“Oddball” Polar Plunge in Victoria, BC – by Billy Sanderson


Billy Sanderson
Columbia #2 Victoria, BC

A member of Columbia Lodge #2, Victoria, BC CANADA was posting pictures on Facebook of his morning swims in the ocean at dawn. For those who don’t know, beautiful city of Victoria is on an island in the north Pacific Ocean, and it is a long way from the warm waters of Southern California or Hawai’i.

BC map

Bearing the water temperatures, the idea of jump starting your day with a dip caught on with another member, and then another. Each of them posting selfies of themselves neck deep in the waters closes to their homes. Soon, more members were sharing interest in the exercise, so the potential grew for a group to meet-up to catch the view of the rising sun. On November 19th ,the first official meeting of Oddballs Victoria was constituted.

in the water

The daily ritual was committed to by the group, and more Brothers joined in as the word spread among the swimmers who were experiencing beneficially therapeutic outcomes. For a few of them the dips were increasing their mobility due to chronic pains in their legs or backs, while others were feeling just plain exhilarated after a few minutes long dip each morning. These Brothers were definitely “brrrrrave” as the water temperature has been around only 47’F/8’C, but the positive vibes were contagious. The group was becoming more joyous and the views more spectacular as the daylight hours shortened.


A few weeks later the weekend group size had swollen with a diverse collection of members; Computer and IT guys, a Brewmaster, Real Estate folks, a Chef, and Food and Bev professionals sharing the experience of rising heart rates and plenty of laughter as the new people tested the water for the first times.


If you check out the beach cam at 7:00am weekdays and 7:30am weekend Pacific time you can spot the group here: http://www.bigwavedave.ca/webcams.php?cam=7&option=4&z=0&fbclid=IwAR0dTaQxjv5JLucdCzNyVFkcVFfziD1KYTFL0diAvCwhuuI9nhSkl1LJabI

And then one day, the shared Odd Fellowship took hold of them. How can we make this a way to give back to our community? Brother Drew jumped right into the topic, “I’m thinking we should get serious about a Boxing Day swim and a pledge drive. I propose we support Susan Simmons and the Spirit Orcas!!” https://susansimmons.ca/spirit-orcas/
When the topic hit the Facebook group, each one of these “sticks” jumped up to form a unified “bundle” to bring life to the idea.


Within minutes, the swim-site was selected, the post-swim brunch planned, and fund-drive initiated. Next, they needed promotional material, but of course Brother Jack came aboard (as he is not the swimming type just yet).

Speaking with the Oddball members you see their excitement, in some cases a giddiness, for how odd they find what this swim means. Members are dedicated by going later in the day if the morning didn’t work for them, and some are swimming multiple times in a day. The original swimmer made a comment that the experience is so joyously shared that he feels that these fraternal friendships are deepening each week.

Visit Sovereign Grand Lodge: Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Visit our Facebook page: Heart In Hand

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