Tawnya Cameron and Josh Winquist (middle) were among dozens who braved the Polar Bear Dip at Wood Lake Jan. 1, 2020. (Lindsay Winquist photo)

Vernon bears brave frigid Oyama waters

Polar Bear Swim attracts a crowd of ‘crazies’

People call them crazy.

You know the ones — the brave souls who decide to literally start fresh on New Year’s Day by jumping into the icy lake waters.

Vernon friends Tawnya Cameron and Josh Winquist were just a couple of those crazy people who turned out for the annual Oyama Polar Bear Dip in Wood Lake on Jan. 1.

“There were about 100 people on the beach but only half went in I think,” Cameron said. “I was too busy thinking about the cold water to really look.”

It was a spontaneous decision for Cameron when she woke up on New Year’s Day, with a little convincing from Winquist.

“I loved it! It was my first polar dip,” she said. “No regrets. The water was freezing, but it’s a quick run in, dip and dash out before everything starts to seize up!”

So fun in fact, that she’s dedicated to returning next year, with more crazy, er, brave souls.

“I’m pretty sure we’ll have more people with us… judging by some of the responses to my post on Facebook.”

For Winquist, the dip has become an annual tradition.

“It’s a great way to start the new year. I think there were more people at this years’ event as well. It looked like there were people of all ages and a lot of families too, which is nice to see.”

And the conditions were milder for 2020 than they were in 2019.

“It was cold, but not as cold as last year,” Winquist said.

The pair travelled to Oyama as Vernon doesn’t typically have a Polar Bear Dip on Jan. 1. Instead, an annual Polar Bear Swim takes place during Vernon Winter Carnival on Feb. 15 at Paddlewheel Park.

READ MORE: Over 350 people make the plunge at this year’s Polar Bear Dip in Kelowna

READ MORE: Igloo for sale in Enderby


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

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