White Rock Polar Plunge to go ahead, despite dead anchovies

White Rock Polar Plunge to go ahead, despite dead anchovies

Annual New Year event to return to White Rock beach after Dec. 20 storm destroyed waterfront

Although it might smell a little fishy, the White Rock Polar Bear Plunge is set to return in the new year for the 50th anniversary event.

Some residents expressed concern that the event might be cancelled due to an alarming number of dead anchovy near the city’s pier.

However, organizer Lindagene Coyle told Peace Arch News Monday that she see no issue with the dead fish, as most of them are located near the pier and not near the white rock, where the event is to be held.

“All the muck is on the west side of the pier. Actually, there’s not even that much anymore,” Coyle said. “It’s great, it doesn’t smell, there’s no dead fish all over the place, everything’s cleaned up.”

SEE ALSO: ‘Millions’ of shimmery fish in White Rock waters captivate

The annual plunge, co-ordinated by the Semiahmoo Peninsula’s six Rotary clubs, was cancelled this year after a Dec. 20 storm destroyed the pier and scattered broken boats and hundreds of logs along the shoreline.

Come Jan. 1, swimmers brave enough – or crazy enough – to endure the cold will plunge into the waters near the white rock at 12 p.m.

Organizers are not only encouraging people to dress up, but will award prizes for the best costume.

Coyle said one of her favourite costumes over the past few years was an elderly couple dressed up in red long johns and Santa hats.

“They were just so cute,” Coyle said.

The event used to be known as a ‘swim’ but Coyle explained it was renamed as a plunge because that’s more reflective of what people do.

However, Coyle said, there are a few people every year who aren’t deterred by the chilly water.

“Some people are crazy. And some people come and they are inebriated. They have, you know, leftover from the night before. So, we have to be prepared to take care of them.”

Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue supports the event by making sure the swimmers are safe.

One year, Coyle said, event organizers placed an ‘iceberg’ a fair distance into the water and the first person who swam to the iceberg and rang a bell received a prize.

SEE ALSO: Seals and gulls swarm White Rock for fish-feeding frenzy

“I can’t tell you what the prize was the first year because we quickly became aware that it was illegal,” Coyle said. “You can’t give like, Polar Vodka, as a prize. So we had to change that up.”

“It only happened one time. It was a neat idea if you think about it.”

Coyle said if they wanted to have a bottle of vodka as the prize, they would need a licence. Additionally, she said, there are other reasons for the restriction, including that it’s a public place and children are there.

“It makes no sense. It’s a closed bottle. But anyway, it doesn’t matter. We cannot do that and we don’t do that,” Coyle said.

Registration begins at 10:30 a.m.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

President of the West Coast Fine Arts Show, Brian Croft, said pandemic restrictions necessitated a shift to an entirely online event this year, running until April 30. (File photo)
The West Fine Art Show shifts to an online-only event amid tighter health orders

Website version retains the flavour of the annual live exhibition

A vaccine-filled needle awaits injection, during a COVID-19 vaccination clinic held Jan. 15, 2021 at Amica White Rock. Community Living B.C.-funded workers learned April 8 that they, too, can now be vaccinated. (Tracy Holmes file photo)
Support workers for those with disabilities given vaccine priority

News shared with Community Living B.C.-funded staff on April 8

British Columbia Attorney General David Eby. (Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Attorney General covers housing, homelessness and justice reform in Surrey Zoom

‘I think it would be really great to hold some sessions in Surrey,’ Eby says of legislative assembly

Scott Wheatley stands with the main Kenyan and Ugandan umpiring crew that he trained at the Nakirebe Complex outside of Kampala in 2020. Wheatley, a member-at-large with Softball B.C. is supporting a recent open letter from the sporting body that calls on the government to reinstate gameplay for kids in organized sports. (Photo: Submitted)
Softball B.C. urges provincial health officer to lift ban on gameplay for kids in organized sports

Sporting body sent open letter to both Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix

Surrey RCMP are looking for these two men after a bank in the 12800-block of 96th Avenue was robbed on March 12. (Images: Surrey RCMP)
Police release images of two men suspected of robbing Surrey bank

Robbery happened on March 12 at bank in 12800-block of 96th Avenue

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed on April 4, according to a statement from police. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police name victim following city’s fourth homicide of 2021

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed Sunday in the Downtown Eastside

Sunset Manor, an assisted living facility in Chilliwack owned by the Netherlands Reformed Congregation of Chilliwack, pictured here in October 2020, had its third COVID-19 outbreak declared on April 9, 2021. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress file)
3rd COVID outbreak at care home run by Chilliwack church known for opposing vaccinations

30-bed Sunset Manor owned and operated by Netherlands Reformed Congregation of Chilliwack

A man wears a face mask past the emergency department of the Vancouver General Hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Calls for stricter action in B.C. as COVID-19 variants projected to climb

Jens von Bergmann says the province has taken a ‘wait and see’ approach when early action is needed

Vancouver’s park board general manager issued a new order Friday restricting tents and other temporary structures from being set up in Strathcona Park after April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver park board issues order to restrict tents in Strathcona Park

The order issued Friday restricted tents and other temporary structures from being set up after April 30

Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning says the players who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 are recovering and the team still intends to play a 56-game season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canucks players ‘mostly on the other side’ of COVID outbreak: general manager

The athletes have had a “whole range” of COVID-19 symptoms, said team physician Dr. Jim Bovard, but no one has needed to be hospitalized

Police are investigating after a man was shot Thursday, April 8 while sitting in a car in Vancouver. (Black Press files)
Man shot in Vancouver while sitting in a parked car: police

The victim is currently in critical condition. Police say no arrests have been made.

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP is seeking public tips regarding a break-in that left multiple people injured in Vernon Saturday, March 6, 2021. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Cariboo teacher charged in child exploitation case

Charge laid against teacher at Peter Skene Ogden

Most Read