‘Goose’ the Eider duck growing fast…

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©MAC Visual Media – Picture by Paul McCambridge – Catch me if you can Luke! 

Goose’ the young Eider duck gained her name, partly after Tom Cruise’s wingman in the 1986 film Top Gun and partly as her rescuer liked the irony of calling a duck goose! 

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©MAC Visual Media – Picture by Paul Mccambridge. ‘Goose’ learning to forage 

 

Jack Childs, 14yrs, had kayaked over to the nearby Trasnagh Island on Strangford for a mini adventure when he came across the sad scene of devastation. Duck nests were trashed and feathers all around with no sign of any surviving ducks. That is, not until he got back to his kayak where a lone tiny duckling sat, in the cockpit seat.
“I lifted her out and looked for adults but there were none. When I turned she had climbed back in!”
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©MAC Visual Media – Picture by Paul McCambridge ‘Goose’ being told off!

Jack phoned his parents asking what he should do and, knowing a friend that could advise them, they agreed he could bring the orphan home and they’d care for her.
“I put her in my hat and she fell asleep on the way back”
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©MAC Visual Media – Picture by Paul McCambridge – Hitching a ride!

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©MAC Visual Media – Picture by Paul McCambridge – ‘Goose’ Foraging

Goose loves swimming with the Childs family, Clare says, “ She can stay with us as long as she wants, she is a wild duck after all.”

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©MAC Visual Media – Picture by Paul McCambridge – Strutting her stuff!

Santa Splash 2016 – Portrush

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Portrush’s East Strand was a hive of activity when I arrived. I did wonder where I should go to register for the swim but the steady stream of people all sporting various Santa hats assured me I was at the right place. It looked as though most of Portrush had turned up, all bedecked with festive regalia besides the customary hats. One chap had an extremely smart Christmas jacket, there were many woollen jumpers and in the crowd I spied a very fetching reindeer onesie, I may have to ask Santa for one of those myself… cosy after a swim.

I followed the surging crowd and we wound our way along the prom towards the Arcadia Gallery and small beach. Up the steps facing the beach at Café 55° North the queue condensed as we all pushed our way to sign up for the swim and pop a donation in one of the many buckets. This year, the 8th of the Santa Splash, the chosen charity was the Children’s Heartbeat Trust, a local charity.

Over the past 7 years the Arcadia Bathing Club have raised several thousands of pounds for various charities. Each year they choose a charity that someone in the club has links to.

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The first Santa Splash was very low-key, just a few pals asking for sponsorship and taking a dip at the Arcadia beach. Each year the numbers grow and they have had to move to the East Strand because Arcadia beach isn’t big enough!

Little islands of discarded clothing soon formed on the sand and we crowded on the steps for a short pre-swim brief, I’m afraid I have no idea what was said but next I knew the hooter sounded and we all began to race down to the sea. Photographers braved the stampede of swimsuits and Christmas hats as several hundred charged, one aim in mind, hit the water running!

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The Santa Splash is certainly the biggest Christmas dip I have seen with a massive crowd cheering from the side lines. Once dressed the party went on at 55° North with hot food and mulled wine being served to the swimmers, music and a raffle.

Stephen, chief organiser on the day, told me a little about the ABC. Formed as it was many years ago it was recently resurrected by Stephen and several pals. “We used to have silly rules, like no over-arm strokes in the summer months. In the winter you were allowed swim front crawl to keep a bit warmer. We’ve abandoned that as now we have so many swimmers!”

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ABC swimmers meet every Sunday, 10.30am, all welcome but to get a member’s certificate and be eligible to buy their fleece you must swim a minimum of once a month for twelve consecutive months. I might just try that…I do like their swim cap!

Thanks Arcadia for a great splash see you very soon!