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Brave polar plungers at Seal River Heritage Lodge. John Donelson photo.

Brave polar plungers at Seal River. John Donelson photo.

by Shayna Plett

After a bite-sized storm at Seal River Heritage Lodge we were itching for some sunlight and longing for some outside time. What better way to spend a sunny afternoon on the Hudson Bay coast than a polar plunge!

After the important question was posed to our group of guests, we hatched a plan, and before we knew it, we were out on the ice of Swan Lake. The ice had gotten a touch thicker since our last dip, and for the age-old question, “How many people does it takes to cut a hole in the ice?” we discovered that the answer was one manager, two guides, an axe, and a delivery of two more axes after the first one broke. We even had a gallant guest hack away at the trench with the broken handle of the ax. It was quite the spectacle.

While the brute squad portion of our team chopped feverishly away at the ice, the rest of us pulled out the mulled wine and roasted marshmallows using a hollowed-out log as our fire pit. We ate our goodies with the sun high overhead taking the edge off of the winter chill, and with the general camaraderie of the group we were well on our way to having a wonderful afternoon before we even got to our main event.

The spectators were all around. A few gathered on the dock, some perched on the ATV trailer, and the rest milling about chatting and munching. There were many “Ooos” and “Aaas” as the 4×4 chunk of ice was finally pushed away to reveal the lake’s shimmering and slightly intimidating water.

Everyone was still admiring the water as our manager Ben (Lawrence) got ready to be the first one in “for safety.” The whooping and hollering was already in full swing as he hopped in, faced the crowd with his hands clasped, and disappeared into the water, emerging a few seconds later with that glacial glow. After that, it was a torrent of jumpers and dippers, each person taking a different approach that produced varying levels of facial theatrics and sound effects.

Our antics ended with sweet memories of sticky marshmallow fingers, rosy cheeks, and many belly laughs. We put together a day of memorable moments for our guests, renewed morale for our staff, and gave the whole team an unforgettable Arctic afternoon adventure!

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