104-year-old Dorothy Yoemans gets up close and personal with sharks for her birthday

At 104 years old, there's not much daring Blue Mountains resident Dorothy Yoemans hasn't done.

On Tuesday, the spritely centenarian from the NSW Blue Mountains did what many others wouldn't - donned a wetsuit to celebrate her birthday.

The brave Uniting Springwood aged care resident ticked off a bucket list wish by getting into a tank at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium - home to 30 sharks.

After the once-in-a-lifetime experience, Dorothy said: "How fabulous was that! I never thought I'd come that close to a shark, but thank you to the wonderful team at Uniting Springwood and Sea Life Sydney Aquarium for making this happen."

Nic Langenberg (left) with 104-year-old Dorothy Yeomans at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium.

Nic Langenberg (left) with 104-year-old Dorothy Yeomans at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium.

The tank is home to five grey nurse sharks, 25 Port Jackson sharks, two smooth rays (one the size of a queen-size mattress), a stingray and many tropical fish.

Dorothy, who lived independently until the age of 101, is no stranger to adventure.

On her 90th birthday she flew overseas to the UK and Canada and last year celebrated her 103rd birthday by taking her first helicopter ride.


It was after the helicopter experience, organised by staff at Uniting, that Dorothy was asked what she would like to do next, for her 104th birthday.

Ever cheeky, "swimming with sharks" was her quick-witted reply. When asked why swimming with sharks, Dorothy's response was simple: "why not?".

So what started out as a light-hearted joke came to fruition after Uniting Springwood's Leisure and Wellness Coordinator Nic Langenberg contacted the aquarium to help make Dorothy's unusual request a reality.

"Dorothy flagged swimming with sharks as her bucket list wish with Uniting a year ago on her last birthday - we love her enthusiasm for taking life with both hands," said Nic.

"Uniting supports our residents to fulfil their wishes - this is one of the most unusual, but it's so rewarding and it's been such a privilege to help make it happen."

Harry Masefield, Sea Life Sydney Aquarium's Shark Dive Xtreme supervisor said: "We're blown away by Dorothy's amazing attitude.

"It's not everyday you hear that someone wants to celebrate their 104th birthday by swimming with sharks, so we knew we had to make it special! We loved making Dorothy's birthday wish come true."