A killer shark and a saltwater crocodile were among the predators spotted at Ngamotu Beach yesterday.
The beasts, however, were merely humans in fancy dress, among about 150 people who took part in the annual mid-winter swim. Tracey Jago, aka a killer shark, said she had taken a nibble out of a few swimmers while roaming the water for all of about five minutes. "Sharky has returned," she joked. "It was cold, but I could have stayed in longer."
Annie Larsen, 9, was the first one out of the water followed closely by her brother Monty, 7.
"I just dived in and ran out.
"I lasted about 50 seconds," she said. Monty said he had a little play before running up the beach where he and Annie were wrapped up in towels by their mother.
Of the crowd who braved an air temperature of 11 degrees Celsius and water of 16C, the majority were children.
Among the small number of adults were councillors John McLeod and Keith Allum.
McLeod wore only his speedos while Allum also donned a swimming cap and an orange tie - a subtle stab at colleague Murray Chong.
Deon Corbett, who dressed in a crocodile suit, said he thought the water was colder than 16C.
"Mum made me stay in because it was my idea to come, and I made my brother and sister come too." His younger sister, Brook, went swimming in her fluoro pink, zebra-stripe patterned pyjamas. "Now I'm going to go and get a pie and a hot chocolate," the 10-year-old said.
Jack Corbett, 7, was the last man standing in the chilly water but his mother, Angela, said he had been afraid to come. "First he had a sore tummy and then he didn't feel well," she said.
But once in the water it was hard to get Jack, who was dressed in a panda suit, out again.
"He's a bit stubborn," his mother said. When Jack finally left the water, he assured the Taranaki Daily News he was "not too cold" and would get a mince pie on the way home to warm up.
- Taranaki Daily News
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