A record number of brave souls jumped in the ocean during the annual New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim at Parksville Community Park on Tuesday.
Organizers ran out of the 150 registration forms they had, and there were many others who did not even attempt to register, putting the crowd estimate at between 180-200.
“We’ve been doing this for 10 years and it’s the most I’ve ever seen,” said Tom Marshall, a volunteer with Arrowsmith Search and Rescue.
One of those people who took a dip was Parksville’s Sonja Porteous. This was her seventh Polar Bear Swim.
“It was fantastic,” said Porteous while drying off with a towel. “I like the shock treatment.”
The weather co-operated — it as about 5 C at noon when people took the plunge.
“You don’t have to break the ice to get in there (like other locations in Canada),” said Porteous. “We do live in paradise.”