A week after I meet Fred Annesley and a cohort of the Gnarabup Swimmers, I’m at a family birthday, holding court with my recount of the interview. I never write immediately after an experience, rather let things stew and talk them over, forming the story in my head before it hits the keyboard.
“I wonder,” says Mum, on completion of my scintillating tale. “If that’s the same Fred who saved Bryan and I at the River Mouth twenty years ago.” Excited jostling ensues, and I pull up the photo I took, directed by Fred to include the Gnarabup headland, his body facing the surf, ski at the ready, a cheeky glance back over his shoulder in my direction. Mum and her friends study the portrait. “I reckon that’s him.”