Like a right of passage, a summer tradition as engrained as solstice, quay jumping on Bryher is a must do event, for small children and big children alike. We leap like star fish, jump like slender eels and throw ourselves like granite boulders smashing into the sea.
The perfect timing for quay jumping combines a high spring tide with a warm early evening so that afterwards chilly and energy-sapped bodies can be snuggled into soft PJ's and reheated with bowlfuls of tasty spagbowl and hot chocolate.
Islander and visitor gather on the quay to enjoy the sound of shrieks and screams, giggles and shivers. Squeaking flip flops run up and down. Parents cajole their offspring into the chilly grey sea, the water becomes full of splashing, gasps and laughter. We are all banking memories of wild family time on this special little island.
We pause only for the last of the tripper boats to offload their cargo, the boatmen casting a weary glance at all the blue-lip faces waiting eagerly for the boat to move away. The leaping begins again.
This is the busiest my swims get, initially I admit to feeling slightly grumpy about sharing my swimming time with so many others, but with a "don't be so miserable" telling off I am soon swept up in the fun, throwing myself into the cold bubbly water with that thrilling sense of childish excitement fizzing in my stomach. The tide is so high that is slides across the end of the quay and we half walk, half jump down into the greeny depths., squeezing our eyes tight shut against the face full of cold water.
Quay jumping is part of the seasonal changes, those comforting traditions and cycles of island life. Summer just wouldn't be summer without it.