The team is growing as the good word spreads, the simple rule is no clashing heads.

Speeding cyclists on the bend, calls to council for the practice to end

They oblige and a sign they erect, shows an abductor in actions suspect

Bikes on the beach bend

Beware the bikes on the beach bend

Tom went in the corporate teams, on Australia Day it seems,

he swam like hell in a relay split; and fell over the line to finish it.

The Big Bay swim saw some action, three Willy boys the main attraction

An older one picked up first while one dog owner quenched his thirst…

By Summer’s end with all the fame, the team was in a winning frame.

The swimming group needed a name and suggestions freely came

Some were witty some were lame some were rude others tame

Ideas flowed back and forth, with all and sundry having sixpence worth.

A polar fleece to keep out the frost, with simple design to keep down the cost

Willy Dolphins was the name embossed; while Chilly Willys just got tossed

Dolphin jacket

As the winter months grew near, a few of the team seemed to disappear

Teresa sought another clime and headed bush before winter time.

Attendance levels were an ebb and flow certain folk were just no show

Colder days, absences noted, while in Broome and Corsica they floated

Or up in Noosa where it’s warmer, recovering from some imaged trauma

Even Kimba had a rest, with his good keeper way out West.

We lost a buoy off Willy beach, it drifted off out of reach.

VicParks said all was fine, they would replace it with a marker sign.

A marker post has been installed, most of us are now enthralled

A 5 knot speed sign has been fitted, and boating vessels are not permitted…

The council promised a new carpark, when it’ll be done we’re in the dark

First they put a fence around, and then they knocked the dunnies down.

Vegetation was removed quite quick, then they did a magic trick,

The graders moved up and down as they dug up all the ground.

Replanted palms with fonds stripped bare, stand like sticks in the air

Alas, the car park is yet to appear, and this has been going on all year.

Car ark photo

But now the year has reached its end, we greet each other as a closer friend

We wish all folk far and wide a happy and wholesome yuletide.

– Kevin Moran

Photo of notepad and goggles


(My dips this past week were Urquhart Bluff, Eastern View, Moggs creek, Sunnymeade (Aireys Inlet), Williamstown and Jawbone Sanctuary.)