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January, grin and bear it!

Call me crazy (and many do) but there are few things that make me happier than throwing myself into freezing cold water. This year I was excited to have eight “first timers” join me on Kits Beach. Hopefully, it will mark the beginning of a tradition for at least a few of them. The New Year’s Day ritual of a swim in the ocean provides a clear and exhilarating break between the old year and the new. Clearly, I am not alone. In 2020 there were 7,029 registered swimmers for Vancouver’s official Polar Bear Plunge in English Bay. It’s not just about the swim. Spectators and cheerleaders crowd the beaches, costumes and badges, awarded only to the wet, form an important part of the annual ritual. There is even a “veterans’ tent”, with a place to leave towels and  the reward of hot chocolate under a heat lamp after the swim. Admission is gained with 20 badges. All pre-COVID, of course.

Vancouver is one of the oldest and largest polar bear swims in the world but it is not the only one. Edinburgh in Scotland, Barry Island in Wales, Szigliget in Hungary and Coney Island in the USA are among the top rated destinations to experience the thrill. I have plunged from the shores in Antarctica and jumped in off a ship with a rope tied around my waist in the Arctic. 
 
Some claim that there are health benefits to cold water swimming, like improving circulation and boosting the immune system. Some claim spiritual benefits.  Much like travel, the cold water experience is exhilarating, can take you out of your comfort zone and, for some, can be quite addictive.
 
With travel on hold for now, what experiences will take you out of your comfort zone in 2022?

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Karl Bateman

    For someone who just left two mths of 30c+days it’s a chilling thought! Good for you for the fortitude.

    1. admin

      Thank you and welcome back to the cold!

  2. Susan Edwards

    Bravo on your favourite day of the year plunge‼️

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