Cowichan Valley polar bears get ready to take the plunge

Are you ready for a cool dip?

It’s time for the Valley folks to hit the water in annual New Year’s Day polar bear swims.

Starting at the south end, the second annual Shawnigan Shiver takes place Thursday at Government Wharf Park with registration starting at 11 a.m. and stalwarts taking the plunge at noon.

A $5 entry fee includes a hat, a hot drink, a cookie and fun plus a Shiver button for swimmers that get wet to their waists.

At Cowichan Bay’s Hecate Park, there’s always a good crowd ready for hijinks.

The sign-in is at 10:30 a.m. with "swimmers" running down the ramp into the icy ocean at 11 a.m.

A little later, at noon, keen, polar bear swim enthusiasts take to the waters at Maple Bay, beside the Rowing Club, urged on by the skirl of the bagpipes.

This event usually draws lots of folks in costume so if you’ve got something fun to wear, give it a try.

The polar bears will be hitting the water in Crofton at noon.

The brave and the bold are invited to take to the ocean at the boat launch beside the ferry terminal at the end of Chaplin Street.

Finally, travelling north, Ladysmith’s polar bear swim is scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Transfer Beach Park, just off the Trans Canada Highway.