One of the coldest New Year’s Days in years and what would be your first thought of something to do?
Bet it wasn’t to go swimming in a frozen lake.
That’s what a local freediver decided to do at Echo Lake west of Campbell River and local photographer/videographer Eiko Jones captured it all in a dramatic video he posted on his Vimeo account. Jones said he and fellow Scuba divers Maxwell Hohn and Krystal Janicki decided to take advantage of the rare freeze-over of Echo Lake, a popular fishing and picnicking spot on Highway 28 between Campbell River and Gold River on Vancouver Island.
“It was the first time we have ever had ice on a lake nearby that we could cut a hole in and dive,” Jones said. “So we decided to do it.
“Plus two of us jumped in in just our swimsuit to do a polar bear plunge. It was just to experience it and, of course, take pictures.”
They were joined by Magali Coté who is doing cold water freediving tolerance training. She went in without a wetsuit, just in her swimsuit.
In Jones’ video, Coté is recorded slipping into a cut in the ice at Echo Lake that the Scuba divers had been using. After some breathing preparation and adapting to the cold water, she pushes down under the ice and swims around. At one time she even “walks” upside down on the ice, pushing off it to go down deeper.
Lakes around the central Vancouver Island city of Campbell River don’t freeze that often, unless they’re at a high elevation, but the recent cold snap that hit in late December has created ice on smaller lakes thick enough to walk and, yes, skate on.
Jones is a well-known photographer in the Campbell River area whose underwater photographs have been capturing a lot of attention in recent years.
Here's the divers having their fun: