The Thetis Island Volunteer Fire Department had members on the scene in support of the swimmers. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Bannister)

Conditions still not quite tropical for Thetis Island polar bear swimmers on a sunny day

Air temperature at 10 degrees on New Year’s Day, but water only at one degree

Thetis Island residents can’t resist a challenge.

Polar bear swimmers were expecting to brave the elements that’s common at this time of year. But the sun was shining for the New Year’s Day event and took away at least some of the chill for the 15 people taking the plunge there.

That’s two more than last year. The way it’s going there well could be upwards of 30 participants in a few years.

“Our volunteer fire department came out in full force to support us, which was awesome, and many community members came out to cheer us on,” noted participant Kelly Bannister.

Gerhard Wanney and Bannister were the hardiest of the lot, plunging five times to break their record from last year.

“It was sure a gorgeous day,” enthused Bannister.

“We thought we might have to call it the Tropical Plunge this year as the air was calm, the sun was out and it was 10 degrees Celsius, but then Gerhard measured the water temperature as one degree so we figured since we stood a chance of hypothermia, we qualified as polar enough.”

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The water temperature was rather chilly for the Thetis Island polar bear swim. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Bannister)

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