SWIMMING WITH THE GOLDFISH
by Suzie Jones
If you ever find yourself with an hour on your hands in Newby Village, on a calm day, go down to the river behind the Chip Shop and talk to the owner, Gordie Howe, who docks his dinghy there.
He is the gatekeeper of one of the most exciting, interactive nature adventures on The Isle of Wight - Swimming With The Goldfish.
A 5 minute dinghy ride along the river leads to a favourite resting place for the goldfish. A sheltered lagoon of almost clear water that registers a temperature of 50 degrees farenheit year round, almost warm enough to swim in.
Fed by three freshwater ponds, appropriately called, Three Freshwater Ponds, it is the perfect spot to get up close and comfortable with the gentle goldfish.
The only equipment needed is a swimsuit (no bikinis or speedos allowed) and a 'pool noodle' to float on whilst quietly watching the goldfish.
Strict village regulations protect these goldfish from harrassment. You may not pursue or chase the goldfish nor disturb one if he/she is resting. Feeding is not allowed nor is poking, prodding or grabbing of any goldfish.
Community volunteers in plainly marked vests keep a very close eye on you. They have all been given 'police checks' and are not on any 'wanted' lists as far as we know.
All volunteers carry tasers, which they are not afraid to use in the event that the regulations are broken.
The amazing thing about these goldfish is their large size and docile temperament. Much bigger than pet goldfish, they can grow as long as 7" and weight up to 100 grams.
Surprisingly, goldfish are almost as curious about us as we are about them. They greet their visitors by wiggling their fins.
The experience of meeting these goldfish in their own habitat is not only memorable, it's downright incredible.
So don't forget to go Swimming With The Goldfish, next time you are in Newby.
If you LIVE in Newby, you've probably already "been there, done that and got the tee shirt."