Paul Buchanan was wading into Port Fairy East Beach's surf, a routine he's followed for 30 years, when he felt something slimy "like seaweed" underfoot.
"Then, within an instant, whack," he said.
A stingray lurking beneath the wash had struck his right ankle and what followed was "excruciating, intense" pain.
It was 6pm on a Sunday two weeks ago and the beach was deserted but decades of lifesaver training kicked in.
"You just have to stay calm, that's the main thing," Mr Buchanan said. "I hobbled out of the water wondering why it had broken the skin. It was about a 15-millimetre gash. It would have been fairly deep.
"I hobbled up the steps and thought 'good God I had to walk home on this' and it was really painful by that stage."
He counted his lucky stars when two women, both nurses, were helping their kids into a nearby car.
"They realised I was in a bit of distress, it was starting to ooze blood at that stage. They put a band-aid on and bandaged me up and drove me home and rang the hospital to see if there was a doctor on call," he said.
His wife drove him to Moyne Health Services' urgent care where nurses and a doctor placed his ankle in a bucket of hot water.
Mr Buchanan said to his surprise "the pain went".
"When the doctor looked at it the first time and took it out of the bucket, within a couple of minutes the pain was nearly unbearable again," he said.
"Hot water apparently breaks down the proteins in the toxins."
Appearing to be on the mend Mr Buchanan left hospital but a week later the wound became red and swollen and he returned for three days to receive intravenous antibiotics.
"We are so lucky to have that urgent care and the hospital. I couldn't get over the quality of care I got there. Hats off to Moyne Health Services," Mr Buchanan said.
"The nurses were experts on stingray stings."
A doctor also told him it was the second wound from a stingray he had treated in two weeks.
Now recovering at home Mr Buchanan wants to assure the community and young nippers the beach is a safe place to swim.
"Don't be put off from swimming because of my little incident," he said.
"I have been going to that beach for 30 years, you have to be unlucky. If you really want to make sure you don't step on one shuffle into the water. By shuffling you are going to disturb one and they will swim off."
Mr Buchanan said despite the ordeal he was still in awe of the fish.
"They are lovely creatures," he said.
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