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Community connection with the Sea Wolves


Sunday, 12 November 2023

A pact between friends stirs a community movement of support and togetherness in the cold waters of Port Phillip Bay.

Retirement villages are not isolated islands. They’re interconnected with their wider communities. And this connection offers residents to be part of broader support systems helping people navigate life's ups and downs.

And one group of residents from Martha’s Point have built deep community connections with the creation of the Sea Wolves. It’s a different kind of support group offering warmth and healing in the cold waters of Port Phillip Bay. 

A pact between friends becomes a community movement

During the uncertain days of COVID-19 lockdowns, Helen Luxton, Jo Hastings and Jen Fletcher made a pact to swim in the ocean for 30 days straight. Their aim was to improve their mental and physical health. Little did they know the healing magic their early morning swims would bring to their broader community.

At first, locals watched the friends as they took to the cold waters. But they soon joined in, and now there are more than 50 Sea Wolves from all walks of life. From celebrations of joy to honouring grief and loss, their daily ritual offers peace and togetherness in times of fear and uncertainty. 

Five women stand in knee-deep water, all wearing bathing suits. Some wear colourful floral swimming caps. They’re smiling and holding hands. The Sea Wolves have found peace and togetherness in the cold waters of Mount Martha’s South Beach. Picture: Jake Nowakowski.


An unexpected source of healing

With chatter and laughter, the ‘wolfies’ walk together into the freezing waters of Mount Martha’s South Beach. Forming a circle and holding hands, they count down and break into a chorus of wolf howls that carry across the water. It’s a powerful release of energy, hope, joy and sorrow. And the brisk morning dip has become an unexpected source of healing and bonding for this diverse group of friends.

After her partner passed away, Helen says the Sea Wolves ritual became her saving grace. Jo says she’s found much-needed solace and connection with other mothers who, like her, have experienced the grief of losing a child. 

From pure elation to joy and sorrow, the Sea Wolves are there for each other both in and out of the water. As Jo says, ‘The beauty of Sea Wolves is it doesn’t matter who you are. You’re part of the mother-sea family.’

Two women float on their backs in the cold waters of Port Phillip Bay. They’re wearing bathing suits and colourful floral swimming caps. A daily ritual becomes a saving grace for Martha’s Point residents and the wider community.


The benefits of belonging 

It’s a sentiment that rings true for all the residents of Martha’s Point and retirement villages across the country. When you live in a retirement village, you belong to a community of friends. And they’ll support you through tough times, share with you good times, and be there for you whenever you need them. 

Learn more about Martha’s Point, VIC.


For more information about the lifestyle and support offered at our retirement villages, call our customer service team on 1800 550 550.

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