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Saturday, January 07, 2006

The 86th Annual Vancouver Polar Bear Swim

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I attended the 86th Annual Vancouver Polar Bear Swim again this year. I shot a lot of photos again, but this years event didn't get the sunshine it did last year at this time. It was windy, cold and raining, a lot! In fact, I had to put my camera in a big plastic bag with an elastic band around the lens barrel. Luckily for me though, there were some kind folks around me who held their umbrellas over me most of the time I was shooting.

Still, who am I to complain about the rain, when there are people crazy enough to jump into the water at this time of year? Ya gotta love 'em!

So, as promised, here are the photos:

There were some Vikings there, and you just know when there's Vikings, there's gonna be trouble:

I think this was their leader:

Here is a shot of the crowd waiting in the rain:

And some of the swimmers getting prepared to go in:

And of course there were clowns there too(I think someone was throwing rice at them. I'm not sure where it was coming from):

Eventually, about 20 minutes before the official dive-in time, they let the participants into the big square 'holding pen' where they can get psyched out:

There they go into the holding pen. Check out the frozen news camera man in the center:

Here is another Viking showing off for the media:

Participants in the holding pen stripping down to their swim wear for the event:

Seconds before the actual diving in part, the crowd is hyped up by some blue guys:

And they're off!:

And here come the first ones back out again:

While some others swim further out:

Here is an example of how hard the rain was coming down. These people won't be getting dry anytime soon:

Lots more people going in and out:

Quite a few of the paricipants posed for photos by friends and family:

These to fellas look like they've been working out:

A tie will do little to keep you warm:

Elvis was there too!:

I saw Miss Piggy, but I didn't see Kermit anywhere:

In case you are wondering how cold the water is, let us examine the expression on this woman's face:

There were a few late stragglers that still wanted to jump in. Here's a happy looking couple:

I think this guy is praying for someplace warm where he can drink a gallon of hot coco!:

Here's one of the clowns hamming it up with some of the local police:

I think this is the last guy out of the water. He must be frozen. The lifeguard behind him is waiting patiently:

Even though it was raining, I still had fun. Maybe next year It'll be sunny, but who knows, it could be snowing even. It's always a blast.



K Murphy J said...

You know, there's a level of crazy fun I always admire, but doubt I'll ever participate in. Great shots! :)

Jack Simpson said...

Hi Mark,

As always, great pics.



Wendi said...

Shoot!! I wanted to be the first to comment on these photos, since I was the one who bitched about waiting for them, but KMJ beat me to it.
Well here is my comment:
Great shots, but I've come to expect nothing less from you :)
I love the vikings with the bath mat outfits!! Too funny!!
I see from some of your shots it was a little "nippley" out that day. Love the guy with the vollyball helmet (with the girl with the green bathing suit) I noticed in the next shot he also has red soccer ball shorts and red socks (what a "looker" LOL) The woman with the pink flamingo hat is another "looker"!! Woohoo!! There was also a man with a diaper and a bonnet on, and someone from the red hat society. What is with letting the little kids participate? There should be an age requirement!!! Wow that one girl has very large breats, the one with the guy in the Canucks (sp?) shirt. LOL, at the guy with the die yuppy scum shirt LOL!!!
These pictures made my day, I am such a people watcher, if you couldnt tell, I love to check everyone out :)))

Wendi said...

Oh forgot to comment on the Gordens Fisherman guy in the rowboat (the apparent lifeguard) LOL!!!!

Mark said...

Thanks everybody for your comments! Glad y'all like the photos, I had a great time shooting them!

Wendi, you've sure got good eyes! I was wondering if those were bath mats the vikings were wearing! LOL! Pretty creative costumes out there! Yes it was definitely 'nippley' out that day! LOL! (There were a few shots that I couldn't post here). Oh, and the guy next to the girl with the nice big breasts is actually wearing a Calgary Flames shirt--but you're pretty close, Vancouver Canucks have a big Orca as their logo. ;)

I'm glad my pictures made your day! :)



Wendi said...

Oh I hope all those Canadian Canuck and Calgary Fames fans forgive me!!!! At least I didnt call them the Boston Briuns, and at least I knew it was hockey!!! Hey I'm a girl after all!!!

Dream Girl said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Your pictures are pretty good. Loved the way you captured the emotions of others that day. Thanks for wishing me a happy 16th birthday

zbjernak said...

wow wow wow
is like being there personally...
very good description..and narration

apparently..i believe those people are crazy!!!
is raining...and is winter...and there they swim... brrrbbrrr one...those participants are very comical

Mark said...

Thanks 'Z'! Yup, they're crazy alright! ;)

Anna said...

hey mark! Wow nice pics, I got the chills just looking at them! I would never jump in the water in the winter! burrr!!!!!!!

Mark said...

Hehehe! Anna, I would have thought you'd be the first one in at one of these things! :)