Courage is My Mantra this Year.

If I am afraid, I am going to find the courage to do it. That’s my explanation for my polar dip at Spa Chance Harbour.

Or we could call this story “Never answer the phone if Elaine Shannon calls on a Saturday morning,”

No wonder Elaine, producer and host of the Aliant Community One TV show Simply Zen, is known as the Empress of Inspiration.

When she invited me to the spa, I asked what treatment she was having done. Her reply, “Catherine, it’s not that kind of spa day. We’re going to enjoy the wood-fired sauna and then dip in the Bay of Fundy.”

Spa Chance HArbour Walking Beach in Winter


The Bay of Fundy is bone-chilling on a sweltering hot summer day, and Elaine thought we should take a dip at at -15 Celsius (5 Fahrenheit).

I thought of a dozen excuses. But the truth is this. I bought my first bathing suit in 15 years only a few months ago. Plus, I am always cold. I live in Marks Work Wearhouse‘s ladies fleece-lined jeans and thermal T-Max Heat socks from November to April. But I knew inside I would be sorry tomorrow if I didn’t show up for this adventure.

Courage was required.

Wood-fired Sauna at Spa Chance Harbour

The wood-fired sauna overlooking the Bay was absolutely beautiful. I still hadn’t committed to going in. One of the women said that you will become so warm that you’ll know it is time. That’s exactly what happened.

One friend was already in. Elaine and I grabbed our flip flops, hats, and winter jackets and began the 200 foot walk to the shore. (The falls next to the spa were frozen solid.)

First rule of polar dipping, after you strip down to your bathing suit, you must yell at the top of your lungs while entering the water. Adds more fun. It was awesome. Exhilarating. My 4′ 10″ friend lost her flip flop to the strong current so I grabbed it, tossed it back, and dipped quickly.

It is only cold from the water back to your towel on the beach.

In fact, it was so much fun. I did it again and stayed in the water longer.

Spa Chance HArbour Walking Beach in Winter

All six of us polar dipped that day. We were a group of women who hadn’t all met before, and we bonded through this amazing experience. And I’m sure to go back again ~ summer and winter.

Courage is indeed my mantra this year. What are you going to dip into that makes you afraid?



  1. Elaine Shannon on February 12, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Hello Catherine
    That was day to remember and I will always wear my Polar Dip hat with pride.
    I laugh every time I see you and your awesome hair flying in the wind and excitement of the day.
    So, what next!

  2. Francene Stanley on February 13, 2013 at 8:32 am

    Loved the way you shared your experience. I could almost feel the tingle of the chill water when you immersed, then the air as you rushed to your towel. Yes, I think courage is required, whatever you do in life. But only if it’s safe. For instance, I shouldn’t take my walker out on an icy path to push on uphill. 😉

    • Stella Scott on February 25, 2013 at 8:25 am

      But isn’t the thing with courage that we perceive something as “not safe” but we do it anyways? Ranging from smiling to a stranger to bungy jumping.

  3. Delia Bourne on February 25, 2013 at 11:08 am

    You are sooooo brave!! I feel cold just thinking about your dip. But…the funny thing is…don’t you think the things in life we dread or are scared of are never as bad as we think they are going to be??

  4. Bonnie Gean on February 25, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    i wouldn’t have the courage… I’m too chicken, but I thank you for allowing me to feel the experience through your wonderful writing! 🙂

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