Hundreds take plunge in White Rock
Taking the plunge wasn’t quite as chilly in White Rock and South Surrey this year – but that only meant there were more spectators from the shoreline watching those actually ushering in the new year with a brisk dip in the ocean.
With Semiahmoo Bay chilled at about 4 C at noon Sunday, there were close to 500 who celebrated the arrival of 2012 by dashing into the waves at the 42nd annual White Rock Polar Bear Swim.
“The weather was great and the crowd was fantastic,” said organizer Don Miller, of the Peace Arch Monarch Lions Club. “There were at least 2,000 spectators between the promenade and the pier. The weather turned out, if not 100 per cent, then 99 per cent. Last year we had quite a breeze. “
Although he had not received final figures on registered participants by Monday morning, Miller said he he believes the figure will be at least on par with the 485 who registered last year, not counting some additional people who took the dip further down the beach.
In all there were few challenges and "no business" for members of the Semiahmoo Peninsula Marine Rescue Society and the St John's Ambulance Society who also attend the event, he said.
An hour later, 15 people – nearly all au naturel – splashed into the water at Crescent Beach at the annual Polar ‘Bare’ Swim (warning: slideshow contains some nudity).
Surrey United Naturists reported $165 was collected in donations to the Canadian War Amps Champs and Playsafe child-amputee programs.
CN Police members were on hand to make sure some 75 spectators didn't contravene the Canadian Railway Safety Act, or BNSF's no trespassing policy, by venturing onto the nearby rail line.