Polar bears brace for two local New Year's Day swims

Local polar bears are bracing for two New Year's Day dips.

The annual Cowichan Bay Polar Bear Swim, hosted by the bay's volunteer fire hall, sees registration at 10:30 a.m. before the madcap 11 a.m. plunge off Hecate Park's boat launch.

"We've got free coffee and hot chocolate on site," said fire chief Ken Bulcock (250-252-0031). "Hopefully we'll have some new people out this year."

Cow Bay's romp leaves time to motor to Maple Bay where the venerable Innkeeper's Polar Bear Swim (250-748-5830) happens at around noon beside the rowing club.

Swimmers register at around 11 a.m. toward a cannon blast that sends hundreds of costumed revellers into the chilly drink.

Certificates are handed to swimmers who can warm themselves in the clubhouse.


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