REPORTING · 2nd January 2010
A cold wind blew through the Douglas Channel on January 1st, 2010, but it did not deter between 15 and 25 brave souls from running into the icy water at Hospital Beach. A spokesperson reminded them that there was no prize for whoever stayed in the longest nor was there a prize for anyone foolish enough to swim to MK Bay. They ran in, ran out and it was over.
“The Annual Polar Bear Swim.The Marlin Swim Club puts on a fund raising event for the Kitimat Food Bank. Donations are made to the food bank and swimmers from the community that swim in the ocean for a New Years celebration,” said Doug Rice who was coordinating the event.
They estimated that the Polar Bear swim has been going on between 30-35 years. The Coast Guard Auxiliary was in the water for anyone who needed assistance while Emergency services were provided by Rio Tinto Alcan. Less people went in than last year and at least 10 swim club members went in.
With the event over, barbecued hot dogs and hot chocolate were served courtesy of Overwaitea Foods, and participants had a chance to warm up by the fire. “We want to thank Overwaitea for the donation of all the hot dogs, buns, condiments and all the drinks for the day,” said Rice.
Then again, it was colder outside of the water. The Coast Guard Auxiliary members estimated that the water temperature was 4 degrees.
The Kitimat Marlin Swim Club is up this year from 12 members at last year's swim to 50 members at this year's. They will be having their first Swim Meet in June of 2010.
... and in they get.
For some, it was simply going in and comming out. Others stayed in longer.
Afterwards, there was a fire to warm up next to.