MELMERBY BEACH — Make it 20 polar swims for Bill MacEachern.
The Lorne resident and his daughter Kyla and four other Pictou County swimmers were as brief as possible as they endured biting windblown snow for the annual New Year’s Day polar swim at Melmerby Beach.
They were joined by Tony Corbin, Glenn and Paula Miller and Angela Fogarty.
Few times has the weather been as nasty as the six swimmers waited until the last second to disrobe and charge into the water. Most of them were waist deep before returning but the MacEacherns make a point of immersing themselves.
“I felt good,” Bill said. “It’s good to get the 20th done.”
The cold New Year’s Eve weather placed doubt in his mind that the swimmers could enter from the main path to the beach due to the buildup of ice, but enough of it was released with the tide to allow them to enter on sand.
The temperature rose to near zero by the time the swimmers gathered for the swim, comparable with the previous two years. But MacEachern has seen better and worse conditions.
One extreme featured unusually mild temperatures, while he could also recall one time when the surface temperature was minus-16 and the wind chill factor was minus -27.
Bill and Kyla have been taking part in the polar plunge since she first wanted to go for a New Year’s dip.
Bill felt he should also participate with her.
MacEachern’s imperviousness to cold and snow is well-known. He has been seen running shirtless with Jim Lays at annual Resolution runs and doing a snow angel afterward.
Glenn Miller kneels in front of fellow swimmers. Standing from left are Tony Corbin, Kyla MacEachern, Bill MacEachern and Angela Fogarty.
INSET: Bill MacEachern relaxes after completing his polar dip. (Goodwin photos)