Unlike past years, there was no official Polar Bear Swim for the New Year’s Day.
There was no hot chocolate to help people warm up, or hoselton keepsakes handed out for those brave enough to try out the frigid Douglas Channel waters, which can be cold enough even in the middle of summer.
But despite all that, there was a small group of onlookers at Hospital Beach on January 1 to watch a small group of daredevils throw caution, and reason, to the wind.
Just before the Sentinel arrived a man and his granddaughter got things going with their plunge. They were quickly in their car and off to warm up in their homes, but that still left Carl Johnson facing the water.
Johnson, an employee of Bechtel for the Kitimat Modernization Project, hails originally from Victoria.
Through all of the long hours of work he wanted to get out and do something community-minded and meet with people. The Polar Bear Swim provided that opportunity.
It was his first time taking in the tradition of a cold New Year’s dip. We asked him on his way out of the water what it was like.
“Shocking,” was the only description he could think of, especially that moment he put his head under water.